Kirstie has been a beloved member of our Studio B community for almost two years and has completed over 250 classes with us! We were sad when, last June, she moved away to Vancouver with her husband, who matched to UBC for his medical residency but were so happy she continued working out with us virtually so we could see her lovely face on screen during class! Get to know more about this warm-hearted, hard-working smarty pants (she's currently finishing her Master’s in Physical Therapy and a PhD in cancer and exercise at the University of Alberta) below!
How did you get introduced to Studio B?
I was first introduced to Studio B two and a half years ago when my long-time friend Claire (and kick butt barre instructor) mentioned that she thought barre was something I would enjoy. I love trying new exercise classes, and I was hooked after one class.
How has barre impacted you?
I think my answer is really how has barre NOT impacted me?! I have a physio background, and I am picky about proper form and cuing. Studio B is spot on with amazing instructors and class flow that covers a full body workout, without compromising form. I love the barre community, and how many of the instructors and members have become friends. I had a severe nerve injury to one of my leg road biking in 2012, and had struggled for years to find exercise that I love as much as biking. Barre challenges me every single time, and has been very therapeutic in healing the relationship between my mind and my body. The second the music starts, it is just me and what I bring to the barre. It has been such a positive experience!
When we shut down in March due to Covid, you hopped online with us immediately to participate in our live ZOOM classes. How did continuing your fitness routine virtually with us affect you?
When the pandemic started, it was such a shock to my- and I think everyone’s- routines. I have always found exercise to be super grounding and stress relieving. At the start of lockdown in March, it was still too cold to consistently exercise outside (hello Edmonton winter). The first time I logged onto a virtual class and saw everyone’s faces, I felt so comforted and happy to be able to see the people who had been a part of my life every week for the past few years. It was an amazing way to connect and not feel alone, and relieve some of the immense stress the pandemic had brought. The Zoom messages on the ‘chat’ after class, and seeing everyone smiling and waving was so uplifting. My husband and our physio roommate even joined in a few classes…and complained for days after about how sore they were! The Zoom classes became a “regular” activity I could do that made me feel connected and a part of a community, surviving lockdown together.
You are a Studio B On Demand member. What made you decide to join our new platform?
Right before I moved, Megan mentioned they were launching an online platform in the fall. I was so excited to have another option to connect with the studio. I love the flexibility of being able to pick any type of class I want, at any time. As I am sure all of us have experienced now, working from home has the perk of being flexible – but can also be very isolating and anxiety inducing. I love being able to hop on a class whenever I need a mental break. The modifications for home equipment options are so great, and it has been such a positive way to feel grounded in this weird new normal of always sitting and starting at a screen. Haha now I get to move and get my sweat on while staring at a screen, a much better option!
What are your favourite workout videos on Studio BOD?
I actually think my favorite aspect is the variety. If I am feeling tired and stiff, a B Core Flow is my go-to. If I have ants in my pants and need to really sweat, a B Bold or HIIT class will definitely hit the spot. The express workout section is also great, especially if I have some time in-between meetings and just want a quick burn.
What motivates you to workout?
There is SO much societal pressure to look a certain way, amplified by social media platforms giving us a snap shot of someone else’s edited, filtered and posed photos. In the past few years, I have transitioned from working out to ‘look’ a certain way, to working out to feel good and listening to my body. Studio B is so great in promoting body positivity, and has been so helpful in this journey of accepting my body and challenging me to have a healthy mindset towards exercise. I am motivated to workout so I can do the activities I love, like hiking, running and biking here on the west coast, and to just to feel good. I have noticed that my mood is so much better in dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty that the pandemic has brought if I am regularly moving.
Favourite barre exercise or series?
Haha why is it that I think right away of the series that I LEAST like (a never-ending chair series right after a leg heavy cardio). I would have to say a good standing butt-buster series is my favorite. Most of the exercises in this series are foundational physio exercises for stabilizing your hips and your core (yay fire hydrant), and are so important in protecting your knees and providing an efficient energy transfer between your upper and lower body. Can I get a shout out to glut med? No matter how many times I do this series, it never gets easier!
Other than barre, what other types of exercising or activities do you do?
The west coast here gives some good views with exercising! I love running and biking on the seawall. Nothing beats the Stanley Park loop with the salty ocean breeze on your face. I also love snowboarding and cross country skiing- if you want your cardio to be humbled, just jump on a pair of cross country skis!
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I am currently finishing a combined degree of a Master’s in Physical Therapy and a PhD in cancer and exercise at the University of Alberta. Huge nerd alert over here. I love seeing how exercise can be used through rehabilitation to help give someone their life back after cancer and cancer related treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Our bodies are so resilient, and individuals with cancer are my heroes in their determination and positivity in fighting through such a challenging disease.
Favourite way to treat yourself?
I would say nothing beats the largest latte I can find with a book and some good people watching. Haha, yes, I am that person who creepily stares from the window of a coffee shop. I also just discovered Nordic spas in the last few years, and they are my absolute favorite no matter the time of year. Although snow falling while you are cozied up in a warm robe with a heated hammock may be absolute heaven.
Favourite movie and book of all time?
I know this is an oldie, but You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan is one of my all-time favorites. I still watch it with a cup of tea whenever I am sick. Favorite book? Definitely Harry Potter. The first book came out when I started Jr. High, and I feel like I grew up with Harry throughout the years. That series will always hold a special place in my heart.
Favourite place you’ve traveled to?
You guys ask hard questions! I would have to say Egypt, although Turkey is a close second! Waking up to the sunrise on your face floating in a boat along the Nile, or climbing through a tunnel in the Pyramids of Giza was so surreal. The history of Egypt is so breathtaking, and I could have spent days in Cairo at the Egyptian Museum looking at the artifacts uncovered in the ancient tombs.
What are you watching (or have last watched) on Netflix?
I am currently re-watching Schitt’s Creek, just finished The Queen’s Gambit, and am now onto the new season of The Crown. I am obsessed with all three. Please say other people are binging on Netflix as much as I am right now?
What is your favourite quote?
I pretty much love everything Ruth Bader Ginsburg has ever said. One of my favorite quotes from her is “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”