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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Making No Excuses - Maria Kang


Interview by Stella Matilda
Photo by Larry Wong

We are grateful to have Maria Kang gracing Parents Avenue Magazine Sabah's front cover for our launch issue. She is the most inspiring and influential mother, wife, author, speaker, business owner, nonprofit founder, fitness philanthropist, and social entrepreneur. She is a widely known as “Fit Mom” whose No Excuse campaign to get people active, has reached millions of people around the world.

Maria Kang is a mother of 3 sons, a wife to a former Marine, a business owner of elderly residential care homes and a nonprofit founder, Fitness without Borders. Despite growing up on McDonalds, sugary cereals and frozen dinners, she developed a passion for fitness and nutrition when she witnessed her mother struggle with health-related diseases. Maria started teaching aerobics classes in high school and became a part-time personal trainer while attending the University of California, Davis, where she received two majors in International Relations and Asian History and a minor in Political Science in 2002.

She has won several beauty and fitness titles including Miss Petite Teen International, Miss San Francisco Chinatown, Miss Philippines USA, Miss Bikini California and placed top five in both the Bikini and Model America National competitions. She has been on the cover of Max Sports and Fitness magazine, Shape Malaysia, Sacramento Parent, SF Weekly and has appeared on Good Morning America, Today Show, Dr. Oz, Inside Edition, Fox and Friends, CNN, Meghan Kelly, Access Hollywood, Geraldo Rivera, Neil Cavuto and Bethenny, to name a few.

In her twenties, Maria battled an eating disorder and began her popular blog in 2005. She gave birth in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and started the first free No Excuse Mom group in Elk Grove. In 2014 she started the No Excuse Mom movement, where she rallied thousands of mothers to begin hundreds of free workout groups in over 25 countries. In March 2015, she launched her first book with Harmony books, titled “The No More Excuses Diet” detailing a realistic meal plan, home workouts and her trademark goal-setting strategy of S.P.E.E.D., S.T.R.I.V.E. and S.C.O.R.E.

The interview with Maria Kang:

Why did you start up No Excuse Mom and what are your future goals for this movement?

No Excuse Mom (NEM) was created because mothers were seeking a positive, healthy and empowering community of women who prioritized health and overcame their challenges/excuses. In January 2014, we expanded our mission to include free workout groups throughout the world. Our goal is to continue inspiring mothers to take action, forfeit excuses and become leaders of their home - after all, if you want to raise a healthy child, you must be a healthy parent.

Being a mom of 3 kids (all boys!), how do you balance your life between your business, family and personal life?

Every morning I set my 3 “Ps” - which are my professional, personal and physical goals. Despite how busy I am, I try to put at least something in each priority bucket. Having a lot of responsbility means I also don’t have a lot of free time. So planning, prepping and prioritizing are all very high on my list. I don’t watch (if any) TV and when I am engaged in an actvity (like spending time with friends or working for example) I am completely focused and ensuring the time is quality.

Do you think being a working mom has made your kids more independent and more successful in life?

I absolutely believe that we must set strong examples for our children. They watch, observe and will eventually emulate us. We demonstrate what is possible. We teach the universal principles found in hard work, persistence, reflection and discipline. My children are with me the majority of the time.

Sometimes I will swim with them in the pool or help build a Lego building, but it’s also equally or more important, for them to see me work: interact with my elderly residents, film a TV segment, or lead my local NEM group. The sooner you teach your children about taking responsibility and accountability for their actions and aiming their short term desires for long term goals, they will become more successful!

What advise would you give to moms who are struggling to balance their work, family and personal life?

I would suggest they make sure they take time for themselves. Do ONE thing that you know is for you. For me, that’s working out. If I have additional time, I will write a journal or read a book. You can’t put yourself last on your list because eventually you will burn out. Here are my concrete tips:

  • Maximize your time and focus on your activity. I would even suggest to time how long it takes to get tasks done so you can schedule your day accordingly.
  • Set balanced goals (going back to the 3 P’s)
  • Get enough sleep - at least 7 hours.
  • Eat every few hours and bring a water bottle everywhere you go. Health is Wealth!
  • Count your blessings. When you live in a state of gratitude, you feel more abundant rather than drained.

How do you spend your time with your family?

  • We wake up together nearly every day. They always sneak themselves in my room around 4/5am. We always snuggle and play in the mornings.
  • They workout with me whether it’s at the park or in my home gym - they are there!
  • We love going on hikes and the park.
  • The boys bake with me often, 80% of the time they bake with me (and I bake often)
  • They are with me ALL the time, so we always sing in the car on the way to the next destination

Tell us a little bit about your book The No More Excuses Diet.

It’s a simple, realistic and factual approach about fitness, nutrition and troubleshooting excuses. It focuses on the number 3 and becoming your best self and breaking down your goals into 3 days, 3 weeks a 3 months. 

To purchase The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang, please click HERE.

What was your kids reaction when they first saw your book in store?

They were super excited! But they are so young so they were quickly distracted by the Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtle books in the other aisle, lol.

What are your hopes and dreams for your kids when they grow up?

I hope they are healthy. I hope they have courage and convicted in their beliefs. I hope they find a great life partner, find their passion 

To know more about No Excuse Mom Movement, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.