Fitness instructor Yasmin Karachiwala on how you can stay home yet stay fit
And about fitness freaks in Bollywood as well as her fitness journey and her secret routine during the lockdown
- Published 14.05.20, 8:24 PM
- Updated 15.05.20, 4:25 PM
- 6 mins read
From Akshay Kumar being the fittest in the industry to Deepika Padukone waking up at 5am in order to work out before a shoot scheduled early, fitness instructor Yasmin Karachiwala chats with The Telegraph about fitness freaks in Bollywood as well as her fitness journey and her secret routine during the lockdown.
How can one keep fit during the quarantine?
We must stay active during this period as exercising releases endorphins that make you feel good. It boosts your immunity and helps you stay healthy. There are many ways to stay active by doing household work, doing virtual classes or going on YouTube and following one of my routines. After every hour you sit, get up and walk around for five minutes. Eat healthy meals that you would enjoy, and most importantly, stay hydrated!
Any diet tips for the lockdown period?
It’s important that we don’t binge eat during this time. It’s a good way to spend your time by eating healthy meals you enjoy. And again, don’t forget to stay hydrated!
What are the celebrities doing to keep themselves fit in lockdown?
I think during this time everyone is doing home workouts and household chores, which is keeping them fit and active.
What is your fitness regimen like?
In this quarantine period I try to work out very regularly. I am doing Pilates or a functional training workout at least four times a week. I have a trampoline at home, so I do that a few times a week as well, which is great cardio. I also ensure that I walk around the house a lot and complete my daily target of 10,000 steps every day.
Did you always want to be a fitness instructor? Tell us about your journey…
I stumbled upon being an instructor because a friend forced me to join the gym. I was quite average when I tried an aerobics class. So, I kept going back till I learnt all the routines. One day the instructor asked me to step in for her and I did. That’s when I realised how much I love moving and telling people what to do. So, I decided to study further and eventually became a group class instructor. I then studied personal training and Pilates.
How important is diet, when it comes to fitness?
It’s 70 per cent diet and 30 per cent workout! That’s how important food is. We are what we eat.
You train quite a few celebrities. Can you share your experience...
I have had the opportunity to work with some Bollywood celebs and have cherished my time with each one of them.
Katrina Kaif’s dedication towards her profession is a huge inspiration for me. Before she starts training for any song in a movie, she asks me to ramp up her fitness routine so that she can perform her best. We have pulled out many intense routines as a part of some of those training to get her in the exact shape she wishes to have for the song. She is highly determined and ready to go to any extent when it comes to fitness.
Alia Bhatt is a very inquisitive learner. She puts her 100 per cent into any training routine that I start with her and is also very keen on knowing the details, including the names of the exercises and the benefits. She is a storehouse of knowledge in that sense and has often jokingly warned me of becoming a Pilates instructor as an alternative career option.
Deepika Padukone is a stickler for routine and is a very meticulous worker, be it on sets or at my studio. In one instance she made me wake up at 5 in the morning as she was supposed to start shooting at 7am and she really wanted to work out before that. I hate to wake up early in the morning for workouts and I think Deepika is the only one who can make me do that as I am inspired by her dedication to work.
You have mentioned about Pilates Festival India 2020 on your Instagram. Tell us about that...
Pilates Festival India 2020 was the 3.0 version of the Pilates Festival India. About four years ago, I was travelling around the world doing different Pilates conferences and I wanted to start something like that in India. There were yoga festivals happening all over India so I felt that Pilates should have one too. I wanted to set it up as a retreat, with three nights away from the city, giving people an experience of a wellness spa and something that they would enjoy. To implement it, I started getting instructors from all over the world, who I had trained with and I look up to. I started getting them to be part of the faculty for the Pilates Festival. This year, we had a turn-up of about 100 people along with six to seven instructors from all over the world and we hosted it in Kerala, in February. At the festival, we had three classes per day — the early morning class used to happen outdoors as the weather was pleasant. The second class was the mid-morning class, which happened right after breakfast and the third class was scheduled for evening. In the afternoon, we planned activities like treasure hunt, different kinds of workshops hosted by international trainers, spas and massages for relaxation. At night, we tried to plan a different kind of entertainment, like we hosted a night with a nutritionist who spoke about the importance of nutrition and how nutrition and exercise go hand in glove for us to achieve a fitness level, lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This used to be followed by live music. This time, there was an award night for all the participants too.
You have authored a book on fitness, Sculpt and Shape: The Pilates Way. Do you plan to write more books?
Sculpt and Shape: The Pilates Way was a book that I authored with a very dear friend of mine, Zeena Dhalla, who is also an instructor and a movement specialist in California. The book took us about six months to put together with all the detailing. I wish I had more time to write another book, but writing a book requires a lot of time, which unfortunately I don’t have at the moment. Hopefully in the future when I have time, I’ll definitely write another book and publish it.
Your favourite fitness book...
My favourite fitness book is my own book, because in this book we have tried to give details of how to exercise the correct way, and the different kinds of postures. It’s very informative.
Who do you look up to when it comes to fitness?
When it comes to fitness, I think first and foremost I look up to all my instructors who have played an important part in my journey. The first one being karate instructor Sensei Pervez Mistry. He is the person who taught me never to compromise, and to always make sure that whatever exercise you do, you do it in the correct form. This was about 26 years ago, when I started out as an aerobics instructor and I started doing weight training and he taught me about the correct way of lifting weights. I also look up to pilates instructor Rial Isovic from California. He was my first Pilates instructor who reinforced what Pervez Mistry told me. These two men changed my perspective about fitness and the way I execute fitness.
Any fitness gadgets you use?
I cannot live without my Apple watch. That is one gadget I always have on me, whether I am working out, or I am chilling or whether I am on a holiday.
Any advice on what kinds of shoes one should wear during working out?
The kind of shoes you should be wearing depends on what kind of workout you are doing. If you are running you need to wear running shoes, if you are hiking you need to wear hiking shoes, if you are at the gym there are special shoes for that or if you are doing activities like aerobics or Zumba there are different shoes for that. I think Reebok as a brand has it all covered. They have different kinds of shoes for each activity mentioned above and as a layman that is what really helps.
Tell us about your collaboration with Reebok.
My collaboration with Reebok has been very interesting because they always come up with different things to motivate people in order to work out and be fit. Two years ago, we had a fitness event at Palladium mall, Mumbai. It was an outdoor fitness day where fitness instructors came and conducted different classes for people who wanted to participate. Right now, with the current situation, Reebok is really working hard with all their fitness ambassadors to put together workout videos that people can follow and practice at home. They are trying to create different kinds of videos to help everyone attain their fitness goals. Also, I personally think their apparels are amazing and their shoes are spectacular.