Get Busy

Rachel Darden, owner/operator/head coach F45 Fairfield

Maybe you were a gold-medal winning athlete in your twenties, but now you’re too busy to put in the hours. Perhaps you were injured and need to build back strength. Of course, you might be at the top of your game—lucky you. Does one gym fit all? “Because we use interval timing, and not a set number of reps, individuals can work at their own pace. Plyometric exercises can all be scaled accordingly and there are a million ways to ensure we give each athlete a workout specific to their needs,” says Rachel Darden, owner/operator and head coach at F45 Training in Fairfield ( “We have college kids and people well into their sixties who train with us, and they are all challenged appropriately.”

Now on the precipice of winter, Fairfielders who have been working out outdoors, may start eyeing gyms—not only for protection against the weather, but also for the help of a coach. “It’s not always about coming in and piling on big weights,” says Rachel. “We can use different training techniques to create a new overload. It’s important to educate our athletes on how to be well-rounded.” F45 stands for functional training (a mix of circuit and HIIT) and 45 (get in, get it done, get on with life). Three days of the week are dedicated to cardio, three to resistance, and one (Saturday) to both. Pulling from some 4,000 workouts, trainers guide groups through stations, without treadmills or weight machines. The moves are also demonstrated on screens.

“From the time I did my first F45 workout, I was hooked,” says Rachel. “I loved the team-training environment, the energy of the coaches and the amazing programming of the workout itself.” She got enough inspiration of that workout to leap into a new career as a studio owner in Fairfield. “I love Fairfield! I love the people. I love the area, and I am proud to count myself among the amazing community of small businesses here.”

Fostering a community feel at her gym, Rachel says, “I wanted a place where everyone felt welcomed as a person, not a number.

When you miss a workout, I notice. If you miss two, I’m on the phone. That mentality of accountability and recognition has taken on a shape of its own. Our members hold each other accountable. They lift each other up.”

When the pandemic hit, F45 had to pivot. “We now offer virtual training and an outdoor option,” she says. “Things look very different in the studio. Where we used to have thirty-six people in a class, we are now limited to nine. Members are spaced twelve-feet apart and no longer share equipment. Additionally, we have increased our already rigorous cleaning standards to include twice weekly electrostatic spraying; all equipment is thoroughly disinfected following each workout and we invested in a UV light for our HVAC system.”

Such precautions should be reassuring, because, after all, workouts are for health. “Now more than ever, people should invest in their health,” says Rachel. “We are in the midst of a pandemic where some of the most vulnerable segments of the population are the obese—which lends itself to other dangerous comorbidities—and this is something we can easily combat with a regular fitness routine. Gyms are safe and should be thought of as essential, not only for physical health, but also for mental health—which is also critical in these times. In the words of Tony Robbins: ‘Motion creates emotion.’”

The Challenge
// 8 weeks to reach your fitness goal

F45 runs an 8-Week Challenge to help their clients reach a goal weight, tone up or increase over all fitness—in short, adopt a healthier lifestyle. Participants access the Challenge Portal, which provides weekly meal plans, a library of thousands of recipes, and other guidance on healthy habits. The current challenge runs until December 2 and is followed by a two-week Maintenance Phase. Then, the next 8-Week Challenge begins. “We’ve got all of the holidays covered,” says Rachel Darden.

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