Kirsten King is to pilates what Oprah is to motivational speeches; she’s the person. The force behind Fluidform Pilates studio in Sydney’s Waterloo has practised the workout for nearly two decades, helping to hone the bods of Jesinta Franklin, Georgia Fowler and P.E. Nation’s Pip Edwards.
Demand for a spot at her studio has led to the creation of a second Fluidform space, which opens in Clovelly on 21st July 2018. Not bad considering King was teaching classes out of her home just a few years ago.
“I think [having a second studio] has definitely been a vision lately but, back then, I don’t think it was,” she admits. “I just loved pilates, I loved teaching and I loved helping people, and so I always knew I would do that.”
This girl from the Goldie is a firm believer in the mental power of her craft – “Pilates makes you feel good immediately. It’s that hour of continuous moving with breathing involved; it almost acts as a form of meditation” – as well as the physical gains it can bring. “The change I saw in my body moving to an exercise program that was purely about leaning your muscles out, stretching your body out and toning you … the best body I’ve ever had is a pilates body.”
Ahead of hosting a workout for the first ever Women’s Health Celeb Sweats event in Sydney, King shares her pilates philosophy and why we can all benefit from getting our stretch on.
How did you originally get into pilates?
I first got into it through a knee injury when I was doing loads of running, and I started it as rehab. I was hooked from the beginning, really. It’s becoming more and more popular as a method of exercise that can be done on its own, but I think a lot of people start that journey through injury or the need to strengthen their core.
You used to be a dancer. What other sports have you tried?
I played touch football growing up, and netball. I’ve always been very active. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found there are certain exercises that suit certain people more than others, and pilates really resonated with me.
What’s your teaching philosophy?
I’m a really big believer in functional movement. Whether you’re recovering from injury, have recently had a baby or have an injury, my aim is to enable you to move in a strong, fluid way. All the exercises we do at Fluidform will help you gain that inner core strength that'll help you improve your posture and just give you a better outlook on life because you’re stronger ... you’re more able. Happy body, happy mind. We believe that’s the heart of wellness.
Is that something you felt when you first started pilates?
Yeah definitely. It’s probably evolved a lot. I’ve taught a lot of bodies now – I’ve rehabbed some very injured people, I’ve taught some very sick people, and the best form of recovery or the best drug for them is their own natural endorphins. It’s also not uncommon for one in three of my clients to have some form of mental health [issue], and movement and exercise giving them a strong body gives them confidence. They feel great and it just really helps with their own mental strength.
What's your new Clovelly studio like?
I’d been looking for about 12 months for a space, and a great location came up with beautiful natural light, the right size … the timing was just perfect. There’s a private space that will take one instructor and three clients, then there are two bigger studios – one that has five reformers and five wonder chairs in it, so that’s our large equipment studio, and that will take classes from 6-8:30am every day. There’s also a small equipment space, where classes will run on the same timetable – in that space you’ll use bosu and swiss balls, ankle weights, sliders, hand weights.
You have three kids, too. What helps when you feel you can’t do it all?
I’ve got a pretty strong mind. I think that’s probably my biggest strength is my ability to power on, even when I am exhausted. And so what do I do? It might be a quiet night at home with the girls; it might be a Saturday afternoon or Sunday where we’ll just stay at home as a family. You know, just lay low. I’m not someone who needs a big social life or massive social interaction, because I’m with people all day, every day.
How else has pilates transformed your life?
Well, it fixed my knee. It’s also allowed me to have three very quick, pain-free, drug-free labours. I credit that to pilates – having a good pelvic floor, a strong body, knowing how to breathe, having a strong mind. I also get a lot of satisfaction from teaching people and helping people with their life. That allows me to be happy and obviously if I’m happy, I’m a better mum, I’m a better person.