Category Archives: Interviews with celebrities and fitness professionals

Rashi Chowdhary: The Thyroid Series Part 1

Rashi Chowdhary. To Vogue India, she is the winner of the Nutritionist of the Year Award 2019. To India, she is one of the leading celebrity nutritionists with clients to boast of including Bahubhali’s Tamannaah Bhatia and the new sensationin Bollywood Rakul Preet Singh. To Dubai, the place she now calls home, she is the creator and face of the Protein Bake Shop. To me…she is my friend of a decade long friendship that grew through our own personal ups and downs. She is also the woman who helped me balance my hormones and start magically living a life free of hormonal issues just by changing the way I eat.

In this series, we decided to do topics that affect a large majority of the population – both male and female. This is a three part series and you will be getting different fun material that will hopefully change your life. This series will cover Thyroid issues, how to manage having thyroid, how to ween off medication and how to manage weight gain or emotions that come with hypo and hyper thyroid. So, without any further delay, let’s get started with the basic insight on thyroid from Rashi:


Thyroid seems very common these days in both women and men. What is the root cause of thyroid? Is it something  we eat that ends up triggering it over time ?

We use to believe that thyroid is genetic and only if someone from your family has it, the chances of you having thyroid at some point were high. Now we know that this is far away from the truth. Before I dive into why we get thyroid issues, I really wanted to talk a little bit about some uncommon symptoms that go unnoticed and can delay diagnosis. Living with Thyroid can be really hard and knowing that you have it can help you put efforts into the right direction and get started on healing it.

If you resonate with any of the following symptoms, please get your Thyroid levels tested.

  1. SIBO can be very common amongst thyroid patients. I don’t usually like making my clients do too many tests cause the diet I give is super anti-inflammatory, I do a 2-4 Week gut cleanse with most clients and know that even if they have a digestive issues like gas, bloating, belching etc, all of those anyway disappear in less than 2 weeks, if they continue, then I make them run some tests and most often the ones with SIBO, take longer to heal and also have underlying hypothyroid that has gone unnoticed.
  2. Period Issues: I’ve spoken a lot about this on my Instagram, Both hypo and hyper thyroid can have an effect on our menstrual cycles so irregular periods, very scanty bleeding or heavy bleeding and mood swings.
  3. Loss of smell or taste for food: Hypothyroid particularly can have an effect on your sensory pleasures like taste and smell when it comes to food. This is also one reason, people tend to gain weight cause they can’t taste and smell food the way they use to so they feel the need to eat more to feel satisfied.
  4. You skin turning slightly greyish and really dry, losing one third of your outer eyebrow and sudden hair  loss are also signs of thyroid, but these are not uncommon nor are they early signs.

Coming back to the causes, we now know, most people have auto immune Thyroid and have no clue about it.

So the first cause I would  like to cover is this. In auto immune thyroid, your body starts to attack your own healthy thyroid cells, it confuses it for an unhealthy foreign particle. Your body thinks it ix protecting you, but actually it is just working against you. From all the research I’ve done, one of the reasons this particular cause is so common is because of the consumption of wheat. Even if it’s organic. The structure of Glaidin in wheat is very similar to that of the cells of thyroid gland, Wheat ,on getting digested, has an acidic reside and also causes inflammation in the gut. Your immune system is actually trying to protect you by attacking the Glaidin cells but due to “molecular mimicry “ it attacks the healthy thyroid cells causing Auto immunity.The solution is to drastically reduce the consumption of wheat in every form. There are other reasons for auto immunity as well. It could be a medication ( which is why it is important to ask your doctor about side effects before popping any pills)

The second and lesser known reason why thyroid disorders are so common amongst women is because we menstruate and that causes a whole lot of fluctuations in Progesterone, Estrogen and other hormones. Since so much is now changing with how we are externally, the amount of stress we take, the type of jobs we do , that sometimes, internally,, our body finds it hard to catch up. Our hormonal shifts are natural but our inability to balance those and our inability to create a nourishing environment mentally and physically to heal them is what causes  disorders like Hypothyroid. Have an important business trip coming up, and we will pop a pill to delay our period, if our partners don’t want to use a condom for protection, we pop a contraceptive DAILY, bloat, feel like throwing up but still continue to have it so they can enjoy sex  (I have no issues if you love sex without a condom too, but if its taking a toll on you, please speak up) We are sleep deprived some days because we have deadlines to reach and the stress we put on ourselves to keep it all together causes more hormonal chaos. All of these lifestyle issues coupled with the fact that we have hormonal shifts every month, makes women at a higher risk of developing Hashimotos, which is an auto immune hypothyroid. We are 5-8 times more likely to have thyroid than men. Lastly, for a lot of women, taking OCP’S has become very common and we now know that taking OCP’s depletes our nutrient stores specially zinc. Zinc helps in the communication between your thyroid hormone and cell receptor. Just by depleting zinc, the pill can prevent you from making and activating thyroid hormone.

If one is on thyroid  meds how should they manage taking the meds? Do Certain foods help the absorption better ?   

Before we jump to medication, I highly recommend if you are reading this and you are concerned about your thyroid gland, get a complete thyroid panel done. You need to get the following done. TSH , total T3 , Total T4, Free T3, Free T4, and Anti bodies ( TPO + TG) Reading these levels properly is very important.



TSH is the hormone that tells your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone. TSH test becomes worthless..If your hypothalamus and pituitary are not doing their thing cause the stops on the signaling pathway can get messed up for various reasons. You can’t rely onTSH alone, if you have symptoms.

Regular ref range is 0.5 to 4.7 but in most cases above 2 means you will have symptoms and can treat this as a warning sign.


Free T4

Your thyroid makes mostly T4, also known as thyroxine. Thyroxine is the storage form of thyroid hormone — it circulates in the bloodstream, then your tissues store it. When an area of your body needs energy, it gets converted into the active form, T3. .

Optimal Free T4 range: 10-23 pmol/L (but above 11 means the imbalance has already started)



When your tissues ned energy, they convert T4 into Free T3, the active form. Sometimes your thyroid makes sufficient hormone, but you don’t convert it, so you’ll get hypothyroid symptoms. This is generally the reason your energy levels fizzle out mid way in the gym.

Free T3: above 5.5 pmol/L means thyroid function is moving towards hypo.


Antibodies  (TPO + AT)

If either one or both of these antibodies test high, that means your immune system attacks the thyroid. That means you have one of two autoimmune thyroid diseases — Hashimoto’s thyroiditis if you’re hypothyroid, and Graves’ disease if you’re hyperthyroid .Ideally both should be less than 10 or negligible but if they are a double digit or more, it is a cause of concern.

Is it possible to manage this over time with  just nutrition? What are your recommendations to get off the meds, lose weight and feel better ?

YES! Of course it is and you will be surprised to see how the levels mentioned above will start to improve and change within 6 weeks of doing some of the stuff that I’m recommending.

Food to avoid/ Minimize to heal thyroid issues:

We’ve established that gluten causes inflammation that slow down thyroid function. It triggers auto immune response in the body that attacks the thyroid. Many clients who struggle a lot  have benefited with just excluding gluten from their meals. Wheat, barley, rye, and spelt have gluten. Make sure you avoid all the wheat products too, semolina, vermicelli, broken wheat, wheat pastas, breads, cakes of corse.

Next on the list is.. no surprise.. Sugar! Cause its what any inflammatory disease feeds on! The inflammation increases every time you have sugar which hinders healing of your thyroid.

Third on the list is Soy. It’s a big no because it’s a genetically modified food and also it has phytoestrogens which makes the hormonal imbalance worse. So keep off edamame, tofu, mock meats and use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce!

Here’s one more food you need to avoid SPECIALLY if your thyroid antibodies are high and your thyroid problem is auto-immune. Most of my clients resist this one, But only those who are able to actually stick to this long term, are able to reverse autoimmune Thyroid!!! LENTILS!! you need to avoid legumes and lentils. These have lectins that worsen the auto-immune response. Lectins block the thyroid hormone and you may end up with thyroid receptor problem, where the cells become resistant to the hormone. In this situation, the thyroid hormone pills will not help at all and your dosage will go on increasing and so will the weight!

Avoiding these foods will allow your thyroid to heal; it will make you feel much better and will resolve many of your symptoms too. This is the reason I put up the story about “only people who are really dedicated to the process can see progress when it is autoimmune” It’s hard, but at least there’s hope for a cure in food.


Nutrient deficiencies and thyroid

Whether you want to prevent or heal your thyroid, here are some basic nutrients that are directly linked to Thyroid when they are deficient.

Iodine (1mg), Omega 3 (2000mg), vitamin A (2tsp spirullina OR 1000 IU), vitamin D (1000 IU), selenium (200mcg) and zinc (50mg) are crucial for thyroid hormone production and activation. Iodine is naturally available in sea vegetables, fish. Salmon, herring, walnuts, flaxseeds, have omega 3. Green leafy vegetables, carrots, chicken liver can give you vitamin A. Brazil nuts, gray niger seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds contain good amount of selenium. Zinc is available in cashews, egg yolk, chicken, lamb.

You can include these foods in your daily diet but the amounts won’t be adequate to meet the requirements. It’s wise to get these nutrients through supplements to ensure you get enough of them to treat your thyroid.


To Be continued–Coming up–real life clients who successfully healed their thyroid through Rashi’s recommendations and meal plans!

To contact Rashi or follow her on Instagram and Facebook, see her information:


YouTube channel:



If you missed the previous posts from Rashi, please take a browse through her interviews on Reshie Rambles:



Rupal’s Yogasthenics:The new revolution in Bollywood

Rupal’s Yogasthenics. The catchy phrase I saw in a media article regarding celebrity trainers caught my interest. I emailed Rupal, the owner of Rupal’s Yogasthenics in Mumbai and within an hour we had decided to do an interview together. I have not yet met her in person, but she is so easy to talk to, and we chat on Whatsapp like we know each other. She trains some of the biggest names in Bollywood: Anurag Kashyap, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sharmila Tagore, Saif Ali Khan and many more. She has also trained Hollywood director of Shakespeare in Love,  Penny Madden. So let’s see what this custom workout is and how Rupal her self looks like a million bucks!

