Fitness needs for women are, clearly, not the same as those for men. The “one size fits all” model wasn’t working for Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott, leading them to create Tone It Up, a lifestyle brand which has grown to include books, fitness apparel and accessories, nutritional supplements and the Tone It Up app, designed to help women keep fit through a network of like-minded souls.
Karena and Katrina, identified as #4 on “Marathon Matt” Forsman’s Insta-Famous Fitness Trainers back in August, spoke with SportsMD about some of their methods, the dynamic of working together and some fitness tips for women.
SportsMD: How did each of you get into fitness training?
Karena: I fell in love with fitness at a very young age. I grew up watching my mom doing Kathy Smith and Jane Fonda VHS tapes, and I ran my first half-marathon with my dad when I was 12 years old. When my life became challenging during my teenage years, I went down a dark path and I didn’t treat my body with the respect it deserved.
What brought me out of this dark period was fitness. I thought back to a time when I was truly happy, and I realized it was running that half-marathon at 12 years old. I decided to run my first triathlon, started doing yoga and meditation, and became a certified personal trainer. From then on, I knew my purpose was to share the power of fitness to transform your life.
Katrina: I also discovered fitness at a young age. Growing up in New Hampshire, I was the heaviest girl in my elementary school class. Like a lot of kids, I was teased. I wanted to feel healthy and confident, so I turned to my parents for help. They told me I was beautiful exactly as I was. My dad transformed our basement into a home gym. I fell in love with exercising, and I started creating workouts and meal plans. This inspired me to go to college for health science and exercise physiology. I went on to become a master trainer, and I started creating fitness videos.
SMD: How did you two connect and what led you to develop Tone It Up together?
Katrina: After I moved to California, Karena and I met at the gym on a Friday night. We both needed a girlfriend! Over long walks and coffee dates, we quickly realized we both had the same dreams to bring women together to live their healthiest, happiest lives — and that’s how Tone It Up was born!
SMD: Are there aspects of the program and business that either of you specialize in, or do you both do most everything together? What makes the dynamic work?
Karena: We are both very hands on in every aspect of the business, and we make all major decisions together. Our dynamic works because we’re friends first, and we can challenge each other to take risks and try new things in the business.
SMD: How does the Tone It Up approach differ from other training programs and what do you think makes it effective?
Katrina: From the beginning we knew that if it wasn’t fun, girls wouldn’t stick with it. So in addition to ensuring all our workouts are science-backed and results-driven, we make sure they’re fun! If you’ve ever been on set with us, you know how much we laugh while filming our workouts. And that’s just part of what keeps us coming back to the Tone It Up app every day! Community, positivity, and having the best time with our girlfriends.
SMD: Mental health is sometimes overlooked as to its connection to physical health. How closely are they intertwined and how do you account for mental health in Tone It Up?
Karena: Katrina and I both strongly believe that mental health and physical health are closely connected. When you care for your body the way it deserves, you feel your best from the inside out. This impacts your mental and spiritual health, your relationships, and every aspect of your life. For me personally, being active transformed my life.
That’s why Katrina and I created Tone It Up to address whole body wellness. We speak to women about not only their fitness journeys, but also mindfulness, lifestyle, friendships and relationships, and personal development. We offer mediations and advice to help women feel their healthiest and happiest in all aspects of their lives.