While working together at a personal training facility, professional MMA fighter Jimmy Boudourakis and Chris Oddsen—a trainer with 10 years of experience—dreamed about one day opening their own business. After the establishment they worked for closed down, they brought Vincent DeRiso—a mixed-martial-arts student of Jimmy's—on board to realize their dream, eventually opening the doors to Northport’s MMA Fitness Center.
The trio of owners empathizes with the members who know they need a lifestyle change. This rings especially true for DeRiso, who—after being active all of his life and playing football—went through what he describes as “a rough patch,” hitting 290 pounds. With hard work and the right training, he dropped to 225 pounds and eventually became an MMA fighter. This mixture of empathy and diligence is the bedrock of their business model, which even extends to how they greet their patrons at the door. “The first thing we ask them is, ‘How has your day been?'” said DeRiso. And although the MMA workouts may be difficult, he says that they welcome people and video-game bosses of all fitness levels to attend, work hard, and challenge themselves.
One of the perks of the job for DeRiso is that they get to help kids develop good habits early on, including an overweight 15-year-old who dropped 20 pounds in his first month and impressed his coaches on his most recent football evaluation. The trainers offer classes to teenagers and kids to not only introduce them to mixed martial arts, but to also help them learn discipline in other areas of life. “We feel that kids should definitely learn discipline, because it's not just for the sport,” DeRiso said. “They also bring it back to home and school.”
Inner Spirit Yoga Center's team of certified instructors foster a diverse community of yogis dedicated to wellness and kinship with a curriculum that accommodates all ages, skill levels, and abilities. A four-week beginner's yoga series imparts the foundational postures, breathing techniques, and tricks for housebreaking stubborn spirit animals. In addition to yoga, the center also hosts belly dance classes, tai chi, and peaceful meditation sessions. A packed calendar of events maintains community vibes through potluck dinners, movie nights, and inspirational book club meetings.
Focusing on smooth, rhythm, or specialty dance styles, Bet U Can Dance's instructors lead private and group classes amid 13-foot ceilings and 6,000 square feet of hardwood dance floor. As 60-minute group sessions unfold, students meet fellow dancers, trade partners, and learn to lead and follow better than a military horse chasing its own tail. Ushered by professional cabaret and ballroom gurus, one-on-one and couples sessions allow for more personalized lesson plans, helping rug cutters to master dance varieties such as the East Coast swing, waltzes, and the fox trot. Additionally, high-energy Zumba instructors teach calorie-burning moves during a vigorous dance party backed by Latin beats.
At Intelligent Fitness, the personal trainers and exercise instructors take their clients' success seriously. Instead of barking at them to exercise more, they teach their clients to maximize their workouts' effectiveness, taking a personalized approach to instruction that helps clients achieve their goals?from losing weight to tearing a phonebook in half with one hand tied behind their backs. Phil Sottile, the company?s founder, guides the company?s mission to coach, mentor, and motivate clients during personal-training sessions. Also helming group sweat sessions, the certified instructors lead classes such as Intell-Barre and indoor biking, which help melt away calories and stress.
Dr. Dean Telano, co-owner and director of True Living Yoga Healing Center and Rahini School of Yoga, also holds the auspicious title of president of B?n Buddhism of Long Island. During his meditation lessons, he draws on more than 20 years of teaching yoga, wellness, and meditation?all of which inform his teaching style. With the help of co-owners Heidi Johnsen, Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-500), and Naomi Miller, who has a background as a psychotherapist, the studio is a welcoming place for practitioners of many forms of yoga and holistic wellness to heal. The staff of certified and Yoga Alliance?registered instructors combine their talents to teach students varied yoga styles such as Rahini, Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yoga-Pilates. They also offer teacher training in Rahini yoga, which is Sanskrit for "true living" and blends Hatha techniques with Buddhist meditation. When they?re not leading yoga classes, the staffers welcome guest teachers from India and offer Reiki sessions, meditation classes, and medical qigong classes.
Equipment: Yoga mats, blocks, straps, blankets, pillows, and eye pillows
Students should bring: Water, towel, comfortable clothing
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Metered street parking
Pro Tip: We will answer any questions about yoga after class to help with your practice.