2019 No More Excuses Challenge Winner: Gracielle Bennetter

Every year we host a 12 week No More Excuses Challenge and equip our participants with a 200-workout ebook, a 12 week calendar, a challenge tank, workout/nutrition guidelines and a personal consult with Maria Kang. We saw so many incredible transformations – which truly makes so many winners! It was not easy to pick!
This year our 2019 No More Excuses Challenge winner is……Gracielle Bennetter! You have won $500, a stealth core trainer, a Designer Protein package, NEM apparel and the X Bands Exercise Kit!
Her Story!
I do not even know where to begin with my fitness journey these past months. I attended a NEM class for the first time 3 days before my due date. I gave birth 5 days late and didn’t start attending workout classes again until my baby was 3 months old. I started having chest pains two weeks after giving birth, which kept me in and out of the hospital. Due to chest pain, I could not start working out as soon as I wanted to. I gained so much weight while pregnant, since I was on bed rest for 2 and a half months. My pre pregnancy weight was 130 and postpartum weight was 161! I was beyond upset that I had gained so much weight during my pregnancy. I felt as if I had no energy to do anything, I no longer felt pretty, sexy, or most importantly confident. I felt as if I was failing as a mom, I had no energy to stay motivated and better myself physically.
Once I started attending classes, I could not stop thinking that I did not want to be there, due to not being able to do the exercises properly. I remember one day I thought about not going because I was tired and embarrassed of doing burpees. A friend asked me to join the no excuse mom challenge, I decided to join the challenge to hold myself accountable to staying motivated and fit! I also decided to join because I had lost some weight by attending classes and was loving the results. Due to the challenge I started attending classes every single day, I even started challenging myself to slowly become a runner (still in the process).
I remember feeling super lazy and being embarrassed of not lasting long at the workouts. I would feel super ashamed that I couldn’t do what everyone else could. I felt upset at the fact that I had to stop half way through the workout classes because I could no longer push my body to do more. When I joined this challenge I weighed 152 and now I weight 137, my goal was to be at 130 but I am beyond happy with my results, I am most importantly happy that I was able to stay motivated throughout the whole challenge! I am very thankful to all the leaders and friends that helped me each and every day to get to where I am now.
This challenge helped me to commit to eating better everyday. I also became a leader during the challenge, which I love because I get to help and support others by sharing my story and putting together workout classes for them to attend. I just want to express how grateful I am to have found this amazing group, NO EXCUSE MOM, a group where I have found support, motivation and super nice people along the way that would encourage me to keep going and never give up.

 

5k/10k Training Programs!

It’s that time of year! Our annual 5k/10k virtual race is ON. If you ever find running to be difficult or you just one a cool wooden medal to add to your collection of running bling, then THIS is the race for you! You can do it at home, at the gym or in the park! What matters most is you commit to running and follow through on your program so you come out stronger, faster and healthier in 4 weeks!
For $35 you will receive a wooden medal, training programs, a purple drifit tank top and a downloadable bib! PLEASE CLICK HERE TO JOIN!!! 
 

Join your local NEM community to get downloadable links to our training programs! Links are also included in your order!

Custom wooden Run for a Reason Medal will be mailed early May

Downloadable Bib! You can run anywhere! On your treadmill, in the park or at the gym!

Dri-fit, deep purple, NER tank!

Diverse Mothers United Through Fitness

Culturally, as women, we are taught at a young age to aspire for marriage and children. However in today’s day in age, it’s far more common for women to go about it alone running single parent households. For the economic standards have vastly improved allowing women to work outside the home.
Aspiring for marriage isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not something we should continue to teach our girls, simply because it’s been passed on generation to generation. The problem with relying on a man to seemingly “fix” our problems by taking our hand in marriage and giving us children, is we begin to lose our sense of identity. Loss of personal identity for a woman is even harder when that woman becomes a mother.
What I am trying to say is, no relationship is guaranteed. Half of all marriages in the US result in divorce, and many women now choose to raise their children alone because they have the ability to do so. The problem with settling in an unhappy relationship, is we teach our children that it’s okay.
We teach them to find their worth in another human being, essentially failing them in the long run. What we should be teaching our children is how to be self sufficient, fostering their dreams so they can establish a sense of self identity. By figuring out who you are, what you are passionate about, you’ll find your purpose in life.
It’s okay to aspire for marriage and children, but it shouldn’t be the ultimate end all goal for anyone. Once you establish your identity, and what makes you happy, it will allow you to find and maintain a healthy relationship. The purpose of a relationship isn’t to find someone to complete you, but add to your life, because you are already complete.
As No Excuse Moms, we come from different backgrounds, but united we stand as mothers looking to improve physically so we can conquer motherhood together. That being said, as a single mother myself, I’ve encountered “mom-shamers.” These are the women who like to put down other women who aren’t married like they are, pointing out the flaws in their life that led them to be a single parent, as if their marriage and family are perfect.
This is not okay. As a single parent, we are exhausted trying to keep it all together for our children, lacking the emotional support of a partner. The last thing we need from other women are the judgments.
I get it, when women get together talking about their family is instinctual, but putting others down because their life went in a different direction is just wrong. In order to have a more inclusive group of moms supporting moms, we need to focus on strengthening each other emotionally as well as physically. Everyone is fighting their own personal battle that we are unaware of, that’s why it’s important to be kind.
As a group of diverse women, No Excuse Mom is more than a workout group for moms, it’s a supportive group of moms coming together making motherhood a little easier for everyone. But in order to do that, we need to drop the judgments, open our heart to those that are different than us, and stop trying to on-up each other social media. No Excuse Mom is an an all inclusive group of women who share similar interests bonded by the fact that we are all mothers, united through fitness.

