Subject: Lisa Brisse

Company: State of the Heart Fitness (co-founded by Brisse and Nora Wallace Walsh), based out of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Santa Monica, California

Types of Clientele. “We serve a diverse group of clients ranging from children to the elderly, from cancer patients to ‘hard core’ LA executives, and everyone in between,” says Brisse. “Our wellness programs address people at all stages of life, regardless of their age, fitness level or needs.”

Serving the Community and Hotel Guests. Hotel guests and the general public can use the facility, but currently most of our clientele is local. The hotel gets a certain percentage of what the business makes every month.

Using the Beach Environment. “Because the business is located on the beach, we use the beauty of our outside environment as much as possible,” says Brisse. “Not only do we offer an energizing Beach Training class in the early mornings, but sometimes, if clients have had an extremely stressful day, we take them to the waterfront for a silent walking meditation.”

Offering Innovative Programs. In addition to personal training and classes, the company runs a variety of group and individual programs, says Brisse. Sample programs include Back to Basics, a 4-week lifestyle change program; Fitness by Phone® coaching, for those who want to work out independently yet prefer the accountability and motivation of weekly “check-in” calls; and a Way to Wellness residential program, for those looking for a healthy destination vacation.

Sharing Business Responsibilities. How do Brisse and business partner Wallace Walsh share responsibilities? “Our responsibilities have evolved naturally over the years, based on our talents and passions,” says Brisse. “Both of us have one-on-one training duties and teach exercise classes. I am the visionary of the business, while she [focuses on] the ‘nuts and bolts,’ which is a good balance. Nora handles accounting, billing and finances and is the ‘networking’ queen when it comes to getting us out in the community. I, on the other hand, am more of the creative developer and writer. I develop a lot of our programming as well as enhance what we already have. I not only write articles for our newsletter, but I also wrote the majority of our Way to Wellness Journal, which we created to accompany the Back to Basics program.”

Why Clients Like Training With State of the Heart Fitness. Clients enjoy the fact that the facility “is a quaint little gym, not the typical superficial ‘LA workout scene,’” says Brisse. “I believe our facility offers clients a very safe, nonintimidating environment. They also like our training because we make it fun and positive. We’re about everyday living and about realistically integrating healthy habits into our lives. We focus a lot on just being in the moment, instead of weighing ourselves down by stress and undue worry.”

Why Her Work Inspires Her. Brisse loves to see people grow into who they truly are. “I use my work as a medium not only to help others improve their physical beings, but to assist them in truly exploring their heart on all levels—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Helping people find more joy and laughter in their everyday lives is very inspiring to me!”

Her Biggest Challenge. Brisse often finds herself wanting to do more to help clients. “Then I have to remind myself that it is not my job to ‘rescue’ people from their struggles—that is impossible,” she says. “Rather, it is my job to create that safe, nonjudgmental place for them, as well as offer the guidance that allows them to find their own sense of empowerment, energy and inspiration!”