Steven Schaaf & Bill Jack – Tenacity Fitness


Like many, we too were once the young, restless, and fast-metabolism athletes– trapped in the present of assuming it would last forever. However, High School ends and you find out you’re not quite Division I, II, or III material. True to rite of passage: the twenty-four-hour news cycle drowns out your sports applications, HGTV becomes interesting, and adulthood begins to weigh in. The continuum treadmill of finding yourself; progressing in a career; starting relationships; ending toxic relationships; parenthood; first home purchase, and then boom…you’re thirty pounds over your recommended weight. It isn’t initially noticeable because your friends are feasting on guacamole, cheese platters and nitrogen infused beer with you. Look at you, a once all-county athlete has now been reduced to counting steps on a Fitbit. You’ve even forwarded health articles to your friends titled “Staying Fit while sitting at your Desk”.

Sooner or later, we all have an epiphany moment and realize “we need to get in shape”. Like many, on January 1st we too bought gym memberships and proclaimed a “new year / new me” Tweet. It’s a tradition; you break out the yoga pants or old sweats, and search for a gym in your neighborhood. Literally, our adult laziness will only allow our able bodies to Google gyms near me. How we found Tenacity Fitness is a little different. We watched people run past our office windows for almost six months before deciding to walk in and check it out. At that time, Tenacity Fitness was located in an office campus tucked behind a main road where 90% of its lessee’s were physicians. We thought it was a ridiculous concept until Chuck walked around the complex and opened their door.

I was greeted by Bill Jack, a quiet and reserved gentleman but brain child for fitness. He walked me around the almost 1,200sqft room. Immediate scan displayed a shower next to the squat rack, loud treadmills, and a few dumbbells. At the end of the tour was a room with two hydro-rowers, bumper plates, two bars, a few kettle bells, and a pull-up rig. Also in that room was Steven Schaff: a 6’5 care-bear coaching and motivating, seemingly a room full of unimposing soccer parents. That one room sold me. I purchased a membership and began to settle in as a regular. Fast forward six years; and you now have Steve & Bill as our Millennials in Action.

That once-upon-a-time fitness loft is now an eight-thousand square foot training center. Those unimposing soccer parents unknowingly have budded into athletes, and their children are far-far away in college, some even graduating. Now entering Tenacity I observe collegiate squat racks, concept rowers, ski-ergs, yoke racks, 25ft ropes draping from the ceiling, turf flooring and customized dead-lift platforms. Obviously, these two Millennials have been busy and should be very proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish in such a short time period—needless to say reading their opinions can be of great benefit, if you have similar aspirations. If it’s one thing we know to be certain, business is hard and people-businesses are even harder! Albeit inevitable, businesses evolve and there is always heartache along the journey. Nevertheless, consumers need consistency and business school will coin this as customer experience. Tenacity’s customer experience is belonging. No matter your experience or preconceived notions, you inhale the welcoming spirit. To this day, staff and members alike are still smiling, saying hello / goodnight, and genuinely caring for one another. It’s become everyone’s Cheers: minus the cigs, beer, 80’s attire, and gloomy lighting. However, if you look just close enough—you’ll see glimpses of Sam, Carla, Norm, Frasier, and Rebecca…they’re just camouflaged in Coach tee-shirts.

How do you feel to be part of the Millennial Generation?

Steve: “I feel fine about it It definitely gets a stigma, of which some may be true. There are a lot of millennials that are making huge changes in our world both socially and economically. Learning and doing things differently from our “elders” is the major reason these changes are happening.”

Bill:“I feel as though the millennial generation gets a bad rap. Not all millennials are lazy and/or don’t want to own anything etc. Although I may be an exception to the rule I purchased my first home at 24, I own two businesses, and I am anything but lazy when it comes to hard work.”

Why did you choose your profession?

Bill: “During a 4 month layoff from my “safe” government job in my early 20’s. I decided to give some real thought to what I wanted to do for a living. I always had a love of physique sports and enjoyed giving friends workout advice so I decided to look into doing it professionally. I took a job behind the front desk at a gym and in less than a year was running the place. I think finding your niche makes “work” very different. Although I have put in some long hours building this business I feel like I haven’t really “worked” in years.”

Steve:“I chose my profession from a place of extreme personal experiences. I was very unhappy and insecure about my body growing up and so when I got into the gym and started making changes my world changed. I loved having the power to enforce change not only to my body but my life. I knew I wanted to give that same feeling to others.”

What separates you from the crowd?

Steve:“I think the personal touch is our major differentiator. We don’t give out member numbers. We make an effort to know everyone’s name and to create a personal connection with them. Tenacity is a home away from home. That has always been the goal.”

Bill: “Passion. I have this innate need to be the very best at whatever I do. Anything I have ever taken on I do 1000%.”

What are some of your common habits or struggles around money?

Bill: “Always set aside 10% of every check that comes in. Start saving NOW if not sooner.”

Steve:“I’m a huge planner when it comes to money. I love creating financial forecasts for myself and my business.”

"The baby boomer idea of getting hired with a company, working there for 40 years, and retiring to a pension no longer exists. The real risk is working for someone who can fire you at any moment. When you make your own money you are the last person to get fired. Find what you are over the top passionate about and work your ass off to be great at it. Do whatever you have to in order to find your life’s mission and pursue it like your life depends on it."

“Do whatever you have to in order to find your life’s mission and pursue it like your life depends on it.”