I recently had the pleasure to attend the Kroger’s Wellness Your Way Festival (WYWF). I had the opportunity of interviewing Tone It Up co-founders and best friends Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott. Tone It Up is a leading fitness and lifestyle community. We empower women to live their healthiest and happiest lives by offering a platform that makes fitness and nutrition fun, approachable, and accessible. Our 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 joining us Karena and Katrina. This festival is about “Wellness Your Way”. What does the term “Wellness Your Way” mean to you?
Karena: Wellness your way is about taking care of yourself first so that you can give from a healthy place. One of the things I love about this festival is Jewel and the Never Broken foundation’s involvement which teaches people how to heal through mindfulness. It’s through sharing our own personal journeys that we can spread the gift of wellness to others.
Was there a story that inspired you to get involved with WYWF?
Karena: First of all we love Kroger. You can find our protein powder and shakes in Kroger stores nationwide. We’re also super fans of Jewel. We grew up listening and singing along to her music. The message she’s spreading with her partner Ryan Wolfington through the Never Broken Foundation and Suicide to Smiles is elevating the world. Anything that shines a light on mental illness and attempts to elevate the world we want to be a part of.
Can you tell me about a wellness challenge you’ve had and overcome?
Katrina: I feel like for women it’s a constant journey through your entire life. Most of us are taught about the changes that happen during puberty. We talk about the hormonal changes and all the other things our bodies might experience. Then you become a woman and that’s it. Nobody talks about all the changes you go through when you become a mother. There are over five hundred physiological changes a woman experiences when she has a child. We’re told “just be a good mother” but what about the new body, the new person you’ve become?
So that’s what I’m currently dealing with and sharing with the Tone It Up community. I want to open the dialogue for women to talk about the physical and mental challenges of motherhood. I think it’s really important to make sure that we check in with each other regularly. Karena has been the most amazing woman in my life through all of this. She reminds me that my mental health is number one and that it’s ok not to be ok.
I’m grateful for Karena, our girlfriends and community that I can be open about my struggles and not hide because sharing our challenges and wins helps us heal.
Karena: I had to rediscover wellness at a very young age. My mom was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when I was eleven years old but there were a lot of symptoms prior to that.
I had to learn what mental illness is and how to cope as a kid. At the time nobody was talking about it, this was 25 years ago. I had to go to a bookstore and buy a book on schizophrenia to learn what is was at 12 years old. It was very difficult for me and I ended up going through a very dark time. I had a suicide attempt as a teenager and it was through rediscovering wellness practices like yoga, meditation, physical activity and therapy that helped me heal and reclaim my life.
Now I’m an advocate for mental wellness and recently joined the board of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) in order to help reduce the stigma around metal illness and help people access support.
What’s your current wellness mantra or life quote?
Karena: I love Dr. Wayne Dyer so my quote is from him, it’s “Be open to everything and attached to nothing.”
Katrina: The mantra that I tell myself is the mantra I tell my daughter every morning. “You are strong. You are beautiful. You are important. You are so capable. You are brilliant. Everything that you want to do in this life you will do and are already doing.” I think when I tell her this I want to hear it too. I hope that everyone in her life feels this and that she grows up to give this message to everyone around her.
What’s one wellness product/routine you can’t live without right now?
Katrina: Everything with wellness starts from within so what you’re fueling your body with is of utmost importance. Don’t focus on topical remedies instead ask yourself, what am I putting into my body that helps me internally and externally? That’s what inspired Tone It Up Nutrition and all of our products including our protein powders and shakes and collagen.
We’re really proud of the all ingredients in our products because we want to feel good about what we’re feeding ourselves. Being good to your body is form of self love and respect. Giving yourself a nice little smoothie can be considered a form of “me time”.
Karena: We also have the Tone It Up App that includes work outs and meditations. We want to provide women with all the tools to live their best lives. We offer a free 7 day trial of the app. A year subscription is only twenty three cents a day. Considering that one yoga class costs $20 and you have the drive there it’s a pretty great deal and accessible from anywhere.
What exciting projects are you currently working?
Katrina: We’re constantly evolving our TIU App and have a very exciting new program coming out of with Karena that incorporates mind-body wellness.
Karena: It’s an intensive but not intimidating 30 day program that begins with meditation and builds over four weeks to teach you how to sit in silence and also incorporates yoga, movement and mindfulness.
Katrina: We’re also working on some new collagen products that the Tone It Up community has asked for. Everything we’re working on right now has been a direct request from the women in our community. We really appreciate their feedback. So if there’s anything you want us to create please tell us!
Thank you so much for your inspiring insights!
Connect with Karena, Katrina and the Tone It Up family on IG @toneitup