Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up reveal their most inspiring success story


Image courtesy of Tone It Up

Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up have heard countless success stories in the past seven years since starting their fitness site. Not only do they get to see before and after transformations via Instagram and Facebook, but they also get to meet their followers in real life during their incredible weekend retreats. It's basically a weekend of fun and games -- 5Ks, kickboxing classes, salsa lessons, kayaking, tennis games, and there's even a yacht party involved during their upcoming Miami getaway. But more importantly, it gives Karena and Katrina the opportunity to connect with their followers, hear their incredible stories, and help motivate them on their fitness journeys.

But there's one story in particular that has captured the girls heart. We got the exclusive chance to speak with the Tone It Up founders, Karena and Katrina, and we picked their brain to find out what really goes on behind the camera during their viral workout videos, what it feels like to meet their fans in person, and their most memorable success story yet.

And if you want even more Tone It Up news, head over to AOL.com at 6 p.m. ET to see more exclusive features, including what they believe will be the biggest fitness trend this year.

Take us behind the scenes of how you both conceptualize your workouts and videos. Where does the idea start and how does it come to life?
Karena Dawn: So I can take the upcoming Bikini Series which starts in April. We just shot it in Turks and Caicos. So eight months ahead of time me and Kat will sit down and map it out. The Bikini series is our biggest challenge of the year and it's the highest production, so we have to decide early what we want to do and where we want it to be. So we chose to go to Turks and Caicos this year and we actually shot our Beach Babe DVD there too; it's our fourth one that we self-produced. When we decide what workouts we want to do, we start creating new moves and that is really just the two of us in a room bouncing around testing things out.

Katrina Scott: It gets really weird. Karena is a pretzel -- she's really flexible. She'll be like, "How about we go from a single leg dead lift into a split and then down into a pushup and stand back up," And I'm like, "I can't do any of that!" But we love doing it on our own. We've been independently producing our DVDs and our first Beach Babe video was filmed five years ago. We kind of just go into it thinking how can we mix up the workouts, what is everyone really really into right now, and we always ask our community what they want to do, too. And even on our most recent shoot, we didn't end up getting to do it, but everyone was saying that they really wanted a boxing workout. We weren't able to film it there since we didn't have any of the boxing equipment, but for a later challenge we'll do a boxing workout. I think a lot our ideas come from requests. And then on set it gets really crazy and silly, and the cameras really capture everything. And we always have a behind the scenes camera going because all that stuff is so fun to see!

What's it like interacting with fans across the country during your 'Tone it Up' retreats?
Karena Dawn: Because of social media, we actually feel like we already know everybody just from checking in online and already having these relationships with the girls. So it's really just seeing a whole bunch of familiar faces. And the retreats are so much fun! If you talk to anyone that's gone to a retreat, they'll say it's one of the best weekends of their lives. Thursday through Sunday is jam packed with activities like 5Ks, surfing, paddle boarding, and working out with us. We also have music, events at night, dancing, and cocktails flowing. This year we're actually doing our first retreat in Miami and that one will even have yacht!

Katrina Scott: I think that when we meet a Tone It Up girl it's like meeting a long lost girlfriend. We feel like we've known them for so long. And even if we have seen them on social media or have not seen them, we end up talking for a long time. We even get to see some in the airport and we end up talking to them for a while. The Tone It Up girls are very open and always really excited and inspired. She wants to have fun, meet other girlfriends, spend a weekend with us, drink wine, and do squats.

I'm sure you get inspiring fan stories all the time -- is there one in particular that stands out to you?
Karena Dawn: I love Katrina's mom's! That's my favorite story because her transformation was incredible. She was doing our Tone It Up nutrition plan in secret and lost 60 pounds and she's kept it off too!

Katrina Scott: I would have to say that's my favorite too. She did it in secret and didn't manage to check in once with us. The stories we hear are all different and not all of them are about weight loss. It's really just about someone feeling their absolute best. And we're just working on a post right now for Motivation Monday about someone who's lost 60 pounds. I'm even blown away, we met her in person recently and we recognized her since we've been seeing her check in, but it's so cool to be able to hug someone in person and just tell them that we're so proud of them.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 6 pm EST for more exclusives on Katrina & Karena, including what they believe will be the biggest fitness trend this year.


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Originally published