I had a feeling I was going to like Lisa St. Denis, owner PE Fitness Studio, even before we met. Communicating with her via email to set up a time for my personal training session, I could tell she was incredibly passionate about her work. When I arrived at her corner studio in Pawtucket’s Hope Artiste Village, she met me at the door of the old mill facility. It didn’t register that it we were at the very top of a large hill until she told me that part of my warm-up was to jog up and down it twice. Then she said we would be utilizing the hill a few more times during our hour together.
Instead of this making me re-think my first impression of her, though, it only made me like her more. You don’t go to a one-on-one personal training session with the intention of phoning it in, and since I had come prepared to work, I was psyched to see what else Lisa had in store for me.
Lisa opened PE Fitness Studio in April. In addition to personal training, she offers small group classes including TRX suspension training, spinning, Zumba, boot camp and ballet toning. A Providence College alum, Lisa has been part of the health and fitness industry for years as an athlete, endurance coach and trainer. While working under the guidance of local fitness leaders after graduating from college, she knew she wanted to open her own studio one day. When the space became available at Hope Artiste, everything fell into place.
After getting to know my fitness background a bit more (we’re both into running and triathlons), Lisa and I got to work. I say “we” because she was right there with me throughout the whole session, making sure my form was correct during TRX exercises, encouraging me to push through the final seconds of plank intervals and showing me how to modify my pushups to have proper form even when my muscles were fatigued. She didn’t run up and down the hill with me, but at least that allowed me to take a little rest at the bottom to catch my breath. (Shh, don’t tell.) As a trainer, Lisa was the perfect combination of tough, effective and motivating. I woke up the next day feeling muscles in places I forgot I had – and a strong desire to go back for more.