Penny Madden

With Shakespeare in Love director Penny Madden

  1. Tell us how you got into yoga and fitness and the transition into Bollywood ?

A: I was never too much into academics. When I was in school I saw my father doing yoga and how it helped him not only physically but mentally too. He introduced me to Yoga. And my mum pushed me to pursue it and said it’s the best way to channelize your energies and it was my ultimate, actually IT IS MY ULTIMATE AIM TO SEE EVERY PERSON PRACTICE YOGA AND UNDERSTAND ITS POWER. In the beginning I only practiced for myself. Later on I started training people to be teachers. Took up students. Went on a break for my wedding and again pursued yoga but this time with Functional Training. Yoga increased my performance and endurance so much. At the place where I worked out I met my first celebrity client and my all time favorite person, Anurag Kashyap. He asked me if I can train him and I readily agreed. On wards, I started training Zoya Akhtar and Harmeet Singh (Meet Bros fame) My best time was training Soha Ali Khan for Pre-Natal yoga and fitness. The results got me to Saif Ali Khan Pataudi and Kareena Kapoor Khan and then Riteish Deshmukh and Jackky Bhagnani.

And it just kept following…


Bollywood director Anurag Kashyap


2. How do you come up with “Rupal’s Yogasthenics” and what is the concept include? 

A: After my wedding break, when I started training in Functional Training and yoga, the concept of calisthenics and yoga really caught my attention. It was the best thing that happened to me. The results for most cases became quicker and I started researching more on the subject and would prepare routines of Yoga With Calisthenics which was very effective. That got me the idea of RUPAL’S YOGASTHENICS. It bridges the gap between traditional and modern fitness training. This combination assured our bodies were supple and strong both at the same time.

I strongly believe:

You have to not consume limitations, you have to be obese in commitment, you have to be lean in self-doubt and you have to develop muscle in your soul. We are not a quick fix, it is a life long journey. Nothing will come easy.” 

This went perfectly well with what and how I teach. 

3. What type of yoga practice do you teach and what recommendations do you have (how many days per week, type of yoga etc) for weight loss? 

A: I teach multiple styles of yoga. Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, Classical modified Ashtanga yoga and last but not the least RUPALS YOGASTHENICS, my brand of workouts. I train in Kettle bell and Flexibar too. These add to the practice and are a good rehab tool for people with injuries or ones prone to injury. Yoga is a way of life. It’s done 24×7. But physically, I’d recommend yoga 5 days a week. With breaks in between for the body to recover and it also depends on the persons background in yoga and fitness.. Three things I believe in during all my practices: STRETCH, SORE, ENDURE.

4. Surya namaskars are considered to be a full body workout. I have done many sessions with instructors from the Bharat Thakur yoga practice where the warm up is 108 surya namaskars in about 18 minutes. What are your thoughts on this and should this be done daily?

A: 108 suryanamaskars can be daunting to a yoga novice. But to many celebs and fitness enthusiasts, it’s an elixir for the mind and body.

Whether it’s a novice or a seasoned yoga practitioner, what’s important is getting rest in between sets of Suryanamaskars. I do not recommend this on a daily basis. Moderation is the key. If you overdo it, your body will start acting up. I believe that Suryanamaskars are the traditional version of a Burpee in functional training. Every yoga practice should compose of all sides of stretching to benefit better. Suryanamaskars are just one part of the vast yoga practice.


Soha Ali Khan stayed fit throughout her pregnancy

5. How do you combine weight training,cardio and yoga for your clients to see Results?

A: It’s when I practiced and analyzed for a year and a half I realized it’s the deadliest combination of workouts. That’s how I came up with my brand of workouts, Rupal’s Yogasthenics. Yoga is a form of cardio, as well as weights. I modified the strength postures of yoga to weight training like how you do a weighted squat or a lunge with weights. It gives you strength, flexibility, focus, it’s a form or rehab too. Yoga and weights can be done together to call it Rupal’s Yogasthenics and sometimes separately done to maintain the purity and essence of its individuality. I do a lot of Yogasthenics exercises with both Anurag Kashyap and Saif Ali Khan. They also do both separately. To know how,  you’ll have to come and workout with me 😉

6. Let’s talk Bollywood! My absolute favorite who motivates me for years now to go workout is Kareena Kapoor Khan. Tell us how she got fit with you post pregnancy ? (Specifics or a weekly training split would be great info) 

A: Kareena Kapoor Khan is the most gracefully stylish and highly ambitious a woman. I’ve never known someone so down to earth in the industry. She is highly motivated. I started her training after I’m trained Soha Ali Khan for her pregnancy. And she’s truly a star in my class too. Never says never. I combined light weight training and Yoga with lots and lots of cardio/ running. I make her do yoga postures and cardio alternatively. Weights and cardio alternatively.


A-lister Kareena Kapoor Khan with Rupal

She does a class with me every single day and all the sessions are highly intense. But again, she never says never. She will give me a look but eventually she will do it all with equal interest and passion. An example of one of my classes with Kareena:


Start with 5 reps of Suryanamaskar A & B 

I start with 3 Variations of Squats 25x4sets

Ardhachandrasana 30secs hold -1min each side x 2sets 

Quick step -30 sec x 2 sets 

Utkatasana (all 3 variations) 30sec hold x 1set each 

Kettlebell swings single hand 30-30 each side. 

Garudasana – 30 sec hold each side x 2 sets

Samasthiti – 30 sec hold once

Ekpadpashchimmottanasana- 30sec-1min hold x1 set 

Quick step – 30 secs x 2 sets 

Natrajasana -30sec x 1 set 

Yogasthenics Variation plank setsx 10 sets

Back stretches (good spine health)


Relaxation in diaphragmatic Breathing. 

 7. The ever graceful Sharmila Tagore is a client of yours. Given  her age, what type of routine do you do for her and what benefits does that give her ? 

A: Sharmila Aunty has only been as graceful by the age. I do a lot of stretching keeping in mind limitations and a tad bit of strength training that’s required to maintain the required amount of muscles in the body. I do sukshma vyayam with her. The idea is maintaining functional independence. A regular workout that includes strength and balance and flexibility definitely helps achieving that. To work out every day for 30-45 mins  is what I aim for her when she’s in town and when we workout together. 



Evergreen award winning actress Sharmila Tagore

8. Saif Ali Khan gained weight for the Netflix drama Sacred Games. Now he has an upcoming film Kaptaan which he has to lose weight for. As a male in his 40s how did he achieve that with you? How did you manage his outdoor  schedules ?

A: Yes, he totally did! You will see that in his upcoming movie. We started training when he was halfway through the movie Kaptaan. As a male in his 40s his dedication, discipline and patience was very much required. He was very enthusiastic the first time we met to train. He trained every single day with me. We did tons of yoga postures and stretches. He made sure to do cardio every day and strength training every alternate day in the beginning.

I was traveling with him for his outdoor schedules and we would train twice a day and go for runs on his free days in between. I would go on sets too. He has outdone himself with his dedication and time management and motivates me to do more.



Sacred Games star Saif Ali Khan after a workout session

9. Every workout plan  comes with diet as the main ingredient. What kind of diet do your recommend your clients and does it align with the principles of yoga and Ayurveda? 

A: I follow the traditional diet and suggest everyone the same. The most nutritious yet cheap and the most simple yet tasty food comes from Indian kitchen. There are certain food habits I follow, two of my mains are:

  1. A tsp if ghee and oil is a must every day.
  2. Reduce the five whites in your diet; Sugar, Salt, Maida (White flour), White rice (Use brown rice instead), Milk.
  3. Have a minimum 8 glasses of water each day
  4. Consume 6-8 small meals instead of 4 large meals every day

Yoga and Ayurveda go hand in hand. We do follow that in the yogic Sattvic diet.

Some commoners like eat only seasonal fruits and vegetables, consume your last meal three hours before you go to bed etc.

10.What is your personal workout and diet plan that makes you so fit and balanced? 

A: This is the nth time I’m asked this question.

My workouts are a variety of forms. I do my Rupal’s Yogasthenics Workouts and combine it every day with a 5km run in the nights... I’m also a flexi-bar and Kettlebell trainer. I have trained in Crossfit. I enjoy the best of both or you can say all worlds 😉

I never ever skip my yoga practice each time I do any form of workout. I suffer from sciatica so I do a lot of strengthening and stretching. When it comes to diet….

I eat everything from my kitchen and outside I indulge once a while in my favorite roadside Paani Puris and Pav Bhaji, you can call that my cheat meal.

I definitely watch my food when I’m at home.

I start my morning with a glass of water(sometimes warm) and a fruit or a soup and fennel tea.

Mid morning I have a nice Gujarati breakfast with Green tea or dry fruit tea or lemon tea. Late morning a juice or Coconut water. I carry lunch that consists of A portion of vegetable curry and rice and a portion of salad. Evening snacks consist of sandwiches, sometimes seasonal fruits. Dinner is salad or soup, and if I’m too hungry lentil curry Khichdi.

Well folks, how empowering was that? Yoga and Weight training combined is a way of life and Rupal definitely can get you to a whole new world!

To learn more about Rupal’s Yogasthenics Workouts visit:



Instagram: @rupal_sidh





PhD Nutritionist Dr. Angie Kassabie talks how diet is not just eating and entering the high profile world of Politicians, Hollywood and Bollywood



Angie Kassabie, Ph.D., is an internationally acclaimed expert in nutrition, health and fitness, image consultation, and personalized diet programs. As a self-proclaimed “food psychologist,” Dr. Kassabie specializes in emotional eating and the mind-body connection. She is at work on a book about nutrition and holistic health.
Dr Kassabie is the founder of AND Diet. AND Diet offers balanced nutrition and calorie intake, a unique selection of various international recipes, prepared with extra virgin olive oil and AND DIET herbs, to achieve goals.

She has worked with international celebrities Silvester Stallone, John Travolta, Britney Spears, Robert De Niro, Jean Claude Van Damme. She worked with European Celebrities like Azis, Anelia, Andrea, Stefan Danailov and Reni. Kassabie supervised the ex-minister of Bulgaria’s Diet and she currently supplements the European Bulgarian parliament from her kitchen. She has worked with the cast of 300, The Expendables and the Killing Season

1.How did you start off in the nutrition world and working for the politicians in Bulgaria?

It actually started off surprisingly, as I wanted to go into a different field. I finished school at a very early age and I wanted to get into show business, but I ended up working as the doctor working for everyone in the show business! I started off by giving diets to normal people and I had a patient who was very young with very serious psychological issues. She was seeing one of the other dieticians in Bulgaria. So this dietician told this girl that she was never going to lose weight and that she had the kind of issues that would make her fat all the time. This poor girl had a huge complex after that.  I was at the store one day and I saw this girl and met her and I ended up doing her diet for free. At this point, I was still a student. While I was helping her, I graduated. Turns out, the prime minister of Bulgaria was a client of her mother. Now he wanted to know how this girl lost so much weight as he also wanted to lose weight right before the elections.  So, he called me, and he had success in losing weight.  When he won the elections, people asked him how he lost so much weight and he told everyone that I had helped him. So that is how I started.

