As consumers increasingly prioritize health and wellness, the fitness industry has seen a surge in demand for premium and specialized offerings. As a leading player in the industry, Life Time provides a “Healthy Way of Life” through its luxury athletic country clubs that offer comprehensive health, fitness, and wellness programs to a diverse range of customers across the United States and Canada.
Delivering state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and amenities, ensuring a premium experience for everyone, Life Time’s fitness services include various types of group classes, such as yoga, Pilates, indoor cycling, dance, and strength training, among many others. These classes are designed to accommodate all skill levels and interests, while specialized fitness programs like Dynamic Personal Training and small group training sessions like Alpha, GTX, and Ultra Fit, focus on different goals and training styles, providing a personalized approach to fitness.
Emerging strongly from the dramatic impacts of the covid pandemic, Life Time is aggressively pursuing growth initiatives that focus on elevating member experiences, expanding their center footprint, and increasing revenue per center membership.
With a strong foundation of engaged members, the company is leveraging its brand reputation and understanding of member experiences to expand its portfolio of products and services, as well as explore international opportunities. It is also developing an enhanced digital platform to deliver an omnichannel experience, including live-streaming fitness classes, remote personal training, nutrition support, and curated content.
By expanding its Healthy Way of Life ecosystem, Life Time is aiming to integrate health and wellness into every aspect of its members’ daily lives.
Founded in 1992 by Bahram Akradi, who currently serves as the company’s CEO, Life Time started as a single athletic club in Minnesota, with the vision of providing a comprehensive, luxury health and wellness experience for its members. With an initial focus on delivering state-of-the-art fitness facilities, it soon expanded to include additional amenities, such as swimming pools, racquet sports, and spa services.
Experiencing steady growth over the years and opening new athletic clubs across the U.S., the company has continued to innovate, adding family-friendly offerings like childcare services, kids’ sports, and specialized fitness programs. It also identified the need to support a more holistic approach to health and wellness expanding its product range to address not only physical fitness, but also mental and emotional well-being. While new growth opportunities such as Life Time Work and Life Time Living have further broadened the company’s offerings.
From the beginning, Bahram Akradi has led the company with a focus on designing and delivering the company’s country clubs, programs, products, and events from a member point of view.
Prior to launching Life Time, Akradi led U.S. Swim & Fitness Corporation (formerly Nautilus Fitness Center) as co-founder, executive VP, and part owner. USSW was the second-largest health club company in the Minneapolis market when Akradi and his partners sold it to Bally Total Fitness in 1986. After continuing to operate the business as a division of Bally for more than two years, Akradi left the company to develop plans for Life Time, which was launched soon after.
From state-of-the-art athletic facilities and specialized fitness programs to wellness services promoting a holistic and balanced approach to healthy living, Life Time offers a diverse range of products and services designed to cater to the health, fitness, and wellness needs of its customers. As a result, its customer base ranges from individuals seeking a premium-quality fitness experience to families looking for a comprehensive and convenient wellness destination, along with professional athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and individuals looking for a supportive community to help them achieve their health and wellness goals.
The brand’s athletic country clubs are designed to provide members with a luxurious and comprehensive experience with cutting-edge fitness equipment, spacious workout areas, indoor and outdoor pools, racquet sports courts, and various group fitness studios. Members can engage in a wide range of activities, from traditional gym workouts to group classes such as yoga, Pilates, and indoor cycling. Additionally, specialized training programs like Alpha, GTX, and Ultra Fit are available for those seeking a more structured and intensive fitness experience.
To cater to families, Life Time has developed numerous family-friendly amenities, including childcare services, kids’ sports programs, and age-appropriate fitness classes. The company also introduced the ARORA community, designed specifically for members aged 55 and older, ensuring that customers of all ages and fitness levels can find suitable activities and programs.
Recognizing the importance of a holistic approach to health, Life Time expanded its offerings to include nutrition coaching, weight loss programs, and stress management support, to help members achieve a balanced lifestyle.
Complementing its core services, Life Time Work provides premium co-working spaces integrated with their athletic country clubs, catering to professionals seeking a healthier work environment. While Life Time Living offers luxury wellness-oriented residences located close to their athletic clubs, appealing to individuals seeking a convenient and integrated healthy lifestyle.
The company’s services are designed to be flexible and adaptable. Customers can choose from a variety of membership options, ranging from basic access to more comprehensive plans that include additional services and amenities, ensuring that products and services can be tailored to the specific needs and preferences of each customer.
While recurring membership dues and enrollment fees represent approximately 70% of Life Time’s revenue, around 30% consists of in-center revenue which includes Dynamic Personal Training, LifeCafe, LifeSpa, Life Time Swim, and Life Time Kids, among other services.
