12:54 PM

Getting to Know UHD Fitness Coordinator John Tricks


By Paige Caldwell

You won’t find University of Houston-Downtown’s (UHD) Fitness Coordinator, John Tricks, clicking his heels together and repeating, “There’s no place like home.”

Donning jeans and cowboy boots, the Kansas native and Houston transplant of one year is settling in just fine with the close-knit environment of UHD.

“UHD is a small community with a family atmosphere,” Tricks noted. “I like being able to know everyone that I pass by on a day-to-day basis.”

His love of fitness is ingrained like the small-town values instilled in him while up growing up in Ellis, Kansas. It was there that he began weightlifting as a teenager. Later, through his undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas, Tricks began his career in athletics as a student worker at the university's recreation center.

He continued to work in this field throughout graduate school and beyond, going on to hold a variety of positions, including at Oklahoma State University, University of Colorado and more recently, Arizona State University.

“I have a very diverse background in the fitness industry,” Tricks said. “I believe that is what helps me to be effective at what I do. When I talk to college students I can guide them, whether they want to work in college athletics, the medical field or the private sector. I’ve seen it and done it. I have the ability to give them insight into a wide variety of occupations in the fitness industry.”

Tricks is also adamant about the positive effects of staying active and what role it can play in the lives of college students. He believes mental and physical health go hand-in-hand, especially for students.

“Having a place designated for students to blow off steam in a social environment that is healthy and safe is necessary for college campuses across the country,” Tricks added. “It reduces stress from jobs, classes and tests, and any outside distractions.”

As fitness coordinator, Tricks oversees any and all health, wellness and fitness events that are offered at UHD. This spring, Sport & Fitness will feature some new programs, including a “Wellness Wednesdays” initiative and a new incentive program to increase participation and motivation. Informative workshops hosted by fitness experts will also be held through out the semester. Learn more about these programs and more on the Sports & Fitness webpage.

“I want to be able to provide unique programs that incentivize our community to help better themselves in any way,” said Tricks.“It is not just physical when it comes to fitness. There are a lot of aspects that are essential to one's overall health. I want to make sure that we are creating opportunities to increase our community’s quality of life.”

As the New Year progresses and fitness goals and resolutions become less of a priority, Tricks offers a few tips to help you stay on track:

  • Do It For You. Improve your fitness for yourself, not for a certain event or another person. Intrinsically, you should want to be healthier.
  • Stay Active. It can be anything as long as it gets you moving. You are much more likely to be successful long-term if the activity is something you enjoy.
  • Eat Less Junk. It is the easiest habit to change, but the hardest to implement. Keep at it.

Check out more ffitness tips from Tricks via this segment on FOX 26.


About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.