Soldierfit founder wins postwar battles

Danny Farrar is the co-owner of the Soldierfit fitness center.

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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(8) comments

Jimmy1138

I love being a member of SoldierFit. Sound body, mind and spirit is what is represented at SF. I have lost 25lbs since joining. The program works. Also Danny is a credit to the community with his charitable endeavors. Great company and great people.

Lifeisgood14

I don't normally add my comments. However after reading the other comments I felt the need to. I have battled depression all my life. Soldierfit is an awesome company. Danny Farrar deserves to be recognized for what he has created. This company has given me an outlet, has made me feel better about myself, and a new "family". Congrats Danny and thank you.

CRACKER_LEE

[thumbup]

allweins

Danny Farrar and the incredible business he has at Soldierfit are something for everyone to strive to accomplish. He is an example of what it means to be an entrepreneur and give back. Congrats for this well deserved recognition.

ilovefridays

SoldierFit is just one big cult. Couldn't even get a "hello" from anyone when you walked into that place.

CRACKER_LEE

Maybe you look like somebody who would always judge other people. you sure don't have any problem doing it when you are on here. At Soldierfit they don't Judge. Or maybe you are just one of those people who think that when you walk through the door everyone should just drop everything and bow down to you. I suggest you get over yourself.

krispix318

@ilovefridays - Are you serious? I'd love to know when you experienced this because I have never felt so welcome by people I'd never even met. There are days I go and don't want to talk to anyone - but the friendliness I encounter from EVERY staff member is contagious. If you ARE being serious, I encourage you to go back and try again. I truly believe that you'll be pleasantly surprised.

woodsboro curling

[thumbdown]

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