How to Build Your Glutes Without Building Your Legs

As a bikini competitor (and a female living in our booty loving society!), at a certain point you might want to continue growing your glutes without growing your legs. How does one do this?!?!

Bodybuilding is a fine art in which you want certain muscles to stand out versus others. In the bikini division, if your quads and hamstrings are more muscular and predominant than your glutes, it draws attention to the wrong areas of your physique (my issue, see pic below) and lets be honest, bikini is all about the booty!


Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just wake up with muscular legs! I spent the last 4 years heavily squatting, leg pressing, lunging, hack squatting, deadlifting, quad extending, and hamstring curling 2-3 days a week. It has taken time for my legs (and my glutes!) to grow…


But for the past 7 months I’ve been working solely on my glutes. Here is a photo comparison to when I decided to start competing to last week:


WOAH! So, what have I been doing and not doing?

  1. For the past 7 months I completely took out squats, leg press, lunges, step ups, quad extensions, bulgarian split squats, and hack squat, isolated hamstring exercises.
  2. I started working my glutes 3-4 times a week
  3. I ate more (clearly, I also have put on some fat) 🙂

Here are the exercises that I have been doing 3-4 times a week:

1) Glute Bridges

2) Feet Elevated Glute Bridges

3) Hip Thrusts

4) Single leg foot elevated hip thrusts

5) Kickbacks

6) Kneeling Kickbacks

7) American Deadlifts

8) Kneeling Squats

9) Hyperextensions

10) Band or Machine Abduction (band abduction supersetted with Hip Thrusts in the video)

Here is a photo of the Evolution of my legs and glutes over the past 5 years!

evolution of the glutes

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How To Get Stronger At Pull Ups

Pull ups are one of the strongest upper body movements. Everyone feels like a total bad ass when they can perform them, so let’s make sure that you’re progressing and strengthening your back as much as you can.

STEP 1: Start performing scapular pull ups. These will help strengthen the musculature and create a strong mind/muscle connection that you will need in order to get better at pull ups. You can perform these on the lat pull down, assisted machines, or a pull up bar. Do a set of 5-10 of these before performing any sort of pull up. Here is how to perform them.

That being said, there are many different types and ways you can modify and intensify pull ups. Let’s break down a few ways, easiest to hardest.

If the assisted pull up machine can’t get light enough, if your form is struggling, or if you are having a hard time activating your back, lat pull downs are a great option. Focus on stabilizing and strengthening your entire back. You will be targeting the same muscles as you would during pull ups. Remember to work your muscles in the full range of motion, and to intensify it, hold the flex (when the bar is against your chest) for 1 solid second, and take 4 seconds (slow negative) while releasing the flex in your back and stretching your lats. Check out this awesome video for an example of slow negative lat pull downs-

Here you can adjust the amount of weight you pull up. This is a great machine, but it is important to be very aware of your form. It’s easy to rock back and forth and to use a lot of momentum from your hips to pull yourself up. This is going to call for more body awareness and stability when compared to lat pull downs. Again, to intensify this movement, hold the flex (when your chin is up to the bar) for 1 solid second, and take 4 seconds (slow negative) while releasing the flex in your back and stretching your lats. Here is a great video on how to perform slow negatives on the assisted pull up machine (your machine might look a little different, thats ok)

These are a great way to really strengthen your back and stabilizing muscles. Here you will only be performing the negative using a pull up bar, so you wont actually be pulling yourself up. Emphasizing he eccentric phase causes a ton of muscular stress, adaptation, and strengthening. Remember to use a box or bench to help yourself up (chin over bar) and to go as slow as possible on the way down. Make sure you watch this really great video explaining and showing you for to perform negative pull ups:

Now that you are getting stronger and your form is perfect, you can advance to the pull up bar! Ask your gym buddy or a stranger, “Can you please spot me for a few sets?” Ask him/her to spot you from your rib cage. Again, to intensify this movement, hold the flex (when your chin is up to the bar) for 1 solid second, and take 4 seconds (slow negative) while releasing the flex in your back and stretching your lats. Here is a great video on how your spotter should spot you.


