Meet Maria Kang.
She’s a mother of three young boys who went viral in 2013 for her fitspo controversy.
“At that time, I didn’t realize images and ideas would go viral,” said Kang in a statement to NextShark, “But I think I really struck a chord with people, as many struggle with their weight and felt highly offended by the question, ‘What’s Your Excuse?'”
The 37-year-old business owner couldn’t have possibly imagined the controversy that would arise from her now infamous post, but she didn’t let the criticism get to her, choosing to rise above her detractors instead.
“I am a very passionate person, and while it’s never nice to be disliked, having a great reason for being disliked is a different story.
“I’ve always been very forthcoming and blunt in regards to taking care of one’s health. We have an obesity epidemic in America, and if we don’t change our lifestyles and address our excuses, the physical and financial health of our nation will be in deeper trouble. Since I don’t always say what agrees with people, I am used to the criticism.”
Kang’s fitness journey hasn’t always been as straightforward as it seems. “In the past several years, I’ve undergone a lot of different challenges, from growing kids, a brief marital separation, and growing businesses.” The key to her success? Simply choosing to place importance on exercise. “I often tell people that prioritizing your workouts is like swimming — sometimes, you are flowing towards your destination; at other times, you are just trying to survive and stay above water. During those harder moments I still worked out, but they were less frequent and less intense. I was doing doggie kicks to stay above water!”
Now, Kang is trending again, this time with another viral image:
When placed together with her image from five years ago, Kang says that she’s adding even more power with her second post.
“People have asked me to recreate the image for a while and at first I titled it, ‘What’s Your Excuse’, but I didn’t feel right as it didn’t represent who I am at this moment in my life. I’ve progressed to a ‘Stage Two’ in my awareness and motivation. I’ve addressed my excuses and now I’m finding my reason to prioritize my health in the long game. Identifying your excuse is the first step; finding your reason — your ‘why’ — is the second step.”
When asked if she had any fitspo tips to give to those who resolved to exercise in the new year, Kang offered the following:
“I believe in moderation, balance, chocolate, and wine! I never adhered to a strict diet and I recommend no one else go extreme when it comes to diet/exercise because you have to ask yourself if you can keep up with your routine in the long run.
Like many, I suffer from mom guilt to the max! Now that I have a dog, i deal with dog guilt too! If I don’t spend quality time with them, if the dog doesn’t go on long walks, if I leave them in a gym childcare for an hour…I feel like I’m a horrible person. So tonight, even though I did NOT want to workout because of a thousand excuses, I ran with my dog, took the kids to the park and performed a lot of body weight exercises for 45 minutes. You NEVER regret a workout (unless you get hurt and you might 🤔). With today being Dec 1st and the start of the #noexcusemom2017 December challenge, my goal this last month of the year is to be consistent and focus on fitting comfortably in my non-stretchy, non-vanity-sizing, 8 year old skinny jeans. This will require me to wake up at 530am – which has been a forever goal of mine. BUT it needs to be done, because it’s so hard to train once my day has started. I plan on splurging twice a week and focusing on my protein intake (150g) with the help of my favorite, @designerprotein 💙What are your end of year goals and how will you get there? Here’s a fun move I did tonight (along with sprints, lunges, frog jumps) that works your entire body! #noexcusemom #elkgrove #mariakangvideos #fitmom
“In my book, ‘The No More Excuses Diet‘, I talk about setting your 3 P’s: Your Professional, Personal, and Physical Goals, because it’s important to focus on all areas of your life so you aren’t left with no friends and no money at the end of your 12 week fitness journey!
“I would also recommend changing environments, as being around other people who are positive, health-focused, and progressive is key. At this moment, everything in your life has enabled you to be all you are today. So find people who expect more from you and be around people you expect more from – it’s all about progression!”
These days, Kang is busier than ever, as the director of No Excuse Mom, published author, the founder of the non-profit organization Fitness Without Borders, and a senior care business owner. Still, she loves what she does and enjoys helping others on their way to healthier, happier lives.
“Since the viral photo, I created a No Excuse Mom movement of over 350 free workout groups in 30 countries,” she said of her organization.
What’s your reason? Let us know in the comments!