Join our Campaign to End Excuses in 2019

Are you fed up putting everything else first? Are you ready to start prioritizing your mental, physical, spiritual and financial health? Let’s join together and STOP MAKING EXCUSES. Whether you are held back by time, money, kids, resources, genetics, negative people, lack of friends, etc…YOU NEED TO IDENTIFY WHAT YOUR CHALLENGE IS AND MAKE A GOAL TO OVERCOME IT
These No Excuse Commandments were created with YOU in mind. It’s important to not only tackle small goals first, but reflect and set new goals weekly. As mothers we often put ourselves last, consume easy, processed and high sugar foods. We rely on caffeine because we are always go, Go, GO! THIS vow is to help us stop…STOP allowing children, holidays, school, distractions – all of it, from getting to where we should be going, which is UP.
Let’s raise each other in this next year. Let’s focus on our reasons for living and not the excuses holding us back. Let’s DO THIS.
Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download our 10 No Excuse Commandments, post them on your wall and join a community of women who are focused on keeping each other accountable throughout 2019.
  2. WRITE DOWN THE EXCUSE holding your back. Post it PUBLICLY with your game face and hashtag #noexcusemom and #nomoreexcuses2019 (follow those hashtags so you can see and support others in the journey!)
  3. In one email (not now) send a copy of your public post declaring you will no longer make your excuse with a 500-word story and an after pic (any ONE pic that represents your success) by Dec 28, 2019 for a chance to win $500!
  4. Your public post must be made by Sep 10th. When you send your story and pic to noexcusemoms@gmail.com, please include a screenshot of the date it was posted.
  5. You will be judged by a panel of 5 people on:
    – sticking to the rules (must post publicly before Sep 10th, 500-word limit story and 1 after pic)
    – how you overcame challenges and broke your excuses in 2019

    DOWNLOAD No Excuse Commandments HERE

What Led Me To Joining No Excuse Mom

I think too often we forget where we started.
My fitness journey began when I was a child. I was in just about every sport you could imagine, from cheer leading, volleyball and basketball. Ultimately I settled with track and cross-country.
I joined the military at nineteen, after a semester of college. Maintaining a certain level of physical fitness in the Air Force wasn’t a challenge for me. The challenge came after separating.
I separated after seven years of active duty, as a single parent of two. After the birth of my daughter, postpartum depression had set in. So there I was with a preschooler and a newborn, with no support system as my immediate family resided out of state.

My kids I had while serving 7yrs. active duty Air Force

I longed for a sense of belonging, not knowing my place as a civilian. I chose to use my GI Bill and go to school full time. Now I’m a veteran, full-time student, single mother of two.
I dedicated all my time to my studies, striving to be the best mother I could for my kids but it wasn’t easy. I felt alone, being older than most in college, single with two kids. I needed to find balance in what had felt like a chaotic time in my life, unsure of how to juggle it all.
My first Veteran’s Day Parade as a prior service member.

