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This is what we do

About us

Primal Strength-New York is a Specialized Fitness Facility conveniently located on 5th Avenue in Ronkonkoma, approximately one half mile North of Vet's Highway.  All of our classes feature direct instruction by one (or more) of our experienced and highly qualified trainers in the following programs.

  • Kettlebell Training
  • Fitness Kickboxing
  • Primal Move
  • Personal Training
  • Stop by and find out what all the buzz is about!


Tristan Phillips
Head Instructor &
Program Director

Known for his relentless pursuit of knowledge, Tristan Phillips  has rapidly developed a reputation as a "trainer's trainer" garnering the respect of his peers at the local, regional, and national level.  Tristan's passion for training was years in the making.  As a self-described "pudgy kid" he lacked the focus, drive and self-confidence required of student athletes so he retreated to a world of Twizzlers, Doritos and soft drinks. Out of shape and uncertain of his path in life, he was introduced to the world of Kung Fu at the age of 20 and quickly discovered his purpose. Tristan spent the next 10 years immersed in the study Martial Arts becoming expert in advanced techniques and multiple weapons and rising to the level of fourth degree Black Sash. Along the way, Tristan discovered his passion for teaching through his work with martial arts students.
He said, "In 2009 I was introduced to kettlebells through a publication that came in the mail. I was instantly intrigued. After I got my first 16 kg bell I started to practice, and practice, and practice. I loved
kettlebells immediately. They were like the martial arts of weight training. Stances, coordinated
breathing, tension, relaxation, mobility. This was it! Chills all over again! The next chapter in my life!"

Since his introduction to kettlebells, Tristan has refined his technique and methodology receiving the following certifications:

RKC 1: 2010
CK-FMS: 2011
Primal Move: 2012 (First in NY)

In addition, Tristan has attended countless strength training workshops on various topics across the country.

He gratefully acknowledges the  influence of his mentors: Pavel Tsatsouline, John Du Cane, Peter Lakatos, and Andrea U-Shi Chang,

"Primal Strength - New York will be a place where everyone and anyone can come and learn the skill that is strength. You can’t have strength without movement, so that is where we start. Everyone’s body has a different story to tell. Old injuries which lead to compensations and asymmetries in life that lead to asymmetries in the body. Here at Primal Strength we will help you improve the way you move through FMS(functional movement systems) and Primal Move, and then show you how to get strong.  Through the quest for strength you will become a happier, healthier and more fit human being."

Jeff Lockhart
Personal Trainer

If you happened to lose touch with Jeff Lockhart for the past 2-3 years, odds are he is drastically different than the person you knew.  In 2010, Jeff worked in an office, ate fast food 5+ times a week, smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, and had the body to prove it.  He was never inclined toward anything athletic, but the phrase "let yourself go" probably best summed up his attitude from age 19 on. 

It wasn't until the winter of 2010 that Jeff made an attempt at turning his life around.  He went on a diet, and gradually started exercising. Over the next year he made slow but steady progress, and gradually dropped around 25lbs. It was tough, mostly unenjoyable work that he forced himself through. Seemingly endless cycles of chest days, back days, leg days, and steady state cardio. It worked, but started to get very monotonous. 

Then in an effort to make a big change in his life, Jeff quit his miserable office job and got a job at a gym. It was here that he first started training with kettlebells, and fell in love with the complexity and efficiency of this method of training. The fat was falling off his frame faster than he could believe, and best of all he was having fun while training. He decided relatively early on that he wanted to get certified and teach this to others for a living. He went on to obtain his Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification in August 2012 and never looked back.

Jeff's thirst for education and self-improvement has paid dividends in his personal training business. He continues to work diligently to constantly improve his methods. His clients have shown great results not only in the way they look, but the way the move and feel. He is currently in the process of becoming a NASM-certified personal trainer.  Additionally, he holds HKC and SFG-1 Kettlebell Certifications.

James Sowlakis
Personal Trainer

A man of astonishing will, James Sowlakis has pursued the art and science of strength training and the optimization of physical movement for over eleven years. A dedicated trainer who believes in strength training as a method to not only build muscle and attain peak physical fitness but as a means to facilitate daily life. James guides his life by the adages, “If it’s not difficult it’s most likely not worth doing.” And, “Most things can be accomplished thru force of will and true hard work.”

At 19 years of age James made the life altering decision to gain experience in physical fitness and strength training. After only 2 years, he discovered a before unknown love for the field and began to pursue his career as a physical trainer. He said, “I have seen what it has done for me and I want to pass that knowledge on to others, I enjoy this because I’m helping people.”

James holds a Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science from Adelphi University, as well as the title of Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialiist (CSCS)

Additionally, James holds certification in Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), CPR and First Aid. James continues to hone his skills through participation in various workshops.

To James, personal training is more than just a platform used to excel in organized sports. He truly believes in the betterment of a person thru dedication, hard work, and the fine tuning of the physical form.

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