'No Excuses' Mom Maria Kang Updates Her Controversial Photo: 'It Didn't Seem Fair'

"No Excuses" mom Maria Kang updated her controversial photo because, she says, it no longer "represented how I feel"

Photo: Beth Baugher

Fit mom Maria Kang has updated her controversial “No Excuses” campaign, which first went viral in 2013.

Rather than asking parents to push past excuses and get fit, she’s now encouraging them to identify their reasons for working out with a revised version of her original — and hotly debated — photo.

“At first I recreated the image as a follow-up to my original campaign, but as I captioned it, I realized I have a bigger perspective to share,” Kang, 37, tells PEOPLE. “Through my No Excuses mom group I read daily about the struggles women face, so it didn’t seem fair to ask them what their excuse was anymore. I know, they know. The next step — after you identify what’s holding you back — is to find your reason for succeeding.”

Beth Baugher

Maria Kang

Plus, says the mom of three, the old “No Excuses” mantra doesn’t match her current mindset.

“Initially I added my old tagline but didn’t feel like it represented who I was and how I felt in this moment of my life,” Kang says. “I’ve addressed excuses, but my motivation to stay healthy is finding my reasons. Your why is the most important factor when attaining a goal. It will help you overcome excuses, persist past pain and keep you focused when you want to give up.”

RELATED VIDEO: Maria Kang’s Core-Strengthening Workout

In the five years since her original post, Kang says her life has gotten “a lot busier.” The Sacramento-based Kang runs the No Excuses Mom Movement, with workout groups in 30 countries. She also recently shared bikini photos after gaining 10 lbs., and opened up about losing confidence in her body.

“I stopped feeling beautiful,” she told PEOPLE in Sept. 2016. ” I struggled with motivation, I’ve gained some weight and am experiencing difficult marital challenges. I let the world consume me this last year. I let events, people and things influence my perception of myself and I literally felt broken.”

Maria Kang-News
Jaymi Britten

Maria Kang in 2016

Kang decided to do an unretouched photoshoot to boost her spirits — and to encourage women to embrace their bodies.

“I’ve gained 10 lbs. since my ‘What’s Your Excuse’ photo, and I’m not hiding from that fact,” she said at the time. “I want to empower others to step in front of the camera and be unapologetic, thankful and proud of where they are today.”

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