If you don’t have a spotter or want more or even less assistance, using resistance bands is a great way to be spotted. The assistance will be more at the bottom (stretched position) where you want it to be, and less at the top (flexed position) where you are naturally the strongest. There are many different resistance levels that you can advance to. The thinner the band, the less the assistance. I love banded pull ups! Here is an awesome video on how to hang the band and perform banded pull ups:

Awesome! You’re able to do body weight pull ups! Remember to work the full range of motion and to keep your body straight (no swinging!). Go from a full dead hang to a strong, hard, compete flex. Make your muscles as short and tight as possible at the top. To make it more challenging, hold the flex at the top for a few seconds, before slowing releasing down (4 seconds). Here is a great example of the perfect pull up:

By now you have perfected the pull up and are able to do 10+ easily, with impeccable form, and slow negatives. Grab a belt and slap on some weight you beast! Here is a great video to use as an example of how to perform weighted pull ups:

5 Glute Building Tips, Exercises, and Videos

It’s ALL about the glutes when it comes to bikini competitors.

Currently, I am training glutes 3x a week. The breakdown looks like this:

Day 1: High Rep (15+ reps)

Day 2: Supersets and Plyos

Day 3: Medium Rep (8-10 reps)


  1. Always drive through your heel(s)
  2. Slow negatives and hard, explosive glute flexes on each rep
  3. Squeeze those cheeks as HARD as you can!
  4. Go deep on the eccentric part of the movement
  5. Your glutes can handle a ton of weight, so lift heavy!

My training is consistently changing and I never do the same workout twice. Here is a video of my third set of every exercise from last nights high rep glute day.

High Rep Glute Workout:

HIP THRUSTS- 3 x 15 full range slow negatives +5 pulses +10 second hold



HYPEREXTENSIONS- 3 x drop set 10 + 10 + 10

ABDUCTION- 1×50 drop set


Try this workout, your glutes will thank you 🙂

How To Travel and Compete Nationally

Competition prep is stressful itself, but when you add traveling on top of that, it requires a whole new level of organization and prep! Last week I flew and traveled to Pittsburgh, PA for the North Americans (National Level Bikini Competition). This was the very first time that I was traveling long distance, flying, and staying at a hotel for multiple nights for a competition. I learned a ton and wanted to share with you all!



PROTEIN- I made, measured, and froze all my protein sources the night before in individual freezer ziplock bags. Store everything in ziplock bags, because they don’t take up as much space as Tupperware!

CARBS- I made sweet potatoes, quinoa, and white rice in bulk and froze them the night before. I also packed raw sweet potatoes, raw oatmeal, and raw quinoa in my suitcase since these can all be cooked in a microwave.

FAT- I kept nuts on hand in my carry on.

VEGGIES- I cooked enough asparagus for my day of traveling and kept that in my cooler. I packed 2-3 days worth of raw asparagus in my suitcase. I cooked the asparagus in my hotel microwave.

Everything that was frozen, I carried on board in my Six Pack bag. I had over 20 meals packed it in!


Don’t forget to pack 1-2 pieces of Tupperware, a spoon or plastic fork (metal forks aren’t allowed on board), a measuring cup,  and hot sauce!

Post competition place of dining 🙂


I opted to not rent a car. I took a Super Shuttle from the airport to the hotel in Pittsburgh and then from the hotel to the airport when departing. It was easy to book, cheap, and very convenient. They even send you text messages on how far the driver is and when he reaches!

Also, the hotel that I stayed at offered a free car service every hour if you’re traveling within 5 miles of the hotel. This definitely came in handy.

Don’t rely on taxis in Pittsburgh…they don’t exist!


The host hotel completely sold out 10 weeks before the show so I stayed at a nearby hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn. It was only a 5 minute drive from venue and the staff here was incredibly nice.

