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We’ve always known this but now we want to share the little secret – moms kick ass. Like, majorly. MINIMODE and fitness fashion powerhouse Bandier team up to feature the hottest moms indulging in the ultimate gift to yourself – looking and feeling great! Taking #fitspo to the next level to encompass mind and body, we learn what wellness means to them, how they stay strong and manage to look fabulous doing it.

To know Maria Bentos is to be fortunate. With endless ambition and an athletic ability that recognizes no bounds, Maria’s adventurous spirit is only part in which defines her whole – hilarious, beautiful and vibrant, coupled with a hundred watt smile, legs for days and abs that I aspire to… she is a powerhouse and takes mom fitness to new levels.

In full disclosure, she is also my work-wife and co-founder of MINIMODE, a relationship forged both in friendship and business in which countless hours have been logged together in the office and out (on surf trips and such! 🙂 ) – where we’re never short on inspiration or laughter. Join us for an afternoon well spent, chatting about how to get said killer abs, why early mornings are her jam and how having fun workout clothes will get you to the gym @mbenetos

Photographer: Sidney Bensimon @sidneybensimon

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How do you start and end your day?  I start my day at 5:15am and immediately go into the dark, quiet living room to meditate. If I don’t do it then, it never happens. I then have a cup of coffee while I’m getting dressed for my workout. I need that single cup before I start my day to get me going! I exercise about 5 or 6 mornings a week and I love it – getting your body moving first thing energizes you for the entire day. Once I’m home I have warm water with lemon and probiotics and breakfast, which is usual a protein smoothie or an omelet with spinach and avocado.
I end each day so differently. Some nights it’s reading the girls stories, putting them to bed, then work on MINIMODE until my eyes can’t stay open and other nights it’s going out to dinner and drinks and desperately trying to motivate myself to take off my makeup before I pass out in bed.

Do you practice any holistic treatments? I meditate each morning, take my probiotics and do some form of physical exercise. Even just walking to and from work makes me feel great. I also semi-regularly do acupuncture, get massages and facials. I’m big into self-care!

Where/how do you sweat? In many ways! I kickbox twice a week one-on-one with my instructor at Dogpound and have another trainer who I work out with outdoors for an hour two mornings a week. People think we’re insane because we’re out there no matter how cold or hot it is – so I’m that crazy girl outside at 6am in 20 degree weather. Not always fun. I also do yoga at Lyon’s Den, go to Ballet Beautiful, take long runs and sometimes join my girlfriends at classes they love like SLT or Soulcycle.

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What does ‘Wellness’ mean to you? Living a life in balance.

Your personal wellness hack? Eating well. It makes everything easier – that’s your fuel.

Tips on staying motivated to workout? A great playlist always helps and wearing nice workout clothes definitely motivates me!

Your biggest wellness struggle is? Balancing my love of eating out (and drinking) at great restaurants and trying to eat healthy. Sometimes you just have to say yes to those fries!

What 5 foods do you believe encourage glowing skin? Avocado, salmon, walnuts, spinach and berries.

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Thoughts on the latest crazes such as Rose Water, Coconut oil and Cardamom, etc.? I’m all for them, at least for trying them if they’re backed by real research. I’m obsessed with coconut oil – I put it in my smoothies, slather it on my skin and often put in my hair before bed.

How do you de-stress? Meditation. Also going for a long run or walk by the Hudson river. I skip the headphones, listen to the water and focus on my breathe. It works every time.

What do you love about your work? It’s mine. It’s something I created and is my absolute passion!

How do you create space for yourself or practice self-care? I prioritize it. That means a workout that’s on my calendar is just as important as a business meeting – it’s something I don’t skip. All the self-care rituals I have in my life truly make me a better mother, worker and person in general (that’s the idea, at least!).

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App that most changed your life? Seamless but now also a host of other similar services. I love to eat healthy but don’t love to cook so the fact that I can just log in and have someone deliver a delicious salad straight to my desk – Genius!

Food delivery service that you swear by? Caviar. They have some of my favorite restaurants on there so it supports my “I don’t want to cook” mentality.

How do you schedule fitness into your life between kids, travel, late nights, work, life? I do it in the morning before the rest of the world (and my kids) are awake!

When you travel do you still make working out a priority? I do but I try to never do it in a hotel gym. I like to take advantage of my surroundings so that can mean surfing, a run on the beach or taking a local class.

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Are you teaching your kids about fitness? Every day simply because they see me doing it. Kids are just naturally active so it’s not something I have to teach them, per se – I just lead by example and we spend plenty of time outdoors running around, doing fun things.

What is your favorite healthy place to eat? It’s not a “health food” restaurant but I love ABC Kitchen in NY – their food is healthy but so delicious. I also love Gracias Madre in LA.

Favorite workout gear/brands? I’m an Outdoor Voices whore – I think I own every piece in their collection. I also love Alala, Koral Activewear, Spiritual Gangster and The Upside.

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