It was the summer of 2018 when I was introduced to No Excuse Mom through my neighbor; who had just started holding meet-ups in the same location her husband taught my son’s martial arts. When I was approached by another leader about leading workouts, I was ecstatic. I started holding my own workouts in the park on Saturday mornings, creating bonds and fitness goals with other mamas.
I began engaging more online, realizing we are more alike than we are different. As a single mother, I feared the judgments I would receive. Initially I viewed No Excuse Mom as a group for married stay at home moms, and wanted no part of it. When I began attending meetups, and began engaging with members who attended mine I was surprisingly mistaken.
There’s more support with a group of women looking to better themselves, not only for themselves, but their children as well. What I found after separating from the Air Force was a new sense of belonging. I discovered a way to create change in the world, looking to empower and support one another while doing the hardest job in the world, motherhood.
It renewed a sense of confidence in me and opened myself up to more opportunities, allowing me to touch more lives through the power of health and wellness. You can channel all your energy into your job, getting an education, or your children, but in order to be well-rounded you can’t forget about yourself. When one challenges themselves physically, it allows one to be mentally and emotionally fit as well too.
I needed to be in a workout routine, pushing my body to new levels in order to deal with life’s stressors. As mothers it’s important we focus on becoming the best versions of ourselves.
What better way to do it, than with the help of other mothers with the same goal in mind?
Bio:
I’m a 28 yr. old USAF veteran single mother of two. I have my AA in communications, and am pursuing my BA in journalism at Sac State. I write for The State Hornet, and am a co-leader for No Excuse Mom. They say it takes a village, sometimes all that entails is a group of women committed to bettering themselves through a healthy lifestyle. After all, health starts at home.
https://statehornet.com
ashtonsnewsandreviewblog.wordpress.com

ashton.wright90@gmail.com

Break Free From Society’s Expectation’s This Holiday Season

We all know that the holidays can be incredibly taxing.
Society places these unconventional standards on us as mothers, leaving many to feel like they simply can’t measure up. It’s easy to get caught up in this commercialized holiday, forgetting about what really matters. While it’s true that making memories with your loved ones are more important than the gifts they’ll receive, not everyone’s holiday goes as planned.
For those with broken families, the idea of the holidays can be stressful having to divide up the holiday with an ex. I myself am a single parent, and have joint custody with my ex. Being single with two children, leaves me eager to ditch the gifts and replace them with experiences.
Memories are all your child will have left when you’re gone. When they’re adults, they won’t remember what you bought them when they were younger, they’ll remember how you made them feel. I often get depressed during the holiday’s seeing seemingly perfect families celebrate the holidays.
I yearn to have a two parent home, one where my children can have a bit of stability with some normalcy in their lives. But sometimes challenges are placed in our lives to make us stronger, sometimes we don’t get what we want because what we need is still yet to come. Sometimes what we want, isn’t always what we need.
I used to dwell on this fact, until I realized that you can’t control another person, relationships don’t work if they are one sided. Sometimes you have to let go of the ones you love, and let them figure it out for themselves. There is pain in letting go, but it hurts more holding on.
All these realizations come flooding into the mind of a single mother during the holidays because it’s easy to get caught up comparing your life to those who live the lives you aspire to have. The reality is we are all on different paths, no one’s life comes without struggle and pain, because we are all human. If we lived our lives without pain, there would be no happiness.
We must create our own happiness, a realization I had after experiencing pain from failed relationships resulting in children. When children are involved, the failed relationship becomes that much more painful. What I learned from my break-ups, was that I had to stop searching for happiness in others. No one was responsible for my happiness but me.
I had to learn how to love myself again, after losing myself in the ones that I loved. As mothers, it’s essential we focus on loving ourselves, because it’s the longest relationship we will ever have. When you focus on your joys, your children will see that, and it will in turn bring joy into their lives.
While I’ve had my ups and downs, I keep things in perspective, knowing there’s always someone who has it worse. This holiday season pay it forward. You may not have a lot to give, but some have nothing at all.
Sometimes all someone needs is a helping hand. Volunteering, donating, teaching your kids the holiday spirit without spending a dime. Sometimes you need time to heal your heart, and memories to heal your soul.
So this holiday season, no matter what boat you’re in, embrace your loved ones, make memories with your children, and be thankful for this life you’ve been given.
Bio:
I’m a 28 yr. old USAF veteran single mother of two. I have my AA in communications, and am pursuing my BA in journalism at Sac State. I write for The State Hornet, and am a co-leader for No Excuse Mom. They say it takes a village, sometimes all that entails is a group of women committed to bettering themselves through a healthy lifestyle. After all, health starts at home.
https://statehornet.com
ashtonsnewsandreviewblog,wordpress.com
ashton.wright90@gmail.com
 
 

