2014
05.23

At MPG, we know fitness is a journey, a way of life, with the power to change people’s lives, transform them, and inspire others along the way. However, it wasn’t until we read the story of Natalie, who lost her brother Frank (US Army Cpl.) when he was killed in action in Afghanistan on July 16th, 2011, that we realized the true power of fitness. Frank was the only solider who lost his life in his unit, and he was Natalie’s only sibling. In the aftermath of her brother’s passing, Natalie battled depression, anxiety, and excessive drinking, trying desperately to self-medicate and fill the void left by Frank’s death. Despite the darkness of a life lost in the most noble sense-serving one’s people-Natalie’s journey is one that ends in triumph: She took her passion for fitness and allowed it to heal her, entering her first fitness competition to, in her words, “honor not only my brother, but myself.”

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Natalie not only overcame an onslaught of despair prompted by her brother’s passing, but also self-doubt, something athletes of all kinds can relate to: “This was a huge step for me because I had always said to myself “I could never have enough willpower to do one of those,” she said. She did more than enter-Natalie is constantly experimenting with a new fitness craze or sport (CrossFit, Snowboarding, and Wakeboarding rank high on her list of favorites) and also began work as a personal trainer to share her passion and make it possible for others to experience the transformative power of staying active.

In regard to her brother, Natalie is confident that she’s honoring his memory and making him proud: “Frankie would always laugh at me because I would work out so intensely and then have pizza! I truly believe he is up there smiling and laughing and puffing up his chest with pride that his big sister was able to accomplish something that seemed absolutely impossible for me.”

Transforming pain into healing power has changed the course of Natalie’s life, and there is no greater journey than one out of severe darkness into light. Remarking that she hopes people in similar situations know they aren’t alone, Natalie said: “It is proven that exercise increases endorphins and serotonin to the brain, therefore increasing your “happy levels” per se. If you force yourself to go try new things, meet new people, each day, you’ll notice you get a bit stronger. You may even find that something that once terrifies you becomes a place of joy within your life. The pain will always be there but the choice to change lies in your hands.”

Natalie’s pain will be ever-present, but even stronger is her newfound drive and her brother’s memory. Together, they have created an athlete and individual who inspires many as she redefines the word “hero.”

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2014
05.06

Following what was a truly fantastic Messenger Search Contest that had us receiving hundreds of terrific entries, we couldn’t be more thrilled to announce the winner of our MPG Spring 2015 Messenger Search, Kelly Fuston, who is a blogger over at Fat Girl Gone Fit.

Kelly’s fitness journey, she let us know after we had the distinct pleasure to let her know she’d won our contest, transformed not just her body, but her life as well. Going from, in her own words, the kid that played sports and “got the ‘thanks for trying’ trophy,” Kelly is now training for her first figure competition and recently celebrated the completion of her first half marathon.

After entering MPG’s Messenger Search on a whim, Kelly did quite a bit in between her initial entry and making it to round two: After getting married and leaving for her honeymoon, she received an email announcing that she was officially through to the second round. She credits her incredible following, those who have shown their support and provided the gift of motivation every step of the way, with her victory. “I hope to be able to spread my message of self-love no matter where someone is at in his or her journey. I want to help spread that hope,” she remarked on what she hoped would come of her MPG entry.

Kelly’s goal is to spread possibility: The hope that every individual has the power to transform his or her own life. She believes that accomplishments, such as entering competitions and running, has more to do with weight loss or getting caught up in the numbers. Her message is more about lasting memories, such as becoming confident in one’s own skin, loving her body and hitting goals like her first unassisted pull up.

Looking forward, Kelly hopes to start a family with her new husband, and continue inspiring people to tackle their goals and (literally) chase their dreams. Personally, Kelly is planning to bring her best self forward to the figure stage in August when she competes. Even now, to Kelly, the emphasis isn’t on appearance, but on leaving it all at the gym and surpassing her personal bests. Kelly has been embarking on her fitness journey for nearly three years, and though she admits we all love a good finish line, she suggests that learning to enjoy the process goes a long way: “Win each daily battle and eventually you win the war.” Another major focus? In between hitting it hard in the gym, Kelly encourages everyone to love themselves, regardless of where they might find themselves in their own experiences.

