As a 4th-degree black belt, Alexander "Soca" Freitas’s fighting resumé is a formidable one. He has won multiple competitions - including the highly prestigious ADCC Championship, where he was also named "Most Technical Fighter" - and is a five-time Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship winner. He earned his black belt under Carlos Gracie Jr., the son of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s founder, and he spent 25 years mastering the grappling art at the Gracie Barra main academy. Since becoming a teacher himself, Soca has awarded black belts to 24 of his students. However, he doesn't try to force any of his protégés into following his footsteps—instead of matching his impressive accolades with an intimidating attitude, Soca welcomes students of all ages, builds, and abilities to his gym.
Soca leads classes in both beginning and advanced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques. The martial-arts discipline depends on leverage and holds rather than weapons to subdue opponents, and he demonstrates these maneuvers during practice drills. Students progress through the curriculum by testing to receive successive belts rather than by wrestling a written exam to the ground. Soca ultimately leaves their goals up to them, whether they hope to perfect their self-defense moves, compete in MMA tournaments, or simply engage in healthy exercise. Aside from standard Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lessons, the gym also hosts private classes, children's classes, and strength-and-conditioning sessions, led by co-owner Samantha Freitas.
Members of Synergy Fitness Clubs thrive on choice. Choice of location? There are nine. Choice of activity? Instructors lead classes in almost any form of exercise imaginable, such as power sculpt, full-body circuits, and intense cycling. To make sure that members are making the choices that will help reach their fitness goals the fastest, the clubs are staffed with more than 100 lifestyle coaches. These pros are continually educated in their fields of specialty—which might mean nutrition counseling, yoga, or boxing.
A wide slate of equipment and amenities makes it as easy as possible to fit in workouts. Most locations are open 24 hours, and while parents lift free weights or dance a beautiful tango with a Precor elliptical, their kids can hang out in a free childcare room.
After walking into Lotus Laser Skin Treatments, clients walk out with their best foot forward thanks to a bouquet of advanced laser-backed services. Using high-powered Cutera equipment, trained technicians take aim at anything from unwanted hair and wrinkles to unfriendly poltergeists armed with Sharpies. The optimal wavelength for spider-vein annihilation comes courtesy of the Cutera CoolGlide laser, which clears up all skin tones with minimal redness or bruising.
Vanessa Cafiero grew up with scoliosis. She struggled against chronic back pain through her teens, until a friend brought her to a small nonprofit ashram. Reluctantly, she went along and discovered that yoga could help her cope with her affliction while challenging both her body and mind. In addition to earning a bachelor's degree in exercise physiology at Hofstra University, Cafiero completed a seven-month intensive program at the Finger Lakes School of Massage. While there, she gained certification in reiki, herbal medicine, and massage therapy. Two years later, Cafiero completed her first yoga teacher-training program.
All these skills come together in Cafiero's business, Emerge Yoga & Wellness, where she helms a staff of teachers and therapists who do their part to foster mind-body harmony through yoga classes, AntiGravity Yoga, and massage modalities. They also train aspiring instructors during weekend sessions and carry essential oils by Young Living Essential Oils, which can ease a host of ailments.
CrossFit Merrick designs daily workouts aimed at helping clients build muscle and endurance with squats, lunges, deadlifts, and other functional movements. CrossFit Merrick offers fitness classes for adults as well as kids and teens. Fitness classes, including CrossFit programs, can be customized for a variety of fitness and skill levels.
More than a fire-fighter transporter or an object for constructing oil derricks, the pole has become a fun-filled tool for toning muscles and increasing confidence. Catwalk's owner and lead instructor, Cathy Wagner, emphasizes the routine's health benefits, fitness ease, and fun over its ability to win the hearts of mayors. Classes include Intro to Pole, Pole Burn (aerobic movements), and Advanced Spin/Climb/Flirt (learn a pole spin, pole climb, pole descends, slinky floor work, and more).