Updated Jan 09, 2017 03:13pm

Survival of the fittest: Here's how to get choli ready for shaadi season

Going through my Instagram feed while inhaling my third slice of Auntie Munaver's tres leches cake, I started to panic. From Sana Safinaz to Misha Lakhani, were there any designers that had omitted the ubiquitous choli from their collection?

With shaadi season looming over our heads because let's face it, in Karachi, it's always shaadi season, that was enough to make us non-gym girls sweat. I didn't want to be left behind, donning the same ol' silhouettes but after indulging my gluttonous side during Ramazan (okay, fine, all year!), I wasn't in the best shape.

I was almost there, the finish line was so close; nonetheless, nowhere near as fit as I should be if I wanted to prance around in a lehnga choli in front of over 500 people at a mehndi.

Matrimony and midriffs? Why not!

It's happened: the choli has made a comeback.

Or it never really left, Either way, it was only a matter of time that the trend passed over from attendees to the bridal league, giving the unconventional bride something to be giddy about. While waist-cinchers can be used as a cheat otherwise, really packing in those crunches is all but a must now if you plan to bare a little skin.

Don't believe? Hear the experts out.

Ready-to-wear designers such as Nomi Ansari and Nida Azwer have all reconstructed the traditional silhouette to appeal to a younger demographic.

"Very many brides are opting for cholis to match their lehngas and skirts for sangeets, mehndis and reception wear as well," shares Ansari.

An embroidered aqua choli from Nomi's Oudh collection at LPBW 2015
An embroidered aqua choli from Nomi's Oudh collection at LPBW 2015

So how does one wear what's basically a fancy crop top without looking tasteless or feeling overtly exposed?

"You can play around with the neckline, sleeves and tassels as well as the length to create the look you're most comfortable with," he adds.

Nida adds, "Cholis/crop tops have become one of the most popular choices to be worn by attendees as well as the bride at mehendis recently. It boils down to the cut that suits the person."

Get shreddin' for the wedding

Whether it's Coachella or a big, fat, desi wedding, showing off a toned midriff is on everyone's agenda these days.

However, we all know by now that there is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to losing weight in a healthy manner.

Mehak Taherani, a trainer at MUV Base walks us through 6 exercises that'll work those core muscles in the best way possible. She advices one should start with 8-10 reps of each, increasing the number gradually as they progressively continue exercising.

Crawl Pushup

Reps: 12-15

Primary target muscles: chest, shoulders, tricep and abdominal muscles.

Begin in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart, then lower to a squatting position placing your hands on the floor in front of you

Begin to crawl forward with your hands extending to a push up position. Bend at the elbows to lower yourself and press up, crawl back to standing

High to Low Plank

Reps: 12-15

Primary target muscles: Arms and abdominals

Before you begin any movement, contract your abs and tighten your core by pulling your belly button toward your spine. Keep a tight core throughout

Shifting from a high or straight arm plank to a low or forearm plank and back up!

Bicycle Crunch

Reps: 20

Primary target muscles: Abdominals and external obliques

Lie on the floor. Stretch your legs out straight and hold your arms outstretched at your sides. Now, place your hands behind your head

Touch your left knee with your right elbow and then your right knee with your left elbow.

As you lift your head, tense your abs. Use your abdominal muscles to crunch your body forward so that your elbow can reach your knee. Don't rest your feet on the ground.

Cross Mountain Climbers

Reps: 20

Primary target muscles: Abdominals, obliques and arms

Start in a plank position Bring one knee into your chest, as far as your flexibility will allow.

Aim to twist at the ribs, bringing the knee in to wards your chest at a diagonal angle, repeating with the other leg

Bent Leg Jack Knives

Reps: 15

Primary target muscles: abdominals and arms

Start by lying straight on your back, holding a weight above your head with both hands. Ensure that your elbows remain tucked in. Engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button to the ground.

Keeping your feet together, contract your abdominal muscles, and bend your knees in towards your chest.

At the same time, bring the weight up towards your knees, slowly lifting your head, shoulder blades, and torso off of the floor.

Squeeze your abs in tightly, then slowly release the weight and your legs outwards, lying back down with your legs straight out in front of you. Keep your abs engaged the whole time.

Russian Twist

Reps: 20

Primary target muscles: obliques and lower abs

Grab a dumbbell or weight plate and sit on the floor with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees. Hold the weight in front of you and keep your back straight (your torso should be at about 45 degrees to the floor).

Explosively twist your torso as far as you can to the left, and then reverse the motion, twisting as far as you can to the right.


People always say that a journey to a fitter you is half exercise half diet -- people are right! A simple search on the internet will throw up hundreds of conflicting methods—all fat, no fat, high protein, vegan, Paleo, gluten-free—all with their own fan base.

"Everyone's unique so it's all about balance. Know your macros, cut down calories progressively and opt for a diet plan that is sustainable for you. 1200 calories a day is way too little and those 6 meals a day with ridiculously small portions isn't the way to go either in my opinion," shares Taherani.

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