2. Tell us a bit about how you went from being a nutritionist for politicians to really famous celebrities in Hollywood? I am sure it was an exciting journey and our readers will want to know. 


Once the news was out I had helped the prime minister, I started working with the owner of Warner Brothers in Bulgaria. They heard about me and called me for an interview and then the first actor I saw was Stallone.   Then through Warner Brothers, I transitioned through them to Sylvester Stallone,  Eva Longoria, the cast of the Expendables, Gerald Butler, the cast of 300, Chuck Norris, Superman, Robert DeNiro. It all started off so surprisingly.


3.  How was it to work with action heroes like Stallone and Van Damme? These are already very fit men celebs – so what was their goals when they came to you? Share with us how you transformed them and some interesting experiences you had along the way.

For every movie, they have to get ready for the role they are playing. So they may need to drop weight, or gain weight or bulk up. My team and I took care of everything that has to do with their food, workouts, diet plans, skin. My whole team was on site working on each and every one of the stars. Stallone’s goal was that he wanted to stay fit.  He has always been fit and is a super professional but every professional has some weaknesses.  Having Italian roots, he loves pasta! He also loves the Lebanese Baklava and he sneaks in those food items! Those types of food from time to time makes you want more food.



With Stallone

4. So what kind of diet was he prescribed?

Diet wise, he was more on lean proteins and refined carbs. He likes porridge/oatmeal in the morning, scrambled eggs, he likes desserts a lot! Because of that, wee normally give him the desserts low in calorie, high in protein and low in sugar. And they taste really really good. We make a high in protein chocolate fondant. That is one of the first things he tried and that is what made him start following our plans.

5. Interesting, so do you supply the foods to the actors working with you?

Yes, we supply all the foods for all the celebrities on set. We had a kitchen on set. So it was not just Stallone but all the actors on that set. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Jet Li, etc.

6. Did they all have different nutrition plans or did they all eat what was made that day on set?

Of course they all had different nutrition plans. There are menus, and they have to choose off the menu and according to their nutritional status we send them the plan. Every one of them trains differently, so they all have completely different food plans and quantities.


Angie Kassabie with Jean-Claude Van Damme

7. I noticed you created your own plan called the AND diet. Can you talk about what that is and how did you come up with it?

I came up with that because I say diet is not only food but a combination of things: Lifestyle AND, Workout AND movement AND the way you drink (water and drinks anything) AND the way you look at things. The core of everything comes before nutrition. That is what affects us psychologically by making us look better, making us feel better, improves self confidence and do better at work or school. When you feel good, you present that out everywhere. So that’s why I say AND because it is not only diet. It is about changing people’s life, the way they think. I change their character more than I change their weight. I work in person with each and every one of my clients, celebrity or not celebrity. And when you don’t see results, you stop wanting to follow that kind of plan. This gives you the yo-yo dieting effect where you start wanting more food, wanting to cheat more, etc. So I work on a daily basis with my clients. They take their weight every morning, I check on everything they eat, especially the first two weeks. I give them a food plan. I change their diets according to their tastes because I believe diet starts with pleasure. If there is no pleasure, there is no diet.
8. Let’s talk Britney Spears – am a personal fan of her. She went through lots of ups and downs in her personal life as well as career and it certainly showed in her body. How did you help her?

She had to change the way she thinks about food. She got back in shape without too much effort. She did not really have to go to extremes. What she was eating was the big issue. There was no nutritional value in what she was consuming. We basically started off getting her back on track. The first 10 days, we focused on regulating her meals. And then after that we got into starting off the full plan. She dropped a lot of weight starting from the first month. Close to 10kg!

9. You also helped both Alia Bhatt and Mouni Roy from India with their diets in Bulgaria. Let’s start with Alia who is a vegetarian. What were her challenges and what recommendations did you give her for her diet chart? 

Bollywood started off Hollywood  I was working at the Warner Brothers Bulgaria studios where they are now shooting the movie Brahmastra with Alia Bhatt and Mouni Roy and many other big stars.  Warner Brothers referred me to Alia. She had some nutritional issues, so we started off there.  She had some problems with the food she was eating.  We started taking care of her meals and she got into a very good shape during her shoot. We had a certain diet to cut off the bloating, all the refined carbs, the gluten. We got her on my special detox that cleanses her body of all the toxins.  It gets rid of all the cellulite in the body I gave her some of my supplements and we got her back on track and released some of the bloating and annoying feeling. Keep in mind she is shooting for long hours every day. She works out a lot but because she is a vegetarian she was not getting enough protein. She gets it from plants but it was not enough.


With Bollywood A-lister Alia Bhatt

10. Mouni Roy has lost a ton of weight!! Everyone wants to know what her diet and workout was. Can you share some specifics?

Mouni is my favorite person.I love her. She is so humble, so down to earth and she has a great personality and she has a great body and she puts in a lot of effort to keep it that way.

She has a very thin structure with tiny bones. She is not one of those people where even if they are skinny, they still look big.  She worked out, got into yoga. I gave her our special coffee we provide and that managed her appetite a certain level and we got her on track with her meals. She does not usually have so many meals but instead a lot of snacks. She showed me some of the Indian snacks which are very good but very fattening. She is also a vegetarian and barely has eggs. From all the celebs I have trained from Hollywood to Bollywood, Mouni has a very special place in my heart.


Mouni Roy, with Angie for her upcoming movie Brahmastra

11. What kind of diets do you recommend men who are trying to build muscle and lose fat?

They have to have enough consumption of protein and carbohydrates. To build a mass of muscle you need 1/3 of your plate to be carbs. Decrease the amount of dairy and sugar to the minimum. And if you keep the sugar level low, the body does not produce any fat. So we balance the insulin through the refined carbs like brown rice, potatoes. We barely have pastas and no bread because bread has sugar.

12. Many women travel and work and have less time to cook at home yet want to stay fit or get fit. As someone like you who travels quite a bit,  How can that be achieved with eating out ? 

I will tell you how I do that. I believe there is nothing called diet. I don’t believe in anything that is low calorie and low in carbs, unless there is a goal behind it. I want all the people to live a happy, normal life with pleasure. I do not want people to be stuck in trouble and worrying about what they will eat and not be able to socialize with friends. The most important thing is calculating the amount of food they are intaking. It is important to focus on having regularity in your meals, as if you have regular meals, you have smaller quantities.

In terms of eating out, it is absolutely fine to eat out. For example, in Lebanese cuisine, we do not order big plates like American or Italian food like a burger with fries or a big portion of pasta, etc. We order a bunch of small plates and go from there. We need to figure out what are we eating? So you take portions of each dish on your own plate so you can see the quantity of food you are eating. And that is how you can balance the meals.

Going into extreme diets is not healthy. You will drop a lot of weight and muscle mass and muscle does not come back. It turns into fat.


13. Indian diets have a myth of being unhealthy and high in carbs yet if we look at the traditional meal it is very balanced. What Indian foods are recommended in a healthy diet and what should be considered “once in a while cheat meals”? 
Indian food is balanced and spicy. From one perspective spicy food is very healthy as the chilli boosts your metabolism and very high in antioxidants. But that makes you want to eat more. When I look at Indian food, I do not see it as unhealthy with the exception of the fried bread. Even with friend bread I don’t say don’t eat it, limit it. Bread that is fried or the ones with sugar and milk, when it has that sweet taste and melts in your mouth, it makes you want to eat more like croissants. I do not believe Indian food is not allowed in the diet. The Indian way of eating is wrong. Most Indians, (not everyone but the ones I have worked with), they snack a lot. It is the snacks and nibbles all day that contributes to the weight gain. You never gain weight from breathing the air.


On set with the cast of ‘300’

14. Women who have just delivered a baby and trying to lose the post pregnancy weight. What do you recommend for them ? 
Due to the hormones, we try to cut all processed foods. If you want to drop weight fast, you get off sugar, dairy which makes you retain more water and the main issue with pregnant women is the water weight. I try to get them to eat clean especially the first 60 days post-delivery.  Until the time you get your first menstrual period post pregnancy, your body is not the same internally. After the 60th day, everything starts to get back on track but getting into a certain diet plan is difficult.

15. Anyone looking at you would say you are very fit and totally hot! What’s your own personal diet and workout regimen that is sustainable?

Diet is 70% of your weight loss. Being fit is totally different. Some people are born fit and lucky, but most of us are not so we have to work hard to build that beautiful body. If you want that model look you see in pictures, you have to work out a certain way.  Some of the ways when you start working out with heavy weights, especially if you are a woman, it may not be good for that person. Some people already have bulkiness in their legs, so adding more weight to that is not going to give you that look. But that 30% is a huge result when you add it in with the right diet.  I don’t recommend doing only cardio. I recommend having some cardio and a weight program where you are doing lighter weights and an intensive workout with very short breaks in between. This will boost their metabolism and count as a cardio as well.

16. Anything else you want to add in?

Anyone can drop the weight they want but they have to have consistency. It is all about consistency and changing the way you think and accepting that life is not easy. But life is beautiful when you think about it in the right way. You can’t say I can’t live on fruits and not eat them. Fruits are very good. Fruits are delicious, but you cannot live only on fruits, or only on veggies. You have to have a little bit of everything. Elegancy starts from your plate. When your plate is elegant, you are going to look elegant yourself.


Kassabie with Antonio Bandaras


Contact information

Twiitter: @angiekassabie



Tripti Gupta Interview Part 2: Tripti talks about Kangana Ranaut, macros and how to eat for Thyroid, Diabetes, PCOD

5. What do you suggest in terms of macros for foods for people not on a regimented diet but want to eat healthy? What should we be looking for in terms of:

a) Total Daily macros

Total daily macros should comprise of up to 75% good quality carbs which could be in the form of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, legumes and high fiber cereals.

b) Nutritional Content

One must stay away from artificial colors, preservative agents and foods high in trans fats. When we check the nutritional composition of any food, the fiber content in that meal plays the utmost importance.  It’s the quality here which matters more than the item or quantity. For example,  good quality fats such as olive oil or rice bran oil is better than a small fraction of fat Similarly, more of carbs in a particular food item in the form of jowar (Indian flour to make rotis) is better than less of carbs but in the form of maida (Another flour). Protein again plays a vital role whether it is healthy trans fat free protein such as chicken, eggs or is it sausages, salami and cold cuts which are rich in trans fats.

c) Protein vs Fat vs Carbs?

15% protein vs 10% fats vs 75% carbs is the best combination for person with ideal body weight. It is also essential to ensure each of these are trans fat free and wholesome fresh meals… which is the need of a healthy, active body. Choose Grade A proteins such as dairy, egg whites, fish over pulses & legumes. Choose desi ghee, olive / rice bran /ground nut oil over vanaspati, butter, margarine and processed fats. Choose high fiber whole grains such as oats, jowar, wheat and brown rice over white rice, maida and starchy cereals.

