San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Other names||"No Excuse Mom"|
|Education||Bachelor's in history and international relations|
|Alma mater||University of California, Davis|
|Occupation||Physical fitness advocate, instructor, blogger, and business owner|
|Organization||No Excuse Mom|
Fitness Without Borders
|Height||5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)|
|Title||Miss Petite Teen International|
Miss San Francisco Chinatown
Miss Philippines USA
Miss Bikini California
Maria M. Kang-Casler, (born 1980 in San Francisco, California) is an American fitness advocate, coach, blogger and founder of the No Excuse Mom movement, a nonprofit organization which promotes a healthy lifestyle, centered on diet and exercise, for mothers. Residing in the Sacramento, California area, Kang began competing in beauty and fitness competitions as a teenager, winning several including Miss Petite Teen International, Miss Philippines USA, and Miss Bikini California.
After leaving competition, Kang founded the Fitness Without Borders nonprofit organization to advocate for fitness in disadvantaged communities. To promote fitness in her community, Kang led free weekly workouts for women at a local park. In 2012, after marrying and giving birth to three sons, Kang posted a photograph of herself in exercise clothes with her children on her exercise group's Facebook page with the caption, "What's Your Excuse?" A year later, the photo went viral and received national media attention.
In January 2014, Kang founded No Excuse Mom and made appearances on local and national media to opine on lifestyle issues. As of mid-2015, approximately 300 No Excuse Mom workout groups had been established in the United States and 25 other countries with 70,000 participants. The groups hold weekly, free workouts aimed primarily at mothers of young children. In March 2015, Kang published her first book with the goal of providing readers with a simplified approach to making a healthy change in lifestyle.
Kang's mother, Caroline, the daughter of Philippine diplomat George G. Aducayen, Jr., from Cagayan married at 16 and had four children, one boy and three girls, by the time she was 22. Kang was the second child and the oldest of the three girls. The family lived in the Bayview-Hunters Point, San Francisco area of California. Kang's Malaysian Chinese immigrant father, Francis, was a police officer while Caroline worked full-time managing a state-owned parking garage. Starting at age 12, Kang would wake up at 5 a.m. with her mother to help prepare her siblings for the day's activities.
As Kang grew up, her mother Caroline suffered from numerous health-issues related to her being overweight, including diabetes, heart attacks, a stroke, and kidney failure. Kang said that her mother's weight-related health issues affected her deeply. In 1991 the family moved to Elk Grove, California, outside of Sacramento. There, Kang became heavily involved in fitness activities, such as running and aerobics.
Kang attended Laguna Creek High School where she did well with her studies and participated in cheerleading. She was bullied at times, however, by her classmates, including two instances in which a group of girls threw orange juice on her. Kang stated that the stress at times caused her to cut or scratch herself.
Beauty competitions and start of fitness advocacy
At age 16, Caroline persuaded Kang to compete in the local Miss Philippines Sacramento beauty pageant. She won first prize and began competing in beauty pageants on a regular basis. Over the next few years, Kang entered and was crowned Miss Petite Teen International, Miss San Francisco Chinatown, and Miss Philippines USA.
Kang then switched to fitness and figure competitions and, in 2003, won Miss Bikini California. Soon after, at a photo shoot at a pool in Los Angeles with other bikini models, Kang felt that the atmosphere and presentation had crossed the line into softcore pornography. Feeling exploited, she walked away from the shoot and never competed again in a beauty or fitness figure event.
Kang graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2002 with a double major in history and international relations. In 2003 she moved to San Francisco and worked at 24 Hour Fitness as a program coordinator and, in 2004, was photographed for covers of Florida Fitness and SF Weekly magazines. At this time, Kang struggled with bulimia, finding herself addicted to the binge eating and purging common to the disorder. She was able to overcome the bulimia by forcing herself to eat without vomiting, and her weight increased until she was about 145 pounds, which she felt was overweight.
In 2005, Kang started a personal website on which she gave her life story and, in 2007, founded a nonprofit organization called Fitness Without Borders to train leaders in low-income communities on the need for fitness. Also in 2007, she moved back to the Sacramento area to help care for her mother, who was undergoing dialysis. In 2009 Kang began leading free workout sessions for women at Kunsting Family Park in Elk Grove. The next year, she married ex-Marine David Casler, whom she had met on MySpace. Due to an obesity-related medical emergency, Kang's mother was unable to attend the wedding.
