Bolly celebrity trainer Yasmin Karachiwala brings her fitness programme to Dubai

Yasmin’s Body Image, Karachiwala’s flagship studio in Mumbai, has collaborated with Dubai-based entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast Anjali Chandiramani to offer its brand of Pilates sessions at A-Tone Fitness Lounge, which will also offer yoga and a new workout – Cross-cuit – in Business Bay Dubai.

Celebrity trainer Yasmin Karachiwala, right, with Anjali Chandiramani, founder of A-Tone Fitness Lounge. Courtesy A-Tone
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"I have people walk into my fitness studio every day who want to walk out looking like a film star," says Yasmin Karachiwala, trainer to the stars in Bollywood. "But you cannot follow a cookie-cutter approach – fitness is about understanding your body first."

Before becoming a taskmaster to leading actresses such as Alia Bhatt, Sonakshi Sinha and Kareena Kapoor, Karachiwala was, in her own words, “very lazy”.

“I stumbled upon fitness by chance,” says the 45-year-old. “A friend forced me to sign up for a gym membership to make use of a discounted offer. I didn’t want to work out but she twisted my arm.

“On the first day she headed to the weights section and, believing that I was a good dancer, I opted for this aerobic class where the participants were dancing. I soon found out that I was completely offbeat and had no sense of coordination and was kicking people. It was very embarrassing.”

Karachiwala, who specialises in a combination of Pilates and strength workouts, is bringing her team of trainers to Dubai to lead classes at A-Tone Fitness Lounge, which opens in Business Bay on Saturday, May 28.

The Dubai expansion

Yasmin’s Body Image, Karachiwala’s flagship studio in Mumbai, has collaborated with Dubai -based entrepreneur and fitness enthusiast Anjali Chandiramani to offer its brand of Pilates sessions at her fitness centre.

While Karachiwala – who is in Dubai to inaugurate the studio on Wednesday – will personally oversee the programming of the Pilates­ classes at the 3,000-square-foot space, Chandiramani will handle yoga and a new hybrid class called Cross-cuit – a combination of CrossFit and circuit training – with four professional trainers.

“People ask me why Dubai for my first franchise outside of India and I say why not?” says Karachiwala. “A lot of people have wanted me to bring my philosophy of fitness to Dubai. So Anjali and I got talking and it just clicked.

“I was very clear that I want to franchise to people who understand fitness, because they will run it with passion.”

Credited for popularising Pilates in India, Karachiwala began her career in Mumbai 25 years ago, after being certified in the United States as an instructor by the leading BASI Pilates academy.

What started off as a fun way to earn some pocket money turned into a self-run, fully fledged studio in the metropolis, which now attracts some of the biggest names in Bollywood.

A hands-on approach

For the past two years, Karachiwala has been working towards becoming a master trainer so she can expand her studios without compromising on quality.

“I personally train all of the coaches who will be teaching the classes at the studios I have collaborated with,” she says.

In Dubai, two of the trainers she has mentored will introduce workouts for participants of all fitness levels, using Pilates equipment such as the Reformer, Bodhi Suspension System and specially designed Pilates chairs.

“I love and live by Pilates,” says Karachiwala. “For me it is the beginning and end to every other workout that you do.

“I don’t tell people that it is all that you should be doing – but I do recommend it as one of the workouts you must try. It balances you, strengthens your core and centres you. It just improves your quality of life.”

Her trainers will also provide one-on-one sessions for people with targeted fitness goals.

“Three things are very important: find what you enjoy doing, don’t follow fads and celebrities, and understand your body and what works for you,” she says. “It’s satisfying to explain to people how their bodies are different and that they need to work to their potential and not aspire to be someone else.”

• A-Tone opens on Saturday, May 28, on the 7th floor of Prime Tower in Dubai Business Bay. Yoga and Cross-cuit classes are Dh80 each and Yasmin’s Pilates class is Dh100 per session. Unlimited access to classes and pool is Dh1,199 for a month. The studio also has an outdoor area overlooking Downtown Dubai, with a swimming pool. The centre will have three studios for Pilates, Yoga and Cross-cuit. There will be a cap of 10 members for each class. For details, visit

Read Yasmin Karachiwala's tips for getting fit in #healthyliving magazine, in The National on Thursday