"Alia Bhatt does a combination of different training and loves Pilates."
As one of the most sought-after personal trainers in Mumbai, Yasmin Karachiwala has certainly made a name for herself in the fitness industry.
Having manged to build up a lucrative celebrity clientele over her 22-year career, she owes her success to personalising the fitness experience to each individual client’s needs.
From her fitness studio, Body Image, Yasmin has trained some of Bollywood’s finest in attaining their enviably sleek and slender silhouettes.
Some of the biggest stars she has worked closely with include Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone.
DESIblitz chats with the Mumbai-based trainer about her well-established career, and the road to building her fitness empire.
After 22 years in the fitness industry, what changes or trends have you observed?
“There have been a lot of trends in the last 22 years. I myself started my career in this industry with Aerobics group classes, then introduced step aerobics classes, personal weight training, functional, TRX and Crossfit.
“Then, ten years ago, I discovered Pilates which made me realise that it’s a form of exercise that complements every other exercise and also helps you perform everything you do in life better.
“Be it another form of exercise, sport or even just going about doing your day to day activities.
“Pilates works on your core strength, good form and most importantly helps you improve your posture.”
What do you feel has brought about the fitness craze that has emerged in India over the past few years?
“I think people are more fitness-conscious today than they were before due to lifestyle changes. People are a lot more concerned about their health.
“Also the Bollywood industry has taken to fitness and that encourages an average person to look and feel fit.
“We are seeing more and more female South Asian bodybuilders and fitness models compete.”
Have you ever or would you ever take to the stage yourself?
“No, I am extremely happy doing what I do and shall leave the competing to professionals who train really hard and are great at what they do.”
What separates your gym ‘Body Image’ from the rest in India?
“We care about the people who enter our doors, not just about their weight but their overall health and fitness.
“My mantra is ‘Be fit, because you deserve it!’ and I truly want each of my clients to embody that.
“Body Image is a personal training studio and we believe that ‘not one shoe fits all’. Hence we work with each of our clients very closely and make workouts that suit their bodies and help them achieve their goals.
“We also make sure that every person who walks out of our door is feeling better than he/she did when they walked in.”
When it comes to dieting, do you recommend a certain method e.g. low carb?
“I only believe in eating right, not any diet but rather educating my clients on what food is good for them and knowing what foods to avoid and just eat smart.
“My eating mantra is ‘Eat Smart’ and don’t be on a ‘see-food’ diet (you don’t have to eat everything you see!)”
What kind of adjustments do you make when training male and female clients? How do their training methods and diet differ?
“Men and women are physically very different as we all know, so obviously their goals, fitness levels, strengths, endurance etc will be different. Like I said earlier ‘no one shoe fits all’ that applies here too.
Do you believe supplements are a necessity for getting into shape or an elaborate con by the fitness industry?
“I personally don’t take any supplements or recommend them.
“My belief is that if you have a wholesome, well-balanced food-plan, it should cover all that your body requires.
“If it doesn’t, I highly recommend consulting an expert (like your doctor) for the best advice.”
How is your YouTube channel progressing? Do you see YouTube playing a big part in your future?
“Yes, I launched my YouTube channel recently and the response has been incredible. I definitely think digital is the way forward.”
You’ve trained some of Bollywood’s biggest stars. Who is your first client and how did you get involved with the film industry?
“My very first Bollywood client was Kareena Kapoor. This was when I used to train out of my living room. My progress has been purely through hard work and word of mouth.”
Can you tell us about your training and diet regime for Deepika Padukone in preparation for her Hollywood debut, and Alia Bhatt for her bikini body?
“Deepika trained very hard for xXx. We did a lot of functional training, kettle bells, Bosu, TRX and Pilates, as she needed to look strong, flexible and fit for her role.
“Alia also does a combination of different training, but she loves Pilates and ends up doing more of it along with cardio for her look.”
Training Diaries finale….A preview of the diff stages of @deepikapadukone’s training as she prepared for her role in #XXX #thereturnofxandercage with @vindiesel Will miss you and know that you’re gonna be fantabulous!!!! #befitbecauseyoudeserveit #yasminfitnessmantra #BeFitwithYasminKarachiwala #SculptandShape #deepikapadukone #YasminKarachiwala #trainhard #exercisereleasesendorphins #getfit #pilatesmastertrainer #Pilates #strength #fitisthenewsexy #power #FitnFabulous
What do you enjoy most about working with actors/actresses, and what is the biggest challenge?
“What I enjoy most about working with actors/actresses is their commitment to the way they want to look for each role, and how hard they’re willing to work for it.
“It’s not just about acting but also about fitting the character in every way possible.
“All my celebrities are extremely hard-working and leave no stones unturned to prep for the look that’s required of them.
This excites me as a trainer as each look requires a different training approach and most times I have to figure out the right combination of workouts.
“There is never a dull moment in my day and I love working with each of them.”
Out of all the stars you’ve trained, who has become the biggest fitness fanatic and who is most likely to cheat on their diet?
“Ah ha, here’s the question everyone likes to ask me, including my clients and one which I have vowed never ever to answer! This one is for me to know and no one to find out.”
What are you working on next?
“I’m working on trying to get a Body Image Studio to as many cities as I can, as I believe ‘Be fit, because you deserve it!’ and we can help you achieve it.”
Being ambitious and hard-working has certainly paid off for Yasmin Karachiwala.
DESIblitz trusts her successful streak will continue for years to come and wishes her all the best for her future projects.