What's Your Excuse?
By 2012, Kang had given birth to three sons and appeared several times on local TV programming as an advocate for fitness activities and healthy diets for children. Through exercise and diet, Kang lost approximately 30 pounds after the birth of her third son. She had continued to lead the free workouts at the park and publicized her fitness group to about 50 followers on a Facebook page on which she made frequent posts with advice on exercise and diet. In an effort to gain a wider audience and motivate people to make fitness a priority, on August 25, 2012 Kang had a professional photograph taken of her posing in a sports bra and exercise shorts with her three sons. Above her head was the line, "What's Your Excuse?" with her website's url underneath. Kang posted the photo on her Facebook page. The photo received several thousand comments, mainly positive but some negative. A number of commenters who responded negatively took exception to the line, "What's Your Excuse?" and labeled her a "bully", "narcissist", or "bad mother". On October 3, 2012, Kang was interviewed about the photo on Good Day Sacramento, a local program on KMAX-TV.
On September 26, 2013, Kang reposted  the photo on her Facebook page with a non-apology apology for the original post and added a short editorial on the obesity crisis. This time, the photo went viral, being reposted, shared, or linked to on thousands of other Facebook pages and over other social media mediums and forums, resulting in 16 million views within a few weeks. The photo received tens of thousands of comments on Facebook, both positive and negative. Several editorials that accused Kang of fat shaming or being an unfair beneficiary of privilege were penned in The Huffington Post and feminist blog Jezebel. The majority of the responses, however, were supportive, and included an endorsement from Snooki. The national media picked up the story, and Kang was interviewed or profiled on Today, Inside Edition, omg! Insider, Good Morning America, The Kelly File, USA Today, HLN, Balitang America, Geraldo at Large, and Bethenny, among others. Within two months' time, the number of followers of her Facebook page jumped from 23,000 to over 70,000.
In November 2013, Kang responded to publicity over a campaign by Chrystal Bougon, owner of a San Jose plus-size lingerie shop and fat acceptance activist, to take and display photographs of overweight women wearing lingerie. Said Kang on her Facebook page:
|“||I woke up this morning to news stories about how overweight, nearly obese women should be proud of their bodies (as they posed in lingerie). I think we should all accept how any healthy body through good nutrition and exercise manifests, but I’m starting to get annoyed. … I know it’s not easy to break habits and build new ones. I know your environment challenges you and I know making your health a priority amongst the many priorities to stay afloat in today’s world is difficult. But I will tell you this: IT IS WORTH IT. ... We need to change this strange mentality we are breeding in the U.S. and start celebrating people who are a result of hard work, dedication and discipline.||”|
When informed of Kang's comment, an angry Bougon and others reported Kang to Facebook's administration for "hate speech", resulting in Kang's page being blocked for two days. Kang publicized Facebook's action over Instagram, drawing widespread attention over social media and in the press (Facebook later explained that the block was automatic after her page's content was flagged as "offensive" by other users). Bougon initially claimed, falsely, that Kang had posted the comment on Bougon's Facebook page. Both Kang and Bougon were subsequently invited to give their respective side on the disagreement by speaking or being interviewed on CNN, Good Morning America, Access Hollywood, and The Dr. Oz Show. Kang also wrote an editorial, titled "Fit Pride isn't 'Hate Speech'", which was published in Time.
The resulting publicity again increased interest in Kang's Facebook page, eventually attracting more than 320,000 followers. Kang was subsequently featured in a photo spread for the February 2014 edition of Oxygen magazine and the May 2014 cover of Shape magazine's Malaysia edition.
No Excuse Mom movement
In January 2014, Kang rebranded her "Fit Mom" nonprofit fitness advocacy organization as "No Excuse Mom." Under the new name, volunteers provide free, weekly workouts in their local communities. Men and women are welcome at the workouts, but they are mainly structured for mothers with small children. Many of the exercises at the sessions include participation by the children accompanying their mothers. As of mid-2015, approximately 300 No Excuse Mom workout groups had been established in the United States and 25 other countries with 70,000 participants.
Through her website, Kang sells fitness-related instructional and workout DVDs and calendars featuring photos of "fit moms" from her program. She posts photos and testimonials from program participants on her Facebook page. Kang has made further appearances in the media, including as co-host for a periodic segment on KXTX's News10 called "What's Buzzing," usually to comment on living a healthy lifestyle.
