Why Sara Ali Khan is Our Favourite Fitness Icon

The Bollywood Diva makes fitness look fun with her Pilates, Tabata and Dance routines.

Shraddha Varma

True that most of us only knew Bollywood diva, Sara Ali Khan, as actors Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s daughter. But since her Bollywood debut with Kedarnath in 2018 that image has considerably changed. The 24-year-old has won many hearts with her casual, candid and no-holds-barred persona. Today, Khan is loved equally for her carefree roles and her offline presence, where we have admiringly seen her pursue many a passion, from dancing to fitness. It is the latter, though, that has been particularly inspirational for her fans and social media followers. 

Khan’s amazing transformation from an overweight teenager, struggling with PCOD, to a fit and fabulous goddess, has made her a fitness icon of sorts. Her recent IGTV (Instagram) post offers a sneak-peek into her weight loss journey, with a side of humour – the caption read, "Namaste Darshako Lockdown Edition Episode 2: From Sara ka Sara to Sara ka aadha (From all of Sara to half of Sara)."

Check out the video here:

The fitness bug bit Khan during the final year of her studies at Columbia University in New York. At the time, she weighed approximately 96 kgs and within a year, she dropped almost 35 kgs. She forayed into fitness with swimming and healthy eating, which included portion control. This was followed by cardio training, which involved, walking, cycling and running. Over the years, she has managed to maintain her weight by combining a mix of fitness routines. Each of them, such as, Pilates, Tabata and functional training have their own benefits. 

While we believe that it is important to be comfortable in your own skin and not buy into the beauty standards set by our society, it is equally essential to give fitness and health an informed thought and approach it from a holistic perspective. If you’ve been thinking about using your free time to build those muscles and stay fit, here are a few suggestions for what you can start with:


In an interview with a leading lifestyle magazine, Khan revealed that Pilates formed the backbone of her fitness routine, and that it had been helpful in building her core strength. Khan trains for Pilates with celebrity fitness coach, Namrata Purohit, who even left a comment on her IGTV video saying, “You are on track @saraalikhan95 but once we get back to the studio we’ll go even beyond this together.” Khan isn’t wrong to tout the benefits of Pilates. The physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, which he had termed ‘Contrology,’ helps improve flexibility, build balanced muscular strength on both sides of the body and strengthens the abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks, which are your core muscles. In other words, it’s a great routine to begin with. 


During the lockdown, Khan included High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into her routine via Tabata. The training form typically involves 8 sets of fast-paced exercises for 20 seconds each, with 10 second intervals in between. Tabata increases strength, facilitates weight loss by burning fat, improves flexibility and helps build muscles. In fact, on her Instagram, Khan had shared a four-minute video of her practicing Tabata, where she showcased an entire routine, comprising squats, push-ups and burpees. You can check it out to gain a visual idea of what this HIIT workout looks like.

Functional Training

Functional training features exercises such as CrossFit, martial arts, yoga and dance, which trains your muscles to work together. Functional training focuses on strength, stability (core) and mobility. Khan often attends functional training classes by celebrity trainer, Cindy Jourdain in Mumbai. The fitness regime has its roots in rehabilitation – chiropractors and physical therapists initially used a form of functional training to aid individuals with movement disorders re-learn how to use their body and muscles. As such, apart from keeping you fit, this form of exercises also arms you with functional independence and nuanced mobility. Watch the video to see how Khan goes about functional training.  

And by the way, fitness for the celebrity isn’t just about high-intensity workout routines. Khan, who loves dancing, also takes lessons in the art form. Just so you know, dancing is a great cardiovascular workout. Oh, and she hoola-hoops, too!

Banner Image: Instagram/Sara Ali Khan; photographed by Shivangi Kulkarni


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