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Spotlight: 3soteric

How one gym is using MMA to transform your mind and body.

“I decided to be a personal trainer when I was about 12 years old,” recalls Merrick Morlan, owner and founder of 3soteric, an MMA (mixed martial arts) gym. The decision was made while Merrick sat outside the doctor’s office, listening to the doctor speak to his parents about his diagnosis: cystic fibrosis (CF). “The doctor was preparing my parents, saying I probably won’t go to college and might be lucky to live into my late 20s. And that’s when I decided I wanted to be healthy and help others with their health and wellness journey,” says Merrick. 

Merrick took up martial arts when he was young, driven by his CF and his desire to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. (He was 12 after all.) Merrick turned pro, fighting MMA mostly overseas in Thailand and Japan as well as in Las Vegas, before retiring from his professional fighting career and settling down in Minnesota to focus on coaching. “I’ve been coaching since I was 20,” says Merrick. “I was at Lifetime Fitness and enjoyed my time there, but I wanted the ability to be more impactful and be able to really personalize and direct someone's health journey overall.”

And so Merrick opened 3soteric in Mound, using martial arts to transform people’s health, incorporating a three-tiered approach: nourishment, movement, and enlightenment. Learning what to put in your body is vital. Merrick’s wife, Kristi, a naturopathic doctor (ND), operates her medical practice inside the gym, helping members with their nutrition. Through neurogenetic testing and additional lab work, testing hormones, adrenals, high sensitivities, and more, Kristi helps you discover what works for your body and finally understand why certain diets work for your friend but not you. 

At 3soteric, the second tier, movement, is all about moving your body and being mobile throughout your entire life. “Martial arts allows you to use your body at 360 degrees, gaining stability, balance, and agility without damaging your joints,” explains Merrick. The third tier, enlightenment, ensures your mind is engaged. “Workouts can get very boring quickly, turning into part-time jobs where people show up to the gym because they think they have to,” says Merrick. With MMA, you’re always engaged, it’s exciting, and empowering.

“I do teach actual fighters,” says Merrick, “but 90% of 3soteric members are there to improve their health, improve their life. My biggest demographic is moms. Women 35 to 45 years old tend to stick around the longest working out alongside professional fighters.”

MMA can seem intimidating at first. However, Merrick assures you’ll never be thrown in a ring. “I'm going to give you a big giant pillow to beat up, and you’ll learn to hit something big and soft and fun, and there's no way you lose against a pillow. You’re going to have a blast,” says Merrick. No matter what level you’re at, Merrick will personalize your workout and make it a challenge for you. 

“For some, just getting to the gym is a big deal,” says Merrick. This is where Violet the gym cat comes into play. “When you’re on the “Violet program,” seven days a week you come in, spot the cat, and then you can go,” explains Merrick. “I've had people lose 40 pounds in a year, and they're solely showing up to look at the cat. When they show up to find Violet, they’re around the culture, and their mindset changes.”

At 3soteric, Merrick and Kristi have created a strong and supportive community. “We’re like the Cheers of the fitness world,” laughs Merrick. “You feel supported, you're healthier, you're happier, and you're moving in the right direction.” Looking to the future, Merrick hopes to grow membership. “Trying something new can be scary or intimidating,” says Merrick, “but I promise that I will be right beside you to help you along your health and wellness journey.”

  • Merrick and Kristi

We’re like the Cheers of the fitness world. You feel supported, you're healthier, you're happier, and you're moving in the right direction.