Kang's family's main source of income is through the management of two residential care facilities for the elderly in Elk Grove and Sacramento. Her husband, David Casler, who suffered a combat-related traumatic brain injury while working as a private security contractor in Iraq, volunteers for Team Rubicon.
In March 2015, Kang's first book, The No More Excuses Diet: 3 Days to Bust Any Excuse, 3 Weeks to Easy New Eating Habits, 3 Months to Total Transformation was published by Harmony, a division of Random House. She was invited to appear on Today to talk about the book. Kang says that the book's purpose is to provide a simplified approach to making a healthy change in lifestyle.
- Kang, Maria (2015). The No More Excuses Diet: 3 Days to Bust Any Excuse, 3 Weeks to Easy New Eating Habits, 3 Months to Total Transformation. Harmony (Random House). ISBN 0553419676. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- "Maria Kang". Balitang America, The Filipino Channel. October 24, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Chabria, Maria (April 30, 2015). "What's Her Excuse?". Sactown Magazine. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Faris, Paula (April 5, 2014). "Body Wars: How 'Fit Mom' Accidentally Sparked a Movement". Nightline/American Broadcasting Company. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Narins, Elizabeth (March 5, 2015). "How "What's Your Excuse" Mom Maria Kang Lost Her Baby Weight — 3 Times". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
- Engel, Meredith (October 31, 2014). "'No Excuse Mom' Maria Kang responds to haters one year after viral pic". Daily News. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Kids & Fitness". KXTV. January 19, 2012. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Bringing up Bebe". KXTV. February 3, 2012. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Hot Topics: Fit Mom Photo: Insulting or Inspiring?". Good Day Sacramento on KMAX-TV. October 3, 2012. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Maria Kang on the Go!". Good Day Sacramento on KMAX-TV. August 11, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Nuñez, Alanna (March 7, 2014). "'No Excuses' Facebook Mom Trying to Start Global Movement". Shape. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Maria Kang Issues Apology Over Viral 'Fat-Shaming' Photo, Sort Of". The Huffington Post. October 16, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Cunha, Darlena (October 20, 2013). "Maria Kang Should Learn the Difference Between Excuses and Reality". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Strudwick, Daniel; Kristen Shorten (October 17, 2013). "Super-Fit Mum Maria Kang Sparks Facebook Fury by Asking 'What's your excuse?'". News.com.au. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Gray, Emma (December 2, 2013). "Maria Kang, 'Fit Mom,' Tells Curvy Girl Lingerie Owner That You 'Can Just Tell' If Someone Is Healthy". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Maria Kang Lingerie Rant: Fit Mom In Trouble Over Anti-Curvy Girls Post". The Huffington Post. November 27, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Ford, Dionna (March 18, 2014). "We Don't Need an Excuse". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Greenfield, Beth (March 5, 2015). "'Hot Mom' Exposes Her Flaws for Inspiring Reason". Yahoo! Parenting. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Fit Mom Backlash?". HLN. October 23, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Dahl, Melissa (October 17, 2013). "'I just make it a priority': Fit mom in viral photo speaks out". Today. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Hot Mom Backlash". Inside Edition. October 15, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "No Excuse Facebook Mom Speaks". The Insider (omg! Insider). October 16, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Fit Mom Under Fire". Good Morning America. October 16, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Kelly, Megyn (October 17, 2013). "Fit mother of 3 posts picture asking 'What's your excuse?'". The Kelly File. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "'Hot Mom' Maria Kang What's next". USA Today. October 17, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Fit mom: Photo meant to inspire, not shame". HLN. October 19, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Rivera, Geraldo (October 24, 2013). "Fat Shaming or Fit Shaming?". Geraldo at Large on Fox News Channel. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Frankel, Bethenny (October 21, 2013). "Maria Kang". Bethenny.
