Like most of us, I’ve been exercising using at-home online classes instead of the gym. I was JUST getting into boxing, pilates and HIIT training before coronavirus shut everyone down, and I wanted to to keep my two tickets to the gun show, if you get me.

So since lockdown I’ve been working out daily, just 30 minute classes each morning. Sometimes I’ll go for a run, but for the most part I’ve been using Fit1, FluidForm Pilates and Nike’s (free!) Train App.

I do pilates the most, because frankly my ass is a pancake and sitting down 24 hours a day now is not doing it any favours. Which means the majority of my exercise face time has been with Kirsten King, founder of FluidForm Pilates and host of all their online workout videos.

Kirsten is like, the sunshiniest ray of sunshine ever. She is PERMANENTLY happy during every minute of every workout – even though she speaks to you as she does the moves, even when you’ve collapsed on the floor in sheer glute agony.

Each workout opens with her smiling at you through the camera, saying welcome to FluidForm At Home, and explaining the workout and which areas it will target. My sister and I have started saying “hiiiii, Kirsten” back at the screen each morning.

As I do the workout, I find myself yelling “fuck you, Kirsten!” and calling the poor woman a psychopath because she feels another ten reps on my already burning thighs are worth a go. I get really mad at her in a way you never can in an actual group class. It’s quite cathartic to yell at your pilates teacher when they can’t, you know, hear you and get really upset by it.

At other times, I say “oh thanks Kirsten, I needed that stretch” when she lets me do a reach over the back of my swiss ball after a particularly hard set of crunches. Again – I’d never be in a class going “omg yeeeeesssss what a streeeetch” like I do at home, because it sounds creepily sexual even when you don’t mean it to.

By the end of the workout, I’ve forgiven Kirsten for all her psychopathic reps. She is my Fitness Mum again. I love her. I feel like we are on a journey toward not-pancake asscheeks together. She is the spirit guide, I’m the lowly follower thankful for her guidance.

I ALWAYS thank her at the end before shutting my laptop down and going to find the Weet-Bix. ALWAYS. By the end of a workout, it feels rude not to.

My sister and I were discussing during a post-workout stretch sesh (conducted, of course, by Our Lord Of Abs Kirsten) what Kirsten’s life is like. The most we get through the workout videos is – she really likes Lululemon activewear (same) and she has a HUGE engagement ring that you can sometimes spot (not same).

So I figured I’d go get more info from Instagram. She doesn’t have a personal account, but she uploads some personal stuff to the FluidForm account. She has three cute little kids. She hangs out with Pip Edwards a lot. She’s just as eternally smiley and warm on IG as she is in the workout videos.

I was thinking about this chaotic energy I have right now, and I think the reason I feel so unhingedly connected to Kirsten King is because aside from my sister and parents, who I am currently living with, I see her face the most regularly. Sure, I’m having video chats with friends and work colleagues. But every morning, Kirsten is there to guide me through a workout.

Also, trainers are always so NICE. I mean sometimes they’re terrifying. But pilates instructors are usually more the warm, nurturing type of presence. We’re all stuck in isolation, interacting with people far less than we’re used to. Maybe having this nice, supportive person encouraging you to do ONE more horrible rep every day is a form of human kindess? I don’t know.

It also must relate somewhat to the general relationship we develop with personal trainers and group trainers when we go to the gym. These people put us in a hyper-vulnerable state, guide us through the worst bits, and we leave feeling fucking terrific. It’s natural we’d bond with them in some superficial way. Why would it be any different just because their presence is through our laptop?

Kirsten, if you’re reading this (OMG IMAGINE) just know I consider you an IRL friend now because self-isolation has finally tipped me into the deep end.

And thanks for my abs, by the way.