6.You worked with Kangana Ranaut to help her get into her character as a top supermodel in the movie “Fashion”. Talk in detail to us about the transformation she had to go through and what exact diets and exercise she followed to get that look? Were there any roadblocks?

Kangna was already waif thin when she met me for Fashion. But most people are not aware that for a thin person to lose weight is as difficult or even more difficult  than having an overweight person to lose weight. Getting a slim waistline to a flab free, chiseled one was in itself a challenge.  Our aim was to get the chiseled flat abs of a supermodel as well as flawless skin. In fact, it was with Kangana that the journey of “Eating Right for not only a fabulous body but also flawless skin” began for me. Getting the coffee & chocolate loving Kangana to eat fruits, fresh veggie juices and green tea was a challenge. We worked on a diet together which would help her shed inches, achieve flawless skin and keep her energy levels high and the beautiful actress did a great job. She was determined and always wanted to carry a body of international standards. Working with Kangana was a delight, her loving, child like warmth, down to earth attitude and devoted hard work is simply amazing. Even today in Bollywood, she is one of the very few Bollywood actresses who stands out on any international platform for her work & performance as well as a fabulous body. I would still call “Fashion” as the movie where she had the best body and skin she ever carried in any film.


Kangana Ranaut looking like a super model for her role in Fashion


7. There are a ton of supplements and “weight loss” aids out there such as Raspberry Ketone. Do these help in weight loss or metabolism boosting or are they complete myths? What supplements do you recommend and what do they do to contribute to weight loss? What about green tea?


Anything that cannot be sustained lifelong is temporary. Ketone diets were originally created for Epileptic patients to meet their medical needs and limitations in food. Using these tools for a normal, healthy individual is not advisable, in fact one should feel truly blessed of possessing a completely healthy body and not abuse it. Instead nurture it, take care of it and don’t do anything to spoil it. The only supplements that support weight loss are exercise and rest. I would call these your lifelong supplements of health. Food and water has to be supported with rest and activity for life to enjoy a healthy, happy and fit body.

Green Tea is great substitute to other hot beverages. Lower in calories & caffeine, high on antioxidants and a natural diuretic, green tea also acts as a  digestive drink and promotes weight loss when consumed regularly instead of milk tea.


8. What foods should people with each of these common health issues use to naturally cure these issues:


a) Thyroid issue:

Weight management meals, Fat soluble Vitamins such as Vitamin A D,E,K rich foods to ensure healthy hormones and a Omega 3 rich diet. One must stay away from foods containing goitrogens such as raw cabbage, cauliflower, soyabean, broccoli, etc.


b) Diabetes:

Fenugreek seeds, Green tea, Dark green vegetable juices, low glycemic index foods, small portions sizes, high fiber meals, Omega 3 rich foods and Weight management meals


c) High Cholesterol:

Onion juice, garlic, Omega3 rich nuts such as Flaxseeds, Chiaseeds, deep sea fish, high fiber foods, fenugreek seeds, ensuring balance of fat soluble vitamins, green  & white tea.


d) PCOD:

Weight management is the common factor here, consuming low fat, high fibre, omega 3 rich foods combined with an active lifestyle can be the best cure for the above issues naturally.










9. In the celebrities you worked with or the beauty pageant contestants, have you encountered a situation where you thought “this is going to be a challenge” and got the desired results and how?


There have been many challenges in dealing with public figures, supermodels and Beauty Pageant contestants. One such challenge I recently faced with a Femina Miss India 2016 finalist was being under weight. She, being extremely tall for an Indian model with a height of 6.1ft., had lost a tremendous amount of weight which resulted in getting a highly disproportionate figure despite of having all the other promising qualities. As a judge for the Miss Perfect Body sub contest, we noticed this. Her body became her drawback and hence she lost her opportunity of reaching the top. It was a challenge to get her to eat the right proportion of carbs, protein and fat such that she would only gain healthy muscle weight proportioning out her body We worked on her diet and eating patterns in such a way that her body has regained the right balance of proportion with strength, health and glowing skin. Under my consultation and guidance she has achieved her dream body and will be again contesting the coming year.



Tripti educating the Miss India contestants


10. We know celebrities work hard on their bodies and workout 2-3 hours a day and eat a very strict diet. How does one get the enviable Katrina Kaif abs in terms of diet and exercise? Please advise!

The key word is here is DISCIPLINE and not overly strict. One can never achieve the perfect body or perfect abs without their perfect plan. A good body is a plan which has to be created, followed and then maintained with will power, determination and a lot of effort. One need not be strict, but one should not get bored and complacent with the ideal plan which is the real challenge. A whole lot of celebrities go carb free, but that’s not always the requirement. One needs to plan their eating techniques well backed up with the right exercise to manage an overall daily total caloric intake.

Loading on fresh vegetables and running are the most successful tools in beginning your journey towards the impeccable Katrina Kaif Abs 😉


Kangana’s perfect supermodel body in the movie Fashion which won her a National Award.

There you have it folks…Tripit Gupta has told us exactly how to look at food, plan our perfect diets and told us how to get those perfect abs! Tripti’s contact info is below….I would strongly advise you to work with her if you are looking for the right plan to help get you back on track or look good for an event….Call Tripti and her team!

Tripti Gupta Contact info:

Andheri | Bandra | Chowpatty | Online


Facebook Link:


Instagram :

Call: + 91 7498841414 | 9967978589


The official dietician for The Femina Miss India Pageant Tripti Gupta talks about her journey, macros and how to stay fit after 40! (Part 1 of 2)

I found Tripti Gupta and her team very causally looking to get to the mode of doing interviews for my blog a few months back. However, at the time, I had also come to a realization that my blood reports for triglycerides were very high and I needed to make a change in my life. As I read through Tripti and her team’s accomplishments and subsequently talked to a dietician on her team, Monica, I realized that I could use this myself to get myself motivated and on track. So my blog interview took a backseat and I started to get Tripti and her team to monitor me weekly. Compared to other dieticians, her price was very reasonable and what I loved was that she followed up herself every few days with me to see my progress and Moncia would whatsapp message me if she did not hear from me every other day to see how my progress was going. Just that helped me stay on track because I knew I would report to someone. For the first time in 3 years, I got back to a weight 10 lbs lower than what I was. Just what my doctor had ordered me to do. And the best thing is, i never ever felt like I was starving! And Tripti graciously said she would do an interview for my blog. So meet the magician herself in a very very frank interview on her journey of how she started and how she coaches the Miss India contestants to look their best for the big day! (Part 2 talks about how she coached Bollywood superstar Kangana Ranaut to look like a supermodel for the national award winning movie “Fashion”).

 Tripti Gupta:

  1. Talk about your background and what motivated you to get into this profession and adopt the theories you promote for a healthy lifestyle?


I was born underweight, but as long as I remember, I was an overweight child most of my early years of life. Not being able to wear shorts and tees like my friends, getting teased for being fat and finding it difficult to fit into teenaged clothes became a routine battle and lowered my self confidence drastically which eventually made me into a very shy girl who didn’t want to be in the limelight. I wanted to hide or at least not be noticed. I didn’t know what body shaming was then but yes, I was teased and I was conscious…very conscious. I had accepted that I was fat and would envy those who were slim. Of course the same question, like any other young girl, would come to my mind of “why am I Fat and she thin?”

However, suddenly, things changed for me in 8th grade, just the year when a teenager gets conscious, I lost weight and tons of weight…… yes, I shrunk. I did nothing to lose it, nor did I suddenly drop baby fat. I developed Typhoid! Now that’s the most unhealthy weight loss in the form of muscle loss we know but at that point of time for a fat 12 yr old, it was a dream come true and I totally loved  Typhoid! The new body I discovered, the way my clothes now looked on me & the compliments I received unfolded a new me. I was suddenly more confident, happier & I knew by now that I never wanna grow fat again. However, as destiny would have it, I did regain the weight once again, this time gradually but by the time I reached my 10th Grade I was fat again. I knew after my board exams this weight loss would be my sole mission. After all no teenager wants to begin college looking fat.


Soon after my 10th exams I started walking. Residing next to the beautiful Gateway Of India, I would walk down to Cuffe Parade and Colaba Woods a good distance, I would take 10 brisk rounds and walk back. To add further I also joined the then very popular Rama Bans Aerobics Classes to lose weight. I overdid the exercise & ate almost nothing. I could soon see the body shrinking, the inches were shedding but so was my hair. Age was on my side so whatever little I would eat / not eat / starve or even occasionally binge seemed to work. There were bouts of weakness, low immunity and constipation setting in. I would guzzle liters of water and eat nothing the whole day, then end up with a pack of farsan (indian snacks) / chips and a whole lot of crap gladly thinking I could afford to eat what I like since I hadn’t eaten anything the whole day.  My issues became worse and by now I started feeling thin & OLD. It was a new me with a slimmer body but no strength. I knew something was terrible but didn’t know what?? This was the only way to get slim is what I believed.


It was now that time post boards that we were hunting for admissions and I applied for colleges at  Jaihind , HR , Xaviers , KC and was extremely excited to a college life coming up like any teenage girl until my Father decided to take me to the College of Home Science Nirmala Niketan. It sounded like an institute with only cooking & stitching and I didn’t want to do simply cooking… I wanted to be working girl, maybe an Air hostess or even a model. However, the real light my Father showed me was in the difference of Subjects Nirmala Niketan offered as opposed to the Arts Commerce & Science of other Colleges. This surely had a great combination and the specializations looked very impressive. The subject of Nutrition took my attention and I thought inside maybe this is my calling so what if it’s a Girls College of Home Science, the syllabus looks great.


My journey to the world of Nutrition began here which gradually evolved into passion. At a time when nobody knew what a Dietician is to even choose to specialize in this subject for an ambitious young girl was daring, but the passion of learning was stronger. I entirely credit my Father for where and what I am today. I am so glad Dad that I listened and chose to go by your wise advice.

Theories for Healthy Lifestyle-

I have no fancy theories and names… In dealing with my clients to help achieve their health goals I simply believed in one thing “Feed Your Need & Listen to Your Body”  All the rest is bookish and irrelevant. We all know that protein is good but if one gets bloated, gains weight or develops uneasiness then that is not the best diet for him. There have been so many of my clients including Indian politician & singer Babul Supriyo who was completely on a protein diet. Babul would eat only protein and workout extensively but his weight had plateaued. When I met him and analyzed his body type I prescribed him to eat Roti. At this, he first raised his eyebrows, “Are you sure you me to eat a carb??” he reacted. But his fat loss at that time was unbelievable & he got his best results with carbs rather than protein then.


