"As athletes, we're used to reacting quickly. Here, it's 'come, stop, come, stop.' There's a lot of downtime. That's the toughest part of the day."
Iron Sports is owned and operated by the Sann family. Sam has been in fitness industry for more than 20 years. Sam takes health and fitness to a new level with his creative ingenuity and design of Iron Sports. Sam came to the United States after four long years of running and hiding during “The Rendezvous with Death” which was a time that spanned the years from 1975 to 1979 during the Cambodian Communist Revolution. Sam, his grandmother and one of his sisters literally walked the countryside keeping one step ahead of the Communists and staying alive by eating snakes, insects and anything that could be foraged staving off death though suffering from malnutrition. After the four long years and finally meeting up with his father, a Red Cross sponsor was found and Sam and his family found themselves in the 3rd Ward of Houston. Out of the family of 4 boys and 2 girls only Sam and his sister Paulette were left.
Sam attended Fleming Middle School in the 5th Ward, the Law Enforcement High School of HISD and then enrolled at Westfield High School in Spring, Texas as a sophomore. At Westfield, Sam ran cross country and track. To help support himself and his family during his high school years, Sam worked as a sacker at the Randall’s Food Store on Veteran’s Memorial, at Costa’s Gym and doing automotive touch up in the summers. After high school, Sam followed the manager of Costa’s to Bally’s President and First Lady Fitness Club at North Shepherd where he became a “fitness instructor”. He then moved to the 290 location where he became a personal trainer. Sam also studied to become a massage therapist. In 1992 he met his wife and business partner, Gabby, at a Burger King where she worked and Sam frequently came to eat. Gabby had also emigrated to the United Sates from Reynosa, Mexico. When Gabby first saw Sam in the Burger King, she told her friends that “she was going to marry that cute Asian boy”. And they did marry in 1993 and to this union came their daughter Amber in 2000. Together they founded Shear Concepts Salon at 1960 and Cutten Road after Sam earned his Cosmetology license in 1996 while working for a time at Cruz and David’s.
Sam and Gabby have moved their shop and have worked day and night to renovate both the hair salon and the newly added Iron Sports Gym (formerly Intense Fitness). They have done everything themselves with the help of their community of friends and family. Devoted to this country which he loves more than anything, he continues to give back every day by volunteering at Houston North Gymnastics training the young students in gymnastics which he hopes will thank the sponsor who brought him to the sport and to the Houston YMCA after his immigration. In addition, he volunteers to train the young men and women at Stone Moves Rock Climbing Gym. Sam can be found on his few free weekends taking groups to such places as Enchanted Rock and many other camping facilities where they can camp and climb. He also trains them in his gym.