Lansdowne Owners of BlackBench Fit Aim to Motivate

The women’s fitness studio in Ashburn provides a specialized training program that just may end up on your caller ID.

Two Lansdowne residents who co-own BlackBench Fit in Ashburn met by chance and formed a bond that has resulted in a fitness program they believe Loudoun residents can’t get anywhere else.

Lisa Allen’s and Trish Drennan’s program may appeal greatly to those who sometimes need a little nudge; if you don’t show up, expect a call.

The two women met by chance after a mutual acquaintance passed away and quickly became friends. Soon, they began running together. Drennan had 150 people working for her in the corporate world, while Allen had recently started a consulting business. Both were looking for something more.

“We’re sort of fitness buffs, but it wasn’t our background,” Allen explained. Yet getting fit was how they spent much of their time together. Drennan had done some triathlon training and Allen even challenged her to run a marathon for her 40th birthday.

But even after a friend asked them to help out with a boot-camp program, they had not formed the idea of opening a fitness business. The person who started the camp dropped out and when the fall came, camp participants wanted to continue training. The notion of providing indoor training had not previously occurred to the women.

They found space to operate classes during cold weather at Studio Bleu temporarily and stored their equipment in a trailer. Class sizes were limited and a waiting list formed.

Now, they co-own BlackBench Fit, opening a fitness studio at 21720 Red Rum Drive, Suite 167, in Ashburn in November.

Over time the women have developed their own program, which focuses on three key words: Sweat, nourish and commit.

“The industry is constantly trying to gimmick people,” Drennan said. “We want to dispel all of those gimmicky things.”

For starters, Drennan said the fitness and diet industries often appear at odds, when both offer important aspects to proper training. Allen added that they try to “buck the trend to go on fad diets and pep pills.”

“We believe you have to have a killer workout,” Allen explained. “That’s the ‘sweat’ part. The workouts should never get easy.”

For nutrition, BlackBench hired its own nutritionist to help create a program and work with the fitness trainers.

“A lot of people think they come and do a workout and just drop pounds,” Allen said.

As for the commit part, that’s where members may receive a call. While the commitment always comes down to the individual, BlackBench trainers serve as motivators, of a sort.

“You can’t just drop in on one of our classes,” Allen said, adding that BlackBench asks for at least an eight-week commitment, with anywhere from two to five classes per week.

“We’re not a gym,” Drennan said, explaining that BlackBench wants all of its members to participate. “If you don’t come, we call you, we text you, we email you.”

While some programs put all of the motivation on the individual, Drennan and Allen believe that’s part of what they offer.

“They want to be motivated,” she explains of people who talk about getting fit, but don’t follow through. “Life gets in the way.”

Some members have their assistants program their workouts into their official calendars.

Classes range from strength training to combat training to cardio to yoga, practiced through high-intensity interval training.

One class called Fusion 75 is currently filled, while The Brick gets its name because the focus on bike and treadmill intervals makes participants’ legs feel like bricks,” Allen explained.

A name was key for the business and the pair had a hard time zeroing in on something that stood for what they do. Among their initial purchases when they had eight members and no studio were eight black training benches.

“We couldn’t find a name that meant what we do,” Drennan said, as the two gazed over the benches one day. “They get used more than any other thing.”

And the name stuck –BlackBench Fit. The fit part “represents whole health,” Allen said.

Interested in joining, taking a tour of the studio or just learning more? Check out the BlackBench Fit website or call 571-291-9007.


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