A Latin beat can be heard just outside the door to Lamberts Fitness Center (LFC), the music pumping louder in the stairwell. The aerobic studio upstairs is filled with women following owner April Nugent’s lead, dancing, jumping and whooping when the mood strikes. Working as a single unit during a Saturday morning Zumba class, the members exude an energy contagious enough to make you forget about that morning coffee you thought you needed.
Celebrating its first anniversary with Nugent as owner, the center offers women of all ages a local fitness facility with training equipment, group classes, specialty classes, spa and a breath of fresh air for many of its members.
“What I really like about the gym is that some people go to the gym and just go home, but we’re really about community and being a community of women,” says Priscilla Rorie, a member of Lamberts for almost three years. “It’s not only about working out but about feeling good about yourself and feeling good with a group of women, so it’s empowering.”
After purchasing the gym from its previous owner, Nugent received constant offers to help in every aspect of facility maintenance including working the front desk, washing the towels and even cleaning the bathroom.
“The women here make this gym, they absolutely make this gym,” Nugent says of her members, almost every single one of whom she is on a first-name basis. Her open-door policy and numerous renovations, big and small, have given the LFC a different feel and look from previous years.
“What stands out the most since April’s taken over [is that] she’s put the TLC back into LFC,” says Maura Jerub, a five-year member. “It’s much more personal, people know each other by a first-name basis. She’s added a whole bunch of different personal touches to the place, which really does give it that community feel as opposed to a corporate gym where it feels more cold and not as welcoming.”
“I think that that just creates a nice environment for people to feel healthy and good about themselves, which is more of the attitude that I think people appreciate here,” Jerub adds. The sense of community and welcoming atmosphere both power member loyalty in an economy where people’s New Year resolutions may not include a new gym membership.
Unlike other gyms, the number of classes in which one can participate is unlimited with the exception of specialty classes such as boxing and kids’ ZumbAtomic that are available to members at a discounted rate. On weekdays, doors open at 5:30 a.m. for early birds getting their morning exercise before heading to work. Gwendoliae Williams-Bentick of Dorchester praises the LFC’s accommodating hours.
“It’s really the time that you have. You can always drop into the gym. It’s convenient for every working woman,” says Williams-Bentick.
In addition to access to classes, the new Goode Spa and fitness center, members have benefits such as daycare and a 10 percent discount at Lamberts Rainbow Fruit. Nugent is happy to fill out paperwork for members whose health insurance policies offer gym membership reimbursement.
An instructor at the center for three years before becoming the owner, Nugent introduced Zumba, which caught like wildfire. The previous owner saw enrollment skyrocket. Because of the class’s popularity and demand, Nugent, who has been certified in Pilates, spin, yoga and more in her 13 years in the health and fitness industry, continues to train in Zumba to keep her classes up-to-date with new moves and to keep the strong dynamic going.
“The classes have energy! People are hootin’ and hollerin’ and having fun and they just let loose,” she says.
Indeed, the classes are lively but the members are spirited, too, blending together no matter each one’s experience in fitness or training. Karen Hutchinson of Dorchester was a runner for 30 years before she joined two years ago.
“I used to be happy that I ran. [I would do] four miles, woo! Way to go. I’d be psyched it was over but I didn’t necessarily look forward to doing it,” Hutchinson said. “Here, I can’t wait to come. It’s in my day. I can’t wait to go because it’s such a blast.”
LFC marks one-year on Wednesday, February 2nd with an open house, Zumba class, gold party, healthy refreshments and more. For more information, visit www.lambertsfitness.com.