A new fitness studio opened on Mt. Auburn Street, but it is run by someone familiar to many people in town.
Michael Thornton, owner of Focused Fitness, is no stranger to Watertown. He began working at the Mount Auburn Club in 1998 and worked there until it closed in 2020.
“When closed it was tough,” Thornton said. “I said I was thinking about doing my own thing. I kept in close touch with my 22-year client base and they said if you do something we’ll stick with you.”
In November, after operating for a time in a temporary space, Thornton moved into a space near Celebrity Pizza, which was formerly a kitchen and bath countertop store.
At Focused Fitness, Thornton works primarily with older clients, though not exclusively.
“What I do is probably more for the 50-plus population looking to improve overall health, not to say I can’t accommodate other populations,” Thornton said. “I am a high school soccer coach. I coach in Attleboro where my house is. I work with a lot of high school age kids. I do fitness, I do strength and conditioning theory — the whole program — with the girls soccer program. I have been doing that for eight years.”
Focused Fitness does not have a lot of machines, but included in the ones that he has Thornton uses a cord system with resistance provided by air pressure, which allows adjustments as small as a 10th of a pound.
“The trend in the industry is what is called functional training,” Thornton said. “I have a couple machines which you sit down on, but it is more about standing up, utilizing core stabilization, protecting your back and protecting your joints and things like that.”
Another trend is people wanting to work out in smaller groups.
“With COVID, people were all about, ‘I don’t want to go anywhere where there are more than 5 people, so studios benefited. They are smaller, cleaner, safer, less chance to get sick,” Thornton said. “The population I am working with, in their 60s, 70s, 80s, is still very concerned about it.”
Thornton grew up in Rochester, New York, and played 15 years of competitive soccer. After graduating from Ithaca College he relocated to Tampa, Florida, and worked as a personal trainer for 3 years. While there he worked with the Miss Tampa Pageant Contestants, and helped coach Miss Florida 1996 to the Miss America Pageant. He and his family moved to the Boston area in 1998, to work at the Mount Auburn Club.
Focused Fitness offers group and personal training classes. It is located at 694 Mt. Auburn St., and is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information click here.