Fairfield residents Deb and Ken O'Toole strive to put the "personal" back into personal training with the opening of their Commerce Drive facility, Ozone Fitness Center.
The O'Tooles have worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years -- Deb began teaching fitness classes at 19 -- and had become "disenchanted" with the way "big box" gyms treated personal training, Ken said.
Personal training was becoming "impersonal training," he said. So the O'Tooles stepped away and decided to focus on the core of personal training -- helping people accomplish their fitness goals.
"We are trying to do everything to be personal in personal training," Ken said. Handing someone a towel or a bottle of water during a workout can "make all the difference" in his or experience, Deb added.
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When My Little Gym moved out of the space at 338 Commerce Drive in May, the couple seized the opportunity to turn the 5,000 square foot facility into Ozone Fitness Center, which opened in early September. Ken handles the operations; Deb and five other "good, seasoned, and experienced trainers" work with clients.
The Ozone method of personal training is made up of "zones." Clients will go through a fitness assessment with Deb, who will prescribe a plan based on their goals and fitness level.
The trainees work with their trainers on exercises specific to the zone level that has been prescribed for their plan. They pass "zone tests" -- akin to karate belt tests, Deb said -- before moving onto the next zone level of exercises.
This method, according to the O'Tooles, not only makes trainers more accountable to their clients, but allows for creativity in creating exercise plans to fit into a client's prescribed "zone" and the additional zones thereafter.
"There's more specific focus for the client," Deb said.
In addition to personal training, the staff at Ozone Fitness Center focuses on two other disciplines: group classes and athletic training.
Group classes -- which currently include boot camp, kickboxing, body pump, TRX suspension training, and kettle bells -- are small, contrasting large classes at big classes.
Each class has no more than six to eight participants and are meant to feel more like "shared personal training," Deb said.
Clients can also choose to create customized group classes to fit with their schedules -- for the current schedule, click here.
Athletic training is offered to children 12 and older. The gym is equipped with 25 feet of turf; athletes build strength, agility, speed, and endurance and become less prone to injury.
Now that the gym has been opened for a little more than a month, "We're ready to go out and introduce ourselves," Ken said.
An open house is planned for Saturday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the facility. The staff will offer free athletic training assessments and demonstrations, several class demos, and complimentary fitness assessments.
The morning will kick off at 9:30 with a free, open-invitation boot camp class -- those interested can call 203-690-1470 to reserve a spot.
"There's a lot of exciting stuff in the early stages," Ken said. "All the pieces are up, and we're expanding our base, welcoming new people in."
Ozone Fitness Center, located at 338 Commerce Drive (across from the U.S. Post Office, entrance in the rear) is open Monday - Thursday from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Saturday - Sunday from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m. For more information and a schedule of classes, contact Ken and Deb O'Toole at 203-690-1470, "like" Ozone on Facebook, or visit the official website.