Celebrity Trainer Yasmin Karachiwala: Bollywood’s most sought after trainer
I doubt I can make an introduction to this extremely inspiring, strong and beautiful lady who changed my own life when I trained with her that would can come close to the person she is. She is fit, strong minded, extremely down to earth and one of the purest souls I have encountered. She trains the who’s who of Bollywood’s leading ladies and is the master behind the fittest of them all including: Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz, Imraan Khan to name just a few. How does she do it? What makes her THE fitness trainer in Mumbai today? Read more to find out!
1. You were the leader in bringing Pilates to India. Where and how did you see that need and how did you execute on that and create the interest? Can you have a fitness regime with Pilates ONLY and not need to weight train?
In about 2007 I had been a personal trainer for a bit and I had my own studio and I was looking for something new and different to bring to India. I found that most women, in India, struggled with their midriffs. Though I used to try different kind of abs workouts and try to mix them up, controlled food, I found that nothing really worked on their abs the way I wanted it to.
I started researching what would help and I came across Pilates. I researched some more and decided to go to the US and get trained in Pilates and that’s how I got Pilates here. You can have a fitness regime with Pilates and substitute it with weight training because, as you know, Pilates is resistance training and we use spring resistance which overloads the muscle and hence you do get benefits of weight training. But if you are trying to look muscular and build big muscles and you are trying to get a particular kind of buffed up look then of course you need to weights and Pilates ain’t going to get you there.
2. What is the biggest difference in training a man and training a woman and the challenges for each?
Obviously men and women have different goals and reasons why they want to work out. Keeping that in mind, you design a training plan for either. There are no challenges really for me as a trainer because knowing a person’s body makes me decide what kind of a workout they need to do and schedule it accordingly. The challenges if you are asking for men and women are very individualistic because if I have big hips and that’s my problem area and if you have problem weight on your upper back that is your challenge and your workout needs to be designed around that.
3. Katrina, Deepika, Alia, Kareena, Sonakshi all have different body types. How do you differentiate between their individual workouts and how their minds and bodies react? (i.e. Deepika seems naturally thin and lanky unlike the others who have struggled with weight in the past)
I think for me after being in the fitness industry for about 23 years, I can figure it out by working with someone. So obviously when someone walks into my gym, there is no magic intuition that I have or ability that I have that I can just look at them when I walk in and decide what they should do. Having said that, once I start working with them and seeing how their bodies react to different workouts, then definitely I can manage to differentiate between their bodies and decide which workout works well with each.
Like for Deepika, you mentioned she is slim and lanky but a normal person would think weight training would work best. But with Deepika, Pilates works wonders. It gives her cuts on her arms and her legs and it just suits her. Where with Katrina, functional training works the best. So each body type is very different and the workout is designed for them.
4. Tell me a success of a celebrity who has been out of shape and came to you and how they became fit(or fitter)?
I don’t like to specifically name any one person because that’s the reason I am a celebrity fitness trainer because I don’t single them out and talk about their individual bodies so I wouldn’t want to answer that question. But let me say it another way. When they are working for a particular role and want to look a particular way then we work in a particular fashion to achieve that. Like for the ‘Lovely’ song from Happy New Year, Deepika was wearing really small cholis and low ghagras and her abs needed to be very very toned so we did a lot of Pilates focusing on her core muscles, on her abdominal muscles and worked that out.
5. How does age and sex factor into a workout plan? How would a 20 year old compare to a 30 year lady’s workout compare to a 40 year old?
Age factors into it when you are a beginner at any level. So if you are a beginner at 20, your workout may be simpler than an intermediate person at 40. So basically it depends on your fitness level. I am over 40 and I can do more exercises faster, fitter with more endurance than a 20 year old. And that’s not because of my age or their age. It is because of my experience and my fitness level. So I would say that fitness level factors into a workout plan and not age. Of course age too because if I have a 65 year old, I am not going to have them jumping around the gym and doing crazy things but at the same time there are some very very fit 65 year olds who’s goals might be to do plyometrics or whatever so it’s a very goal oriented workout.
6. So a celebrity like Katrina or Alia comes to you and says they need to wear a bikini in their next movie. How do you train them hard enough to achieve the results in the desired amount of time? Can you give one specific example of either Katrina/Deepika/Kareena/Alia of how this happened? (twice a day workouts? Late night workouts?)
So Alia came to me when she joined and she needed to wear a bikini for her movie “Shandaar” and she had lost a lot of weight but she was just looking very very tiny so I worked a lot with her to get her to look a little more curvier and not look quite so lanky because obviously that would not look nice in a bikini. We worked out every day, 6 days a week. We started basically with Pilates because she had never done it. I wanted to do something completely different on her body. So we started with Pilates and then I moved into a little bit of weight training to add the final touches.