I highly recommend staying at the host hotel because of convenience, but if it sells out, this is a great option.

Packing List


  • Raw carb sources that can be made in a microwave (oatmeal, potatoes, quinoa)
  • Raw veggies that can be made in a microwave (asparagus)
  • Stage make-up
  • Curling iron, hair pins, hairspray, hair brush
  • Shampoo, conditioner, exfoliator (don’t forget this! You need to heavily exfoliate before tanning), toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth wash (This is great to have since your mouth might get dry from lack of water), towels (bring your own towels for your post competition shower. If you get the hotel’s towels dirty with tanner, you have to pay for them.), dish soap and a sponge to clean your Tupperware
  • Dark sheets (If you get the hotel’s sheets dirty with tanner, you have to pay for them!)


  • Backstage bag which included my robe, face mirror, band to pump up with, necessary touch up make up, curling iron, shower cap to cover hair while tanning, baby wipes, cups to pee in (if you’re a competitor you know what I mean!) etc.
  • Clothes- PJs, an outfit to wear and sleep in after tanning (loosely fitted), a post competition outfit to go out to dinner in, an outfit to wear on the plane back home, a few extra outfits just in case, and a jacket/sweatshirt.

Carry On

  • Cooler
  • Headphones
  • Wallet
  • Competition suit and heels (just incase your luggage gets lost!)unnamed-2

Being overly prepared and organized will help keep your trip less stressful and much more fun.

Is there anything that I forgot? Feel free to add it to the comments below!


Nationals Posing Routine

WOW! Nationals was crazy/so much fun. I will be writing a detailed post on it in the next few days, but here is a clip of my posing routine!


Remember, it’s important to learn what poses suit you and your body type. Not every body is the same. It has taken me a long time to figure out what angles look best and I still have tons of work to do.



How to Stay Sane Amongst Change and Chaos

In a mere 2 weeks, lots of change has happened. I quit my job and started a new one, I am currently packing and moving into a brand new home, I decided to compete at my first National show in 8 weeks, and I just put a down payment for a puppy! All VERY exciting, but all very overwhelming.

During this time of chaos and excitement, it would be so easy to say, “screw it” to the gym and food prepping and spend more time adjusting and organizing my new…life!

Well, I did. Last week I took a few days completely off from the gym. No cardio, no lifting. I thought that I would free up more time in my schedule to concentrate on the “important” things. Quickly, I became anxious. I started craving the burning in my muscles and sweat dripping down my face. That’s when I realized. I’m hooked. I’m a full blown junkie. The gym is officially a habit and I feel incomplete without it. Lifting has become my form of meditation. My “me” time. I am a better version of myself when I exercise.

My meals were totally off too! I wasn’t eating as often and I was eating food that wasn’t exactly on my diet. Oops. Guess what happened? My focus was terrible. I felt so scatter brained and my memory was off. Not only that, but I was lethargic and grumpy.

Don’t I sound like a bundle of joy? Haha, yeah, no.

Yes, going to the gym and food prepping take time, effort, and quite a bit of organization, but it’s so worth it. During this time of change, it’s very important for me to stay sane and the gym and my diet give me sanity. I am able to focus, stay energetic, and I know that if I can food prep AND make it to the gym during this time, I can survive!!!

What may seem as work to an outsider, is actually necessary in order to overcome the chaos during change. There will be plenty of overwhelming times, but it’s important to fuel your brain and body to perform optimally for every singly task. When surrounded by change, find order and serenity in the things that you can control and become a survivor!!!


Currently 8 weeks out from North Americans!!!

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It’s Not What You Do In The Gym, But How You Do It

Why is it that almost everyone in the gym is doing similar exercises to one another, yet only a few progress?

After working at the same gym for over 3 years, I can’t help but wonder. Why do the majority of the people in here look EXACTLY the same?