The fact is, one healthy lifestyle may not be the same for all. We have to find what our body is happiest with, so my simple principle of working around any person’s diet plan is understanding & analyzing their current lifestyle, identifying their goal and simply making the corrections as per their body type & needs. Life is simple and so should be your food. Some Say Go Vegan, others say Go Veg while so many Fitness Professionals make Vegetarians turn to only Meat. So many theories to confuse us but the intelligent truth is…Eat what suits you and shows you results. If this kind of food makes me feel great, look great, I have fantastic medical & body composition reports then that is truly your Healthy Diet Plan, the rest has no meaning. After all we are all in search of just one kind of body and that is a “Happy Body”

Besides, let me warn you there are no shortcuts. No matter where science advances decades from today…. No pills, surgery, treatments and supplements can make you lose weight and keep it off forever without your natural diet & exercise simply because we all reside in a natural human body and not a machine or a piece of metal. Our body responds to everything, eating more, eat less, eating consistently or eating constantly. My motto is : “You are & will always be what you Eat”

  1. How and when did you become the official dietician for the Femina Miss India Contestants?

I was approached by The Times Group in 2014 to educate the young pageant contestants on the importance of eating right. These were young college going girls and having battled weight as a teenager myself, I truly thought I would be able to help them out with their eating pattern. However, there was one thing different I observed with the newer generation now. Most girls today suffer from too many skin ailments- acne, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, melisma which I realized are stemming from poor nutrition and also leading to hormonal imbalance. Hence, I customized a training program on Nutrition for Health & Beauty for these young contestants.  A combination to eat right for great energy, flat abs, workout along with clear glowing skin, strong hair & nails through natural Nutrition which remains the need of every supermodel today. We had excellent results with our training sessions and ever since I have been an integral part of The Times Group training. I am glad to have gotten this opportunity of being the Official Nutrition Expert for Times since 2014 to Femina Miss India 2016.



Tripti with the 2016 Miss India finalists

  1. Tell us details on what you prescribe them in terms of diet and exercise to be fit and lose weight for the big day?
  • Eating small frequent meals through the day
  • Excellent electrolyte balance is the most essential technique for supermodels and pageants.
  • Most of these girls really suffer from low blood pressure, dropping sugars, dizzy spells and irregular bowels due to dehydration hence hydration becomes another important criteria
  • Pre & post workout meals again form an essential part of their routine, giving them the right guidance for ensuring there is no muscle loss and more fat loss is again extremely essential
  • Suggesting antioxidant rich diets for glowing skin
  • Frequent snacking options when they are in between shoots, ramp walks, performances or travelling in the car
  • Late night binge options.


  1. Many readers in this blog are women approaching 40 or post 40 and have difficulties in losing weight no matter how much they workout. Tell us how the body changes and how to beat this plateau at this age and be able to see results?


As we age, it seems its more and more difficult for the needle on the scale to budge. We may restrict our diet, follow portion control, cut out desserts altogether, exercise and still the clothes don’t fit like we would wish them to. The metabolism, hormones, digestion and other bodily functions undergo a series of changes as we get near our 40s. Instead of fighting it we need to work around the issue. One of the most common factor and primary reason why woman over 40 can’t lose weight is because they have allowed their metabolism to slow down by not eating right and working out regularly in their 30s. In addition, estrogen levels begin to drop post 40 which is a huge reason for the body to lose more muscle and get weaker as a result.


Today crossing 35yrs itself is an alarm for one to start keeping a vigilant watch on your body. Get your medical reports done every 6 months. Check for your B12, D3 and Ferritin levels (which is a hormone of iron and it’s deficiency causes fatigue, low energy levels, excessive hair fall and increase to your weight). Surprisingly, this is not the same a hemoglobin hence a separate test for a 40+ is essential. Slow metabolism can further put you in the vicious cycle of gaining flab easily, bloating, water retention and in many cases become a hormonal imbalance. Remember! Our hormones are fat soluble hence the more fat we retain the more risk we endanger.  Keeping weight and blood reports in check is the only way to keep your body fit & young, stay alert n active and look fab.


Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 where we talk about macros, training Kangana Ranaut and how to eat through many common diseases lke thyroid, PCOS, and diabetes.

Tripti Gupta Contact info:

Andheri | Bandra | Chowpatty | Online


Facebook Link:


Instagram :

Call: + 91 7498841414 | 9967978589






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.


Yasmin doing Pilates

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.

Deepika Padukone Pilates training with Yasmin

Deepika Padukone Pilates training with Yasmin

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.


Deepika’s “Lovely” body


Deepika’s “Lovely” Song from Happy New Year after training with Yasmin

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.

Kareena Kapoor working out at Body Image

Kareena Kapoor working out at Body Image

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.

Alia Bhatt having fun doing Pilates with Yasmin

Alia Bhatt having fun doing Pilates with Yasmin

Alia Bhatt Pilates

Alia Bhatt Pilates

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.

Imraan Khan's hardwork paid off with 6 packs

Imraan Khan’s hardwork paid off with 6 packs

Sheila Ki Jawaani and Katrina Kaif

Sheila Ki Jawaani and Katrina Kaif

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.

Weight training with Alia Bhatt to get bikini ready

Weight training with Alia Bhatt to get bikini ready

The end result of hard work with Yasmin

The end result of hard work with Yasmin

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
Twitter: @YasminBodyImage
For my personal experience training at Body Image, please see this blog post:

Interview: Rashi Chowdhary: From Kareena Kapoor to The Protein Bake Shop to Size Fit!

Rashi Chowdhary started out as an assistant to Rujuta Diwekar and helped whilst Kareena Kapoor was creating her size zero bikini body for the 2008 Bollywood scorcher Tashan. After moving from Mumbai to Dubai and starting her own nutrition business, she thrived both professionally and personally, also helping me remain fit along the way!

She did an interview for my blog in May 2012. 2 years later, Rashi Chowdhary, is not just any nutritionist. She is also the owner and creator of a new Dubai based healthy Bake shop called The Protein Bake Shop, a spectacular restaurant that offers healthy desserts and other fun indulgences, guilt free! Not only has she been busy with her two businesses, she also had the time to get washboard abs like never before. How does this super fit, super hot super woman do it all? Read below to find out how how Rashi, my friend and  inspiration, went from Kareena Kapoor to the Protein Bake Shop to her own size fit!

(For those of you interested in her indulgences, there is information at the bottom of checking out how to order from the Protein Bake Shop!):

Tell us about the inception of the protein Bake shop and what health value it has added to frequent visitors?

Protein Bake Shop is not just a healthier version of your favorite desert. When you look closely at the nutrition label and ingredients, you’ll see how it’s a healthy snacking option for anyone trying to lose weight/ get fit/ fighting with allergies and intolerance and gain muscle mass. Anyone battling with sugar addictions and wanting to make improvements in their eating habits will benefit from switching to wholesome baking with natural sugars at the protein Bake shop. Also, people with metabolic syndrome like Type 2 diabetes, pcod, Insulin resistance etc, can turn to the baked stuff from the Protein power range, since the total carbs are kept under 10 grams, plus whey protein isolate is used to improve the protein to carb ratio.

I’ve been practicing as a nutritionist since over 7 years now, and the amount of misinformation that exists in people’s mind about nutrition has always made me want to do something about it. People need to go beyond concepts like calorie counting, truly understand the effect of whole wheat, low fat dairy on their body and how it might not be the best option. Also, the misconception that fat is bad for you and your cholesterol and gives you heart attacks! In, my opinion, all these nutritional beliefs come in the way of us leading healthier life’s. The concept of Protein Bake Shop is based on new age nutritional science where nutrients matter more than calories, fat is good for you, refined sugar is an absolute NO and ingredients like wheat and dairy are not what marketing gimmicks make them seem like. The quality and processing methods of these ingredients are compromised heavily which makes them nutritionally very different compared to what they use to be decades ago.


How do you come up with the recipes sold at the PBS? What should the ingredients have that makes it PBS worthy?

I am not a Baker and that’s not my passion either. My passion is to create nutritionally perfect recipes. So I give my bakers the ingredients I want to use and most importantly the amount I want to use it in. Based on that these recipes have been created. Talking about developing recipes, I can’t help but brag about the one recipe I did create which is our best seller! “ The chocolate stacks” It took me 3 minutes over a phone conversation to come up with it. Since the ingredients are so simple! It’s fun to get lucky like this J

The ingredients need to be really simple, really clean. No wheat/ dairy/ refined sugar and absolutely no nasties just to improve shelf life etc.


How can people internationally order from your store? Is there anything like the PBS in the USA or Europe? How do we incorporate these items sold at PBS into our daily diets?

We’re now available in Dubai and Mumbai. We’v worked out a way to deliver in other bigger cities in India too. And we will start accepting orders by the end of this month. So I’m sure we’r not far away from reaching International markets.


So you are seriously looking fabulous and really fitter than ever of late.  You did a 66 challenge to get there? Can you explicitly tell us what this 66 challange was and what your weekly routine of workouts looked like (including cardio and what and how.much?). Did you ever split up into twice daily?

Great things happen when you are open to criticism and surround yourself with people who inspire you! That’s what I learnt from the 66 Challenge. I was always into fitness and was doing cross fit for over a year now. But being part of a challenge that has a deadline was very new to me. A client of mine, Saad Umerani, who owns Valustrat, which is a consulting firm that specializes in strategy and valuation services. So I get a whole lot of great business advice and motivation for PBS too J So anyway, he got together with his friends and guys at the gym and started this 66 challenge, where they decided to get a 6 pack within 6 months. We all started out with decent fitness scores to begin with so it wasn’t unreal. He won this thing and I lost but considering he’s my client, it’s not a terrible thing!

I joined in much later so I had about 3 months to get there, which was obviously not possible but it was extremely motivating and exciting to compete.

I was working out 4-5 times a week doing cross fit movements and WOD’s. Not a single workout was over an hour. With my work schedule and stress levels, I would just be losing muscle and the high levels of cortisol would never allow me to burn fat around my waist. Once a week was fasted state cardio. This really seems to be a thing that works for my body. In 3 months I saw myself jump from 30 kgs to 45kgs on a front squat, jump from 20 kgs to 28kgs on a bench press and 58.5 kgs to 72 kgs on a deadlift. And NO I have not bulked up. Most Indian women have this misconception of bulking up if they lift. It only makes us stronger mentally and physically. My body has never been this toned and firm before. The feeling is phenomenal!

April 2014 picture (“Before)


June 2014 (After 66 challenge)




What did you weekly workout schedule look like?

