Midtown Venues To Keep You Fit

Proximity and promise are what lured Chris Martinez to Midtown when he opened Midtown MMA Houston six years ago.

What Midtown had to offer was a location central enough to not only engage oil and gas professionals working downtown, but those who labored as researchers and physicians in the Medical Center. Midtown presented Martinez the diverse clientele he deemed necessary to cultivate a vibrant business, and Midtown has rewarded his decision.

Midtown MMA (4916 Main St.) is one of four fitness centers anchored in the district, each providing disparate options for health and wellbeing. From the ferocity associated with mixed martial arts, the healing at YogaOne Studios (3030 Travis St.), the more traditional at 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport (3201 Louisiana St.), and the advocacy of BikeHouston (3610 Fannin St.), opportunities abound to reach optimal health in Midtown.

“We moved to the Midtown area because it’s in the middle of everything,” says Martinez, owner/head instructor at Midtown MMA. “We’re close to downtown, we’re close to the Medical Center. We’re not too far from the Galleria. We’re very close to West University, Rice, UHD (University of Houston-Downtown); a lot of different things are all over.

“There’s a diverse group that comes through here.”

Demographic diversity is part of Midtown and serves its fitness businesses well. For those seeking to either lose weight or to maintain a vigorous lifestyle, the versatility presented by their choices represents a boon.

With Martinez, achieving prime physical condition entails the embracing of training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai or judo or some amalgamation of each. The Ultimate Fighting Championship as a marketing machine has educated an enormous audience to the virtues of MMA training. The curious discover via research that losing weight and reaching body goals are byproducts of the regimen.
“The majority of our clients come in, they’ve done research,” Martinez said. “They know that we have the different fitness programs away from the martial arts so they come in and they’re ready with a lot of questions.

“People are coming in with that mindset already of, ‘Yeah, I can get in shape.’ But there’s still, beyond that, more education.”

YogaOne Studios approaches physical activity from an alternate perspective than MMA yet with the same goal in mind. Established in 2008, YogaOne Midtown is custom-designed with two yoga studios: a hot room dedicated to hot yoga and a flow room dedicated to Forrest yoga and flow-based classes (Ashtanga/Anusara-inspired/Baptiste power flow) with a large communal lobby connecting the two.

YogaOne Midtown also has a full service raw, plant-based and gluten free juice and smoothie bar, One Love Juice Bar & Cafe, which supplies cold-pressed juices to all five YogaOne studios and serves fresh juices, smoothies and coffee drinks at YogaOne Midtown. But integral to YogaOne Midtown is the holistic, whole-life practice that yoga facilitates.

At BikeHouston, a nonprofit organization committed to the mission of transforming Houston into a city with safer streets and an improved quality of life, the initiative of Midtown to continue to build on its established reputation as the most pedestrian- and bike-friendly district in the city dovetails nicely.

“We’re grateful for their interest and we certainly understand the community’s desire for the area to be more bike- and pedestrian-friendly,” says Michael Payne, executive director of BikeHouston. “We think we’re at the very beginning of a journey that is going to greatly improve the quality of life for the people in the area and we want people to come forward and help us accelerate that transition.”

BikeHouston is urging that the city create options for people to travel safely for recreation and for transportation. Midtown is headlong into the project, and that philosophy helps explains why Midtown serves as a happy hub for business that approach fitness from unique perspectives.