Make sure you’re staying hydrated: It sounds so simple, but most people are dehydrated, which can lead to feeling tired, foggy, and hungry. Aim to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. This will boost your metabolism, energize you, and make your skin glow.
We had the pleasure to interview Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott of Tone it up. Tone it up is the leading fitness and lifestyle community created by two best friends and co-founders Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott. They empower women to live their healthiest and happiest lives by offering a platform that makes fitness and nutrition fun, approachable, and accessible. Their TIU App workouts, custom protein product line, and highly engaged social network create a space for women to connect from all around the world!
Thank you so much for doing this with us Karena and Katrina! What is your “backstory”?
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: Growing up in New Hampshire, I was the heaviest girl in my elementary school. 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 and asked how they could help me feel confident and happy. So, 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.
After I moved to California, Karena and I met at the gym on a Friday night. 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!
Can you share the interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Karena: I love that we get to connect with so many women around the world. Every story we hear truly reminds me that we are ONE and we are not alone!
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
‘Tone It Up! Our goal is reach as many women as possible and provide everything they need to love their happiest and healthiest lives! We truly believe that the more women who join TIU, the better the world will be!’
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
We can think of hundreds of mistakes, but of course while they were happening, they didn’t feel too humorous, but looking back we can definitely laugh about it. Since we have had pretty much every job at our company, we’ve made every mistake in the book. As a videographer, I once forgot to turn our mics on for 10 Q&A videos. I realized it when I began editing them at home. With our e-comm site, we accidentally processed free orders for months and our first employee caught it for us. We have forgotten to renew our domain name and under-estimated our traffic and caused our site to crash… many times. We’ve made the mistake of thinking we didn’t need permits to film, failed to scout locations before arriving… realizing they were busy campsites, and even just trusted the wrong people. At one point we actually had to hack our ToneItUp.com back from someone. It’s been a wild ride!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Wow… there are thousands of people who have believed in our message and helped us to get where we are today. We would say our parents, our families, our friends, every team member at our HQ, production teams, legal teams, PR teams, and of course the TIU TEAM! We also work with a lot of the same people we’ve been working with for years — our first employee Brian Leckrone is still at Tone It Up and is the heartbeat to TIU! We also work with Ashley Kucich, who is not only a makeup artist, but she also comes to our meetups and literally hugs every single person that attends. She’s incredible. We’ve also been shooting with Nicole Hill, our favorite photographer, for over 8 years and Jake Loskutoff, the most talented and kind-hearted director and videographer for the past 6.
Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help people feel great?
1. Join us in the Tone It Up App: This is the best place to start your fitness journey! You can find hundreds of amazing workouts — from HIIIT to yoga to weight training — that you can do from the comfort of your own living room. And we program your weekly workout schedule to get you the best results, so it takes out all the guesswork for you. It’s like having a personal trainer at your fingertips!
2. Make sure you’re staying hydrated: It sounds so simple, but most people are dehydrated, which can lead to feeling tired, foggy, and hungry. Aim to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day. This will boost your metabolism, energize you, and make your skin glow.
3. Find an accountability partner! It’s so powerful to have a friend by your side cheering you on. Kat and I always encourage each other to do our workouts and challenge each other. You can connect with women in the Tone it Up community and find accountability partners on Instagram @ToneItUp.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Katrina: We’re constantly working on new projects and evolving the Tone It Up brand. Right now we’re working on some exciting updates to our Tone It Up Fitness app that will offer our community new ways to reach their goals. We’re also creating new products for our Tone It Up Nutrition line, including more protein powders, snacks, collagen, and other exciting additions that we can’t wait to share!
Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?
Karena: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This was my first transformational book I read in my early 20s when I first started making my own personal ‘shift.’
Katrina: My mind immediately went to all my exercise science books, haha. So aside from all of the science that made a huge impact on my life, I love the The Four Agreements that Karena shared with me, and I just finished Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, which has already helped me feel more brave.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Katrina: I am so grateful that Tone It Up has helped millions of women around the world become healthier, happier, and more confident. This community has created a positive, inclusive, welcoming space for women to connect and pursue their dreams.
Most recently, I’ve made it my main mission to help change the narrative around motherhood and the pressure to bounce back right away. As a new mom, I have experienced more than I could have ever imagined, including the pressure as a fitness professional to look the same as I did before, right away. Instead, I took my time and shared my raw journey, every step of the way, posting what really happens to the female body and why we are so remarkable and beautiful. What I want all moms to know is that we are not the same as we were before and we shouldn’t be. We are stronger, we are more fierce, we are miracle makers, and we are superwomen!
Karena: I’ve been working to end the stigma around mental illness. I am so passionate about mental health awareness because I grew up with a mother who had a mental health condition. When you have a parent who is dealing with a mental health condition, you go through a lot of childhood trauma and as a result, I fell into a deep sadness, anxiety, and struggled through my teen years and early 20s. When I was growing up, no one talked about mental health and there were very few resources to turn to. That is changing, and I want to be part of that change.
I’m now involved with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I’m honored to work with their End the Silence program, where I go to local high schools and speak to students about how to recognize and cope with mental health conditions and talk about suicide prevention.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
Karena: The thing is, we don’t regret or wish I had ‘the answers’ before starting Tone It Up. I always feel that way in every aspect of life. Every moment, every challenge, every celebration was all just part of the process.
I do think that one ‘asset’ we both had when starting Tone It Up was courage.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
Karena: “Be open to everything, but attached to nothing” — Dr. Wayne Dyer
Katrina: “Always take care of the ones who take care of you” — My dad
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Katrina: How can I not choose Oprah? I have so many questions…how she connects with women the way she has for decades. Her ability to break through every obstacle. How she stayed strong and fearless through challenges. And that garden of hers…can we please have breakfast next to the dahlias?
Karena: Deepak Chopra, because his knowledge of enlightenment and quantum healing fascinates me and it’s something I strive for.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?