Day 1:

1) 3 RM – Deadlift: 67.5 kgs

2) 10×30 seconds: 5 deadlifts @47.5 kgs

3) 8 mins AMRAP:

7 over head squats

14 Push ups

4) 30x back squat @ 20 kgs

 30x Thrusters @20 kg

Day 2:

1) 6×6 bench press @ 22.5 kg

2) 6×6 walking lunges @40 kg

 3) 5 rounds every minute:

 40 skips, 3 clean and jerks at 35 kg, 8 burpees

Day 3:


Day 4:

1) Back squat 6 x 4@ 40 kgs

2) For time:

30 kcal row

30 box jumps over 13”

30 Dead lifts at 35 kg

30 wall ball

15 Assisted dips

30 wallball

30 Deadlifts at 35 kg

30 box jumps over 13”

30 kcal row

 Day 5:

1) 10 RM front squat: 35 kg

10 RM deadlift 60 kg

2) 1 RM clean and jerk 35 kg

3) 3 rounds : 1 round every 5 mins

75 skips, 21 Kettle bell sings @ 20 kg, 12 Burpees

Day 6: Fasted state interval cardio early morning: 40 mins on empty stomach (12

hours fasting)



What about diet chart? Fill out the below chart of what YOU ate to get you that fit

Meal 1: 7:00 am 1 tbsp of butter + black coffee

Meal 2: 9:00 am 3 whole eggs cooked with veges

Meal 3: 11:30 am sweet potato cooked in ghee + 12 Almonds

Meal 4: 2:00 pm 4-5 chicken legs + veges

Meal 5: 1-2 Almond cookies or Chocolate stacks from The protein Bake shop

Meal 6: Post workout: 1 scoop of protein shake

Meal 7: Beef or fish + veges or 2-3 Paleo pizzas with a chicken salad

How often and what do you “cheat” meal with?

I Have access to Protein Bake shop. So I really don’t feel the need to cheat anymore. With snack options that cur your cravings so well and are so perfectly balanced nutritionally, cheat meals are really a thing of the past for me. Chocolate cake, dark chocolate, peanut butter cake, cookie and even pizza is no more a cheat meal for me.


How do you get in your workouts,  eat right, and run two businesses (PBS and your nutrition business)? What is your routine and secret?

Honestly, I eat, sleep, dream, breathe, talk, walk Nutrition. It’s my only thing you know! When you have so much passion and so much love for what you do, work never seems monotonous, you are never tired to do more, think more, work more. I guess that’s what does it for me.

Your trainer seems amazing. What kind of workouts does he do with you to keep you on your toes?  Cross fit or boxing? Anything special that has helped your body more than something else?

My trainer Martin Ruski is the best thing that happened to my career. The first time I trained with him, I just did not want to go back. I felt it was just too tough. But I guess I knew if I didn’t go back, I would just stay where I was. He has to a great extent changed the way I think about Fitness. It’s not about getting the abs or the flat stomach, it should always be about how fast you want to run and how heavy you want to lift and how badly you want to break your own personal best! With any sort of workout, it’s about consistency.

What about portions? Some people just feel hungry all the time. What is the cause of this and how can it be managed? (I hear this from many women quite a bit).

Being hungry all the time could mean a lot of things. Emotionally, you could be going through a lot of stress or are just bored and don’t have too much exciting stuff to do all day. If you don’t have a fixed sleep and wake up cycle and don’t sleep very well all night, your appetite will be larger the next day. If you are insulin resistant, chances are you will be hungry soon after you finish a carb rich meal. Lastly, from a nutritional standpoint, if you do not eat enough fat and protein in each meal, you will always be hungry for more. Once you know the reason, get straight into finding the right solution and get started with eating clean. You’ll never regret this decision.

Tell me what your next goal is? (Cuz you know there is going to be a follow up interview!)

To take The protein bake shop to unimaginable heights, making it accessible to practically everyone trying to eat clean, get fits, lose weight and stay healthy!!/RashiChowdharyInchLoss



Tia Falcone Interview: The Brain Behind Miss America 2014’s Perfect Figure

A few weeks ago, I read an article about a girl who went from over weight to a perfect 10 figure. As usual, my passion for fitness and nutrition and my curiosity of how she did it got me using Google until I found the answer.  The name Tia Falcone was everywhere. Further digging got me to Tia’s website where I read the most amazing story of a woman who has transformed her own life through fitness and nutrition. An amazing story of strength and passion.  A story of an understanding of what it takes to get mentally fit. I had to talk to her. So I called her and here we are.

She is the brain behind the most talked about Indian American’s perfect 10 figure in the United States and India, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri.  She herself has gone through many physical and personal challenges of her own.  No amount of introduction can express my respect for this wonderful trainer and human being.  I asked her for an interview and she responded within minutes and within 2 days I had my interview. Here she is, Tia Falcone.

1)      Question: I read about your difficult story to get where you are today physically. Tell us what happened and how did you overcome those physical challenges through diet and fitness?

When I was in my 30’s I was injured. Very injured. I had gone through quite a few surgeries and injuries and had gained about 40-50 pounds. I was 75% permanently disabled and in a lot of pain. When my surgeons decided to re-operate on parts of me that had already been through surgery, I decided I did not want to live like this: fat, on an extensive amount of medication and steroids, I had constant asthma attacks and almost died twice. At that point, I had what I would call an epiphany of sorts. It was time to try something new, which was the hardest thing for me—and anyone for that matter. It was the last resort, one I had not tried—eat right and exercise.

My goal was to feel better, to not be in constant pain and to be able to wear jeans again. I constantly lived in sweats as I did not want to buy bigger sizes. I felt isolated due to embarrassment of my weight gain and how I looked.  This is actually a big issue as people who have never been through such weight gain like this can never understand how many ways (other than physically) it can affect a person. And when it starts getting to affect your life and mental health, it is a big issue.

At this point in my life, I was in my 30’s and out of shape and unhealthy. I walked 20 feet and would be so winded, I needed to sit down.  So I went 100% right away on eating clean and slowly started on the treadmill. I also stopped smoking cold turkey. It took me about a month at that point to get myself moving in the right direction in terms of exercise.  Little by Little, I was able to do more and more. It was about 12 weeks later that I noticed a MIRACULOUS change and was feeling better in ALL areas. It was an incredible difference in my health, the aches and pains, my mental state, the depression and isolation I was feeling. At the moment the light bulb went off in my head, so to speak. This was what I needed to FEEL better. At that point, I was VERY motivated to keep going.  About 6 months later, I hit the mark I was looking for and I have stayed there for the last 15 years.

2)      Question: Did you have any difficulty maintaining what you achieved both mentally and physically?


There was a point where I got too thin. I was losing too much weight and I had to re-asses what I was doing in terms of eating and workouts.  That was actually a lot of fun because I never thought I would ever have a point in my life where I had to eat more and workout less! At some point, I finally found a perfect maintenance spot and I have been there for the last 15 years.  There have been and currently are times and periods where I cannot workout due to my heavy work schedule (6am to 7pm). I am working on adjusting that schedule to be able to take care of myself.  My workouts are important for me to learn and I become a better teacher when I learn new exercises.  I like to keep things fresh for my clients and as I learn new things, I can then teach it to my clients as well.

3)      How did you motivate yourself to keep working out to see progress during the time you were trying to lose weight?

I will be honest, I HATED to workout, probably even more than the average person.  There are theories that say if you workout for 90 days, a person gets hooked both mentally and physically. For me, that did not happen for about 8 months.  I did not like working out, but I knew I had to do it to get myself where I needed to be. So I gave it a 120% and MADE myself workout.  Almost every day, I always thought of reasons why I could not go workout that day, but at the end, I always went. It was very mental.

4)      How do people get past the hunger when on a diet?

Well, when I started eating clean, I was hungry ALL the time.  When you are used to binging on wrong foods, your stomach stretches out and it takes time for it to get used to less food.  During those times, I would mentally have a talk with myself and say “You got yourself into this, now get yourself out and stop feeling sorry for yourself”. To get through it, you HAVE to be mentally strong and ask yourself “Do you want to continue feeling this way or do you want to feel better?” Mental strength is 200% of the effort.  For me, eating clean is the best thing that has happened to me, because I FEEL good.  The way I look is icing on the cake. In my life, I never would have dreamed I could look the way I do now.  Weight training is miraculous for your physique and how it changes your body.  However, getting through this is one of the toughest things in life, and I am sure Nina would agree.

5)      What workouts do you recommend for women who are trying to become bikini ready?


The first thing is to have an image in your mind of how you want to look. It is important to have the dream to know where you are going to. When starting out, you need to understand the immediate results are going to be mental. The physical benefits take time to get there. It is not an overnight miracle. Be aware of how you feel mentally.


6)      What kind of diet changes do you recommend anyone looking to lose weight or become physically and mentally fit?

Change your diet to 6 small meals a day.  When I say 6 small meals, it is not 3 big meals and 3 snacks. All your meals should be approximately the same size.  That is the biggest realization I had was having 3 meals and 3 snacks was the biggest mistake. Now, it is 6 small, healthy meals.
What I usually do is save my last meal for around 8pm or before I go to bed (I sleep early because I wake up very early). This way, when I am watching TV I don’t feel deprived of a snack. So I will have something like eggs with fruit or Greek yoghurt with raspberries, chicken on a whole wheat pita, etc.  These are small meals, so they do not take much time to eat.  When you are eating 6 small meals and eating clean, it is very simple. Calories in vs. Calories out. It doesn’t matter what and when. You should be burning more calories than you are eating if you are trying to lose weight or for maintenance, calories in=calories out.  The other recommendation I have is to not over complicate food.  Gluten free, organic, fat free are all hype. Fat free has tons of sugars.  Others can be high in fat. You have to learn to read your labels and go as clean as you can.  Go with right vs. fat free. One great example I tell my clients is mayo. Light mayo is better than fat free mayo.  Drink a ton of water. I also use cinnamon on oatmeal, yoghurt, and chew cinnamon gum because it reduces your appetite and helps with hunger pangs.  Spicy food also raises your metabolism.

7)      Is diet really 80% of the battle?

I think it is a 50-50 puzzle. Everything has to be just right. It is important to have both things. Some people think if they workout, they can eat whatever they want and that is not true.  The opposite is also untrue: Diet without working out.  You will not lose weight effectively. Neither will work alone long term. It might work temporarily.


8)      What differences in workouts do you prescribe your male clients vs. the female clients? Is there a difference? What about diet?

I don’t really go by gender when it comes to my clients. I go by an individual. Each individual has their own set of issues like injuries, knee operation, heart attack, blood pressure, etc.