Overall 2018 Winner Yizel Little

Congrats to our overall 2018 Pot Challenge winner, Yizel Little, who has won $3,150 for being an incredible inspiration and following through on our 12 week challenge! We are so very proud of you!!!!
Join our upcoming No More Excuses Challenge starting January 28th and ending on Easter HERE!!! For $50 you will not only receive an email consultation with Maria Kang, a 150 workout ebook, No Excuse Mom tank, 12-week accountability calendar and a fitness/nutrition guide, but you will also get a chance to win $1000 worth of money and prizes.
Her story!
When I joined NEM, I was a couple of weeks away from having my second daughter in twelve months.  I was overwhelmed daily, juggling my two little babies with no family around.  I look back at the group walks and exercises that I attended and am thankful.  Even though I was not a consistent attendee, I appreciate that I was able to take a break from being at home alone with my babies. Through the years I have enjoyed having the support of the NEM group even when I was completely inactive and just looking at posts for inspiration.  This challenge appealed to me because I felt I was tired and ready to make the change.
Although I had balance and peace in most areas of my life, they were constantly overshadowed by my unhealthy choices.  I did not want to see friends or family because I felt that they would be disappointed in me.  I tried to hide as much as possible and had anxiety about just seeing people.  It may sound silly but I really felt like I could not be seen. I had closed myself away for too long and I understand now that my unhealthy lifestyle was negatively impacting my relationships.
 I want to change for myself.  I want to be a healthier, happier me for myself.  I want to be a good example for my daughters.  I want to help lead my family into a healthier life. My daughters are getting older and I want to teach them by example.  They are kids and can eat anything but teaching them, as I learn, about healthy foods is invaluable.   It brings me joy to see them drink water through the day, and snack on fruits and veggies.  We exercise together almost every day.  Whenever they see me start to do any random exercise in the kitchen or dining room they ask if they can join.  I love it and am thankful for it. 
On my healthy journey I have learned a lot about food and what my body needs.  I used to get sick 9 out of 10 days at least once a day when I was “hungry”.  I would NEED to have something sweet and salty to help ease the fainting feeling and the shakes.  I would often end up with an upset stomach.  Since limiting/eliminating some of the unhealthier foods, I no longer get my dizzy shaky spells.  I am either hungry or thirsty but not sick.  I cannot believe that I was doing that to myself by eating too much of the wrong foods almost daily. 
This challenge has been wonderful for me.  I did not plan on losing a specific amount of weight but the challenge and NEM have provided me with the support I need on my journey that I really do not have outside of the group.  The challenge has helped me stay the course and I have a long way to go and I know I can do it.
 

2018 NEM Leader Winner: Pavla Jurasek

Congrats to our NEM Leader from Czech Republic for being one of three NEM Leaders who won our 2018 Pot Leader Challenge! You have $1,050 extra spending money!!! Thank you for inspiring us!

Pavla’s story!

My name is Pavla and I am 36 years old mom of 2 (girl nearly 5 and boy 3 and ¾ years old)

This time last year after 2017 pot-challenge I was in my best shape ever. Strong, fit, healthy. I really was happy with myself. I was so comfortable, I thought I could just keep myself active a few times a week and stay like this.

There was a different plan set for us that arrived unexpectedly.

A few weeks after the challenge our house burnt down and all we knew changed. I am so grateful I was and I am a part of this amazing community. A lot of NEMs helped us to get through this difficult time and I managed to return to my usual self thanks to exercising and our meet-ups.

Our life is not the same, but it is getting better.

When summer started and things slowed down due to the hot weather and kids holidays, I slowed down too. I gained some weight, had some health issues and was recovering from leg injury.

Then this year’s challenge arrived and I was certain I will do my best to finish strong. I am far from perfect and I am not without excuses, but when they arise, I am trying to find a way.

I felt motivated to do this right, eat healthy, workout and I was about to start in a new job in a gym

First 4 weeks were great, I worked hard, ate 80/20 and was thinking this time it goes well.

Unfortunately I hurt my back and I had to take it easier and this threw me off the track. I tried to work through this injury everyday. Slow, low impact exercises, healthy food. It wasn’t easy.

When my back got better I decided to give it a go and try a harder workout, because I thought my body wasn’t changing. Unfortunatelly I made a little mistake that caused me to slip and I pulled my back muscle again. Feeling sad, PMS and worried I won’t be able to workout for the rest of the challenge I nearly gave up.

But I reminded myself I went through worse nearly a year ago so I will finish this.

I started to watch my meals again and continue with the easy exercises, watching my back constantly so I don’t do any more mistakes here.

No I will not give up! – I trusted myself I would do better even without harder trainings. To my surprise teaching 4 hours of yoga and 2 pregnancy workouts a week made difference. I heard people saying I looked like I lost weight, but I didn’t felt that way.

I was really surprised to see my pictures side by side.

I still can not exercise harder, but I am trying everyday and I am grateful for this whole journey that tough me new things about me and my body again.