Why is it that one girl doing squats achieves an amazing set of legs yet another girl is left with a really sore lower back and knee pain?

Ah ha! It’s not WHAT exercise people are doing, it’s HOW they are executing it.

Proper form, focus, and intensity is everything.

1) Squeeze the working muscle to move weight

Ex: When doing bicep curls, it’s easy to initiate the movement with the hand/wrist then the shoulder and back help to throw the weight up in hopes that somewhere along the way the bicep contracts. Instead, stand up straight with arms by your side, palm up, and ONLY squeeze your bicep. Contract the bicep slow and hard until the muscle can’t get any shorter.

2) Slow down the tempo

Take out momentum. Momentum isn’t going to make you stronger or your muscles any bigger. Challenge muscles by slowing down the negative.

3) Hold the contraction

Squeeze the crap out of the working muscle when they it is at the shortest length. Ex: The top of a bicep curl. If the muscle is unable to hold the contraction, weight needs to be reduced.

4) Work the muscle in the full range

The muscle is the weakest at the most lengthened and shortened position. WORK THESE AREAS! Plus, this is 100% proven to build more muscle.

5) Keep constant tension during the entire set

The muscle is either being lengthened to the max or shortened to the max. Tension is never taken off the working muscle the entire set. Focus on creating tension and maintaining control. Muscles respond to tension.

6) Master basic lifts before adding in fancy variations
Go back to the basic lifts and keep your mind on the working muscle.

7) If you are fiddling with your phone, watching tv, having a conversation, or paying attention to the hot chick walking by you during your set, you aren’t working the muscle. Mind-muscle connection is everything. Focus on building that when in the gym.

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Be You, Not Them

So you’ve decided to make healthier lifestyle choices, but you’ve come across lots of comments like this from family, friends, partners, coworkers, and/or total strangers:

“You need to live life more!”
“One bite/sip won’t hurt you.”
“Aren’t you allowed to cheat a little?”
“You have to workout again?”
“When is this dieting and exercising thing going to end?”
“Are you seriously bringing your Tupperware everywhere you go?”
“You’re eating the same food again?”
“You should treat yourself with (insert any non diet food).”
“How much bigger are you trying to get?”
“How much leaner are you planning on getting?”


My personal favorites:
“Who is going to marry you with all these diet restrictions that you have?!”
“Why are you spending so much time on your body when it is going to turn into ashes the second you die?”

Yes, these are all comments and questions I have run across THOUSANDS of times and probably so have you. If not, brace yourself. It’s coming.

But how can we make others realize that…

-To us, dieting and exercising is actually ADDING to our life, not taking away from it.


-Maybe measuring our food and taking our muscles to their extreme limits challenges us in a way that not many even dare to try.

-Maybe we chose to no longer drink alcohol in excess, because we know that alcohol affects our liver and fat burning turns off. Plus, how can we perform optimally on leg day after a crazy night out? Legs are our priority!


-Maybe getting on stage and presenting our work of art (a.k.a. our body) give us a rush like nothing we’ve ever experienced before.

-Maybe while transforming our outer-self we tremendously transform our inner-self.

-Maybe we would rather spend more on more gym clothes than anything else.


-Maybe we view our body as our masterpiece and love working on it by manipulating food and exercise.

-Maybe instead of going shot for shot we now go squat for squat with the guys.

-Maybe treating ourselves well doesn’t mean rewarding ourselves with food and drink.


-Maybe our favorite sound went from being the uncorking of a wine bottle to now two 45-pound plates smacking each other as we load the barbell.

-Maybe the high that we get after a really hard workout lasts way longer than any sort of drug.

-Maybe our version of Sunday Funday is prepping all our meals for the upcoming week.


-Maybe we go into a meditative state every time we feel the burn of lactic acid building in our muscles.

-Maybe our “different” lifestyle is all about discipline, self-love, motivation, and persistence.

Now, just because we eat clean and like working out, that doesn’t make us better than anyone else. This is really important to remember.