So it is more important to give each person a personalized workout. Whatever I give you would not work on a 60 year old man or even another 35 year old woman. I never repeat my workouts for clients because you cannot just take a workout and copy it for 10 different people. Every single person is different.

9)      Let’s talk about weight loss for a minute. While research shows the number on the scale should not be used to measure success, let’s face it, if someone is eating well and working out and that number does not budge at ALL, it de-motivates a person. What are some reasons for this? And what do you suggest to solve this “issue”?

People over complicate fitness and weight loss. It is not complicated at all. If you are not losing weight, you are either over eating, or not burning enough calories out. All the small cheats in a day add up. A quick bite of chocolate, just ONE drink, leftovers from someone else’s meals, etc. Trainers sometimes get frustrated and try to find something medically like a thyroid issue. First you have to make sure you are right on both diet and exercises and be true to yourself.  Calories in vs. Calories out. If after that you are not losing weight, get your thyroid checked.  I have an underactive thyroid and I gained 10 lbs in 6 months which is very frustrating because I had no control. Once I got on medication and had it stabilized, the weight came off. But generally, ensure you are eating right and burning out the calories.


10)   It is well known you are the brain behind Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri fabulous figure. Explain how she became your client and what her goals were?

Nina bought a living social deal I had put out of 3 sessions for $25.  She came in for these sessions and I sit down with all my clients and take a full assessment and she had to divulge her personal info. We connected immediately.  Right in the middle of that conversation, I blurted out “You are an absolutely beautiful person” which is when she told me she had wanted to do pageants but had gained weight and couldn’t do them.  Then she said she would LOVE to do Miss Rochester and can I help her lose 10 lbs in 4 weeks?

I didn’t know anything about pageants, but I found out they come in quick succession: Miss Rochester, Miss New York and Miss America were all quick. She had 4 weeks until Miss Rochester, about 8-12 weeks after that to Miss New York and another 8 weeks to Miss America.

She asked me to help her by sponsoring her and I told her I would be happy to sponsor her (sponsoring meant giving her free training) but only on the condition that she showed me seriousness and do what I told her to do and not to lie about what she is eating, etc.  I told her very clearly I will not put time and money into someone who is not serious and is just fooling around. Nina came in every single week and lost weight every single week. That is how dedicated she was.  From the time she came in to Miss America, she lost a total of 40 lbs with me.


11)   What is a sample meal plan you suggested to her? Can you give the readers a day’s meal plan she was on during her “Road to Miss America”?


Well I gave her a clean diet. No condiments, no butter, nothing extra. All the food had to be very fresh, nothing processed, nothing white. 6 meals a day, all the same size. Nina said to me that the best thing I said to her was “this is not gourmet eating”. It is all about fueling your body with the healthiest things you can feed yourself and small quantities. It is like filling a car with premium gas and only fueling enough to go the miles you are driving, not the full tank. She understood having 800 calorie meals will not help. Smaller meals raise your metabolism.

12)   What about her weekly workout regime? How many hours a day did she workout and how many times a week?

Nina was on a time sensitive schedule to when the pageants were so she had to commit to extra time daily to get to her goal faster. So what she did is not an everyday thing.  But she was exceptional and would do about an hour of weight training with me and another 45 minutes to an hour of cardio. So I would say she did about 1.5-2 hours a day 5-6 days a week.


13)   Tell us about Nina now post her win? I is she still on your workout plans?

Nina is on the road constantly so we do not get to train together. As Miss America she is never in one place for more than 48 hours.

14)   What is next for you, Tia? You have your own gym, you have a celebrity client and you are physically and mentally very fit. What do you want to do next? Perhaps a book or video?

My initial dream was to have my own gym. And at the time, that seemed like a ridiculous dream. But it happened. Then the dream was to be able to make ends meet by having enough business full time (I stayed on as a trainer at planet fitness because I was scared I would not make enough money). I was truly not prepared for any of this.  I have clients on a waitlist now.  Now that all this has happened, my next vision is to make personalized workout videos for individuals. I am currently meeting with a firm to make that happen.

I also am trying to hire trainers to work for me as I need to be able to have more time myself. But for someone to represent me and my gym, they not only have to be a good trainer, but an exceptional human being. For the interviews, I have them train me and I need to make sure how they treat people, how they help people, the attitude. It is not about the money. I also want to hire a massage therapist for my gym.  It is my DREAM to be able to make personalized workout videos for people who are remote. I want to be able to talk to my clients over the phone/Skype, make their workout videos to match their needs.

End of interview

Well, I know for sure I will definitely be hiring Tia for my own workout needs! Having done this interview, listening to Tia’s journey and Nina’s journey has definitely inspired me and I am sure it will inspire every single one of you!

Nina—if you are reading this, I would be HONORED if I could follow this up with an interview with you. I am sure the readers would also LOVE that!

Visit Tia’s website:

Top Mumbai Model and Actress: Amruta Patki on her fitness mantra

Profile: Amruta Patki is a top model in India, former Miss India Earth 2006, former Miss Earth Air 2006, an actress in Hindi as well as Marathi films. Amruta is also a singer and a nominee of Radio Mirchi Music Awards 2013 as best debut singer.
I am actually at a loss for how to even introduce this beautiful and very down to earth Mumbai model. Maybe the best thing is to just start with how I met her. I was browsing twitter one day and the photographer who had done my own portfolio had posted some very nice pictures of Amruta. I became curious and started browsing her Twitter feed and saw post after post about yoga, workouts, pictures of her dinners, favorite foods, etc and became intrigued. So for a few weeks, I just watched…and one day, she posted a picture of her after a workout and I was floored. There was no size zero..there was no waif like model, here was a SUPER FIT and healthy girl who had achieved so much in her only 27 years of age.

So I thought, let me try my luck. Not expecting too much, I tweeted her for an interview. I kid you not, she responded within MINUTES and agreed. At that point, I still expected some starry attitudes or didn’t really expect the interview to happen. Seriously, she was SO easy to respond to my emails, gave me her mobile number right away and we finally were able to speak on the phone . I had promised her I would only take 15 minutes of her busy schedule; she talked with me for almost 45 minutes! And that too, so friendly with all levels of honesty and absolutely no clichéd answers.
So without further ado, I am HONORED to bring you Amruta’s very honest and very interesting past and present fitness &health mantra:

1) Question: Amruta, how do you stay away from the pressure of size zero being in the fashion and movie industry? Isn’t it a common misconception that models are waif like and starve to be accepted? Have u ever felt that you needed to change ?
Answer: I believe that all things should be balanced. Input into the body and output from the body should be balanced. I maintain a good diet, eat in moderation, but burn it out. Everything in the universe should be balanced by input vs output and that includes the mind and body.
I definitely do not starve myself because I am a TOTAL foodie. In the last 7 years, I have traveled to over 24 countries for my work and have tried cuisines in all parts of the world (Japanase, African, Indonesian, Malaysian, etc). So I allow myself to binge and eat and have fun. However, to balance the days I do this, I cleanse myself for the days I do not binge. I believe in only home remedies and Ayurveda and so I follow the principles of Ayurveda to ensure I output the toxins from my body.
For example, if I have a shoot coming up, or I have binged with friends the night before, I take to the following routine the next morning and every day until my next indulgence:
1. Be very careful of what I eat for the next few days
2. Drink a lot of hot water first thing in the morning (cleans the system)
3. Avoid carbs the whole day ( no rice or roti for the next 2-3 days)

2) Question: So what do you eat when you are being careful of your diet?
Answer: I am a non-vegetarian and I eat chicken, eggs, fish and now recently, I started eating red meat once in a while. I am very careful of this as it is high in cholesterol and makes a person’s personality quite aggressive (you are what you eat concept). In addition, I take an Ayurvedic supplement called Triphala. Since I am traveling quite a bit and am forced to eat out during this time and also an insomniac (which contributes to acidity),
For more information on Triphala, see:
I also have cultivated a liking to Green tea. I did not like this before, but after I saw how much it improves the skin and I start feeling healthier and lighter, I have started enjoying it more!
The one food group I stay away from are desserts. I LOVE desserts but I stay away from them because they are an absolute ADDICTION. As long as I stay away from desserts, my mind doesn’t ask for them, however , once you start, then the mind remembers it and it is harder to not indulge. So I try and stay away from that.
If I am getting ready for a shoot, I switch myself to Nachni or Oats roti and then stick to a very light dinner such as Salads or a glass of butter milk or a milk shake with little bit of honey. This diet keeps me light and allows me to have a nice flat stomach if I have to show it for my shoots or modeling assignments

(Info on the Nachni grain, aka Ragi, is found here:

3) Question: Do you have a dietician to plan your charts? Or do you just know what to do yourself?
Answer: I Used to have a dietician in the past, but now I know my body really well and what ti responds to, and no one can know my body like I do, so I take care of my diet myself now.

4) Question: You tweeted once that you lost 2 KG in 10 days. Tell me the secret!? How do YOU manage this? Is it diet or exercise like crazy?
Answer: I believe that your weight loss is 70% diet and only about 30% exercise. If you are eating badly, you can workout like crazy and not see results. I only workout for one hour a day. I don’t know why some people log 3-4 hours a day. So, for the times I want to quickly lose 2kg, I will do the following changes to my diet:
a) I completely cut OUT carbs at night and I cut DOWN on carbs during the day.
For r meals like lunch I may have 1 roti+veggie sabizi + salad or fish
b) About 3-4 hours after lunch, I will have an evening meal like sukha bhel, some fruit, 1 idli
c) I mostly do as much liquids as I can for dinner. For example, I will drink 200ML water before I start my meal and then have 2 bowls daal.
I even did a detox diet for about a week where I had UNLIMITED fruits all day.

5) Question: Wow! So isn’t this difficult? Don’t you get hungry!?
Answer: Yes, it is very difficult, especially the first day or so. Then, your body gets used to this. But you need to be very mentally strong to do something like this. So you really need to want to do this. Also, people with extremely healthy bodies can do this (perfect blood reports, and physically very fit). I would not recommend anyone to do this and definitely NOT for an extended period of time. It can definitely hurt people with illnesses.
However, at the end and after a few days, I noticed, my skin was GLOWING as my body purged the toxins , my hair was great, all the toxins were gone and surprisingly I was not was not weak at all as someone may think as u get natural sugars from the fruits so u have energy.
I hardly pushed my body to work out during this time. So by the end of 10 days, I lost 2 kg fat and 2 kg muscle.
One interesting thing is that once you are done and you go back ON food, you must do it very slowly. A friend of mine did this with me and started eating normally straight away and her body rejected regular food. Once your body gets used to raw foods, it needs to be introduced to foods slowly. If you take care of what you eat and stick with raw foods, you can lose about 6-7 KG in a month.

