fit for the best

Houston workout warriors pack this innovative gym where the pros go

Houston workout warriors pack this innovative gym where the pros go

Houston, IX Innovations, January 2018
IX Innovations allows members to receive professional training and receive therapy all under one roof. Photo by Joshua Jordan

As serious Houston athletes and fitness enthusiasts know, a good gym is everything. 

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. 

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, it’s because it was featured on HBO’s documentary Hard Knocks in 2016. That season featured the Houston Texans, and running back Arian Foster was shown working out with his trainer, Abdul Foster, Arian’s brother.

The gym is run by Arian’s father, Carl, and his brother Abdul. It opened in 2014, and had success almost immediately. Abdul Foster jokes that “we had close to 80 percent of the Texans’ payroll. It wasn’t hard to get the word out.”

The complex features the same equipment that you would find at most gyms, but the philosophy at IX Innovations is different from the others. The facility’s chiropractor, Dr. Tony Tran, says that IX Innovations members “don’t feel beat up after their workouts.” That may seem like an obvious selling point — especially if you are trying to rehab an injury — but Tran notes that many of the injuries they treat occur from workouts at CrossFit gyms.

The owners of IX Innovations say 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 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; each member must have an accompanying partner trainer, and has a specific workout and diet plan that is designed for them. Hospitality is an overriding theme that has been instilled from the top down 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 the importance of the guest experience. “If you don’t treat them right, they won’t come back,” Carl Foster says.

The Fosters point to surgical recovery as one of their greatest success; they note that much of the recovery process is in the hands of trainers and therapists, post-surgery. Once the surgery is performed, doctors are very often out of the picture, and this is where gyms such as IX Innovations serve 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 join for the specialized attention from trainers, and the opportunity to use state-of-the-art equipment. The gym also offers sport-specific training, for members looking to improve certain muscle groups based on their specialized sport. Members of the Texans, Dynamo, Dash, and other NFL players utilize the personalized attention away from the team facility.

The Fosters say that these pros 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.; 6 am to 6:30 pm, Monday through Friday; closed Saturday and Sunday.