- "Maria Kang, "Hot Mom"". Sacramento and Company on KXTX. October 23, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Greenfield, Beth (October 15, 2013). "Hot Mom Defends Herself Against Facebook Haters". Yahoo! Health. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Fit Mom Vs. Curvy Girl: The Ladies Faceoff Over Online Body Image Issues". Access Hollywood. December 1, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Fernandez, Lisa (December 4, 2013). ""Fit Mom" Maria Kang vs. "Curvy Girl" Chrystal Bougon Battle Weight, Sexiness On-Air, Online". KNTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Kang, Maria (December 3, 2013). "Fit Pride Isn't 'Hate Speech'". Time. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Was 'Fit Mom' fat shaming over plus-sized modeling?". CNN. December 1, 2013. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
- "'Fit Mom' Criticizes 'Regular Women' Campaign". The Young Turks. December 4, 2013. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Behind The Scenes: Maria Kang". Oxygen. February 10, 2014. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Peterson, Jesse Lee (May 12, 2014). "No Excuse Mom Movement Flourishes Around the World - Maria Kang". Jesse Lee Peterson Radio Show. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Griner, David (March 12, 2014). "Unapologetic Fitness Mom Turns Her Polarizing Facebook Photos Into a Movement Maria Kang brushes off critics". Adweek. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
- Greenfield, Beth (February 11, 2014). "'Hot Facebook Mum' is a global workout guru - like it or not". Yahoo! Health. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Pfeffer, Emma; Aili Nahas (October 30, 2014). "How 'No Excuse Mom' Maria Kang Keeps Her Kids Healthy, Plus Her Core Workout". People. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Trainor, Michelle Ward (September 24, 2015). "Great Ideas: 'No Excuse Mom' Maria Kang Publishes Swimsuit Calendar Celebrating Moms' Bodies". People. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Greenfield, Beth (October 29, 2014). "'Hot Mom' Is Back With a New Calendar". Yahoo! Parenting. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (October 31, 2014). "Maria Kang set to release 2015 Fit Mom Calendar". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Öz, Mehmet Cengiz (November 25, 2014). "What to Eat for Your Personality Type". The Dr. Oz Show. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Tempesta, Erica (March 6, 2015). "'I'm paralyzed - but I love CrossFit': Fit Mom Maria Kang launches new No More Excuses campaign celebrating parents who have overcome every hurdle in order to exercise". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
- "The weightless workout routine with the 'Fit Mom' Maria Kang". KXTV. February 5, 2014. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "'No excuse' mom talks 'Biggest Loser' controversy". HLN. February 5, 2014. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- ""Fit Mom": Forget excuses, get to the gym". HLN. February 19, 2014. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (March 14, 2014). "'Fit mom' Maria Kang reacts to 'Fat girl dancing' videos". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Cavuto, Neal (March 13, 2014). "'Hot Facebook Mom' reacts to angry moms". Fox Business Network. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (March 28, 2014). "What's Buzzing: 'Burger King baby' reunites with mom, parenting bad habits, and daily health risks". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (April 4, 2014). "What's Buzzing: Target photoshopped model on Ellen, running risks, and marriage at 80". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (April 25, 2014). "What's Buzzing: Pregnant woman bullied at gym, photoshop law, and toddler hockey fan". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (June 6, 2014). "What's Buzzing: Life therapy yoga, hating your children & love locks". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (June 20, 2014). "What's Buzzing: Mom protests daughter's "short" dress & fast-food false advertising". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (July 18, 2014). "What's Buzzing: 40-year-old NFL cheerleader & model 'hates' Forever 21". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (August 8, 2014). "What's Buzzing: Celebrity fashion at grocery store, vampire facials, and bake sale changes". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (August 15, 2014). "What's Buzzing - Anti-obesity ad, adult bullies caught on camera & be nice to people". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (August 29, 2014). "What's Buzzing: Pregnant men, staying young forever & 4-year old expelled". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Maher, Jeff (October 3, 2014). "What's Buzzing: Caffeine impact, 7-11 healthy food & 'One Direction' marriage proposal". KXTV. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Faris, Paula (April 8, 2014). "'Fit Mom' Meets Her Adversaries Face-to-Face". Yahoo!/ABC News. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "'Too small' mom's baby bump size criticized". HLN. March 11, 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Kim, Eun Kyung (March 13, 2015). "'Fit mom' shares tips in new no-excuse book, 'absolutely glad' she posted viral photo". Today. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- Pfeffer, Emma (March 18, 2015). "'No Excuse Mom' on Her New Diet Book – and That Infamous Photo". People. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Fit Mom is Back with No Excuses Movement". KTXL. March 26, 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
- "Author Maria Kang Demonstrates Exercises From 'The No More Excuses Diet' Book". KCAL-TV. March 23, 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-20.