Morning, friends! Hope y’all are enjoying our January journey to becoming the healthiest, happiest, most creative selves we can be. We’ll be rounding out the month with a fun interview series called Embracing Your Best Self, and I’m super excited to kick things off with one of my newest friends Maja, founder of kor180. Maja is one of those people who makes you feel instantly more energized just by being around her, and she’s sharing her story today in this never-before-seen video. You’ll definitely want to watch from beginning to end and read more about her journey towards living her passion in the interview below. And stay tuned: Maja’s agreed to be our special guest editor for the rest of this month, taking us along to peek into the daily routines of a few other inspiring, wellness-focused entrepreneurs. Take it away, Maja!

  1. Name: My legal name is Maria Joanna Kermath, but most people call me Maja.  It’s what I prefer.
  2. Hometown: I was born in Warsaw, Poland but grew up in Champaign, Illinois and consider it my hometown.
  3. Current City:  Austin, TX
  4. What I do: Most of my career was been spent in digital media & technology, until two years ago, when I began working on a modern fitness franchise called kor180.  I moved to Austin in August to launch our flagship location which opens on the January 24th.
  5. Why kor180:  Two years ago, I lost it on an airplane after coming to the realization that all the things I’d been chasing my entire life weren’t bringing me true happiness. That was the catalyst to re-engineer the way I was living my life. That process for me was a total lifestyle change, and I realized there wasn’t a wellness brand that handled exercise, nutrition, content, products and community.  I launched kor180 so that we can help people live life inspired!
  6. My morning routine:  I’m a night owl and NOT a morning person, so I’m usually trying to stay in bed as long as possible…which means I have to keep things quick in the morning.  My routine involves a shower followed by SkinOwl argan oil on my face before I put on my makeup.  I usually air dry my hair, throw on some clothes, and finish with Jo Malone perfume, which I love. It usually takes me 20 minutes.  I either have a green smoothie…or a latte, a habit I’m trying to break myself of. Dairy is something we should all eat/drink less of.
  7. Last thing that terrified me:  Sharing this video. When I see myself, all I see are the imperfections. The last two years I’ve been working until 2 am most nights to get this company up and running.  My eating & working out have suffered as a result, and I keep catching myself falling back into old patterns of negative inner monologues (that I’m not thin enough, etc.)  Building this company has made me very much a student of the things we want to teach, and I’ve decided to “eat my own dog food,” per se.  So today, I’m sharing my story with you…because I am enough & so are you.
  8. Daily Uniform: I’m either in one of two things. Workout clothes (we carry the tonic line & I have to admit I’m a little obsessed.) Or jeans, grey v-neck and my low-cut cowboy boots. I got them at Allen’s and wear them all the time!  They are super comfy & have a cool vibe.
  9. Why community:  Two years ago, I realized that there was a big difference between how I wanted to spend my time & how I actually spent my time. I made a conscious effort to do the things that have been on my bucket list. I started spending more time with people that inspired me, jumped out of an airplane, went to Burning Man, went on a service trip to Haiti. It was through exposure to new people, goals and experiences that I began to have moments of true happiness. When the little girl you gave shoes to is running alongside your van in Haiti, it puts so many things into perspective. So I try to incorporate those kind of elements into our community, and we help each other live life inspired.
  10. How do you get through the tough days:  In July I quit my big corporate job, cashed in my life savings, left LA (and my friends) after 7 years, packed my SUV, and drove across the country to Austin to launch kor180. I didn’t know anyone here, but had this gut feeling that this was the place to launch. I’ve changed every aspect of my life, because building this company is my life’s work.  While it brings me a lot of fulfillment, it’s terrifying and hard, and sometimes I’m so overwhelmed that I don’t want to get out of bed.  When that happens, I do three things: (1) Indulge in the feeling for a bit, then (2) think about all the people that are counting on me, then (3) I get my @ss out of bed!
  11. Sometimes just moving gives you the energy you need to get over the case of the blues. It’s how I motivate myself to run sometimes: I tell myself that I’ll only run for 15 minutes,  and if I want to stop there, then I can. That never happens, because the first 15 minutes gives me energy.
  12. New Year’s resolution:  I didn’t make one this year. I find that resolutions can be a lot of pressure and often set you up to fail. Instead, I told myself that I want to do something of value every day…Doesn’t have to be big.
  13. Life Mantra:  Jump – you can earn your wings on the way down!

