At UFC Gym Commack, 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.
Adults?especially law-enforcement agents? and kids are welcome to take classes at Commack MMA, where instructors teach Brazilian jujitsu as a form of self-defense. The studio's martial-arts classes?which also include wrestling, MMA, and striking?do more than prepare participants to fight, though. They also teach character development, discipline, and respect, they boost students' fitness levels, and they fizzle stress.
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 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.
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.
Woodway treadmills whirr and weight machines clank 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Though staffed while sun's up, the fitness center is accessible via members' key cards at night, giving gym-goers ample opportunity to incinerate calories and tone muscles on a full range of Cybex equipment or pass off their tears as sweat while watching Homeward Bound in the cardio theater. Workouts are supplemented with private sessions led by certified personal trainers, online nutritional resources, and onsite tanning booths that gold-plate freshly toned frames.