Amy Palumbo-LeClaire – Courtesy of Yankee Xpress

Impact Fitness on Washington Street in Auburn is about to open its doors to the public, but not before ensuring that the most important aspect of their business will be properly taken care of—its members.

The fitness world has exploded with new gyms in the last decade, yet few are operated with a US Army veteran’s passion to serve the public, along with a woman whose knowledge of the human body and its muscular system is as impressive as her biceps. Andrew Lawton’s vast experience in the fitness industry, and Vikki Ofria’s scientific expertise make the pair an unrivaled match.

Andrew Lawton is all smiles in preparation for the Impact Fitness Grand Opening [Photo Amy Leclaire- Yankee XPress]

The collaborative project began with a vision in 2016, one that’s about to culminate with a Grand Opening on Saturday, September 29. The Impact team believes in respecting people, first and foremost, and has a passion for keeping individuals feeling better about themselves and their abilities, regardless of physical impairments or individual differences.

“Everyone needs something and everyone comes to the gym to get out of the house and make progress,” he said. “We believe that if you treat people right they will come back. A gym should earn the respect of their patrons’ loyalty every day. You can still have an upscale, expensive club and be successful,” he said. “We wanted to make this affordable for everyone.”

The soldier’s rigor in the (overlapping) fitness and army worlds, along with his militant desire to do things right, have led him to an opportunity he describes as “bringing to life” all that he’s worked so hard for. Impact Fitness, he says, is about making an impact on someone else’s life.

A Hopkington High School athlete (wrestling and football), Lawton participated in two army tours, one in Iraq (2007) and one in Afghanistan (2010) and has assumed several gym positions during various stages of his life, which have included day care attendant, front desk, morning manager, sales rep., sales director, personal trainer, and general manager at World’s and Gold’s Gym.

Lawton’s staff is as polished as the new gym equipment (Nautilus, Atlantis, Legend, Life Fitness and Hammer Strength) and, during a lengthy interview process, seemed to convey to him an unparalleled desire to “want” to work at Impact Fitness, in addition to holding expert certification. His managerial approach, more kind than authoritative, complements that of Owner Vikki Ofria, who has rubbed shoulders with fitness celebrities such as Billy Blanks (founder of Taebo) and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is—at least when it comes to results.

“It’s worth it to be healthy,” said Ofria. “We have something for everybody. Results of exercise cannot be diminished by sharing knowledge… exercise results vary from person to person. What worked for me at the age of twenty no longer works at the age of thirty. I don’t believe in hoarding exercise. Every piece of equipment is positioned so that every member feels comfortable working out and receives the help they need.”

Incidentally Impact Fitness stocks a full accessibility line of equipment positioned in a non-invasive fashion so that impaired individuals are able to work out with the same benefits as their fitness neighbors. Furthermore, phone activated bar codes allow members to enjoy an instructional fitness lesson, should they prefer not to ask about use of a particular machine.

Impact Fitness is the first gym in the nation to house a virtual spin classroom in a full-sized facility – branded by Les Mills Immersive – which allows spinners to enjoy a full visual ride through fascinating terrains while biking.

Impact Fitness values Group Fitness and holds 45 expert classes per week, including muscle, kickboxing, yoga, piyo, zumba, and boot camp. For functional “cross fit” individuals, they have a number of rooms stocked with medicine balls, special turf, Life Synergy stations, push sleds, kettle bells, and certified personal trainers to assist members.

As if that’s not enough, Impact Fitness has a juice bar, interactive child care room (open from 8 a.m .– 8 p.m. M – F and 7 a.m. -3 p.m. on weekends) and a mono lift for competitive weightlifters.

In summary, Impact Fitness, an “East Coast Mecca of fitness” has every moving angle covered. “We started this project in 2016 with a vision to bring service back to the members and bring an amazing gym to the public,” said Lawton. “People weren’t being greeted enough. We saw things like dirty clubs, broken machines, and things that didn’t make sense. Regardless of fitness goals, we all deserve the same opportunity to train at a facility. This was a very expensive project but we wanted every member to have lights, a beautiful atmosphere, and a super energetic staff. Our staff is here to give you that service. They are super excited to begin. We aren’t just employees here. We are a giant family.”

Impact Fitness boasts a base membership rate of $29.00 per month, exempt of a contract or fees. They are slated to begin serving the public on September 29.
Phone 774-321-6555 or visit