In 1978, one year before Iranian militants would storm the US Embassy, 17-year-old Bahram Akradi immigrated to the US, joining his brother in Colorado. Working his way through college, Akradi found a job at a health club, cleaning and doing pool maintenance. Soon, however, his workload increased. He asked to be given a membership as partial payment for his work. Within a year, he was the top salesperson and within 3 years, he became a partner with Nautilus.
By 1986, Akradi decided to create his own health club. He knew every part of the business and believed that he could provide better customer service, and offer services that everyone in the family would enjoy, including bright, clean swimming pools and a variety of classes.
Lifetime Fitness was founded in 1992, with the first club was located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
In 1994, a second club opened in Egan, MN. A year later, another location opened in Woodbury, MN.
In 2000, the chain entered the Chicago market and was operating 21 health clubs.
Most clubs are located in fringe, suburban areas where clients don’t have easy access to a gym, or in medium to large metro areas so clients can visit a gym on their lunch hour or before and after work.
In 2004, the company went public, however, in 2015, the company was acquired by two equity firms, TPG Capital and Leonard Green and Partners as part of a leveraged buyout.
In early 2017 the company responded to complaints about Fox News being shown on televisions throughout the gym by blocking all news channels at all locations.
Today, Lifetime Fitness operates 105 health clubs in 8 states: Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Arizona, Indiana and Virginia. Company headquarters remain in Chanhassen, Minnesota.