Just in time for New Year’s resolutions, Dylan Davies, a mom and co-founder and CEO of LIFT Society, a boutique lifting gym in Culver City, Hollywood and Studio City, talked to us about entrepreneurship, a family legacy of fitness and balancing it all with parenting.
Please tell us a little about how and why you decided to open LIFT Society?
Before opening LIFT Society, I was working hourly as a personal trainer and earning commission on sales as an independent contractor. With my first pregnancy, I was incredibly sick and nauseous all day, and my husband/business partner and I decided we needed to have passive income. Using both of our skills, we created our first gym concept in 2012, which evolved into and relaunched as LIFT Society in 2016. While our initial reason for opening a membership-based gym was to have recurring income, building the brand quickly became a passion and identity for both of us.
Your parents owned one of the first Pilates studios in L.A. Was fitness a part of your life growing up?
I was dancing competitively all through high school and staying active in that way. After many injuries and realizing that I wasn’t able to dance long term, my dad made me use a personal trainer for strength and for Pilates, while also becoming Pilates-certified. I didn’t really have an option to not be active, which I hated at the time but now am very grateful for. I didn’t know what I wanted my career path to be, so the Pilates certification was meant to be a fall-back plan. I started teaching Pilates at the age of 17, and at that time, everyone I worked with was in their 30s, transitioning from corporate jobs to pursue careers in fitness teaching. The fitness market in 2005 was very different from today. I really witnessed the boom of boutique fitness to its current state where people can now have a high-earning career in fitness, which was not always the case. To come full circle, my dad now works out at LIFT Society and has trained over 400 hours in my gym.
What are your favorite memories of growing up in L.A.?
Disneyland, beaches, when L.A. didn’t have mosquitoes, the weather.
You’re a mom and a business owner, how do you juggle both roles?
When we started our first gym in 2012, ignorance made us think we would be wildly successful and stress free by the time our kids were young…that is surely not the case. As a business owner, I am constantly changing, adapting, covering and dealing with every little thing that comes up, no matter the day or time. My job has a lot of flexibility, but it also doesn’t end at 5 p.m., but I’m glad my kids can see that. They know how much work it takes to be an entrepreneur and they will have the tools to open their own businesses if they decide that’s what they want to do. As far as balance, I’ve mostly created my work schedule around their school and sports schedules, and we’ve done that since they were little so we don’t miss out on time with them.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Right now my typical day looks like this: Wake up at 6:15, start their breakfast and my coffee. They get up at 6:30, and we’re off to school by 7:30. After drop-off, I either go straight to the gym or head out for an hour-long walk, but I always take an hour for myself from 8-9 a.m. Monday-Friday. Then I’m working from about 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., when I leave to pick them up from school. We come home, have snacks, do homework and then sports practice. We have dinner and shower, and they get to bed by 9 p.m., and me by 10 p.m., then it’s rinse and repeat. Weekends, we relax, see family, do events, etc.
What are the benefits of strength training for moms in particular?
All women can benefit from strength training, but specifically moms because it’s extremely metabolic, meaning strength training raises your resting metabolic rate. Strength training is very effective for building lean tissue, burning fat and the ability to sculpt your body in the way that you want to look. When it comes to building strength, it’s important that moms can lift their kiddos, strollers and everything else without getting injured. Having a baseline of strength keeps us healthy and moving well!
What would you tell your middle school self?
You won’t be working in fashion.
How has parenthood changed you?
The amount of love for your children is something that can only be experienced. Parenthood has made me more generous and patient with all things.
Best life advice you received?
Show up on time. Be consistent. Do more than the bare minimum and you’ll be wildly ahead of most people.
Best parenting advice you received?
Take time and space for yourself, whether it’s a nap, a workout [or] a day with friends. That time is so crucial for mental health and brings you back to your kids feeling refreshed.
When not working, where will we find you?
Doing my own workouts, relaxing at home or at happy hour. It’s all about balance.
Tell us some of your favorite spots in L.A. that you enjoy with your family.
They love the mall, laser tag, Starbucks… tween things. We’ll catch a movie screening at Soho House, and they’re just starting to love fine dining, which I love.