IX Innovations allows members to receive professional training and receive therapy all under one roof. Photo by Joshua Jordan
The landscape of neighborhood gyms has been changing over the last several years. CrossFit has increased the traffic in workout facilities and many workout warriors are looking for a place that provides the full experience, not just some dumbbells and a treadmill in the corner. Serious athletes are also looking for a place to get their work in without any distractions, and have the convenience of being able to marry treatment for injuries with professional training. Pro athletes, especially, are finding specialized treatments and training that are outside of, or work in conjunction with, what their team’s training staffs design for them.
Tom Brady, for example, has his TB12 brand that helps educate people about training, recovery, and diet. Brady is just days away from attempting to win his sixth Super Bowl and I think I have heard more about his documentary, Tom vs Time, than anything else. People clearly have an interest in holding off "Father Time" for as long as they possibly can. Obviously, not everyone has the same opportunities and resources as Tom Brady, but that doesn’t mean you can’t receive some of the best workouts and treatments that modern science has to offer.
Many professional Houston athletes already know that IX Innovations is where they can find some of the best treatment and personalized workouts that the city has to offer. If that name sounds familiar, there’s a good reason for that. It was featured on HBO’s documentary Hard Knocks in 2016. That season featured the Houston Texans and RB Arian Foster was shown working out with his trainer, Abdul Foster, who is Arian’s brother. Abdul opened the gym in 2014 and had success almost immediately. When I spoke with Abdul he joked that “we had close to 80% of the Texans’ payroll. It wasn’t hard to get the word out. “
When you walk in the complex, you see some of the same equipment that you would find at most gyms, but the philosophy at IX Innovations is clearly different from the others. In fact, high-end corporate gyms are starting to fall out of favor with members that are looking for more. The facilities’ chiropractor, Dr. Tony Tran, told me that IX Innovations members “don’t feel beat up after their workouts.” Which seems like it would be an obvious selling point, especially if you are trying to rehab an injury. In fact, many of the injuries they treat occur from workouts at CrossFit gyms.
One of the advantages of working out at IX Innovations is that it’s basically a one-stop shop for professional training and treatment. Dr. Tran is able to communicate with the trainers about their patients’ rehab and give a much more hands-on approach to therapy. Proper communication can be critical between the trainer and therapists because these athletes are “strong and have a very high pain tolerance,” according to Dr. Tran. This communication helps the athletes to focus on their workouts and allows the professionals to deal with the science behind recovery and training.
There are currently around 120 members and everyone must have a trainer that they are working with. This is not the type of gym where you just show up, get in some cardio and take off. Every gym member has a specific plan that is designed for them and a custom diet to help them reach their goals. If there is one word that describes the atmosphere and vibe, it would be hospitality. Hospitality is an overriding theme that has been instilled by the Foster family patriarch, Carl Foster. Before working in the fitness field, Foster worked closely with the hotel industry for quite some time and learned how important the guest experience truly is. “If you don’t treat them right, they won’t come back,” Carl said while giving a tour of the complex. After talking with Carl, Abdul, and Dr. Tran, you immediately notice their passion for helping their members reach their goals, and the amount of knowledge and experience they possess in fitness, recovery, and the business of professional sports.
They were able to share with me some of their incredible success stories of patients that have come to them for help, and in many cases, they were able to help their patients in ways that others places could not. So much of the recovery process is in the hands of trainers and therapists after surgery. Once the surgery is performed, doctors are very often out of the picture, and this is where IX Innovations serves a crucial role in recovery.
Of course, not everyone that works out at IX Innovations is recovering from an injury or a professional athlete. Many members come in for the specialized attention they get from trainers, and the opportunity to use state of the art equipment. They also offer sport specific training for members looking to improve certain muscle groups based on the sport they play. IX Innovations is clearly on the radar of many of the A-List athletes in Houston, because members of the Texans, Dynamo, Dash, and other NFL players come here when they want some personalized attention away from the team facility. They also enjoy a great gym atmosphere with good music, and don’t have to worry about stopping their workouts to take a selfie or give out an autograph.
IX Innovations, 5805 Star Ln, Houston, TX 77057; Monday through Friday 6am to 6:30pm; Closed Saturday and Sunday 832-987-3708
While most of the Astros roster is returning for the 2024 season, there are still some areas of uncertainty for the club. Astros manager Joe Espada will have some tough decisions to make in his first season managing the team.
The Astros infield is set, so we know who will be playing on a nightly basis, assuming health. The outfield is where things get tricky. Espada told the Houston Chronicle last week that he hopes to play Alvarez more in left field this season, which would open up the DH spot for Chas McCormick and players he would like to rest while keeping their bat in the lineup (Yainer Diaz, Jose Altuve, etc).
Astros GM Dana Brown would like to see if Jake Meyers can hit well enough to play regularly in center field. This is a team that stresses defense, which Meyers provides. But if defense is the top priority, wouldn't that mean Chas McCormick should play left field with Yordan Alvarez hitting in the DH spot?
Certainly, there will be nights when that's the case. The reality of the situation is all these guys are going to play, but how much and where is yet to be seen.
Houston plays 20 games in 21 days to start the season, so it's not going to take long to see if Meyers is providing enough offense to play regularly. If we get into the month of May and Meyers is an offensive liability in the lineup, we won't be surprised if his playing time starts to decrease. But by how much?
Don't miss the video as we examine how Joe Espada will deploy his outfielders and get the most out of the DH this season!
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