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

Just as this issue of Experience Life was getting set to go to press, I was getting ready to take the weekly two-hour group-cycling classes I teach out of the studio and into the great outdoors for our first road rides of the year. This is one of my favorite seasonal transitions. There’s something so satisfying about building up strength and endurance during those indoor classes all winter long and then taking our hard-earned fitness outside for a test spin in the real world.

Taking in the natural scenery is terrific, and feeling the breeze and sunshine on our skin is a real pleasure, but the very best part of all is watching our cycling students act a little like kids getting released from class on the last day of school.

You can just feel the energy levels soaring.

Most of these folks have been cooped up inside all winter long. Some haven’t been out on a road bike for years. And others are old-hat cyclists who are just happy to be out with their friends enjoying a perfect early-summer day with others who love a good ride as much as they do.

I get the biggest boost of all, though, from watching the people who joined our indoor cycling class in the fall — many of them out of condition and short on confidence — who have rapidly gotten into the best shape of their lives. Suddenly free from the studio, these guys and gals get out on the road and pedal their hearts out, big grins spreading across their faces as they realize how much stronger they’ve gotten over the winter, and how much fun it is to put their newfound sinew and endurance to work in the great wide open.

Who knew all that time in the studio would translate into real, live cycling capacity? And who knew these guys would become such great riders so quickly? Well, after more than 10 years of witnessing these transformations, I knew. But that doesn’t make the transitions themselves any less extraordinary or rewarding.

To me, this is what putting in work at a fitness center is all about — building functional skills, strength and confidence you can enjoy in your life outside the club. And judging by the popularity of our swim, run, bike and triathlon clubs, I’m not alone in my thinking. Outdoor runs and rides are always among the most enthusiastically received activities offered through our clubs across the country, and this time of year, it’s not unusual to find a variety of group-fitness classes moving outdoors, too.

Speaking of opportunities for outdoor activities, one of the things I’m most excited about at Life Time Fitness right now is our new initiative. It’s an online-community system that empowers our members to join various interest groups and to find out what kinds of related activities — including outdoor rides, classes, social events and other experiences — are going on at clubs near them. also helps people connect with other members who share their interests.

Best of all, is allowing us to get accurate, updated activity and schedule information to members when and where they need it, without printing up tens of thousands of sheets of paper each week. That’s helping us save our members a lot of time and trouble, while also saving a lot of trees. Which reminds me: The paper-free digital edition of Experience Life is also now available, both through and through

So if you’re a Life Time Fitness member and haven’t already logged into, I hope you will. And whether or not you’re a Life Time Fitness member, I hope you’ll enjoy this issue of Experience Life, and let it inspire you to enjoy some time in the great outdoors.

There’s no better time of year to unplug from your gadgets for a while, to take one or more of your weekly workouts outside, or to simply steal some extra moments in nature.

However you choose to spend this glorious month, I hope it includes plenty of fresh air and sunshine — and the satisfaction that comes from moving (whether walking, running, paddling or cycling) under your own steam.

Thoughts to share?

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