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December 2020: Maya Paley

Meet Maya! Mama to a beautiful son and daughter. Maya has inspired so many of us by making her health and fitness a priority during this crazy year by consistently showing up to multiple virtual classes every week and excelling in our Body Well program. We love her strength and her encouraging smile. Now let's get to know her better!

My name is Maya Paley. I'm a gender and social justice advocate. I'm married and we have two kids age 5 and 2, my little loves.

Favorite drink?

A nice Chardonnay, but I haven't had one in a minute.

Snack? Lately it's been peanut butter energy balls, which I've become obsessed with, or just peanut butter with some fruit. But I also love me some Lindt Lindor chocolate truffles! They're irresistible!

Where do you like to shop? I basically buy clothing out of pure desperation once a year so it ends up being pretty random. All I've purchased this past year is workout clothes!

Favorite place you’ve traveled to?

The most special place I've traveled to is Nepal. I spent time there when I was 18 and it grounded me and taught me a lot about who I am and who I want to be. It's a beautiful place full of music, mountains, kindness, and magic.

Favorite Book:

Here's what's coming up for me when I think of books right now:

For inspiration: Brazen, Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World, Pénélope Bagieu

For parenting: The Happy Sleeper, Heather Turgeon MFT, Julie Wright MFT

For kids: Anti-Racist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi and Ashley Lukashevsky

Favorite in general: In Cold Blood, Truman Capote


I LOVE learning new languages! If I could I would learn every language there is because I love meeting new people and would love to speak with folks in their own language. Learning languages brings so much connection, learning, and perspective to my life.

Something unique about yourself.

I've spent my whole life fighting for social justice and human rights with and for refugees and asylum seekers, sex workers, workers, youth, sexual violence survivors, women, communities of color, and many other marginalized groups. I guess I feel like that makes me who I am.

Favorite movie or show: The last few years it's been Jane the Virgin.

Craziest thing you’ve ever done: I definitely have a wild side so don't let this mom face fool you. I would say the craziest/not-the-smartest-thing-I've-ever-done was jumping off a very high cliff on a trip because a guy told me I wouldn't make it because I was small. I jumped in order to prove him wrong. Embarrassingly I had to be rescued upon hitting the water. I was taken in an ambulance to a nearby hospital where I was told I was lucky to be alive and to still be able to walk. I will be keeping my kids away from cliff-jumping!

Your idea of a perfect vacation

Right now my wish would be to relax on a beach somewhere warm and beautiful with a good book and a bowl of fresh, tropical fruit and dark chocolate.

How long have you been with fit4mom? Nearly a year and a half

When is your birthday? March

Do you speak more than one language? I speak Hebrew, French, good enough Spanish, and I'm studying Italian these days. I've also studied Arabic and a little Nepali. Wish I could retain it all!

Favorite color? Red

Most challenging part of this year for you?

It's obviously been quite a year for everyone. The most challenging part for me has been taking care of both kids and and my mom who is ill with lung disease during this insane time. COVID has left many of us parents, especially moms, with no break or refuge as we try to manage work, kids, caregiving, and countless other things with no childcare, lots of anxiety, and an unknown future. My job also ended at the end of June and I know I won't be able to work again until the COVID situation improves. As a gender justice activist, it's hard to see myself become a statistic as I've become one of the many women in my generation who are not and cannot work right now. So many of us are dealing with similar challenges during COVID and have found ourselves desperate for this to end. While every day has been extremely challenging, I've also found myself grateful for the quality time I've gotten with my kids, my partner, and my parents, time that I definitely would not have had if not for the pandemic. But yeah, I'm DESPERATE for this to be over.

What are you most proud of about yourself while facing the challenges of this year?

I'm super proud of myself for prioritizing my health since COVID started. I've challenged myself to find ways to practice self-care, or really self-preservation, when it often feels impossible and I've been able to do it thanks to FIT4MOM. FIT4MOM has honestly saved me and kept me afloat this past year when I often felt hopeless, anxious, and beyond stressed. It helped me channel my fatigue and negative energy into something positive, fun, healthy, and rewarding and I'm stronger both physically and emotionally because of it. I can't believe I almost didn't rejoin FIT4MOM when COVID started. I thought I didn't have the time. Somehow I made the time and now everyone knows that my workouts are a priority and I have been so much happier for it. It's made me have the capacity to be a better parent, partner, friend, and daughter this year. And it's reminded me that I can take on new challenges, become a better person, and give myself some love and care even during a global pandemic. I'm grateful to the FIT4MOM community and instructors for supporting all of us mamas during these hard times. I'm proud of every single parent right now--getting through 2020 has been rough so each and every one of you deserves a gold medal!