I don’t know about you but coronavirus lockdown has already shown me that some of the things I considered essential just a couple of weeks ago really aren’t essential after all. For instance, I always felt a lunchtime walk out of the office to choose from endless overpriced artisan-garnished sandwich, soup or sushi options to be my inalienable right as a worker. Now, I take two strides from my laptop at the kitchen table to the fridge to see what random leftovers I can rustle up to pass as ‘lunch’ for two work from home parents and two remote learning teenagers, plate it up, eat and wash up. And I’m fine with that.
On the other hand, some things that felt like luxuries now turn out to be essential. And top of that list is a proper exercise class. My favourite classes at Frame – reformer pilates, religiously, and barre – have been key to me staying healthy and sane for years, and already the online classes have become an essential part of my stay-at-home life. In theory, I have been doing these movements long enough that I should know all the exercises by heart and shouldn’t really need Ben telling me to zip in my ribs in during pilates or Charles reminding me to pinch my shoulder blades together down my back during barre, but show me someone with the discipline to stick to a full 45 minutes of full-intensity exercise with nothing for company but a yoga mat without getting distracted every time WhatsApp beeps and I’ll show you someone who is definitely not me.
The style bar is always high at a Frame studio – you are a Framer, ergo you have good taste, after all – and what you wear to exercise at home might seem irrelevant. All you really need, functionally, is a sports bra. But unless you live alone, you are sharing your space pretty much all day long, and your flatmate may not feel that jumping jacks in your heart-print pyjama bottoms set the ideal mood when she is trying to write a powerpoint presentation. Also, as we said before, exercise isn’t just about staying healthy – it’s also about staying sane. And being able to look at your reflection in the mirror without cringing helps preserve self-respect. That is just a fact.
So before you unroll your mat, get dressed for class. Leggings and a sports bra are ideal: being a little chilly when you start your workout will incentivise you to do those high-knees properly. And if it’s 8.30 by the time you’re ready to work out and your first Zoom meeting is at 9.30, you have time to do a 45 minute class, put a shirt or sweater on with your leggings, do a 5 minute hair-and-make-up zhuzh and grab some earrings (earrings really do fool people that you are ‘done’) before that meeting, leaving the shower till later. Is that lazy? A little, but in a good way. A cheeky lie-in can be one of the perks of quarantine life – and we should seize those wherever we can. The indoorphin-rush of a Frame class at home is well worth changing out of your PJs for. Gotta stay healthy – and gotta stay sane.
One last thing, on the sanity front. Is it normal, two weeks into lockdown, to now and again indulge in a fantasy where you stand in front of the bathroom mirror saying ‘a skinny flat white to go, please’? Asking for a friend…
Jess Cartner-Morley is Associate Editor (Fashion) at The Guardian, which is a really fun job and super handy for a cheeky 8.15am cameo at Frame Kings Cross, when she’s not on the front row in Paris, Milan or New York. She lives in London with her husband Tom, two teenage children and Prince the cockapoo. She makes great paella and has the worst singing voice you have ever heard.