In fact, inclusivity is one of the aspects that first drew Kelly to MPG: “My favorite thing about MPG is that they embrace everyone, every body, every aspect of what make people beautiful – their differences.” When asked about the advice she’d give to those hoping to get healthy, Kelly had the following thoughts to share:

Eat to be healthy & ditch the diet. You need to properly fuel your body and nourish it. If you don’t eat, you are only harming yourself. All these fad diets and tricks don’t work in the long run. Just eat healthy food.

Keep it simple. People always try to make weight loss harder than what it really is. You don’t need a million supplements and machines to lose weight. There is no magic pill or secret – just eat whole foods and move more. In regards to exercise, you don’t need to start your journey bench pressing 300lbs; if all you can do is walk, do it! That is where I started out.

Don’t freak out. Even though you are trying to lose weight, life still happens. Unexpected situations arise, holidays happen and treat meals occur. Enjoy yourself and remember you worked hard for it.

It’s easy to see why Kelly is our fan-picked Messenger: With her fierce determination, incredible example of perseverance and success, and body-positive message, she is a role model in the gym and beyond. Welcome, Kelly – we couldn’t be more excited to have you representing MPG!

Kelly will officially become a Messenger following her photo shoot which should be taking place in the next few months. Stay tuned to see what promise to be some truly spectacular images as part of our Spring 2015 editorial campaign!

And scroll down to see some of Kelly’s inspiring transformation images and messages:

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2014
04.29

MPG is passionate about passionate people: People who, with their movement, their fashion, and their leadership, inspire us and keep us moving. Now, we’re taking our fusion of fashion and function a step further, and chatting with our Messengers about everything from guilty pleasures to what gets them up in the morning. Ready to get motivated? We asked Valerine Solomon and Erica Willick, two uber-fit moms who have empowered women in fitness via social media and their all-digital women’s fitness magazine, GORGO, about their favorite healthy snack, most-loved way to move, and more…

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Erica Willick and Valerie Solomon, MPG Messengers – Spring 2014.

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What MPG piece can you not stop wearing?

I keep wearing the grey MPG pullover with skinny jeans or black tights, to work dressed up with a scarf and heels, and on the weekend casual with flats. The fabric is so comfy yet looks dressy that I can wear it in a corporate environment.

What is your favorite way to sweat?

Lifting weights! Nothing beats a good weight lifting session.

What is the inspirational quote that gets you out of bed in the morning?

Believe.

Favorite healthy snack?

Nothing beats a crisp apple and a handful of almonds for an easy and tasty healthy snack.

Favorite guilty pleasure?

Ice cream. Ice cream. Did I say ice cream?

Quick, someone needs motivation: What do you say?

Motivation comes from belief in yourself….you need to believe in yourself when no one else does. That’s the fire that keeps you going.

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Valerie

What MPG piece can you not stop wearing?

Hatha grey rose print crops and I’ve worn my Inspire crops with the lace cut out every time they were clean since I’ve owned them… a year and a half I think.
I love the way MPG pants fit and hold up to the rough workouts I put them through.

What is your favorite way to sweat?

I love to get sweaty lifting weights. I love working hard in the gym and pounding out life’s stresses on the iron.

What is the most inspirational quote thats gets you out of bed in the morning?

My fav is probably “What a shame for a (wo)man to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which (her) body is capable.” Socrates (attached image)

Favorite healthy snack?

My go to afternoon healthy pick-me-up snack is coffee with a scoop of chocolate or vanilla protein powder in it. (mix the powder in a bit of water in a shaker first, and pour in coffee like you would creamer) I’ll have that with all sorts of different carbohydrates depending on whether or not I am getting ready to compete or not. Competition: I pair it with a sweet potato. Off season: Crackers or fruit

Favorite guilty pleasure:

All things Mexican! Chips and queso please.

