We talk about prioritizing self-care, but nothing has been harder the past year. Today, we’re highlighting a Greenwich-based small business that is ready to help you get fit—with only a 30-minute, once-a-week commitment. This efficiency makes Countdown Fitness the perfect workout for busy moms (and dads). We chatted with Countdown’s owner, Anel Dzafic, about his innovative fitness studio, his immigrant background, his growing team, and more.
Can you please share a bit about your business, for anyone who isn’t familiar?
Countdown Fitness is a private fitness studio that offers one-on-one 30-minute once-a-week full-body workouts with our team of trainers. We lift weights slowly. It sounds weird, but it’s effective. The slow burn method reduces the forces that commonly cause injury to your joints, muscles, and connective tissue, making it a safe workout for everyone. Slow lifting also reduces momentum, requiring your muscles to do more of the work. The result? A more efficient workout, leading to a stronger, fitter you in half the time.
Amazing! What else separates Countdown from other gyms?
Our studio, on Greenwich Ave, is sleek, modern, and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. When you walk into the space, you’re immediately wowed. Our design concept is a full sensory experience for clients that feels almost like a relaxing spa. But don’t be fooled, you won’t be relaxing during our workouts!
All of the trainers are trained by Anel, the founder, on the technique that he has worked to evolve over 10 years as a personal trainer in NYC and Greenwich, CT.
What should first-time clients expect?
The first session is an intro session where you get to sit down with a trainer and discuss your goals and health history. Then we will give you a quick demo workout to see if we are a good fit for each other. After the intro session, we create customized 30-minute workouts for you weekly to help you reach your goals as quickly and as safely as possible.
This small time commitment seems to make this an easy choice for busy moms (and dads)…
Strength training is extremely important when it comes to joint health, bone density, and overall strength. We put a whole week of strength-training into one 30-minute session. It’s extremely efficient and extremely safe for anyone of any age to do. The way I designed this workout was to skip all the BS and get straight to the point: which is to stimulate the body to change. We make it hard enough but safe at the same time to achieve the goals that you want and much less time.
On your days off from Countdown, we encourage you to do things that you enjoy like sports and recreational activities such as walking, jogging, playing tennis, golf, paddle, or whatever else makes you feel good. Let us take care of chiseling your body.
You have a fascinating background and an adorable family. Can you please tell us a bit more about yourself?
I grew up in Bosnia during a war, but my family was lucky enough to be sponsored by a family member to come as refugees to the United States where we ended up in Queens, NY. I moved here with no English and no idea what to expect. I worked hard at school and hard at sports because I knew I wanted more for my life.
I was always interested in health and wellness and went to school for nutrition where I met my wife. We both worked in the nutrition and wellness world for years, until I followed my passion to become a became a personal trainer. I ended up at one of Manhattan’s top fitness studios and gained a following with some of the city’s elite.
When we moved to Connecticut to start a family, I opened my dream studio on Greenwich Avenue and have been here ever since! I live in Westport with my wife, Julia (you might know her as @lemonstripes), and our daughter Amalia. We have a baby boy on the way any day now!
How did you pivot during COVID and what precautions are you taking now?
At the beginning of COVID, our studio was completely shut down for three months. During the time we did online group workouts and private Zoom sessions with our clients. As soon as we were legally able to open in June, we did so with as many safety precautions as possible. Our number one priority is always the safety of our clients and trainers, and we do that in many ways: We ensure that there are only 2-3 clients in the studio at a time. It is 2000 square feet which allows for a good distance between clients. We re-positioned our machines accordingly so that no client is next to each other at any time. Clients and trainers must wear masks at all times and machines are disinfected immediately after each use. We also run a MERV 13 filter and an air purifier at all times.
Awesome. And you’ve just hired some new trainers. Can you please tell us a bit about your new team members?
In addition to myself, we have Andrew, a born and bred New Yorker who moonlights as a stand-up comedian and has been training clients for over a decade. We also recently hired Sarah, a trainer from Connecticut with a passion for physical fitness and personal wellness. They are both incredible at what they do, and when you come in for your intro session, we’ll place you with the best trainer to fit your needs.
Sounds fantastic. Why is fitness so important—now more than ever?
During COVID times, we don’t have control over a lot which is extra stressful. One of the few times that you do have full control is how you treat your body. You get to decide what you want that to look and feel like and that’s pretty cool.
And as we all know now more than ever, there are times that you need to get out of the house because your kids are driving you crazy. I think everyone should have a go-to activity to get your mind straight. For some people, it’s working out, for some, it’s gardening, and playing sports for others.
Do you have any tips for parents wanting to incorporate fitness into their family lifestyle?
Now that the weather is starting to warm up, there are a lot of things that you can do to incorporate fitness into your family’s lifestyle. We like to take bike rides to the beach and run around on the sand, do scooter races in our driveway, or take long hikes with our dog. In the summer, I love to take my daughter kayaking, and my wife and I will have day dates where we go paddleboarding together.
You have some interesting hobbies—gardening, and now chickens! What do you get out of your hobbies?
My hobbies are what keep me sane during these crazy times. I took up gardening in March 2020, which was one of the toughest times I’ve ever experienced as both a business owner and a father.
I grew up on a farm in Bosnia and spent most of my free time as a kid on the farm and around animals and nature. To me, gardening is meditation and keeps me grounded. Phase 2 of my garden has been getting chickens. It’s important to me to show my kids where their food comes from and to get them excited about eating directly from the earth. I want them to understand that food doesn’t grow in the grocery store. I want them to know what good quality food is in what good eggs taste like. It was an important part of my life as a kid and I want to be able to pass that on to my kids.
To learn more about Countdown Fitness or to book a session, visit countdownfit.com. Mention Greenwich Moms for a free intro session and a 20% discount on a six-pack of sessions if you choose to sign up! Note: This is only valid for new clients and expires on April 31st, 2021.
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