31, 6th & 7th grade science teacher
after-school coach, mentor
MMA fighter | Ju Jitsu/strength conditioning coach
Omar Garza is a man of many talents. Splitting his time between teaching middle school science, coaching track, wrestling and UIL science competitions, mentoring an after-school program or training with fellow MMA fighters, he puts busy schedules to shame. Garza accredits his drive to excellent training partners, having a flexible schedule and living up to his father’s example. Having a background in science doesn’t hurt, though.
If you can’t find him at Fit & Fearless, you’ll probably find him at Hays County’s after-school program, “One Cougar at a Time.” It allows responsible members of the community to spend time with lower-income children to set a good example. They prove that goals can be achieved — it just depends on how far you reach.
What sparked your interest in combat sports?
I played a lot of sports in high school, but at UT, I wasn’t big enough to play any Division one-caliber sports. That’s when I tried Krav Maga, a cool hand-to-hand combat system. I continued with wrestling, boxing and Ju-Jitsu. The love for mixed martial arts built a fire in me. Contrary to popular belief, Ju-Jitsu isn’t a “meat-head” sport. It’s very tactical. Like chess, you have to go in with a game plan. The more rules and techniques you know, the better.
What inspires you?
My dad is a hard-working guy. As a boy, I saw the definition of what a man should be: having a good job, working hard and never complaining. He didn’t push me, but he always encouraged me. When I’m tired and unmotivated, I remember that my dad never complained and always persevered. I try to take these things that were given to me and use it to help kids reach their goals — whether academic or athletic.
How do you incorporate science in your coaching and training?
It helps a lot when it comes to diet. For a lot of these combat athletes, they need to understand how your body metabolically operates, how enzymes breaks down certain proteins and carbohydrates as well as how to recover faster. I can teach them train smarter so they can be better. Understanding science helps me understand how to get the neuromuscular system to that breaking limit, albeit making you stronger next time.
How do you keep your students and clients motivated?
You’ve got to have pace-changers to keep the kids occupied. It’s the same idea in training, as well as making things it relevant to your clients.
What do you do for workout recovery?
I like going to Barton Springs. The cold water constricts your blood vessels and pushes all that lactic acid out of your muscles and into your blood stream. It’s like an ice bath.
What does the word “fit” mean to you?
Being fit is being 70 or 80 and still being able to touch your toes, or walking a flight of stairs and not losing your breath. You don’t have to have a Greek Adonis body. To be fit, you have to understand how to eat correctly and take care of yourself. The food you eat isn’t sugary or high in cholesterol. You also need to understand that physical exercise, even for 30 or 45 minutes, benefits your body.
Thank you everyone for vote and nominating our very own Omar Garza as one of Austin’s 10 fittest! Here is the article straight from Austin Fit Magazine.