Counting Wins – and Losses

Reflecting on the year past, looking at notable accomplishments and things to celebrate, I see a great many within the Life Time Fitness organization.

Bahram Akradi, founder, chairman, and CEO of Life Time — Healthy Way of Life

We’ve grown substantially in the past 12 months, opening 14 locations across the country, and adding thousands of members and team members while simultaneously setting new industry standards for quality.

This magazine has grown, too, expanding its circulation and influence — and, as Pilar notes in her letter on page 12, bringing home more awards than ever before. The year 2006 was good to our whole team, and for that I am deeply grateful.

One of the most important programs we initiated in ’06 — and one that practically insists on celebration — is T.E.A.M. Weight Loss (lifetimefitness.com/team). The T.E.A.M. acronym stands for Training, Education, Accountability and Motivation. And in its very first year, that’s precisely what this innovative, small-group weight-loss program delivered to more than 3,500 people.

From the beginning, this was a program that was 100 percent designed to help our members succeed — and to succeed in an area where, historically, many have struggled. I wanted to see us build a program that was doable and that integrated a variety of proven, helpful elements, including group support, nutrition, strategic fitness training, workout accountability and fun.

I never had any doubt that the program we designed would be a huge hit and that it would deliver terrific results. But even I was blown away by its first-year outcomes and impacts.

Collectively, working in teams during 12-week cycles with highly qualified fitness and nutrition coaches, T.E.A.M. Weight Loss participants lost more than 55,000 pounds — all by making practical, sustainable changes to their fitness and eating habits. More importantly, they gained the wisdom and inspiration they needed to shift their lives in healthier directions, to become truly motivated and enthusiastic about their own potential, and to see how successful they could be in achieving their own goals. All without expensive gimmicks and hype. Without dangerous yo-yo diets or disappointing “quick-fix” solutions.

In the end, fully 80 percent of T.E.A.M. participants achieved the weight-loss goals they set for themselves at the beginning of the program. Anyone familiar with the world of weight loss knows that that rate of success is truly extraordinary. But while the numbers tell an impressive story, they can’t begin to express the amazing, deeply personal transformations of individuals who actually went through the program.

To watch so many folks go from skeptical and discouraged to elated and confident, to see them shed happy tears about their own accomplishments and the parallel victories of their teammates, to see them energized to transform their lives in healthy, sustainable ways — well, suffice it to say, it’s one of the most satisfying expressions of success I’ve witnessed in years.

As professional trainer Bob Harper (featured on our cover) points out on page 8, while the dramatic victories associated with end results tend to get most of the attention in our media and our society, it’s really the smaller wins — the incremental, daily changes and decisions — that are most responsible for our biggest successes. And I think it’s often in witnessing other people making the changes necessary to achieve their goals that we can uncover our own most powerful sources of potential and motivation.

I’ve been profoundly inspired by what our T.E.A.M. Weight Loss participants — and all of our members and team members — have accomplished this year. I’m excited by what the coming year holds.

I hope you’ll spend some time with this issue of Experience Life and that you’ll be moved to take stock of some of your own important successes over the past 12 months. Take stock of your challenges, too. Reach out for the support you need to create meaningful changes in the areas where you’ve had difficulties in the past. And remember, we’ll be here to cheer you on — every step of the way!

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