EAST LIVERPOOL-Team Impact, located in the city's East End, is the training home to some of the Ohio Valley's fiercest MMA fighters.
Championship belts belonging to hometown fighters Joey Holt and Josh Stansbury adorn the walls. However, you won't find any big egos or bad attitudes there. What you will find is a supportive and positive atmosphere where all kinds of people come together for fitness and fun.
The story of how Team Impact came to be is, in many ways, one of cooperation.
Members of Team Impact’s gym take part in the power fitness program as personal trainer and developer of the program, Tom Beagle (left), looks on. (Photo by Devin Bezeredi)
In 2009, Harry and Deb Stewart opened Team Impact in a different location before moving it to its present East End site, which is part of a number of buildings owned by Mike Zelenak. Since moving, the couple put in countless hours and dollars buying equipment and making the location into a suitable gym. Harry, a metal fabricator by trade, even built the gym's MMA octagon cage himself.
However, Harry's job had him traveling out of town often leaving no one to manage the gym's day-to-day operation. So, to oversee the daily operation of the gym, he brought onboard personal trainer Tom Beagle.
Beagle, who has two decades of experience as a personal trainer, was attracted to Team Impact because it presented a unique opportunity to create a non-intimidating and straightforward gym environment.
"The kind of training we do here is get in and get out. And it's all about getting fit," he said. "People come here for that purpose, so there's not a lot of goofing off."
Beagle noted there are no mirrors in the gym, which he thinks combats the narcissism and loitering sometimes found in gyms.
"It's a feel good atmosphere," he said. "I couldn't have asked to walk into a better situation."
Team Impact caters to all types of athletes, and prides itself on offering a diverse range of fitness options: From sparring in the ring to Zumba. Of course, Team Impact also offers many of the traditional equipment one would expect to find in a gym: Weight benches, squat racks, elliptical and all the other standard exercise machines.
However, Beagle also likes to use some unconventional methods and tools to whip his clients into shape. Flipping heavy tractor tires, swinging sledge hammers and carrying large containers filled with water are just some of the less conventional ways members of Team Impact get their exercise.
"They get to do a little bit of everything," said Beagle.
Before the popularity of home workout DVDs, Beagle developed his own intense cardio workout he calls the power fitness. The timed 40-minute exercise routine has participants run through a list of different exercises each designed to target a different muscle group.
"A lot of them (power fitness participants) have been with me for so long they already know what to do," he said.
Beagle notes he can tailor power fitness to any fitness level. He hosts beginners power fitness at 1 p.m. Sundays and regular classes throughout the week - 11:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11:15 a.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Tom's wife, Megan, leads Zumba classes at 6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday. As with all programs at Team Impact, inclusion of all fitness levels is a central focus, so Megan also hosts a low impact, abbreviated version of her Zumba class for beginners at 5:45 p.m. Monday and Wednesday.
According to Beagle, Kid-n-Around owner Mike Crane generously allows her classes to use his facility's ballroom. Upward of 40 people at times take part in the popular class.
Beagle says Team Impact is always looking to become more community-oriented and give back to the community.
* On Oct. 5 Team Impact will host an open house with all proceeds going to the Hancock County Animal Shelter.
* Veterans from the local VFW are allowed to come in and workout for free.
* Team Impact encourages local athletes to get involved as well. For example, Kade Reynolds, a junior at East Liverpool High School, hosts his own workout session called Kade's Power Hour.
* The gym offers training and use of four wrestling mats to East Liverpool's youth wrestling team, the Potter Mites.
* Bill Crawford, founder of Team Mojo, also gets involved by hosting his own spinning class at 6 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday with proceeds from the class going to Team Mojo.
A more complete list of events and class schedules can be found by visiting Team Impact's Facebook page or simply by stopping in at 1571 Pennsylvania Ave.
"Everyone who comes through the door here are nice people. They're our friends," said Beagle.