With the start of the New Year comes with new resolutions and intentions to make 2021 great. We do have our Health and Wellness Guide coming out soon but wanted to introduce you to people in this community to help get you moving! We interview Rachel Darden, the owner of F45 in the Fairfield Shopping Center to tell us how she’s been in the fitness industry for 15 years and what you can expect from this Boss Mom!
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in the area?
I grew up in and around Waccabuc, NY (Westchester County). I moved to Fairfield County in 1996, after I graduated college. I love this area and can’t imagine living any place else.
Children / Age(s)
I have 3 children. Tyler is 15 and my twins, Amanda and Casey are (newly) 11.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am painfully shy, which seems crazy as someone who is in front of people on a daily basis.
Favorite local things to do in Fairfield?
Shop, stroll and dine! We are so fortunate to have so many amazing shops and restaurants in Fairfield.
Do you have a favorite family friendly restaurant? Date night?
Family friendly… Brick + Wood, Flipside Burger and The Local are our go-to spots! For date night, it’s got to be Molto or 55 Wine Bar.
What is your go-to activity for your family? For yourself?
This family loves the beach! That is where you will find us most weekends. If I have a spare moment to myself, I’m likely to grab a coffee and head to the Green to read a book or people watch!
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
I am trying to be better about menu planning because it truly makes life so much easier (my menu plan
hero is fellow Fairfield mom Dana White). The kids are always off in different directions and sometimes I am at the studio at night, and there just isn’t time to figure it out on the spot. I’m learning to use all my kitchen tools (crockpot, instant pot) to save time and have a hearty meal ready.
Name one thing you regret when learning the ropes of parenthood and what you learned from it?
I just wish I had let go and allowed myself to enjoy it all a bit more. Time moves so quickly and you can’t get it back. Let the sleep schedules go and spend the extra few minutes cuddling them up!
Tell us about your business, when & why you started, and the reason behind it?
In my career in fitness, I had worked for big fitness clubs, private training studios, and small boutique fitness studios. While I loved my time at the bigger clubs, I gravitated much more to the smaller studio where it was easier to form relationships with the members. I knew when I opened my own studio, I wanted it to be a place where anyone, regardless of age or fitness level, could come and train and feel their best. No judgement. And I wanted people to feel like they were family. I was exploring various fitness concepts and trying to figure out what was missing in the marketplace when I stumbled upon F45 Training. From the time I did my first F45 class, I was hooked. The team training experience (pre-COVID) is unlike anything else! And the programming is phenomenal. I just knew it was the right thing, at the right time, for me.
How did you decide that this was the right career move for you while having a family to raise?
Being in fitness has always allowed me to work around my children’s schedules for the most part. I am fortunate to be able to teach the opening sessions, head back home to get the kids off to school, and then come back to the studio. But fitness is a 24-hour business and so even when I am not at the studio, I am working and it is hard to juggle those responsibilities with homework and sports, etc. I’m not free from guilt, that’s for sure. But I have always felt it was important for my children to see me loving what I do and pursuing my passion.
How can someone get in touch with you? What should people expect to learn when meeting with you at F45? What can you expect at F45?
The best way is honestly to stop by the studio! I’m there every morning and, if I am not there, one of my staff is! We love talking to people in person about what they are looking for. Fitness is not one size fits all. it’s important, for both sides, to ask questions and set expectations. And there is no better way to get a feel for an F45 session than by watching one in progress. When you come to F45, you can expect to feel welcomed, supported, and motivated. And you should also expect to laugh because we have an insane amount of fun!
What safety precautions are now in place to come to the gym?
In line with current CT COVID guidelines, we have changed the look and format of our sessions. When members enter the studio, they are screened with a non-contact digital thermometer, asked to sanitize their hands, and are then assigned to a personal workstation. Workstations are spaced 12-feet apart so there is ample space between members. All of the equipment you need for your workout is set up at your station. We no longer rotate about the room and we no longer share equipment. Follow each training session, we thoroughly disinfect all equipment. Twice weekly we have the studio professionally sanitized and we have installed special UV filters to our HVAC system to help with air purification. Masks are required at all times when in the studio.
How important is it to workout, have a fitness routine in your life?
Now more than ever it is crucial for people to invest in their health and wellness! We are in the middle of a global pandemic that disproportionately affects obese people – something we can easily combat with a regular fitness routine. Aside from the physical benefits of exercise, like preventing disease and increasing bone strength, the mental benefits are just as important. Exercise can help the brain cope better with stress as well as help to stabilize mood. In these times, that is huge!
Is it safe to do F45 when pregnant or are there special workouts in place when you are?
We have several pregnant members training with us at F45. Exercise is perfectly safe during pregnancy, especially if the expectant mother led an active lifestyle prior to pregnancy. Of course we modify certain exercises and avoid certain movements altogether at later stages of pregnancy, but we keep our moms moving!
I will NEVER turn down a margarita or some chips and guacamole!