We had the good fortune of connecting with David and Dylan Schenk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David and Dylan, what is the most important factor behind your success?
As a married couple who own and operate LIFT Society, the most important factor behind our success has been teamwork. Over the years the demands of owning a business (especially during Covid) have forced us to work together in ways that utilize both of our unique skill sets. These include skills like: management, leadership development, sales, marketing, programming workouts and creating our overarching philosophy on fitness and defining our role within the fitness industry. We learned early on that neither of us have all of the necessary skills in order to run our business successfully. We had to be a team. However, we would be lying if we said that it’s always been easy to work with each other. We have had more than our fair share of fights and disagreements over the years, throw in a couple kids into the mix and it has been overwhelming at times. But every conflict has made us stronger and has deepened our resolve as business owners and as a married couple to maximize our abilities together. For anyone looking to start a business I would highly recommend that you spend as much time thinking about the type of team you would need to build in order to be successful as you do about the kind of product you are going to sell. This will be invaluable to you. Find people who offer you a complimentary skill set, a comfortability with risk and an ability to work with you in the good times and in the bad times. And if you’re really lucky then maybe you can find a teammate thats as cute as mine and she’ll marry you.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
One of the main things that sets LIFT Society apart from other fitness business is not so much what we do but what we don’t do. Since the very beginning we have refused to get sucked into all the latest trends that come and go within the fitness industry. These trends are rarely backed by science, often get people injured and don’t help people to accomplish their goals. AT LIFT Society we have always stuck with the classic lifts. These lifts include exercises like the barbell back squat, lunges, deadlifts, bench press, military press and bent over rows. These lifts and all their variations have proven themselves to be successful when it comes to burning fat, building muscle and getting people healthier and stronger for not just a select few but everyone. This includes both women and men, young and old, beginner and advanced. This is why the classic lifts have been around since the beginning of the fitness industry and will continue to be around long after we are all gone. However, one of our proudest achievements at LIFT Society was when we figured out how to teach these classic lifts within a group class environment. This wasn’t easy. We had to make a paradigm shift from thinking of ourselves as personal trainers or group fitness instructors to thinking of ourselves as educators. The majority of our clients come to LIFT Society not only for the accountability of our classes but because they actually want to learn how to lift weights or improve upon what they already know. Stop into any one of our classes and you will find someone who is brand new and is struggling to squat with an empty barbell on their back right next to someone squatting over three hundred pounds and they both feel welcome and accepted at LIFT Society. They both will walk away from the class feeling like they pushed themselves, made improvements and will be looking forward to the next class because you can never completely master these classic lifts. We can always make improvements and get better. And that’s the journey that keeps us and our clients coming back.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would say that the best places to take friends visiting LA would probably be my living room or my dining room. We have been locked down for 8 months, there are not a lot of good options left! The whole city has been permanently changed because of Covid 19. However, I am confident that the allure of the sunshine, ocean and the economic opportunities that usually exist in LA will bring things back to some kind of normal in the not so distant future. In the meantime most of us Angelenos have learned how to enjoy more casual gatherings at each other’s homes while listening to police helicopters fly overhead as we engage in polite small talk about our elected officials while socially distancing and wearing masks of course.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As business owners we have had so many people help us out that it would be impossible to mention all of them. This not only includes all of our family and friends but so many other people and experiences that have shaped us into the people we are today. However, the one person that stands out among everyone else was the person that fired us when we needed money the most. Let me explain… In 2010 we were working for a very successful chiropractic office here in Los Angeles that ran physical therapy, Pilates and personal training programs in addition to the traditional chiropractic services that are offered. I was the head trainer and Dylan was doing all the marketing and sales for the office and she was really good at her job. She made him a lot of money getting doctors to refer their patients for his services. Everything was going great until we got pregnant. After Dylan became pregnant she experienced horrible morning sickness and it started to impact her ability to go to work. When she told our boss that she was pregnant and that she would have to modify her hours because of how she felt he became visibly upset and asked “how could you do this to me?” And then went on to say that, “Dave needs to find somewhere else to work.” As you can imagine, we were completely shocked and devastated. Even though we knew his actions were wrong we were independent contractors at the time and we didn’t realize how to stand up for ourselves. We do now. However, what his actions showed us was that we couldn’t trust anyone to take care of us. We realized right then and there that we needed to be in control of our own destiny if we wanted to be successful. Therefore, we bought some personal training equipment and immediately started training clients out of our one bedroom apartment in Beverly Hills. Three months later we opened up our first business called CrossTrainLA, which evolved into what is now LIFT Society today. Looking back, we are both extremely thankful for our boss’ actions. He gave us the push we needed to become the entrepreneurs we are today.