Get Ready #withVIRTUE: Phyl London
In our Get Ready #withVIRTUE series we go behind-the-scenes with inspiring people to get to know them (and their routines) better!
What’s your wakeup ritual? I am not a morning person. I set my alarm for an hour before I need to leave for work. Before I get out of bed, I check my messages to see if I have any last minute changes to my Pilates/Training schedule and spend a few minutes replying to emails and checking social media. My go-to breakfast is oatmeal with flax & chia seeds, blueberries, and a dollop of yogurt, with a huge 20 oz coffee. One of the benefits working at an all women’s gym allows me to only need to spend 5 minutes refreshing my hair, bronzing my face and applying a few coats of mascara before biking to work.
What’s your go to bed ritual? During the week I like to simplify my morning routine, by preparing my clothes, coffee and breakfast the night before. This ensures that I can be up and out the door as efficiently as possible. Once I’m ready for the following day, I light a candle and catch up on my favorite night time shows. I also have a pretty religious evening anti-aging skincare routine. I wash, tone and moisturize my face every night and a few times a week I micro needle and use radio frequency to keep my skin healthy and youthful. Since getting a good 8-10 hours of sleep every night is a priority for me, I try to power off all screens about 30 minutes before bed, listen to relaxing music or guided meditation to unwind and use lavender scented body butter to promote relaxation before sleep.
How do you define beauty? While the term “beauty” normally suggests physical appearance, I think of beauty as a reflection of inner wellbeing. Being strong, healthy, positive and balanced in my body and relationships makes me feel beautiful and it’s something that I encourage my clients to focus on in our work together. Being beautiful truly starts with loving yourself unconditionally first and then you can apply that to all other relationships in your life. My clients value this brief and it shows when they refer their teenage daughters to work with me.
Blow dry or air dry? As with most people, my hair has changed over the years. I used to be able to air-dry my naturally curly hair, but years of highlighting took its toll, the damage weakened my curls and my hair had severe breakage. In the last couple of years, I have been in the habit of blow drying and then I use a curling wand to create loose curls. Fortunately, my workouts consist mostly of Pilates and I don’t sweat that much, so with a little Virtue Refresh Dry Shampoo I can get away with only washing my hair 1x a week. Since I started using Virtue 2 years ago, my hair feels and looks noticeably healthier, is finally growing and now I have the option to air-dry and enjoy my natural curls as well.
What is your ‘Stranded on a desert island’ hair product? I want to say my curling iron, but since there may not be a place to plug it in… I would choose Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask to nourish my hair. This will ensure that my hair is well hydrated and still looks great in a messy, curly bun!
Vintage or new? Vintage absolutely! I have the good fortune of receiving a lot of new products and gear from the fitness brands I work with so I tend to favor vintage when shopping for myself. I love the thrill of the hunt while searching for rare finds on eBay, one of them a vintage Gucci makeup bag, that I use as my favorite clutch.
Hair up or hair down? You would think as a fitness professional, my answer would be up, but I actually prefer to wear my hair down. I have very fine, dry, thin hair that breaks easily, so I try to wear it down whenever possible. Since starting Virtue 2 years ago, the Split End Serum has helped heal and strengthen my hair and I am able to wear it up in a messy bun more regularly.
Heels or Sneakers? FLIP FLOPS! I know, you’d expect a trainer to say sneakers, but I actually only wear sneakers when I am strength training. Even though I live in the Northeast and we have freezing cold winters, I can usually be found in flip flops and when it gets too cold, I add in a pair of leg warmers.
Haircut/style you love but are too scared to try? Extensions, but extensions would require healthy hair as a starting point. While I love the idea of adding beautiful long layers, I’ve always hesitated for fear that they would damage my already fine hair and be difficult to take care of. Fortunately, as my hair has started to strengthen and become healthier, I’m feeling more confident about taking the leap. Perhaps this summer….
Style icon? Charlize Theron. She is strong, confident, classic and elegant.
Three things you can’t live without? My support system (family/friends/clients), sleep, and my career.
If you made a documentary, what would it be about? Those who know me have often said if my daily life was filmed, it would be the best reality television show. A “40-something” sharing hilarious dating experiences (including auditioning for the bachelor), interesting client workout stories (boy do I have a ton), adventures in decorating my house with furniture that I drag in off the street (sometimes recruiting friends and strangers to help me) and other random what my boss calls “Phylisms.” There is never a dull moment in my life and I believe many people would be entertained with this series.
Best gift you’ve ever given? My clients say that my passion for wellness is infectious so I hope that is a gift that I have given to each of them.
Most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life? I competed in the national Fit or Flop online fitness competition in 2013. It required that I put my years of study, practice, and work before a panel of judges and ultimately a national audience, to the test. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was fortunate to win the competition, earned the title of America’s Next Best Fitness Star and enjoyed my brief bit of fame on a Times Square billboard. It wasn’t skydiving, but for a while, it sure felt like it!
What is your most favorite thing about yourself? My loyalty to loved ones.
Describe yourself in a hashtag? #fitforlife
Window or aisle seat? Window so I can sleep during my flight or car ride.
If you had one superpower, what would it be? Flying! It would allow me to spend less time traveling and more time with my friends, family, dog and yes…. sleeping!
What is your go-to Karaoke song? Straight Up by Paula Abdul. I have to admit that although I go to karaoke with my friends all the time, I rarely go up and sing. While I loved to dance and perform as a kid, I developed a bit of stage fright as an adult. In February, “Phylism” - I actually practiced several songs one night in preparation for our next Karaoke night. I am proud to say I performed 4 songs, of course dragging my friends up with me. Next time I have to try Cyndi Lauper’s, Time After Time!
What is the last text you sent? “Yes, I can’t wait.” was the text exchanged with my boss Molly, about dog sitting for her dog Lady.
On a scale of one to ten how excited are you about life right now? Life has its ups and downs. I am always working towards a 10! This year, I am still in the process of grieving my beloved 15 year old chocolate lab Sadie. She taught me about unconditional love and although she is not here physically, her spirit will remain with me for the rest of my life. I am forever grateful for having her in my life and although this has been a really difficult time, I am blessed to have the support of a loving community of friends, clients and family.
Who is your hero? My mother, She is my inspiration and my rock. She is always there for me when I need her and is the strongest woman I know.
What’s inspiring you in life right now? I have worked for over 20 years to develop a successful career focused on fitness and wellness. What inspires me is planning community fitness events to share my passion and educate about fitness. I love creating an empowered fitness community where women connect, support one another and lift each other up every day. I teach and train full-time at Healthworks and I partner with Athleta to plan fitness events with complimentary workouts, brand promotions, shopping and networking. It is a great way to build relationships in the community and meet new people.
Best advice you’d give your teenage self? Keep practicing the piano!
What would you like to be remembered for? I would like to be remembered as a loyal, funny and dedicated friend, trainer and partner.
What are your favorite Virtue products and why? I rotate ALL the products, but my go-to items are the Virtue’s Smooth shampoo/conditioner and Restorative Treatment Mask. While still in the shower, I layer and comb in a nickel-size amount of the Split End Serum, Un-frizz Cream and then 6-in-1 Styler into my wet hair. Then I blow dry, let the hair cool and use a curling iron to create loose curls. To refresh my hair over the next few days, I use Virtue Refresh Dry Shampoo and spray a little bit of Lifting Powder at the roots. I find that in order to prolong a blowout, what works best for me is to layer the products while my hair is wet and then use as little product as possible on dry hair throughout the week.