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SACRAMENTO, Calif (KSDK) -A California fitness instructor and mother's Facebook profile picture has stoked controversy, with some calling it inspiring and others insulting.

The photo was first posted last year, and made the rounds again in September.

Maria Kang, 32, posed in a red and black workout bra and matching shorts along with her three sons, whose ages range from one to three. The photo reveals Kang's fit figure and washboard abs. Aside from the photo, what seems to have many people talking is the question about her head, "What's your excuse?"

The photo has gone viral. As of Wednesday morning, it had provoked 190,504 likes, 22,370 comments and 15,904 shares on Facebook. Many of the comments are supportive and state how Kang is an inspiration, while other quotes are not so flattering. Facebook user Jodi-Ann A. Reid saw the photo as inspirational.

"I see this picture and get inspired. Makes me want to push a little harder and not skip a workout because I'm a bit tired. If a mother of three can do it, what IS my excuse? {On the other] hand, lazy people will look to accuse Maria of "fat shaming". Could it be that you are ashamed of your own bodies and it's time you did something to change that? There is nothing to celebrate about being overweight. It is killing thousands of Americans. Being healthy and fit doesn't mean being a size two. It means eating real food instead of shoving your face with McDonald's. Don't blame Maria for YOUR lack of self control. Get inspired, get up and get healthy. It's that simple. Go Maria!" she wrote.

Facebook user Kelly Vaughn Hubble didn't think the photo itself was offensive, but rather the context.

"I think you could have been more inspirational by saying something like 'you can do it too.'" She wrote. "It's not the picture that is offensive to anyone, it is the incisive phrase. Are you a single mother? Do you work at a desk job for 50 hours a week? You don't know what situation others have. I am not a fitness instructor by trade. You should inspire, not incite."

Kang said the photo was meant to inspire rather than offend. She said that by putting the question "what's your excuse?" in the photo, it was a say that if she could do it, anyone could.

"I'm sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way. I won't go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer," she wrote. "I won't even mention how I didn't give into cravings for ice cream, french fries or chocolate while pregnant or use my growing belly as an excuse to be inactive. What I will say is this: What you interpret is not MY fault. It's yours."

As a former pageant queen and fitness competitor Kang founded the nonprofit organization Fitness Without Borders in 2007. She also struggled with weight problems earlier in her life, and is now a recovering bulimic.

Although the photo was posted on her Facebook page a year ago, Kang saw that recently it has been getting a lot of shares along with negative comments directed toward her. She reposted it along with an apology, which she stated is her first and final apology.

By KSDK intern Calanadra Jones-Jackson

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