A constant stream of customers walked in and out of the three-story building, dressed in tight tank tops, yoga pants and shorts.
The street-level parking lot was filled with Range Rovers, Mercedes, Jaguars and Toyotas, and the adjacent parking garage was half-full.
As busy as Life Time Fitness looked, it appeared as if membership is free, instead of the $119 per person, per month admission.
The company's first day of operation Friday in Las Vegas was bustling. Some people were lined up at member services to have their photos taken, while others, who took advantage of the five-month-long presales, breezed through the reception desk.
For Dan Saposhnik, opening day is a chance to start over.
Saposhnik was a member of the nearby 24 Hour Fitness Agassi Super Sport at 2090 Village Center Circle, but he never went. He's hoping to change that habit through Life Time, which he described as more family-friendly than other area gyms.
Saposhnik said cost didn't factor into his decision to join; he and his wife think Life Time will be worth every penny.
His wife, Laurie, an avid spin-class attendee, went to a 5:30 a.m. class Friday. Saposhnik came around 9:30 a.m. to work out, and would bring their son Alex back around noon when he got out of school.
Like the Saposhniks, Mike and Julie Eager joined to take advantage of the 200,000-square-foot club. However, Mike said the prices made him think twice about becoming a member. The couple is paying $250 each month for family admission.
"The prices are a little steep," he said.
Julie, though, was undeterred. She thinks the value more than makes up for the cost.
"I think it's worth it for what you get," Julie said.
As active people, Julie said she thinks they'll make good use of Life Time's facilities, which include a full-service spa and salon, cafe, yoga and pilates studios, cycling and two pools. Mike, though, said they'll see how much they use the center and whether it's worth the cost in a few months. Life Time Fitness offers month-to-month membership, so clients can cancel at any time.
Originally from Kansas, the Eagers were familiar with the Life Time brand, but this is their first time joining.
Life Time Fitness, which is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol LTM, operates 92 centers in 26 major U.S. markets. The Summerlin location has "several thousand" members already, estimated Jason Thunstrom, vice president of corporate communications.
In addition to Life Time Fitness, two other gyms have planned to capitalize on the Summerlin market.
The Power Plant recently opened a 42,000-square-foot gym at 7980 W. Sahara Ave. In September, DavidBartonGym is scheduled to open a 30,000-square-foot space in Tivoli Village.
Boon Morgan, owner of Get Fit and Trim, worked for 24 Hour Fitness as a general manager for eight years. He said that while being active is important, having a gym membership is not.
"Is exercise important? Absolutely," Morgan said. "Do you have to go to a gym? No."
Working out at a park, he said, can be just as effective as going to a fitness center.
Branden Collingsworth, a certified strength and conditioning coach, agreed with Morgan.
"A gym is good for certain demographics who need structure," Collingsworth said. "But you can get in great shape with just your body weight."
Collingsworth runs a fitness camp called Camp Fit Force that costs $6 per session. He also is a personal trainer whose services cost $85 per hour.
"Not everybody can afford a trainer or a gym," he said.
Bahram Akradi, Life Time Fitness' chairman, president, CEO and founder, said entering a new market is always challenging for his company because he wants to differentiate his brand.
"Everybody will ultimately ask, 'Why are you coming into a market when there are so many other fitness centers?' " Akradi said. "This is not a fitness center."
His business model focuses on creating member-interest groups. For instance, Akradi wants to attract local basketball players, the most avid 20 percent in particular. He described them as early adapters who want the best available facility, training and league schedule.
"Each interest group is created as if that's the only thing we ever did," Akradi said.
Life Time Fitness in Summerlin operates with about 300 full- and part-time employees.
Akradi would not disclose the cost to open the location at 10721 W. Charleston Blvd., but said it was "tens of millions of dollars."
The company's year-end revenue for 2010 was $912.8 million. Nationwide, the company employs about 20,000 people.
Contact reporter Laura Emerson at email@example.com or 702-380-4588.