Tone It Up proves that friendship is the key to fitness success


Image courtesy of Tone It Up

Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott have been more than just business partners and trainers for the last seven years -- they're best friends first and foremost. The success of their brain child Tone It Up is all thanks to their strong foundation. Their workout videos prove that having a healthy relationship with fitness all starts with making exercise more about community and less about numbers on a scale. By brining a friend along to your workouts, you have a support system there ready to cheer you on and motivate you. You wont find yelling, "gymtimidation", and post-workout remorse in Tone It Up videos. And if that is where the future of fitness is headed, then you can sign us up.

Tone It Up's viral videos operate on two main principles: accessibility and authenticity. These are moves that anyone can do in the comfort of their home around their hectic schedules and they boast real results. To date, Tone It Up has transformed the lives (and bodies) of countless people and their videos have garnered over 30 million views on YouTube alone. What's even more impressive is just how interactive Karena and Katrina are with their fans; they incorporate their suggestions into their workout videos and taking the time to meet and workout with them in IRL. And when Karena and Katrina aren't busy writing blog posts, planning out workouts, designing clothes (their latest capsule collection with Bandier just launched), or filming their latest videos, they're taking time out to support their fans who are making major strides in their fitness journey. Plain and simple, they make you part of the Tone It Up family.

After speaking with the duo, it's hard not to have their infectious energy rub off on you. (Ed note: I may or may not have signed up for spin classes the second the interview was done). So if you need a little extra motivation to get moving, they've got you covered.

Ahead, we spoke exclusively to the Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up about how their friendship has grown over the past few years, how YouTube became a huge platform for them, and more!

And if you want even more Tone It Up news, head over to at 12 p.m. ET to see more exclusive features, including the girls most inspiring success story to date.

You both have been friends for a very long time. How have you seen each other grow either as people or as trainers since you've started Tone It Up?
Katrina Scott: I think it's really cool to think about since we've definitely grown together so much. I would say even Karena's best traits have hopefully rubbed off of me. I'm much more patient. We run a huge fitness company now and obviously not all things go according to plan and when I used to get upset, Karena is always like, "There's a reason for this." And she just has so much patience and belief that good things will come. It makes us better. And then obviously Karena has evolved into an incredible motivational speaker and figure for young women when she shares her story. I screenshot things all the time and send it to her of people who are directly influenced and inspired by her and her story. And I was the only one that knew about her past at first. So being able to share it over the past five plus years has been incredible. The amount of people who she has been able to change their lives is unbelievable and I'm just really proud of her.

Karena Dawn: And Kat has the same influences over women everyday too. She's an amazing business woman. We've had to learn so much along the way and it has involved a lot of self-teaching and self-experiencing everything in order to make it work. Tone It Up wouldn't have become what it is today without her.

What was it like when your fist fitness video blew up on social media? Did you ever have an 'aha' moment when you realized that this could be a much larger platform than you anticipated?
Karena Dawn: Well when I met Kat she was one of the first fitness people on YouTube. So she had a lot of experience on YouTube and already had millions of views through a different channel. So when we first started working together and started the Tone It Up channel, we weren't really sure if anyone was going to watch us and our tripod on the beach. And I don't think that anything went viral right away, it was this snowball effect. When we first started, we didn't know who our viewers would end up being. And it ended up being women which was awesome! Women could see our friendship in the videos are related to that, so it just started slowly growing.

Katrina Scott: Now everyone says that they see Tone It Up everywhere and that it really blew up. It's really exciting to see the amount of people who know about us or are part of our community. Millions of women come to the site and we're told everyday that people who do our workouts find so much success. Even though 7 years isn't a long time, it's been a consistently long time of us putting our stuff out there. And that's what we would tell anyone else. That if you want to change the world or do something great, just do it everyday and don't ever give up.

Karena Dawn: And I would like to say that one of the 'aha' moments for us when we realized that Tone It Up became more than just getting in shape or losing weight, or anything like that. It became more about friendship, meeting your best girlfriends and women respecting each other. When we get to see people face-to-face and they tell us that they moved to a new city and already have 10 new best girlfriends because of the Tone It Up community, that kind of is the most special parts of Tone It Up for us.

Katrina Scott: Yeah, forget the squats, if girlfriends can just be friends and get together, then we're happy.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, click here. And come back at 12 pm EST for more exclusives on Katrina & Karena, including their most inspiring success story to date!


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Originally published