Harj Hadani is a proud wife and mom of two. As an international fitness entrepreneur and coach, she has helped to transform 1000’s of women to live their best and healthiest life with her “never diet again” weight loss programs.
She is the creator of the Insta-Waist waist trainer worn by Olympian athletes like Roelly Winkler and Big Ramy although her waist trainers were first created to help the everyday women to create a small waist. With dozens of retailers in Canada and the USA she is now bringing her brand to India.
Published author with Status Fitness Magazine and weekly columnist for the Punjabi Patrika newspaper. Advisory board for South Asian Health for Fraser Health Authority. Multi-published fitness model and competitive bodybuilder. She is a Women’s health advocate.
Read her Exclusive Interview with Fitnglam Magazine Editorial Team.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself – background, profession, how long you’ve been competing for?
My background is as diverse as me. I started off a career in accounting and then got into Marketing and Advertising spending most my career working for advertising agencies doing mainly financial marketing. After having kids I realized that I needed more flexibility with my schedule and a career that would allow me to work from home. Long story short, while trying to find a cure for post partum depression I found a new love for bodybuilding. Eager to learn more I quickly completed my personal training program followed up by a Sports Nutritionist certification. I hired a very experienced coach to learn from. It was through this coach I first learned about the world of bodybuilding and competing. My first competition was in 2014, and rising in the ranks very quickly I fell in love with the sport of sculpting my body and showcasing my improvements on stage.
What’s been your inspiration for getting into bikini fitness competitions?
My inspiration for fitness competitions boils down to breaking the stereotype of an Indian woman, mom and wife. Being torn down by the majority in the Indian community I used that as fuel to create a better world mostly for my daughter but for all Indian women that are told to hide their bodies, that an Indian woman will never have a beautiful body, that an Indian women is a shame to her family for showing her body. You see in our community ( I am Punjabi Sikh, daughter of Hindu priests and wife to a Muslim man) a woman is a disgrace to her family if she is seen on a stage in a bikini. Through my years of competing I met Indian women that were competing in hiding from their families, I met women that wished they could have the courage to pursue their fitness competition dreams. I do it for all these women. I went to compete on stage in India at an international competition and my kids were stopped at the entrance quote “they are underage as we have women in bikinis inside so event is 18+”, my own kids being told that a women in a bikini is not ok. I was told I was too old to compete against 20 year old. I was told my Indian body would never shape up like a “white girls”. I was told that my family and husband would be shamed. I am here to tell the world that a girl can be whatever she chooses to be. The world is already a tough place being an ethnic woman in sports. I want young girls to be free of any shame or stigma that comes from choosing the sport of bodybuilding. I always said, if I was an Olympic swimmer Id be in a bathing suit, if I was a gymnast Id be in a body suit, why the difference when I want to be a bodybuilder and my uniform is a bikini.
Did you have an athletic background?
I was an athlete my whole life. I played basketball to college level and am still involved as a coach. But I also played national level volleyball, badminton and soccer. Biggest surprise might be that I am a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
You’re a Bikini competitor. How does this differ from the other classes like Physique or Fitness?
Bikini division is about an overall healthy, girl next door athletic look. Physique and fitness are more developing a lot more muscle and you must get extremely lean and shredded for stage. A bikini body on a woman is something that can be built naturally without the use of extreme supplements and diuretics that the other classes require. There is a lot more emphasis on overall beauty and marketability in bikini not just body alone.
What supplements are you currently taking?
Vitamins D, B12, C, Ashwaganda, Magnesium, Estrosmart, Protein powder, Greens, Eaas (essential amino acids) and dandelion root when I’m feeling bloated.
What is your favorite cheat Meal?
Sushi and cheesecake, and I have some whenever I crave it!
When you’re on holiday at the beach, do you find yourself, like a chef going out for a meal, sizing everyone else up, finding faults, looking for tips, etc?
Yes I do. Being a competitor and coach I look at the female body and break it down. Never judging the person only breaking down the physical body, sometimes diagnosing hormone imbalance (gynecomastia in men), or hips or back that look out of place or through someone’s walk that knee issues are prevalent. And most definitely if see someone that is lean enough that abs are showing I have the utmost respect because I know the consistency that requires.
If you could only take 3 items on a desert island what would they be ?
Boat , fishing rod, drinking water. Leave me with the wolves Ill return leading the pack 🙂
If you type ‘female gym motivation’ into YouTube, the results are tantamount to softcore pornography. How do you react to people who see this sport as a glorified peep show?
To each his own. You can never change the mind of someone that is looking at a female body in bikinis, they’ve learned those patterns from childhood. However, anyone in this sport or anyone that has tried to achieve that level of physique will never look at the women as a sex symbol, they will only see muscle bellies and proportions, and years of hard work and daily dedication and sacrifice.
Name one secret that people dont know about you?
Someone once attempted to rape me. I had to fight off my attacker and I pretty much kicked his ass, thank God I got away and all my years of Tae Kwon Do came rushing back.
Is it possible to make a living from bikini modelling?
Yes it is, look at Instagram. Someone with no sense of business or skills but a nice body can become an influencer and make money through endorsements of products.
Who do you look up to in the fitness Industry and why?
This is a very tough question I don’t look up to anyone. Is that weird? I do my own thing and create my own path so as a pioneer in my own world there’s no one fitness star that I can say “wow, I want to be like this”.
What are your long term goals in this sport?
My long term goal in this sport is to break down the barriers on how people look at Indian women in this sport. If I hit the stage again I would love to compete for my Pro Card as this is one of my goals that I have yet to achieve. The sport has given me and taught me what I need to be able to help others.
What are the three tips would you like to give to any woman wanting to get a feminine , cut and jacked physique like yours?
Build your base under heavy weights but do not train like a bodybuilder. Most women will train with their husband or boyfriend and train like a bodybuilder and women bodies are completely different. We want to build curves, work on the small waist and we don’t need a muscular chest or big arms. After you have built your base according to your frame then nutrition and condition must be on point to achieve the lean look without sacrificing your muscle.
Where people can follow you? (social media links )
Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Snapchat @skinnyroti