An inspirational story about following your dreams
As the market leader in luxury fitness, the Life Time brand champions a healthy way of life. Through its national network of Life Time Living and Life Time Work spaces, the Company is going beyond fitness to encompass the entire spectrum of daily life for individuals, couples and families.
And it started with a single dream.
Bahram Arkradi arrived in the United States from Iran as a 17-year old immigrant. To help pay for college, he began cleaning the swimming pool at a nationally known health club. Taking on more responsibility, he quickly rose through the ranks and, by the time he graduated college with an electrical engineering degree, he was the chain’s top salesman. “I had worked in clubs,” he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune in a 2003 profile, “They were dingy, smelly places. They were like torture chambers. And they forced you into contracts. It wasn’t built from a customer perspective.”
Bahram’s early dream was to create a better fitness experience. Using his personal assets, and after finding financial backing, he turned that dream into a reality and opened his first club in 1992. One of the key people who helped Bahram build his dream was Efonda Sproles, who says Bahram once told him “We will change the world through fitness”, as he was crystalizing his vision.
Fast forward to today, and it looks like that vision has come true. Life Time is the nation’s largest fitness resort company focused on the premier end of the market. Not bad for a kid with a dream.
“One of the most rewarding things about working at Life Time is knowing how much we give back to the community”, tells Sproles. He’s right, since 2013, the Life Time Foundation has donated over 44 million meals to school districts across the country and also supports local and national charities like the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
This type of generosity does not go unnoticed. There have been many awards for Life Time and Akradi was recently recognized as the 2020 Executive of the Year by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. There will likely be more awards as Life Time’s influence continues to grow beyond its walls, building lifestyle communities that intermingle destination resort-style fitness clubs with Life Time Work co-op or shared work spaces and luxury apartments through Life Time Living.
Since its first mission statement, written in 1994, the Company has always kept its focus on helping people. Today, as Life Time goes to market with a new brand of healthy work spaces, you still see the focus on people in the little things, like the tag line in Sproles e-mail signature that says, ‘People first’.
Sproles is the picture of positivity and shows how far inspiration and dedication can take you. “When I first met Bahram in 1984, our company was called US Swim & Fitness, which became Bally’s. I just loved the industry and changing the lives of people. I never asked, “How much can I earn?” With a smile on his face, Efonda shares how he succeeded, “Do what you love, and you will never go to work. Chase your passion, not money!”
That’s good advice.
When you visit with Efonda – or anyone at a Life Time – you can see first-hand that the motto, a ‘Healthy Way of Life’, isn’t just for show. From the top down, there’s a spirit of empowerment that encourages you to live a healthy lifestyle.
If you think there’s something you might like to add to your life, whether it’s a new fitness routine, a better diet, overall wellness, or to office out of a more invigorating space, you may not have to go far – it’s probable that you can find it all at your Life Time, Life Time Work or Life Time Living.
What’s Your Dream?
As we start 2020 and think about what we might want to achieve in the upcoming year, ask yourself, “What’s my dream?” Whether it’s decluttering your home, learning a new skill, or starting a juggernaut Healthy Way of Life Company – whatever you wish to do – remember that anything is possible. We learned that from a 17-year old immigrant who followed his dream.