The 5 Things You’re Doing Wrong at the Gym


There’s a reason Courtney Paul is consistently ranked among the most popular fitness instructors and was tapped by Bravo for an upcoming reality show. He gives 100 percent every time he leads a workout and his tough-love approach (he once told me no one will have sex with me if I don’t stop texting and start working out) has been credited with changing countless bodies. Given his no-nonsense approach to fitness, we asked him to give us the scoop on the five things people do at the gym that are a waste of time.

The Basic/Below Average

Walking on a treadmill under 3.5 mph. For most people, 3.5 mph is a basic walk, but if your speed drops lower than a basic walk, you are doing yourself a great disservice.

The Phone Lift

Talking on the phone or texting while you are supposed to be focused on taking yourself to the next level will not change your body for the better. Facebook, Instagram and the guy you just met can wait until your fitness upgrade is complete. The more you misuse your time in the gym, the longer it will take you to reach your goals.

The Pose and Ponytail Wrap

Checking yourself out in the mirror, taking selfies and tying to fix your hair a thousand times does not burn calories, but it will drop your heart rate and distract you from your workout. When you are training, it is very important to keep your heart rate up. You burn more calories with an elevated heart rate than you do by taking constant breaks, so don’t break more than 30 to 45 seconds per rep between sets.

The Spontaneous

You should never go to the gym without a plan of action. Without a plan, we all tend to fall in a rut, doing the same favorite movements, which for some can be the easiest movements. If you feel as though you are in a rut or reaching a plateau, you should do a few of the following: take a fitness class that challenges you, work with a personal trainer who can teach you new tricks and exercises, find a workout partner who can motivate you or pick up a fitness magazine with articles and movements that can bring new life to your stale workout.

The Promise

Promising yourself that you will eat better. Promising yourself you will train harder. Promising yourself that you will take that spin/yoga/bootcamp class. Promising yourself and not following through is the biggest waste of time and energy. If you cannot follow through with something you promise yourself, how can you be reliable for anything else? Don’t be basic! Turn it all the way up and get the body you promised yourself.

As a group exercise and celebrity trainer, I believe that if you use your time wisely in the gym, every and all movements have a purpose, as long as the form is correct and the execution is with fire. Use your time in the gym wisely. Turn the phones off, leave them in the locker and promise yourself 45 minutes of the most focused workout known to man and watch how over time your body and fitness rises to the next level!