Though he is no longer in the Army, many of its principles have never left Danny Farrar.
Farrar, 34, is the co-owner of Soldierfit, a fitness center with locations in Frederick, Gaithersburg, Owings Mills and Chantilly, Va. The Walkersville resident is engaged, has been recognized in The Daily Record’s “40 Under 40” and is now a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Frederick County.
He says he is now living the dream, but will readily admit that life has not always been this good.
“I went from being fake happy to really happy,” Farrar said. “Because I chose to wallow in my own pity, I almost killed this before it got here.”
The Virginia native joined the Army right after high school. One of his missions included taking the first team into the Pentagon on 9/11 for search and rescue and body removal.
“The place was destroyed all the way in. It was an experience,” he said.
Farrar served in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, but left active duty after the deaths of his mother and brother. He said he also felt his general mindset might be better suited to a civilian lifestyle.
“I’m a free thinker,” he said.
Farrar took a job in sales at Fitness First in Gaithersburg but said he ended up getting fired for “inability to sell.” He said he was broke, didn’t believe in himself and slept on the couch of a co-worker, Dave Posin.
During that time, Farrar started personal training at Fitness First. First one-on-one, and then larger groups.
“I called myself Soldierfit, but it was just me,” he said. “That was the birth of where we are now.”
He also completed the Montgomery County Fire Academy.
Though Farrar’s life appeared to be on the upswing, he said, he was still not doing well emotionally. He said he was dealing with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and a divorce. After attempting suicide in late 2011, Farrar said he ended up spending three days in the Frederick Memorial Hospital psychiatric ward.
“It made me admit that I had problems that had to get dealt with,” he said. “I saw that the world wasn’t all against me.”
Farrar started attending regular counseling to work on changing his mindset, and with the help of Posin — who became his business partner — the first Soldierfit opened in Frederick in February 2013. The Gaithersburg location opened two months later.
The mentality of Soldierfit, and his own life, is “pride over ego.”
“Ego means ‘I think I’m better than you,’ and we don’t tolerate that.”
Farrar said the goal is for all Soldierfit customers to be happy and healthy, “whatever that looks like for that individual.”
The term “soldier” comes into play through clients learning tenacity and Farrar’s own revitalization of the American dream.
“He’s the kind of guy who thanks everybody else for helping him out, but the credit goes to him,” Posin said. “The positive things that you give — you’re going to end up in a good place.”
Soldierfit currently offers a traditional gym, martial arts, large and small boot camp classes, wrestling, kickboxing, yoga, young athlete training, and fitness and martial arts for kids.
Farrar is also starting his own nonprofit, Community Me, which he said will be aimed at getting more young people involved in the community through partnerships.
Follow Laura Dukes on Twitter: @LauraDukesFNP.
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