Work it Out

IX Innovations sets new standard for training and recovery

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

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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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