7. Imraan Khan came to you to get fit for a role. How did you do things differently with him vs a Katrina (lady) who came to lose weight and get fit for Sheila Ki Jawaani or Dhoom 3?
Imraan is a very very thin person and his body type is he is very thin and doesn’t put on muscle easily. With him, I had twice a day training. We used to do Pilates in the morning to get his core strong. Then I used to do heavy weight training, low reps and very very heavy weight in the evenings. Again, with Imraan, he would lose even muscle very very fast even while we were doing heavy weight training if he did not get enough rest between sets. So when we used to weight train, we used to do one exercise, one set, then chat for about 5 min and then do the 2nd set. Because he needed that kind of rest between exercises. And of course with Katrina for Sheila we did a lot of functional training and cardiovascular to get her to that look.
8. Can you share some insight on Imraan Khan’s workout and diet and how you incorporated Pilates or your power plates or ATS or technoshape with him?
So I mentioned earlier with Imraan we used to do Pilates in the morning 6 days a week, very very regularly and then we would weight train every evening and what I would do with him was one body part a day. So that you worked that body part only once a week and you could concentrate on it and go slow. This was our routine for about 2-3 months before he shot for his movie.
He didn’t do any ATS or Techno shape because he was thin and weight loss or fat loss was not our goal.
His food was, at that time, very very customized to his needs. So he would eat a lot of fish, vegetables, brown rice, nuts, bananas, etc.
9. We are all born with a certain body type (apple, pear, hour glass). Did any of the Bollywood ladies you train change their body types by working out via exercise and what exercises specifically helped?
So you can’t change your body type. You can just better it and make it look better. Like say a pear shape, they tend to store weight on their hips and thighs. What you do with them is you really workout the hips and thighs and make sure they don’t store the fat there anymore. Apple shape will always store weight on their midriff, their belly. So you work through that. That’s how you better a shape. You cannot change a person’s structure.
10. What new trends are revolutionizing the industry that you incorporate into your gym?
There might be 100 trends out there. For me, whenever there is something that attracts me, I try it out and test it out for good 8-10 sessions before I decide whether that’s what I want to incorporate into my gym. I don’t get every new trend into my gym because not all new trends are great or work. The most recent example I will give you is Cross fit. Everyone was talking about Cross fit this and Cross Fit that and how great it was. So I actually did Crossfit for a month to figure out how good or bad it was because there were also opposing stories about how it was not so good and it was damaging. I tried it out and I really liked it on my body and the way it made me feel. So I went and got trained and now I customize my Cross fit for each client.
11. How would a normal person get bikini body ready by this summer? Can you share some diet and fitness regimes?
It depends on how fit or unfit a normal person is. So first I would say build on your fitness. Summer is a few months away. We would start with getting you fit, getting you ready for the intense routine before getting into your bikini. I would give you a food chart that consists of fiber, protein, good fat and carbohydrates for every meal including snacks. As we come close, we do a mix routine of strength training and Pilates. Depending on how much weight you need to lose or not, we would include cardio and the amount and type of cardio varies based on that. As summer got closer and we got closer to our goal of shedding body fat percentage as well as building muscle mass, we would fine tune it. Everybody is different so for me to give a general answer is not easy because I would then start customizing it more for each body type to get them to look great in a bikini. And that’s how I work it.
Well folks, the very down to earth, the very fit Yasmin Karachiwala. I know first hand that everything said by her in this interview rings very true. I personally went to train with her for about 2.5 weeks and I lose about 3% body fat in that amount of time (and believe it or not, enjoyed every moment of the torture!). (And yes I have seen her workout and she can burn out any teenager or the 20/30 somethings easily)
I thank Yasmin for giving me one of the best interviews I have ever had the opportunity to do and I cannot WAIT to come and train with you soon again! Below are links to checking out more of Yasmin:
FB: Yasmin Karachiwala’s BODY IMAGE
For my personal experience training at Body Image, please see this blog post:
Posted on March 16, 2015, in Interviews with celebrities and fitness professionals and tagged Alia Bhatt bikini body, Alia Bhatt workout, Body Image, Bollywood diet charts, Brothers, Deepika Padulone Lovely song, Imraan Khan 6 packs, Indian diets, Kareena Kapoor workout, Kareenakapoor, Kareenakapoorkhan, Kareenakapoorkhan bikini body, Katrina Kaif workout, Kkk, Meranaammary, Pilates India, Shandaar, Yasmin Karachiwala. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.