Quick, someone needs motivation: What do you say?

Whatever it is that you are thinking you’d like to do, take a step towards that today. Take a leap of faith. You don’t have to have it all figured out to make a change. You don’t have to know all of the answers. Ask for help along the way. I found this to be true in my fitness journey. I just got moving. I didn’t know (and still don’t!) all of the techniques for lifting weights. I just started and sought guidance as my journey progressed.

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2014
04.22

A little while back, we reported that MPG’s inaugural retail location opened in the trendy and youth-oriented shopping district of Itaewon in Seoul, South Korea. In the short time since, another stand alone location, several mall outlets and a slew of department store soft shops have opened to critical and public acclaim. Below, we highlight just a few of the new MPG retail stores taking Korea by storm.

The original MPG shop in Itaewon, Seoul.

The original MPG shop in Itaewon, Seoul.

MPG Bundang

The stand-alone shop, located in the highly developed and affluent Bundang district that is home to the city’s repatriated expats, has been enthusiastically received with nothing short of effusive praise for an alternative to prevalent brands found in the activewear market segment. One customer there was heard to remark she traveled over an hour and a half to see what MPG had to offer and,  subsequently, was not disappointed by what she found.
The Korea Team has already begun enlisting MPG Messengers one of whom held a fitness class at the shop.

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MPG Shinsegae Gagnam

Another location is situated at the Shinsegae Shopping Mall in the Gagnam area of Seoul popularized in Psy’s international hit, Gagnam Style.

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MPG Shinsegae Inchon

The last we’ll be focusing upon here is a soft-shop in the Shinsegae Department Store located in Seoul’s Inchon neighbourhood where an in-store fitness session also took place.

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The Korea MPG team has ambitious plans to continue its rapid expansion across the nation with an additional 15-20 more locations slated to open by the end of 2015. We will, of course, keep you posted on developments as they transpire.

2014
04.07

I’m Rainesford, the brand-new PR/Social Media intern for the wonderful MPG. One of the remarkably coolest parts of my new role here is being able to say I work for a brand whose shorts I am currently wearing and in whose product I completely believe in, which I’m sure will ever grow old. I am a writer and a ballet dancer-turned-yogi who also enjoys cycling, hiking and desperately trying to convince my body that I’m a runner (one day!).

I began training pre-professionally in ballet at age seven, and continued a rigorous schedule with intentions of eventually embarking upon a professional career until the age of fifteen, when I fractured my lower back, strained muscles around the site and subsequently lost a tremendous amount of flexibility in my left leg. Suddenly, the meticulously established plan I’d plotted for myself was devastatingly thrown off course. I used yoga as part of my rehab, trying to regain flexibility and my previous range of motion. I took my first yoga class at Steps on Broadway in New York, a legendary hub for dancers, and though it improved my flexibility, I also noticed I was calmer, more clear-headed, and pleasantly happier post-Downward-Dog.

Swiftly, good old Vinyasa classes segued into an infatuation with Bikram, and it’s easy to see why, since the mental benefits of sweat almost outweigh the physical ones. Eventually, I found that my ideal class is heated Vinyasa —which I now teach.

One of the most incredible aspects of this journey, from ballet dancer to yogi, has been seeing the similarities between the two diverse disciplines especially in the freedom, full-body movement and silent strength found in both. I am pretty sure yoga made me a better dancer but I am positive yoga made me a better person: The best version of myself mysteriously appears after a great yoga class, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

In many ways, I’m not a stereotypical yogi: I am not a Vegan (good for those who are!), I don’t know the proper Sanskrit yoga terms, and sometimes, after class, I like to eat French fries in lieu of fresh fruit. To me, these things summarize the greatest, most significant part of yoga: Anyone can do it. Anyone can be a yogi. Coming fresh off the ballet barre, where, frankly, not everyone possesses the physical attributes to be a dancer, this is wildly refreshing. I’ve seen it all – soccer players, nine-year-olds, stay-at-home moms, CEOs, CrossFitters, runners, swimmers, and more. They all meet on their mats and let yoga tell their stories.

