This month, we’re putting a spotlight on a member of our fitness and wellness team, Chirs Slocum—a versatile personal trainer and fitness instructor who’s dedicated to teaching people of all ages how to train smart. We sat down with Chris to ask him about his philosophy on health and wellness, his life outside of the gym, and why he thinks tacos are the ultimate breakfast food.

Q: What inspired you to start a career in fitness training?

When I was in high school, my baseball coach would tell us to hit the weight room. Me being an inquisitive person, I’d ask him what we needed to do once we got in there, and he’d say, “Don’t get smart with me”. My teammates and I didn’t know what we should be doing, so we’d go in the weight room and read the newspaper. As I got older, I realized if young athletes learn the proper technique and form when they’re younger, they’d have that knowledge for the rest of their lives—they’d never have to relearn it. I started my career in fitness as a strength and conditioning specialist and wanted to help high school athletes transition into college athletics. Working with pro athletes was just pure luck.

Do you have a training philosophy?

My philosophy is simple…train smart. I use a progressive approach, where one movement is mastered before moving to a more advanced movement. My training focuses on mobility and strength, as limited mobility is a major cause of pain.

What’s your favorite thing about working at the J?

Honestly, the members–especially my clients. I hit the lottery with them, they’re all absolutely awesome. I have a strong connection to this community and I’ve felt this way since the day I started working here.

What’s your best health tip?

Invert your breakfast and your dinner—I just tell people to try it, and they usually say it works for them. Americans eat wrong, breakfast in America is dessert. After you deprive your body of sleep all night, anything you eat turns to fat— and because you get more calories from a gram of fat than you do from a gram of carbs, it’s a better fuel source for your body. Switching dinner for breakfast will give you more calories and protein to keep you fuller, longer, and it will naturally boost your energy level in the morning without relying on coffee…seriously, I’ve only had about four cups of coffee in my whole life and they probably had Bailey’s in them.

So what’s your favorite dinner food to eat for breakfast?

Tacos.

What about your favorite guilty pleasure food?

Cookies. I love cookies, doesn’t matter what kind. Hopefully this interview will encourage people to bring me cookies.

How do you spend your free time?

I’m a total music junkie, I try to go to at least one concert a week and I play the bass. I’m also a big hiker and camper.

Is there an exercise you think everyone should be doing more of?

Lunges or split squats, they’re both similar movements that get results. The most common thing I find people have trouble with is impaired glute function—our glute muscles weaken when we sit on them all day at our jobs, which can make everyday tasks like walking up stairs and using the restroom difficult, especially as we get older. For both exercises, keep your chest forward, move straight up and down, and never let your knee extend past your toe.

What’s your favorite workout accessory?

A dumbbell and I’m not even kidding. You can literally do anything with a dumbbell…ask my clients.