‘Work Out New York’ gay trainer Courtney Paul knows how to make you keep your New Year’s resolutions
With the holidays now behind us — both literally and figuratively — many will resume temporarily abandoned efforts to improve diet and fitness. Perhaps you have resolved to lose a few extra pounds, or maybe you simply have hesitated to get back into the gym. In either case, Courtney Paul — an out celebrity fitness trainer and one of the stars of Bravo’s new reality series Work Out New York — offers several timely tips to get us on track for better health in 2016.
Like many, you may find yourself bored with your normal exercise routine. Or, you may simply need a little assistance in mustering workout excitement. As a fitness fatigue remedy, Paul suggests shaking things up. He believes finding motivation can be as easy as picking up a new fitness magazine.
“You need to change the way you think,” Paul says. “For me, when I get a fitness magazine, it will help give me new ideas or new workouts that I haven’t done in a while. Sometimes you’ll get in a rut and you’ll do the same movements all the time. That is one way you can get out of your normal, basic routine, and it will help motivate you.”
Paul also recommends seeking out trendy fitness boutiques for a new and challenging change of pace. In fact, many find that working out with others can be motivating. Paul suggests enrolling in boot camp or joining a spin class to renew exercise enthusiasm.
“Right now, fitness studios are the hot thing,” Paul says. “There’s SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, Orangetheory and Flywheel. Whenever you try something different with a new technique or method, it will also help motivate you to get off your fucking couch and get that ass moving.”
To maintain motivation, Paul suggests writing down a long-term goal and short-term goals. The long-term goal is your fitness destination, complete with an arrival time. Short-term goals are congratulatory milestones to keep you going.
“Without a goal, it’s just a wish,” Paul says, “and that wish may not happen unless you write it down. You’ve got to have a goal with a certain deadline. That’s the only way that will work.”
Once your fitness plan is underway, don’t even consider cheating. “Would you cheat on me?” the handsome Paul quips with a smile, likening cheating on a fitness plan to betraying a significant other. As you accomplish short-term goals, Paul recommends treating yourself to something materialistic rather than rewarding yourself with food or beer or wine. For example, buy yourself jeans, a shirt and shoes, then make these items a part of your wardrobe when you treat yourself to a trip after achieving your long-term goal.
“The cheat-meal only sets you back, especially with diet,” Paul counsels. “We are all human. We all love to have drinks and food and to eat. But at a certain time, your taste buds will change. I am on a clean diet right now, and there are certain things I do not want to eat. I do not go for the cheat meal or the cheat diet or the cheat drinks. Whenever you cheat, it is only robbery from your results that you could have gotten sooner.”
Perhaps you have heard the mantra: rest is as important as reps. Muscles need adequate rest to aid in growth and strengthening. Over time, shortchanging yourself on down time can exact a physical toll. Paul suggests blocking out recovery time, no matter how busy your day may be.
“If your body is tired, you need to rest,” Paul says. “Let’s just say your body is a machine. If a machine has been running and running, it does not perform as well. Sometimes you have to unplug it. Let it cool down. Let it recharge for it to be better. You need certain sleep for your body to recuperate. If your body doesn’t recuperate, there is more chance of injury.”
Paul is quick to dispel a couple of popular misconceptions that might derail your renewed fitness journey. For example, he warns against falling for the “no pain, no gain” workout theory. In fact, the fitness guru recommends paying attention to pain and then altering your workout accordingly to avoid harm.
“That’s the number one myth that I hate,” Paul says. “If there is pain, that’s your body’s way of saying stop. You have to listen to your body. If you don’t listen to your body with the small messages, it will send you a larger message and a larger message and it will make you stop. The bigger message will be an injury.”
Another popular gym myth is the belief that you are not exercising hard enough unless you work up a big sweat. The truth, however, is that wetter doesn’t always mean better. Sweat is more a function of genetics than it is an indicator of accomplishment.
“Some people just are sweaters,” Paul says. “I don’t sweat that much. I could be killing you in the gym. And people are like, ‘You are not even working out!’ Just because you don’t sweat that much, doesn’t mean that you aren’t training as hard.”
Finally, Paul counsels against hesitation. You are the only obstacle to achieving the results you desire. You have only one body, after all, so take care of it by making informed decisions … even if that means seeking a trainer’s advice.
“When you hesitate on going to the gym, you are hesitating on your own results,” Paul says. “When you hesitate on making the right decision like cooking your meals or going the healthier route, it’s pushing your results out even further. And if you cannot pick the right road, that’s when a personal trainer comes into play. That’s when we help.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 8, 2016.