Maybe we are being misunderstood. So, what is necessary is to share with others how we feel about our new (or old) healthy lifestyle in order for them to properly support us. People cannot read our minds, and having different priorities requires open communication. But…


I have found that the more I am myself, the more I share, and the more I educate, the more support I receive, because others know HOW to support.

“Be you, do you. Can’t nobody judge you, but you.” –Kevin Hart


Breakfast Egg Muffins

I absolutely love breakfast food, but always hit snooze one too many times to actually put together an appetizing breakfast. I recently got some large muffin cups and explored 2 different muffin ideas.

This way I can make them the night before, store them in the refrigerator, quickly re-heat them in a microwave the next morning, and eat on the go.

I basically opened up my fridge and threw in whatever I had. Feel free to add and/or subtract any of the following ingredients. Make sure to share your recipes with me in the comments section. Enjoy!

Muffin 1

1) 1 slice uncured turkey bacon
2) 1 whole egg sunny side up
3) 1/4 cup egg whites
4) 1/4 tomato
5) Mixed greens
6) Salt and pepper to taste

muffin cup 1

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) Spray the inside of the muffin cup with Coconut oil (or any oil of choice)
3) Line the muffin cup with the turkey bacon
4) Add greens to the cup
5) Add 1/4 cup egg whites
6) Crack the egg in the middle
7) Dice and add the tomato (make sure you don’t crack the yolk)
8) Sprinkle salt and pepper on top
9) Bake for 25 mins and let it cool for 10 mins before serving or packing for later

20g protein, 4g carbs, 7 g fat

Muffin 2

1) 2 oz shredded chicken breast (on the outside of the muffin)
2) 1/4 cup egg whites
3) 1 scrambled egg
4) 1 large crimini mushroom
5) 1/2 cup broccoli
6) Salt and pepper to taste
muffin cup 2

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) Spray the inside of the muffin cup with Coconut oil (or any oil of choice)
3) Line the inside of the cup with shredded chicken
4) Whisk the 1/4 cup egg whites and 1 whole egg together
5) Add eggs in the center
6) Slice and add broccoli and crimini mushroom in the middle
7) Sprinkle salt and pepper on top
8) Bake for 30 mins and let it cool for 10 mins before serving or packing for later

27g protein, 5g carbs, 7g fat

muffin cup 3

47g protein, 9g carbs, 14g fat

How To Get and Stay Motivated To Exercise & Eat Healthy

How is it that in the past 3 years I’ve never taken more than 5 days off (due to injury) from being active?20140307-092406.jpg

3 years ago I remember waking up in South Korea at 2 pm with the worst hangover, an empty box of fried chicken to the right of my head, and almost nothing left in the Nutella jar to my left. This was a typical Sunday.

I felt disgusting, weak, and was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Then I realized that I had a choice. Did I want to continue feeling and acting like this? Only I had all the power to control the way I felt and looked. Ah ha! It dawned on me. The act of exercising and eating healthy was actually self respect, self love. I was clearly choosing to not respect and love myself!


After this realization did exercising become easy? F*uck no. The hardest part about it was my mind. I had to make a commitment to myself that I’d stop listening to the voice inside my head that always had so many excuses why to not workout or choose healthier options. I made a commitment to say YES when my mind said no.


I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I had to commit to myself FOR myself.

I tried to make it so easy for that it was hard to fail. I no longer bought Nutella and fried chicken. I no longer turned to partying as a release of stress. I looked for a gym to join. I told myself that I only needed to do 15 minutes of activity a day. I made a commitment to transform myself inside and out.

Slowly, I committed more and more to myself. It’s become less about the physical and more about the mental and emotional. The process is easier if you look at it as self respect and recognize that your mind will try holding you back. The challenge is making the choice that will lead to bettering yourself.

I encourage and challenge you to commit to loving yourself. Side affects include: happiness, self love, self control, and bountiful health.