Everyone of us has a great deal to say about our lives, our stories, and who, at our core, we truly and authentically are, which can be conveyed through our movement or in whatever style we sweat. Finding the way that speaks to us and pursuing it – whether it be on a bike, with a sprint, or on a mat speaks directly to MPG’s notion of ‘My Performance.’

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2014
04.03

It’s been some time since we last posted an update on what’s happening over at Mondetta Charity Foundation, the philanthropic arm of our organization that currently provides support and financial assistance to Kamwokya Primary School in Kampala, Uganda and the New Life Home Trust Orphanage in Lamu, Kenya. As you’ll soon discover below, Twenty Fourteen is full of promise as the MCF undertakes some of its most ambitious initiatives to date.

Kamwokya Primary School – Kampala, Uganda

Campus Expansion

In collaboration with the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), ground has broken on the ambitious, and much-needed, campus expansion construction project that will ultimately witness 9 additional classrooms being added to the school to accommodate an exponentially growing student body that currently stands at 1750. The original capacity of the school is a mere 1000 students, which has resulted in close to 100 students crowded in one classroom presently. Considerations are being made to allow for vocational training in two of the additional rooms to provide instruction in stitching/tailoring and computer skills.

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Rotary Water Harvesting and Purification Project

The Rotary Clubs of Whitby Ontario, Winnipeg West and Mueyenge, Kampala will work in concert with MCF to begin installation of a water harvesting and purification system on the school grounds.
At present, the project has stalled due to land disputes that are in the midst of being resolved which will pave the way for the project to begin.
To ensure the facilities remain protected, a peripheral fence will be built around the school to safeguard the investments being made thereat. A revised estimate of the fencing project, recently received has come in 25% more than the original devised two years ago due to inflation.

Spare Change Project

Following a resoundingly successful Halloween campaign with the Seven Oaks School Division here in Winnipeg, $13000 was raised which will be split with local youth outreach program, Wayfinders and MCF. The program consisted of spare change boxes being placed at 22 schools in the division with chairman, Kish, conducting presentations to the student bodies at each to illustrate the difficult conditions impoverished children are forced to endure to attend school.
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MCF and the Seven Oaks School Division will continue to collaborate with several other projects currently under consideration.

Teacher Exchange

Continuing the tremendously successful teacher exchange program that last saw the headmistress and two teachers from Kamwokya visit Winnipeg in 2012, the Seven Oaks School Division Superintendent
and three teachers will travel to Kampala in July to spend two weeks learning about the Ugandan education system.
Plans to expand the program further are in the works that would allow for students from each locale to travel to the other thereby fostering and cultivating relationships the MCF believes will last a lifetime.

Teachers Fund

Because the teachers in Uganda earn, on average, a pittance compared to what their equally qualified counterparts in Canada might, faculty at Kamwokya have formed a Teachers Association fund to which each member contributes. The funds collected can be drawn upon at a reasonable interest rate to allow the drawee an opportunity to find a place to live or make ends meet. As such, MCF has pledged to match an equal amount raised by the fund for the teachers’ benefit.

Mondetta Charity Classic Golf Tournament

Following our most successful Mondetta Charity Classic Golf Tournament that took place last summer, Lynsey Vokey, golf committee chair, was thrilled to present Kish Modha, MCF Chairman, a cheque for $45000.

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MPG Contribution

One percent of all sales of MPG merchandise is contributed to Mondetta Charity Foundation.
Since the MCF was founded in 2004, 1% of all gross MPG Mondetta Performance Gear sales have been pledged to the foundation in support of its ongoing efforts in East Africa.

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Pictured here are MPG National Sales Manager, Melissa McGlynn, and Mondetta/MPG VP of Sales, Raj Bahl, presenting MCF Chairman and President, Kish Modha, with the 2013 MPG contribution.

The organization as a whole looks forward to continuing the MCF’s work and tackling new initiatives slated for the coming year.

