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.”
At LA Boxing, an orchestra of fists and feet slapping heavy bags resounds through the gym. Nobody here settles for punching empty air; instead, professional-grade bags and training mitts absorb blows chucked by students of all skill levels who can burn up to 1,000 calories during fitness classes. Although each boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts class is an authentic fight-training regimen led by a professional fighter, students never have to step into the ring.
With dozens of locations across the United States, Kickboxing FitClub helps guests tone bodies and improve cardiovascular health through kickboxing lessons for all experience levels. Whether in group classes of 10–20 students or private sessions, students learn stretches, resistance exercises, punches, and kicks appropriate for their skill level. Private appointments with staff nutritionists help individuals develop dietary plans that bolster health in tandem with workouts.
Though most people consider boxing an intense sport, anyone can benefit from the sport’s cardiovascular workouts and discipline-building routines. That’s why the experienced instructors at Fitness Through Boxing tailor one-on-one training to the goals and needs of each client. Instructors mine their expertise in kickboxing and mixed martial arts to create comprehensive programs that tone physiques while improving self-defense abilities. The trainers also lead circuit-training classes that deliver the cardiovascular and muscle-toning benefits of a boxer's workout. Students spend 60 minutes shadowboxing, working on one of the center’s heavy or speed bags, and practicing combination drills that work all the muscle groups in the body as well as their metaphysical spirits. The facility also features a weight-training room, showers, and an in-house ring for sparring.
Yoga, spinning, Cardio Kick. These are just a few of the group fitness classes that promise physical change at MVP Fitness. Outside of group classes, there are always the 21,000 square feet of gym equipment to tone muscles and burn calories. There's also personal training if one-on-one attention better suits your exercise style.
At Rik Kellerman's Ten Tigers Kung-Fu Academy, history is headmaster. The instructors practice authentic Chinese kung-fu, using techniques based on centuries-old guidelines. The academy's preferred style, Siu Lum Hung Kuen, uses movements inspired by five animals: the dragon, the snake, the leopard, the crane, and the tiger. Together, these maneuvers display both grace and power, much like a Supreme Court justice who knows ballet.
The staff teaches students of all ages how to channel the tenets of kung-fu for self-defense. That said, classes focus less on fighting and more on cultivating a sense of family. Encouragement and camaraderie underlie every lesson, whether you're learning how to engage in hand-to-hand combat or how to wield classical weaponry. Classes at Ten Tigers are also a cultural experience—in addition to sparring moves, they might cover meditation, Chinese herbal medicine, or costumed Lion Dancing choreography.