6) Question: What are your workouts like? I notice you have all kinds of days when you tweet on twitter?

Answer: I keep pushing my body to do different things. For cardio, I like running and cycling. I also do weight training, Pilates and definitely yoga I make sure to keep it to 1 hour a day and not more than that.

7) Question: Talk to me about how you got into Miss India and won Miss India Earth 2006 and went on to be a finalist during the Miss Earth pageant. Did you workout? (BTW, I loved her answer to this question because it is really inspiring):
Answer: I always wanted to be in entertainment industry in some way. When I was growing up, I had huge inferiority complex being as tall as a “giant”. So when I got to college and I was asked to participate in a fashion show, I decided to try it. This fashion show was choreographed by a professional photographer. Once I walked for it, he asked me to participate in a Miss Mumbai contest.
One thing to know is, I studied in the Marathi medium in school, so I was not fluent by any means at the time in English. So I was apprehensive of going into a contest and getting on stage, how would I talk in fluent English. But, I went keeping in mind that they would pick me on my beauty and looks, not how well I could speak English. I won that pageant and Hemant Trivedi saw my pictures. Hemant is my guru, my mentor and where ever I am today, I owe it to him.
So I was asked if I wanted to shoot for Hemant Trivedi and I shot for the clothing store Sheetal. He aso groomed me during this time by advising me to start workouts, watch English movies, look on the internet to see pageants, do research on my own on how to walk, how to talk. And then he told me to come for the Miss India auditions.
I believe going for Miss India was destiny as the universe was giving me signs. 1 month prior to auditions was signed up with Pantaloons to be their brand ambassador. And guess what? Pantaloons was sponsoring Miss India that year. So everyone was very excited that I was going to be part of Miss India and I won Miss India Earth that year. I can also speak a VARIETY of languages that helped me such as Konkani, Panjabi, Hindi, English, Gujurati (She spoke to me in PERFECT Gujurati) and Marathi.
(Trust me I was blown away by her admission of not having learned English in school, her English was so perfect, I would never have guessed she self learned).
Then Miss Earth was about 6 months after I won Miss India, so I was put through workouts and dieted for it, worked on my skin and hair as well. At that time, since I did not know my body the way I know it now and I did not work out as much then, it really pushed my body and was quite difficult. I know my body now and I gain weight quite easily. For example, if I just binge for a week or 10 days, I can easily gain 1.5 KG. However, fortunately I can also lose just as quickly. So I have to be careful for events.

8) Question: You are in a profession where it is cut throat, a path full of potential disappointments, criticism. The news today is filled with Jiah Khan’s suicide and that some girls just cannot handle it.
How do you keep your mind calm on a daily basis and through these tough times?
Answer: I am very spiritual and by that I don’t mean religious. I believe that there is some form of energy in the universe and to just love and respect people.
You have your own expectations for yourself, and everyone has a destiny and in this rat race in the industry you really just have to be happy, and move on if u don’t get there because it is not the end of the world. It could be you are maybe destined for something else.
So when I find myself with less work or not having the projects I want, I stay positive and optimistic and make sure I keep busy with friends. Or I enroll in courses that help me. Recently I did the art of living course which was great. Also, every year in June a mountain trip is a MUST for me and is like fuel In fact, I just came back from one. It allows me to be within and see Nature, eat health and meditate.

9) Question: Who is Amruta Patki’s favorite celebrity?
Answer: I really like Deepika Paudakone. I find her hot and she is always looking so put together and she can carry anything. If I see her at press conferences in jeans and a top or at functions in saris or she is shooting in a bikini or shorts, she NEVER looks unclassy. She can carry off anything with style and class.

10) Question: What is next for you?

Answer: Well, I have done modeling, done Marathi films, I just did a song for a Malayalam film (coming out this week!), am looking into Telugu offers. I did a Bollywood film which didn’t go for me as I had hoped, so now I am being very choosy with what offers are coming my way. I have to make sure it is right and I don’t want to take my attention away from the modeling industry. Once you are out of sight, it is very hard to get back in, so I have to make sure whatever I do does not affect my fashion career.

Well Amruta, here’s to see you soon in many more movies and hopefully something fun in Bollywood too! Thank you Amruta for such an AWESOME interview and I will surely call her next time I am in Mumbai as she has promised me a coffee together I have added some links of Amruta’s website and videos of her I found interesting: (Amruta’s website) (Paisa Paisa Malayalam movie) (Facebook fan page link) @amrutapatki (Twitter link)

Interview: A Professional Yogi: Rebecca Thieneman Yoga and Nutrition professional for men and women


I met Rebecca when I moved to Atlanta in 2008 and joined Lifetime Fitness. My mom had already started her yoga classes and had so many praises for the way she teaches and her nutrition and yoga AND meditation techniques, I just had to meet her. At the time, I was also going through a tough time personally and was looking for ways to calm myself. I had also started researching the benefits of yoga and staying fit.  And trust me, Rebecca’s classes and her advice was not just the praises I had heard from my mom and several other members at the club.  Her advice on a day to day life, how to handle stresses in your life and how to really use the techniques practiced in yoga in daily life has really stayed with me.  Not only a yoga teacher but she became a friend as well.

Today Rebecca will talk not only about her yoga and nutrition experience but a little secret I stumbled upon by the ways of google: Rebecca was in a fitness competition during her college years! The training and dedication it takes to compete is mind-blowing. And so my respect for Rebecca’s dedication to her craft and career grew even more. Here is one person who has gone through the trials and tribulations of getting a perfect 10 body.

Rebecca Thieneman Yoga and Nutrition professional is based out of Atlanta, GA and currently works as an instructor at Lifetime Fitness.  She is also pursuing further certifications in yoga in India. To contact Rebecca, please see the end of the interview:

  1. What made you want to turn towards yoga and nutrition as a career option? How did all this start?

I have always been passionate about health, and believe that while there are many ways to live, the only way to thrive is by sharing your passion with the world.  I took my first yoga class at 16, and studied nutrition on my own until I was able to enroll in a university and study it more formally.  Throughout college I taught fitness and nutrition classes in dorms, for sororities, at the campus recreation center, in local fitness facilities, and for various events and organizations in the community. I wrote for various health and fitness publications, and I had the privilege of teaching an Undergraduate Science of Nutrition course for several semesters while I was completing my Masters degree.  I have for as long as I remembered sought out ways to share my passion as often and with as many as I could.

2.   Yoga is a very talked about topic for weight loss these days. Many people are confused what yoga to do when. Can you talk about some of the different types and how to incorporate them into goals such as weight loss, meditation, peace of mind, depression, bouncing back from an injury, etc?

Yoga of any kind has benefits for all of the above. There is not a single person on the planet who would not benefit from this practice. That being said, Vinyasa yoga is a very active form of yoga, great first thing in the morning or any time during the day when you need a little pick-me-up. For a practice more focused on deep stretching and relaxation, yin or restorative yoga may be more appropriate.

3. What kind of nutrition plan do you suggest to your clients? Any foods that you recommend nutritionally that are perceived as “fattening or high carb” but actually have a high nutritional value?

I recommend as many whole foods as possible.  With the low-carb craze fruits are often discouraged however I encourage my clients to include them daily. I also encourage vegetarian meals whenever possible, reducing the volume of animal-based foods, and instead focusing on plant-based proteins and healthy fats such as hemp seeds, chia seeds, legumes, beans, and nuts.

4. What are your thoughts on a “yoga” diet plan? Some yogis stick to very basic foods, right? Macrobiotic?

Yogic eating does include foods that are sattvic-or pure-in nature. It also includes paying attention to how you eat. Mindful eating is a great example of how the practice of yoga can become a way of life: being in the moment, and experiencing things one bite at a time.

5. We talk a lot about women and their weight loss struggles. Let’s flip the switch for a minute and talk about men. What would you suggest to a man wanting to lose weight? What is different for them vs women?

Some common factors I have noticed when it comes to men are their eating schedules and the lack of concern they have with their food choices. Often eating is an after thought during the workday, and meals are put off until arriving home in the evening. This creates an unhealthy balance of caloric intake throughout the day. Women seem to be more concerned with food factors such as organic vs. inorganic, brands, caloric content, nutrition integrity etc. while men seem to be more driven by taste and convenience.

6. What would you suggest to a man wanting/needing to gain weight? What is a sample diet chart?

Eat, eat, and eat some more! The amount of calories needed to gain weight is as significant as the amount of calories avoided in losing weight. To get the calories in, I generally recommend 3-4 solid meals with nutritional supplements in between.

7. I came across you one day in my Google searches being in a women’s fitness competition. Can you tell us about how you decided to take that on and what type of commitment it took?

I have always enjoyed fitness. As a former dancer and marathon runner, I appreciate challenging activities that require discipline. During my freshman year of college there was a local competition that I decided to channel my long hours in the gym towards. While I didn’t expect to win, this outcome led me to compete in quite a few more advanced competitions in the years that followed. Getting your body composition into peak condition is as much about diet as it is exercise-if not more. The combination of extended training and strict eating can be exhausting at times. That being said, I think it sharpened my character, and helped me endure my college years with more ease.

8. What was a sample diet you had to follow for a day and how many months did you stick to this?

Generally, the diet I followed was very calculated. When it came to carbohydrates, I focused on minimal sugar intake, though I did eat low glycemic fruits and natural sugars until several weeks out of the competition.  Other common carbs were brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, non-starchy vegetables of all kinds, and whole grain cereal. I also prioritized lean proteins and avoided condiments, and processed foods of all kinds as much as possible.

9. What was the workout plan like for the week training for the competition?

First thing in the morning on most days I would do low-intensity cardio for an extended duration. Later in the day I would do high volume weight training, a short bout of high-intensity cardio, and have routine practice.

10. Can you suggest a sample plan for anyone wanting to lose weight? Does working out 3 hours a day help?

When it comes to nutrition, I suggest focusing not just on calories but the volume-the actual space-the food fills. There is evidence that volume contributes to satiety, the feeling of fullness and satisfaction. This means non-starchy veggies, fruits, and naturally high-fiber foods top the list. Protein is another nutrient that can help you feel fuller for longer, and also requires more metabolic energy to digest. Including a vegetable and/or fruit at every meal along with a lean form of protein is key. I also recommend using an online food journal such as,,, etc. to keep track. The additional accountability and awareness this activity can provide makes a significant impact.

11. Tell us about what you do to keep fit and healthy?

I practice yoga daily, and run 3-4 days per week. I follow a vegetarian diet and always keep an open mind towards new foods and new types of physical activities.

Rebecca Thieneman:!/profile.php?id=100002418570752