*video by Jeffrey Garland

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Comments (24)
  1. 1
    Michelle January 22, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Wow, such an inspiring woman! Get it, girl!

  2. 2
    Katie Meyers / Meyers Styles January 22, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Maja’s story is so inspiring & I love the video! Congrats on the launch of KOR 180* – you are going to be incredibly successful in your new adventure!

  3. 3
    Camille Styles January 22, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Ed. note: I tried kor180 for the first time on Saturday, and it kicked my butt in the best possible way. I felt so good (and strong) all day. It’s my new go-to workout, for sure!

    • Maja January 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

      Loved having you guys in the studio! Thanks for being such a supporter!

  4. 4
    Melanie Duncan January 22, 2013 at 11:38 am

    How wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  5. 5
    Jennifer Rose Smith January 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Great video, Maja! Makes me want to focus on getting healthier this year.

    • Maja January 23, 2013 at 10:08 am

      Baby steps…sometimes I get all motivated & think I’m going to change EVERYTHING. What i’m eating, working out everyday, etc. The CEO of Texas’ largest employer works out with us. My advice to him…focus on adding a workout once/week, then twice/week, gradually building up to a few times/week. Good luck Jennifer!

  6. 6
    Katherine January 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I’ve been trying to get up earlier this year because I have a terrible habit of hitting the snooze button in the mornings. I’ll think about this article when I wake up now to help motivate me to get up! Thanks for this!

  7. 7
    Kelly January 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Such an inspiring story about living your life the way you want to, thanks for sharing Maja!

  8. 8
    Ashley @ Yeah. We Bake. January 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Maja, great feature! I, too, plan on moving from LA to Austin. My boyfriend and I are ready for something more and also have gut feelings about the best city in the South. Best wishes for a successful venture!


  9. 9
    McKenna January 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Oh, I so wish I lived in Austin! The Kor Interval Training looks amazing! Best of luck!!!

    • Maja January 23, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Coming to a city near you! Where do you live?

      • McKenna January 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm

        Seattle! Soon-to-be Oahu, where my fiance lives! I say bring a location to each 🙂

  10. 10
    Caryl | ROAR events January 22, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Great story – bring Kor to the bay area. 🙂

  11. 11
    Sandy January 22, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Love your daily routine. I also use SkinOwl’s Argan Oil, an easy way to begin, and end the day.

    • Jacquie January 23, 2013 at 2:21 am

      Maja you are an inspiration! Your passion & drive radiates from you & beams health and happiness. Congratulations and good luck (can’t wait til you expand to Australia!)

      • Maja January 23, 2013 at 10:09 am

        Funny Jacquie…Australia is our first international launch location!

  12. 12
    heyalala January 23, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Camille and Maja, thanks for sharing the journey! As someone who is also starting a new fitness (apparel) business, it was great to hear about your experience. Best of luck!!!

  13. 13
    Maja January 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Wow…ladies….I’ve been heads down preparing for our launch party this Thursday at the studio & Camille just shot me a note to look at the comments. I really was so scared to post this video. We filmed it almost two months ago…and I’ve just been sitting on it. Thanks so much for all of the kind words & support. It takes a village to change the way you live. So inspired by all of you & grateful that you’re in mine. #bBold #bFearless

  14. 14
    Letitia Elizabeth January 28, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Oh this is so lovely! I’m just discovering you do this as a series. Please don’t stop. Perfect for my Monday today 🙂
    Also, trying to follow you. What is your RSS feed?