Pilates Can Help You Reduce Belly-Fat: Yasmin Karachiwala

Raring to get back in shape after having a baby? Want to shed that extra weight? Hear what celeb fitness trainer Yasmin Karachiwala has to say, as she guides new mommies in their fitness regimen.

By Monali Bordoloi

Pilates Can Help You Reduce Belly-Fat: Yasmin Karachiwala
Yasmin Karachiwala - a fitness star and mother of two teenagers!

If you are trying to get back in shape after a baby, the celeb way, meet Yasmin Karachiwala, who has trained several Bollywood stars like Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif to get fit and sport a well-toned body.

With more than 22 years of experience in the field, Yasmin takes fitness seriously. A certified Pilates trainer, Yasmin has been instrumental in making this fitness style hugely popular among Bollywood celebs and common people alike.

So, what is Pilates? Well, it is a form of exercise that lays special emphasis on strengthening the core muscles and focuses on posture, balance and flexibility.

ParentCircle, in a tête-à-tête with the fitness czarina, gathered in-depth knowledge on Pilates, exercises for new mommies, diet and how to keep your family motivated to be fit. Read on.

According to you, what is more important to remain fit and healthy — diet or exercise?

According to me, diet and exercise go hand in hand in your journey towards being fit. You can exercise for one or maximum two hours a day out of the 24 hours. What you eat or drink for the remaining 22 hours contributes greatly to your health. That's the reason there is a saying in the fitness circle that, 70 per cent of your health is determined by your kitchen and the other 30 per cent depends on your exercise regimen.

How soon can a new mom start an exercise regimen after having a baby?

Well, that depends on various factors like the mother’s fitness level before and during pregnancy, and on the kind of delivery (normal or caesarean) she had. Even the duration of labour during childbirth can restrict a mother’s exercising capacity.

For new mothers who have had a normal delivery, they could start a light exercise routine after 16 weeks. However, for those who have had a caesarean delivery, it would be wise to wait at least 4-5 months before starting exercises.

But quite frankly, it differs from person to person. We have new moms who get going with their fitness workouts within three months of having a baby.

I, generally, ask them about their lifestyle and fitness level and get an understanding of the same before advising any exercise regimen.

Moms are always hard-pressed for time. What is the ideal time for them to exercise?

If you are determined to do something, you will find the time for it. The best time for a mother to exercise is when her baby sleeps. However, during the initial months, the new mother should catch up on her sleep and not think too much about getting back in shape. Ideally, the mother too should sleep when the baby is sleeping.

Once you are sure that your body is ready for it, set aside some time for yourself and start with a light workout. Any form of physical activity like walking or light aerobics would be advisable, to begin with.

What type of exercises do you suggest to women after childbirth?

Pregnancy is a beautiful period; however, it takes a toll on your muscles as they loosen up during this time. It’s important that we give our body some time to heal on its own.

Post pregnancy, we should work on developing the core muscles with a special focus on the abdomen muscles. This must be done in a phased manner as we don’t want to put the mother to any kind of discomfort or risk.

If the mother works out too hard after delivery and doesn’t do it correctly, she may face issues with her abdominal muscles.

New mothers should follow an exercise routine specifically designed for them, keeping each of their respective needs in mind.

How can Pilates help moms get back in shape?

Popular for promoting general fitness and well-being, Pilates works extremely well for those women who are looking to tone their bodies after the birth of their child. And the best part is you don’t need any equipment to do these exercises. Also, they can be done easily in the comfort of your home when your baby is asleep or playing.

As every pregnancy is different, I prefer suggesting workouts after meeting and talking with the mother. Generalising exercises that a mother can do, can probably cause more harm than good.

However, there are some basic Pilates exercises which are safe to do that are effective in reducing belly fat. 

Can a regular mom aspire to have a body like a film star?

Pilates Can Help You Reduce Belly-Fat: Yasmin Karachiwala
Everyone can have a fit body, of course, it requires grit and determination!

Of course, everyone should strive to have a fit and healthy body. To maintain a body like the stars, you need to have a lot of dedication and commitment, and put in quite some hard work. Above all, you should indulge in some self care which most new moms forget to.

Can we exercise without going to a gym, from the comfort of our homes?

Why not? Some people feel more comfortable working out in their homes. You can exercise without going to the gym. Tune into my posts on Fridays, where I try to post five exercises that you can do anywhere, whether you are in your home or in a park or any hotel room when you are travelling. You just need a decent space to exercise.

You are the mother of two teenagers. How do you motivate your boys to work out?

Both my sons are into football. Earlier, when they were younger, I used to motivate my boys to be physically active. I made them understand that just playing a game will not help their fitness level. They need to work hard on their body, and it will reflect on their game too.

Today’s competitive sports demand extreme fitness levels. Players with very good fitness levels are likely to excel in their game as well.

I can be quite strict with my family when it comes to being physically active. I have a rule that if anyone skips a physical activity any day, he won’t get dinner that day. This rule applies to my husband as well.

How to motivate the family to be fit and active?

The best way to stay fit as a family is to indulge in some sports together. When children see parents religiously following fitness routine, they will follow suit. When your family realises that you are serious about fitness, things fall into place.

Luckily, everyone in my family takes fitness seriously. We encourage each other to be active and indulge in any kind of physical activity at least five to six times a week.

How do you keep yourself fit?

Pilates Can Help You Reduce Belly-Fat: Yasmin Karachiwala
Yasmin works out at least six times a week

I like to keep myself fit as it sure feels good if you are fit and healthy. I never avoid my workouts, nor do I make excuses like ‘I am feeling lazy today’. I just get myself to work out at least six times a week.

Over the years, I have learnt to love what I do. I choose exercises that I really enjoy doing, and this keeps boredom away too. I don't do anything just because it has worked for someone else. I do what works for me.

If you are trying to lose weight, choose your workouts. For it to show results, you must enjoy your workout sessions. If the exercises you do make you feel good and energised, it will show in the results. Trust me, I do the same.

When we are spoilt for choice, it is difficult to eat healthy. How do you ensure that you and your family eat nutritious food?

I make sure that no junk food is stacked in my kitchen. I insist on healthy snacking. Now, even my cook surfs the Net for healthy recipes!

Parents can set a good example for their children by eating healthy themselves and being a role model. I love salad and eat it with every meal, and now my boys have developed a taste for it too. To keep it interesting, we dish up varieties of salad at home.

Yasmin sums it by saying, “With a little bit of effort, you can make even healthy food interesting for your family. It just takes a little bit of planning and consciousness from your side to eat right and exercise regularly.”

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