2018 Leader Winner: Alanna Butterfield

Congrats to our NEM Leader from Lexington, Kentucky for being one of three NEM Leaders who won our 2018 Pot Leader Challenge! You have $1,050 extra spending money!!! Thank you for inspiring us!
Alanna’s story:
In March 2015, I became a local NEM leader for the first time. Prior to that, I had dropped around 40lbs, completed my first race (a 1 miler with my son), and worked my way up to a half-marathon. I was a part of an avid running group comprised of moms, many of which attended my first group meetups on a regular basis. In my mind, I was the role model that I wanted to be for my 2 boys – “supermom” who would bike both of them to their homeschool co-op and squeeze in every minute possible to lift weights or push my way through a full body kettle bell routine. Health was a priority, because without it, it weakens our full potential.
Slowly, group attendance dropped and I took it personally. Eventually, just my boys and I attended the meetups and I focused on training for the handful of half-marathons that I had signed up for.
Then, I became pregnant with my third child. My efforts with the NEM Lexington group came to a halt and I focused on preparing my body to complete my first full marathon. On one hand, I was excited to say that I had completed something so amazing (at four months pregnant no less!), but on the other, I felt like a failure.
I wanted so much to be that healthy and inspiring person, but I let the excuses get in the way. After the birth of son, I weighed a whopping 188+ lbs leaving the hospital, which was quite a bit given my 5’2″ height. I was devastated. Never in my life had I ever weighed that much. I never felt fully rested, my gut was in very poor health, I became very depressed, and often cried for no reason. After a series of attempts at trying to drastically cut calories (which proved to be quite unsuccessful while breastfeeding), I became even more irritable and would turn to unhealthy food choices to satisfy my hunger and intense cravings. I honestly would not want to know how much money was spent on Chik-Fil-A during this time.
Early in 2018, my husband and I started doing the Keto diet and in May I joined Maria Kang’s Diet Bet with the goal of losing 4% of my body weight in 4 weeks. With sticking to the diet, I lost 7.4lbs and won the bet. However, I had regained that weight back and was “stuck” in the 170’s again.
When I heard of the 12 week challenge back in July, I toyed with the idea of reviving the NEM Lexington group, mostly to motivate myself. However, I remembered why I had wanted to become a group leader in the first place. I wanted to inspire other moms not to settle for mediocrity and to be the best, happy, healthy version of herself. Being a mom is incredibly tough, and many of us have little energy to “make it through the day”. I knew that not having time to workout was a lie, I had already proved it to myself before. I ditched the Keto diet and focused on simply eating as “clean” as possible, adding more veggies, limit sugar, and did not beat myself up if I decided to have some wine, chocolate, or fruit (because you can really have them on a low-carb diet).
It was TERRIFYING to restore my image as a group leader, because I had felt like had failed my wonderful group of ladies and I honestly thought that they would not take me seriously again, especially since I was far from fit . I was so nervous for the first meetup and even hoped that the one mom that said that she would be there, wouldn’t show, but she did. I struggled to complete the workout and we both agreed to “walk it out.” That was the first and last meetup that she attended. My heart hurt, maybe I was not cut out to be a “leader”. All other meetups were just my toddler and I. I never thought that that time was wasted though, because I used it to reflect on my vision for the group while burning some calories.
I didn’t give up. I wanted to inspire others, because our lives our too short to live in a “comfort zone” that denies us from achieving our best. I was not comfortable living the rest of my life hidden under leggings and baggy shirts because the thought of wearing any other outfit in my closet drove me to tears.
On October 20th, I finished my first half-marathon even though my legs seemed to scream at me the entire time. Many times, I broke down crying…for various reasons. Most of which stemmed from one of the real reasons that I started running in the first place…to help deal with past issues of inferiority and sexual abuse. I wanted to stop many times, and at one point I felt like I could not breathe and just stood in the road with tears rolling down my face. After taking a deep breath, cranking up the music, and pulling my pony tail tighter, I convinced myself that I was strong and that there was no one else on Earth that I had to prove that to. During the last half mile, I texted my husband and told him that I was in an incredible amount of pain. He asked if I needed someone to pick me up and I responded “I am not giving up.”
I continue to post small challenges in the Lexington group, host meetups, create workouts, and do my best to reveal to the other moms that I am not perfect, nor do I need to be…I just need to BE there for them and help them achieve their goals. I am not one who needs to thrive on compliments, but the greatest joy (besides FINALLY breaking that 170lb weight-loss plateau) in this 12 week journey is hearing from others how my confidence and ambition has inspired them in some way.