Maria Kang

Glass Image

by Maria Kang on July 9, 2013

July 8, 2013

Just a couple years ago I would curiously stare at my husband while he laughingly browsed his Facebook. At the time I didn’t realize there were thousands of pages devoted to people’s interests. When I redesigned my website I knew I wanted to connect to a Facebook profile – so I created a public page – that targeted my main interest, which is fitness.

In the beginning it was challenging. I saw several fitness pages that had great daily quotes or recipes to follow. I also saw many competitors and models who utilized their page to post photos of their physique or upcoming appearances. While I was motivated by the images I saw, I didn’t feel connected with the pages.

The truth was – I understood my industry at a more intimate level.  I’ve been a bikini competitor, group instructor, personal trainer, fitness manager, freelance writer, project/marketing coordinator and nonprofit founder. I’ve been 115lbs, 150lbs and 180lbs (pregnant). I overcame an eating disorder, suffered from food allergies and understood what it meant to unsuccessfully attempt the Atkins, Zone and Body For Life Diets.

I also saw a lot of disconnection.

I knew most of the fitness models were nearing competition and at extremely low body fat percentage to capture the image everyone ‘liked’ and measured themselves against.  I knew most of the fitness motivation these page owners were trying to promote was dissimilar from their readers as it was their job – at some level – to be in incredible shape.  I also knew that in order to be physically progressive, there needed to be balance professionally, personally and spiritually – qualities that most people in aesthetic professions struggle with.  

I would see pages with 3k followers and naturally envy their ability to capture an audience. While I had a steady online readership from years blogging online, I also disabled comments and didn’t advertise my new public Facebook page until I found what I was comfortable exposing.  I remember my first post was announcing my television appearance as a guest expert in kid’s fitness. Months later I would randomly post a picture of my eggs and oatmeal from a hotel breakfast. Besides my pregnancy pictures, I didn’t have any current professional shots. I thought about other fitness Facebook pages exhibiting sexy photos, prize giveaways and constant ‘share for a share’ with other pages. I was tempted to travel that route, but a part of me couldn’t bear to do something that wasn’t me.

I don’t seek attention. I seek connection. Creating this online kinship requires authentic motives.

I have a passionate heart and talk about everything that encompasses life – not just fitness.  I have a quirky husband who’s addicted to bees and travels a lot. I have three crazy kids born in 2009, 2010 and 2011 who prevent me from sleeping 8 hours and training on a timely basis. I have a demanding job that disallows me to turn my phone off at night and often leads me to working on weekends.  I don’t always feel happy. I often feel overwhelmed. While I have a fit body, I don’t always feel sexy. Especially when bloated. I am a dreamer, a doer, a go-getter and a grouch if I don’t get to travel at least once a year.  I can easily be portrayed as ‘perfect’, which is why I try to break that glass image through my words and not just my pictures.

In a little over a year my page grew to over 31k followers. It feels like a great accomplishment for me as I never compromised who I was in order to gain a following. I never posted daily quotes just to post something. I never asked my readers to share my page to win a prize. I just did what I’ve always done. I shared my knowledge. I talked about my struggles. I admitted my personal and physical flaws and I owned my actions – all of them – including my ‘No Excuse’ photo that I defended on my local morning show.

It was my imperfection, not my perfection, that made me grow.

While I don’t have the strongest filter, I am always cognizant of the energy I emanate.  While many readers have publicly and privately thanked me for being real and relatable to them – what they don’t realize is how much I resonate with their comments, their stories and their struggles. There is a joint relationship I have with my audience. It’s not a one way street where everyone is looking up at me and admiring my flawless life. It’s a two-way street where I am riding next to all my readers and utilizing my gift of writing to express how we all feel in this road called life.

Life is a constant journey – a journey that doesn’t end until the day you die. Realizing this truth makes me strive because if we don’t dream and work for something greater, then we will battle with our natural drive to evolve and grow….because if we’re not growing, we’re dying in the monotonous motions that complacency brings.

When I awake each day and decide to write intentional words that rises from my open heart – I know that as my dreams awake, so do many more.

Thank you to all who have joined me in our journey. God Bless.

mariakang_larrywong
Image taken by Larry Wong. He’s an amazing photographer based in the SF Bay Area.
Check out more of his images at www.lwong.net

 larrywong
Loved this impromptu shot of Larry, Santiago and Yumi during our shoot.
There were a lot of laughs that day.

mom
Happy Birthday Mom! She turned just 52 years old.

fourthofjuly
Fourth of July at my mother’s house. This is the backyard I grew up in!

napavalley
Napa Valley with some of my favorite girlfriends (who were also my bridesmaids
at my wedding!) It was such a great time! I miss them.

napavalley_1
Loved this shot with Stephanie. I couldn’t believe we talked non-stop
for 12 hours!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Martin Fernandez October 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Maria,
You are a great person, and dont let negative people get to you. It is hard to have a Fitness program in your life. trust me I know. I do it, because I have to, but you are three times extra effort. continue what you doing and Life is a wonderful experience enjoy each day to the fullest.
Sincerely,

Martin Fernandez
Specialist, US Army
Veteran

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