Phyllis Cotton


Phyllis Cotton began her fitness journey as an athlete in high school, running and participating in the high jump. Soon after, however, she found herself working and keeping up with the day to day minutiae of life, with fitness falling to the wayside. She began a job doing research at Washington University—a position where she found herself sitting all day every day—and she worked there for 14 years. “Suddenly I weighed 170 pounds,” Phyllis says. “I decided I needed to get out of that job.”

Leaving her research position was the start of Phyllis’ quest to prioritize her health and fitness. She began working as a flight attendant and did Weight Watchers to help her shed the pounds. With the weight finally gone, Phyllis started to run, starting with a half marathon in Kona in 2006. She did more half marathons and began working out with a fitness instructor. She liked her gym but found it to be geared more toward people in their 20s and 30s—not exactly the atmosphere she was looking for. She also noticed that the gym seemed to be more focused on money than on the wellbeing of its members. She needed a change.

Phyllis “stumbled upon” Pursuit Fitness and Performance (PFP) about a year ago and decided to give it a try. “I didn’t think there was a program out there like (PFP owner) Ryan’s,” Phyllis says. “Ryan’s program is the best for me.” Phyllis liked that PFP developed specialized workouts geared toward her age bracket, in contrast to her previous gym. She also liked that PFP could help her work on what she needed to improve, rather than a catch-all weight loss focused gym. “I only weigh 127-128 pounds,” Phyllis says. “So, I don’t need to lose weight. I also know about nutrition and what I should or shouldn’t eat. But stretching, flexibility and balance have been what’s most important to me.” Phyllis has worked on her flexibility and has found that she’s been able to build up her shoulders and arms and tone herself all around. “When I lost weight, I got that loose skin, which is horrible,” Phyllis says. “But it’s been getting so much better!”

Phyllis has been impressed by the knowledge base of the trainers at PFP, particularly with their focus on injury prevention. “Everybody there is friendly and helpful,” Phyllis says. “I’ve never felt out of place. It’s a very warm and inviting group.” She enjoyed her experience at PFP so much, she decided to invite her sister. “She ended up joining,” Phyllis says. “And she’s a cancer survivor! But she’s in better shape than I am!” The sisters like working out together and have made friends with the other PFP members as well. “Ryan will have get-togethers, parties, and fundraisers,” Phyllis says. “They go out of their way to make you feel welcome. It feels like family.”

These days, Phyllis is enjoying a new career as a medical assistant in a radiation oncology doctor’s office. But her experience at PFP has inspired a goal for the next phase of her life when she hits retirement. She’s already purchased a class to become a certified personal trainer herself, with the hope to focus on training senior citizens. “That’s what I want to do, that’s my retirement plan,” Phyllis says. For now, she’s enjoying sticking to her workout routine and staying in shape. “This is the best gym I’ve ever been to. I highly recommend PFP to anybody.”


Favorite exercise: Anything that helps build muscle. I like muscle tone.

Least favorite exercise: Lunges—because of my balance issues.

Career: Medical assistant

Go to healthy meal: Sushi

Morning routine: I get up generally around 5:30 or 6. I have pets, so I feed them and then when I get to work, I have a V-8 a protein drink, coffee and a protein bar. I also take Dr. Josh Ax multi collagen and powdered greens. I try to do a lot of protein. I eat a lot of fish and seafood or sometimes chicken.

Hobbies: I do animal rescue, primarily parrots and cats. I was one of the founders of Star Avian Rescue and was the president/board member of the Gateway Parrot Club. Currently, I own ten birds!