Karma Yoga at Moksha

Moksha Yoga, Waverley Street hosted a fund raising morning at their location for MCF. The event raised $1200.00 for which we are grateful to Ms Shauna Jessiman.

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2014
04.01

With the recent launch of the MPG Spring 2014 Collection, we’re proud to welcome a new and dynamic group of Messengers who we’ve enlisted to create our editorial images and videos for the season. Every week, we’ll be introducing a new Messenger here.

Leah Merchant is from Mobile, Alabama. She trained at North Carolina School of the Arts, the School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet in 2007, and has danced works by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Crystal Pite, Victor Quijada, Marco Goecke, Ulysses Dove, Kent Stowell, Alexei Ratmansky, and Christopher Wheeldon.

“I love MPG because of its intelligent and fashionable design which allows me to be confident and comfortable in my active life.”

Scroll down to see Leah’s images and video:

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2014
03.25

With the recent launch of the MPG Spring 2014 Collection, we’re proud to welcome a new and dynamic group of Messengers who we’ve enlisted to create our editorial images and videos for the season. Every week, we’ll be introducing a new Messenger here.

Alex believes her love for the sport has allowed her to succeed as a runner.  Continually enjoying training, racing and seeing the benefits of her hard work, Alex’s passion for running has allowed her to compete at a very high level and keep striving for the next personal record or milestone of achievement.

Placing third at the collegiate national championships, Alex was injured and unable to run for months prior to the meet making her third place finish a great accomplishment and the victory all the more sweeter.

Scroll down to see Alex’s images and video:

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2014
03.18

With the recent launch of the MPG Spring 2014 Collection, we’re proud to welcome a new and dynamic group of Messengers who we’ve enlisted to create our editorial images and videos for the season. Every week, we’ll be introducing a new Messenger here.

Steve Isaacs is the creator and host of web series Sweet Ride USA and is passionate about bike commuting. His career has spanned the entertainment and digital worlds as an MTV VJ, the singer of two major-label rock bands and as an award-winning digital creative director. He came up with the concept for Sweet Ride USA after frustration with LA’s car culture led him to discover another world in the bike culture.

Scroll down to see Steve’s images and video:
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2014
03.11

With the recent launch of the MPG Spring 2014 Collection, we’re proud to welcome a new and dynamic group of Messengers who we’ve enlisted to create our editorial images and videos for the season. Every week, we’ll be introducing a new Messenger here.

Valerie and Erica are two social media fit moms who connected through a shared passion about empowering women in fitness. Valerie & Erica were tired of fitness magazines filled with diet quick fixes and gimmicks. They believe women are craving more challenge, more real information to empower themselves and to help them make positive, permanent changes for themselves.

They launched their first issue of the all digital GORGO Women’s Fitness Magazine on November 1, 2013 using a cutting edge platform. GORGO publishes six articles online and via iOS app (iPad, iPhone), twice monthly (24 issues a year) with articles that are for all women of all ages craving fitness and health content from trusted experts.

GORGO is created for the digital age using mobile-friendly web and a new iOS newsstand app publishing software that still in its beta version. GORGO is created specifically for these platforms to enhance readers’ reading pleasure as more people continue to consume content through technology.

The title GORGO represents the ancient Spartan Queen, Gorgo. In ancient Greek history, Spartans were the only culture that trained girls along side the boys as warriors. There was a belief that a strong woman would produce a strong next generation. GORGO believes that, like the Spartan women, modern women are everyday warriors.

Valerie Solomon, Editor In Chief

Valerie built her social media following to 150,000+ in two years with her brand of living a fit life FOR her children, instead of being fit in spite of four kids.  Valerie is known in the social media world as Busy Mom Gets Fit.
Valerie is a mother of four boys and military wife from Ft. Meade, Maryland.

Erica Willick, CEO

Erica went from being a fit but fairly shy office professional to being a magazine fitness model, an international cover girl and two time Pro Bikini Model champion.  Erica is known in the social media world as heading up Sisters in Shape.
Erica is a mother, financial controller and wife from London, Ontario.

Scroll down to see the GORGO women’s images and video:

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