Life Time is striving to create an integrated “Healthy Way of Life” ecosystem, encompassing various aspects of its members’ lives. While the company has built a strong foundation with an engaged membership base, it is now executing on several offensive strategies to broaden its service offerings, grow its membership base, increase revenue per member, and expand its footprint.
Central to this is the enhancement of member experiences through new and improved in-center services, memberships, concierge-type services, and omnichannel offerings. In particular, a shift from a sales-driven culture to delivering a concierge-type experience to members is enhancing how the company interacts with prospective and existing members.
New membership offerings, including a signature membership that offers unlimited small group training and priority registrations, are driving broader appeal, higher sign-up numbers, and longer member retention. While strategic initiatives such as pickleball, Dynamic Personal Training, small group training, and the company’s ARORA community are driving significant increases in unique participants and total sessions.
To strengthen its omnichannel platform, Life Time is investing in its digital capabilities, including an integrated digital app that allows members to engage with the brand anytime and anywhere. With this holistic approach to integrating health and wellness into every aspect of members’ lives, the company is aiming to position itself to capitalize on the growing demand for proactive health and wellness solutions.
Life Time’s growth has also been fueled by a flexible real estate strategy, focusing on leasing properties instead of owning them. This approach has enabled the company to enter attractive urban and coastal markets with premium centers, where the cost of real estate had previously been a deterrent. Consequently, it is expanding the number of its centers using the asset-light model that targets higher income members, higher average annual revenue per center membership, and higher returns on invested capital.
The company believes there are significant whitespace opportunities for premium athletic country clubs across the U.S. and Canada, as well as internationally. Over the last five-plus years, it has expanded its footprint on the East and West coasts and increased its presence in premium, urban and coastal areas such as Boston, Chicago, New York City, Florida, and California. Life Time has progressively opened more and more centers in recent years, including ten in 2022, and it plans to open a further 18 to 20 new centers over the next two years in increasingly affluent areas.
Life Time’s financial profile is distinguished by a long-term track record of consistent revenue growth prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. And now as it emerges from the dramatic impacts of lockdowns and closures, the growth of new centers in attractive markets and a high percentage of predictable recurring membership revenue are providing a compelling backdrop.
Closing out 2022 with $1.82 million in total revenue for the full year, the company exceeded 2021 by more than $504 million for more than 38% growth year-on-year, as strong growth in membership dues and in-center revenues was driven by a new higher pricing strategy coming out of the pandemic, as well as the opening of new centers during the year. That trajectory continued in the first quarter of 2023, with revenue increasing by more than 30% to $510.9 million from $392.3 million in the same period last year.
In addition to achieving continued sequential revenue uplifts, the company’s strategic initiatives are delivering profit and margin improvements, as new clubs with faster ramping, in desirable locations are driving momentum. While adjusted EBITDA saw a significant increase of 195.8%, reaching $120.1 million from $40.6 million in the first quarter of 2022. Net income also improved, reaching $27.5 million, compared to a net loss of $38.0 million in 2022.
Looking ahead, Life Time has provided full-year guidance for 2023 with revenue estimated between $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion in line with consensus expectations and representing year-on-year growth of 23%. Analysts are also expecting earnings per share to continue its upwards trajectory, increasing to $0.42 per share, up from a loss of $0.21 in 2022.
The health, fitness, and wellness industry is particularly competitive and fragmented, with diverse participants offering a range of services and products. Primary competitors include health center operators such as Equinox, The Bay Club Company, ClubCorp, LA Fitness International, and 24-Hour Fitness Worldwide. While small fitness clubs, studios, and boutique fitness offerings include the likes of Anytime Fitness, Snap Fitness, Planet Fitness, Orange Theory, Barre3, and Crunch Fitness, among others. Additionally, non-profit organizations or community centers like the YMCA, as well as physical fitness and recreational facilities established by local governments and also businesses, provide customers with a wealth of options.
Yet for those seeking a comprehensive and high-quality experience, Life Time distinguishes itself with a wide range of services and amenities under one roof, along with an all-inclusive approach that also allows customers to enjoy a holistic wellness experience, that is supported by the latest technology, equipment, and services to stay ahead of emerging trends.
Life Time has successfully positioned itself as a leader in the health, fitness, and wellness industry, offering a comprehensive and luxurious experience to its diverse customer base. With its strong foundation, innovative strategies, and focus on delivering exceptional member experiences, it appears well-prepared to capitalize on the growing demand for premium and specialized fitness offerings.