Tonal: How Paul Wright and Coach A.I. are Upping the Strength Training Game
A founding Tonal Coach and Rhone Ambassador, Paul Wright, has an extensive background in personal training. We asked Paul to share his fitness journey and what led him to Tonal—the world's most intelligent home gym. He's best known for his explosive power workouts that take strength training to the max.
What inspired your journey into physical fitness?
I’ve always been athletic. My parents valued health and movement so they encouraged me to play sports year-round—swimming, karate, soccer, baseball, basketball, and later on, football. These team sports not only kept me busy, they helped me develop the physical, emotional, and mental skills to be a strong, well-rounded person. It was important to my parents—both immigrants from Jamaica—that I grow up to be the best man that I could be.
At age 16, I decided to drop my other sports and focus solely on football. My football talent eventually led me to a Division 1 scholarship where I played overseas in Germany, Poland, and Serbia. I traveled a lot during this time, experiencing different cities and cultures, all while getting paid to play the sport I loved.
When did you realize that you wanted to become a fitness professional?
After playing football, my first trainer job was at a big box gym: Crunch Fitness. I worked my way up there and eventually transitioned into leading my own small-group training at various outdoor parks. My next trainer role was at Barry’s Bootcamp. The fast-paced, big-group atmosphere of 40-50 people per class got me comfortable motivating large crowds. It was during this time that I felt a shift, as if my skills as a coach, leader, and trainer were all coming together in a new way.
I didn’t have access to a gym before I became a trainer, so I found inspiration in my surrounding environment, using benches, swings, poles and more to exercise. I’d share these fitness experiments on Instagram to show others there’s no limit to the ways you can move. My followers know this about me—I’m constantly challenging myself with new, innovative ways to stay fit. I suppose it’s only fitting I was so intrigued by Tonal.
How did you start your relationship with Tonal?
Tonal discovered me on Instagram. I was intrigued by its creative possibilities—anything that can be done with cable machines, dumbbells, or barbells can be done with Tonal in your home. Its ability to transform people’s lives is truly limitless.
What is your favorite part about working out with Tonal?
My favorite part about Tonal is its intelligence—its Coach A.I. gets to know you and interacts with you just like a real-life personal trainer would. The more you strength train, the stronger you get, so Coach A.I. adjusts the weight as you go. It’s really motivating when you see how much you improve over time.
Another game-changer is the “on/off” feature of the digital weights. For someone who likes to go heavy with big compound lifts, now you can get in position easily and safely with the weight “off.” Once you’re ready, you can turn the weight “on” by pressing the Smart Handles. That’s it. Tonal also keeps tabs on your performance like a spotter, temporarily lowering your weights if you’re struggling.
How would you describe the workouts you’ve built for Tonal?
All of the Tonal workouts and programs are created by coaches like me with years of combined experience. All nine of us have our specific areas of expertise, from yoga to high-intensity; for example, I'm the “athlete” coach who inspires you to push past your limits. If you’re someone new to strength training, we have beginner formats to get you started. Wherever you are in your fitness journey, we have a workout for you.
That’s what I love most about Tonal—it’s everything you need to unleash the best version of yourself. And I’m here to help you every rep of the way.