We had the good fortune of connecting with Tommy Allen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tommy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve always had a passion for health & fitness and I saw an opportunity to take that passion and create an environment where I can impact the lives of my community. Building a business around impacting lives essentially became a no-brainer for me. I had been in the industry long enough to understand the nuts and bolts of making a micro-gym work and so there wasn’t a lot of friction in terms of getting started.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I graduated college with a degree in business and got started in the finance industry during the 2008 financial crisis. Although I’ve always been good with numbers, I noticed that what I enjoyed about my work is the ability to help people. In 2013 I realized that I had completely neglected my own health & wellness in pursuit of my career. I was overworked and unhealthy and decided that I needed to change my life. I found a CrossFit gym in Newport Beach, CA in 2013 and fell in love with fitness all over again. In the span of about 6 months I was in the best shape of my entire life. I also found a passion for helping others achieve the same exact thing I experienced. I began coaching other individuals in fitness in 2015 when my wife and I relocated to Houston. Fast forward to 2019, I decided to take over an existing gym and revamp the community that held a very special place in my heart.
What makes District H unique is that the core of what we do comes down to a basic set of values that are client centric. We don’t believe in fads or franchises that try to put people in boxes. We start with what is going to be the most beneficial for the vast majority of people and implement that within our facility. It can include traditional strength training, functional fitness, pre-hab/post-hab work and accessory movements to even out asymmetries and increase overall joint health. This solution is constantly evaluated and tweaked as exercise science evolves and the needs of our community change.
Operating a gym through a pandemic was not easy. It was definitely all hands on deck during shut down. We were able to overcome a lot of the stress of 2020 by sticking together as a team and putting one foot in front of the other everyday. I have learned the valuable lesson of patience when it comes to results in business, conversations with others, and decisions that need to be made. Although I would like to turn the Titanic on a dime, sometimes you need things to play out in order to gain clarity of where you are at and what you need to do to move your team forward.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh wow. That would really depend on the person. For me, we would start with an early breakfast of Shipley’s Donuts or Snooze Cafe. After that, I would take them to the typical tourist spots like NASA, Galveston, the Arboretum, or the Houston Zoo. Lunch would have to be at one of my favorite taco shops. There are too many in Houston to pick just one. Late afternoon would have to be some sort of exercise along Buffalo Bayou and we would probably end with either a concert of sporting event depending on the season we were in. Maybe a night cap at Better Luck Tomorrow.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, I want to give a shoutout to my wife. Being in the fitness industry during COVID has been incredibly tough and she has incredibly patient in allowing me to inject my time and passion into this project during very difficult times. My business partner, Dustin Ma, has been instrumental in our success as well as keeping me grounded. We compliment each other very well. My team and staff bought into my vision that I had for my business and we have seen tremendous success because of it. My business mentor, Kenny Markwardt gave me clarity in my vision, weekly action items to keep moving forward with my business plan, and perspective to help me set health expectations. Lastly, my community of patrons that I get to serve on a daily business has made the journey incredibly rewarding. In a relationship based business, it is all about reciprocity and my community has supported us through thick and thin. They are the reason why I do what I do.
Mark Staudt Photography Instagram: @markstaudtphotography Website: markstaudtphotography.com