Life Time ups its game

Photographs by Anthony Carboni.


It’s the Fourth of July weekend, time when America takes a nap, but you’d never know it at Life Time Athletic in Harrison. luxury cars vroom up Westchester Park Drive to the facility, whose parking lot is packed.

Inside, members in swimsuits, tennis outfits, track clothes and yoga wear crisscross the lobby. In the Life Power Studio alone, there isn’t room for an extra mat as some 60 practitioners flow from one asana (or pose) to another under the excellent guidance of Life Power Yoga faculty member Jenna Williams, lengthening and letting go in a space heated to 95 degrees.

A year and a half after it opened — and WAG previewed it in our January 2014 “Super Power” issue — Life Time is a hit, with more than 7,000 members. Senior general manager Susan Setna Mistri describes the membership in Goldilocks terms — not too many, not too few.

“We have as many members as we need,” says the GM, who brings a warm, welcoming spirit to her job. “What we’re seeing is people really using the facility, practically living here. You see them when you come in in the morning, and they’re still here in the evening.”

They’re grandparents, parents and children, she adds, friends and old acquaintances who are happy to connect over a cup of tea in the Life Café or poolside. It is a lifetime experience, one that plays out at 116 clubs in 25 states in 33 major markets, including Toronto. And it hasn’t changed now that Life Time — The Healthy Way of Life Co. has returned to privately held status. (The investor group that bought the company for more than $4 billion includes founder Bahram Akradi, TPG and Leonard Green and Partners.)

“It is business as usual at Life Time,” says Natalie Bushaw, director of public relations, “with an eye toward growth and serving our members.”

As well as the larger community. Life Time has partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project, offering these veterans a complimentary three-month membership on their road to healing, Mistri says. After the quarter is up, they can join at a reduced rate. It’s part of Life Time’s commitment to social causes, she adds, with the company happy to donate space inside the 206,000-square-foot White Plains facility for events.

But you don’t have to be a charity, a wounded vet or even a member to enjoy Life Time. The Spa and Café are open to the public, as is “Yoga Under the Stars.” (Williams will conduct the last session for the season, which is $10 for nonmembers, at 8 p.m. Aug. 20.)

Still, membership — $159 a month for individuals — has its privileges, to quote an old American Express campaign. At the pool, members can enjoy the new Diamond Bistro, whose nutritious, upmarket offerings range from Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings to a salad of spinach, blueberries, red onion and pistachios with balsamic dressing to pecan-crusted salmon. There’s also a weekend grill, more pool deck attendants and extra striped beach towels, the kind that make you feel like you’re in a posh club.

If a refreshing swim, a strenuous match or a fluid yoga class — to name but a few of the offerings — don’t get the kinks out, maybe the new Life Clinic, with its chiropractic services, will.

And for those intimidated by the mere thought of a super-gym, there’s the 90 Day Challenge, which for $30 includes the center’s signature evaluation of your overall fitness, nutritional counseling and all the activities that Life Time has to offer.

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