The founder and brains behind The Pilates Lab, Sania M Sheikh speaks to us about her expertise in the art of Pilates and what drives her. She tells us why The Pilates Lab is a one-of-a-kind Pilates studio in Karachi and exactly where you should be getting fit!
How would you describe your fitness philosophy?
Eat well; nourish your body with food in its purest form. Focus on what you eat, not how much you eat. Good food and good sleep coupled with regular exercise at least three times a week leads to a healthy functional mind and that is my kind of fit.
What inspired you to join the fitness industry?
The physiological and psychological changes I went through before and after giving birth is what pushed me to discover fitness. I was super fit during my pregnancies, I took care of my body, attended regular yoga classes and was back in shape in eight weeks. The transformation led me to guiding a handful of mothers about fitness and that’s how I discovered I was meant to be teaching Pilates.
How did The Pilates Lab come about?
I used to attend Reformer Pilates and Cadillac classes in London during my college life around 10 years ago. It was like love at first sight! I always knew I wanted to bring this to my country. Pilates helped me improve my posture and improved my pelvic stability when I couldn’t stand up after two C-section surgeries. It was the mental and physical escape from all my worries. It helped me be mindful of all of my sitting, standing and walking alignments. I started my Pilates training way before I started teaching it and introducing it in Karachi. My guru, my love, Yasmin Karachiwala then pushed me to open up a studio in Karachi. She discussed how we, Asian women need Pilates in our lifestyles and that’s how The Pilates Lab came into being. It was Yasmin’s brainchild.
Three things in your diet you can’t go a day without?
Water, English breakfast tea and almond butter to curb my sugar cravings.
What’s your typical day like?
I wake up to the zesty smell of hot lemon water which restores my body’s PH level. Breakfast is followed by English breakfast tea with cold milk and a brown toast with almond butter (because all that healthy fat is essential). I get my workout out of the way first, Pilates every damn day! I teach at my studio, meet my clients, because they’re like my second family and they bring me happiness. Lunch is usually on the go, it’ll be a wrap or a salad or anything healthy I’m offered in the kitchen. Whatever time I get, I try spending it with my family and kids. We usually end up having dinner together so we discuss our days with one another.
What is the most effective exercise according to you?
Planks, hands down. It’s a full body integration exercise; works your legs, arms, your core, your scapular stability and almost everything.
Your favourite foods to eat on cheat day?
Waffles with strawberries and cream from Waffle Cart.
Advice you’d give to people looking to attain a healthier lifestyle?
Your body doesn’t change with anything but food. It’s 90 per cent what you eat, so be mindful of what goes inside you.
What are some common fitness-related misconceptions/ questions you are asked by your clients?
Will the resistance training on the reformer bulk me up? Will Pilates help me lose weight? Can I do it if I’ve never done it?
How is your fitness mantra different from others?
Being Karachi’s first comprehensive Pilates studio with all the necessary Pilate’s equipment comes with a great responsibility. At Pilates Lab we take each and every client’s responsibility upon ourselves. From aligning their postures, to rehabilitating their injuries, putting them on a programme to help them lose weight; Pilates is a medicine that helps you integrate your mind, body and soul, people do it as a stress buster too!
A celebrity you’d like to train and why?
Deepika Padukone! Yasmin tells me her Pilates practice is immaculate! She only does Pilates. She executes all the exercises with precision and such great control. You can feel every muscle in your body provided your Pilates movement is conducted in its best form. Yasmin tells us how she is the Pilates queen and I can’t wait to meet her and make Yasmin train us together!
Something you enjoy doing when not working?
Spending time with my kids.
Future plans for The Pilates Lab?
To make Pilates Lab internationally renowned and global. We are currently working on opening in another country. Stay tuned!
A saying or quote that keeps you going?
Stay humble, stay grounded, stay connected to your roots. Work in silence and let your success speak for you.