Welcome to Tone It Up, by your trainers Karena and Katrina. Here you’ll find a community of women, of all ages, inspiring and supporting one another to live the life of their dreams; fit, healthy and happy! Join the official Tone It Up Program and become a member TODAY!!
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A B O U T T H E F O U N D E R S
Karena and Katrina, the founders of the Tone It Up have brought a fresh approach to fitness with their fun, energetic, girlfriend-to-girlfriend method of getting fit. Since founding Tone It Up, they have built a brand of fitness products, community, retreats, nutrition plans and have graced the pages of Shape, SELF, In Style, Women’s Health and featured in Forbes and People.
Their Tone It Up Nutrition Programs and beach workouts inspire millions of women to live the life of their dreams every day.
Get to know your trainers, Karena and Katrina! An exclusive interview with the dynamic duo and founders of Tone It Up.
By Abigail Baker
Karena and Katrina, founders of Tone It Up, are real life best friends and business partners. You may recognize them from SELF Magazine, Forbes, Vogue, In Style, and Shape, the shelves of Target or you may have seen them featured on Oprah, Ellen or Extra TV, but there are some things you may not know about these two. Karena and Katrina are putting a fresh face on health and fitness; Jane Fonda calls them the “New Faces of Fitness”, SELF calls them the “Top Motivators” and Marie Claire names them the ‘Power Duo’. Their hardcore following and influence over the globe is infectious and Karena and Katrina are well on their way to building an enterprise of products and media, branding themselves as the ‘it-girls’ of anything and everything.
When Tone It Up asked me to write their company bio, I gladly accepted to meet them at their office. On my way I stopped at a Jamba Juice in hopes to impress them with my healthy smoothie. While ordering, I looked down and to my surprise their faces were there on the cover of Competitor Magazine. I guess it’s true that once you hear about something on its way up, it pops up everywhere. I became very excited to interview them.
As I walked up to their office I could hear the waves and feel the ocean breeze. It was exactly what I had imagined from watching their videos on YouTube. They reside just a block from the sand. As I walked in, the two greeted me with smiles and open arms. Katrina excused herself and said, “Oh we give hugs, thanks for coming.”
The two are charming, charismatic and have a welcoming aura. I looked around; their office is set up as a Hawaiian oasis including a cabana, surfboards hanging from the ceiling and a retro surf kitchen. I was surrounded by Tone It Up tank tops, lunch boxes, bikinis and seashells. Shipments go out every day to their Tone It Up girls all around the world. Karena caught me looking at the apparel, “Do you want a tank?” She threw one to me. “Deal is, you have to wear it!” I nodded to assure her I would. We decided to take a casual walk on the beach so I could ask them about how they met and their plans for Tone It Up.
Walking along the beach, runners, skaters and bicyclists made their way around us. “This seems like the perfect, active place for you two.” Karena replied, “It’s our home. We wouldn’t trade it for anything.” I believed her. “Did you grow up here?” “No, I’m from Indiana and Katrina’s from New Hampshire.” Tone It Up began when Karena and Katrina met at a gym in Southern California. It was no coincidence that they would meet. They ran into each other everywhere around town: coffee shops, the farmer’s market, running on the beach and even the grocery store. Both were in the fitness industry and had worked for five plus years prior to meeting each other.
Karena, a triathlete and sports model, grew up active and passionate about fitness. She studied Kinesiology and found love for triathlon. “I wanted to inspire other women to become strong and independent; to help them break out of the troubles in their life.” I asked, “Have you had a tough life?” “Let’s just say, everyone has their story. I’m an open book… I’ll write it someday. Fitness saved me.” “You need to write a book… I’d be the first to buy it!” Katrina nudged her and smiled. Katrina, a weight loss success story, picked up her first Exercise Physiology book at the age of thirteen. Graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Health Science, she had big plans for her fitness career. “I envisioned my life as it is now. I wanted to help others that struggled like me. When I first moved to California I had no friends. How are you supposed to meet girlfriends in a new place!? When I met Karena at the gym, she thought I was a weird trainer trying to talk to her. It took her some warming up to hang out with me… or to return my calls.”
“Actually it took finding me at Trader Joes and forcing me to take one of your classes!” Karena said under her breath. The girls laughed and said they hit it off right away with their personalities and shared values. “What’s cool, is girls are meeting through Tone It Up all over the globe, becoming best friends like we have. That’s something we didn’t expect, but are so amazed by! This community is the most incredible group of inspiring women. Whenever we meet a Tone It Up member, it’s like seeing a longtime girlfriend.”
Within a year they opened their first fitness studio together and taught beach boot-camps. They have since outgrown their fitness studio into their new offices, but say they may revisit opening a studio again someday. “Having a fitness studio was a lot of fun for us. It was a small 400 square foot space, full of energy and love. We’ll always have a place for it in our hearts!”
“What is it that you two do? What is everyday like for you?” “We easily ‘work’ over 100 hours a week… we live and breathe Tone It Up. It’s our life. We wake up to thousands of women checking in with their workouts, posting recipes they love, inspiring other Tone It Up Team members with their stories or writing their own Tone It Up blog in the community. We send out emails with challenges and film workout videos on the beach. We’re also really active with our community.”
The girls talked about their partnership with Jane Fonda for a new workout brand, naming them as the younger generation of fitness. “We’re still overwhelmed with happiness and are so grateful that we worked with Jane. She’s such a wonderful woman” “How have you done all of this in four years?” I asked, knowing we had hardly even touched on new projects and what they have done together.
“When we met we both had careers in sports, videography and personal training. We created Tone It Up, bringing our personal brands together. We wanted Tone It Up to be a place that all women can visit and relate to.” They explained their biggest help has been visualization. “We visualized creating a community of strong women who support each other… and here we are, surrounded by a unique and beautiful community!”
With over 30 million views on their fitness videos, they must be doing something right. Katrina reached for her phone, “Sorry, I forgot to put it on silent.” She looked down and caught up with a few tweets. “Do you girls do all of your own social media?” I asked because I can’t even keep up with my own Facebook, so I had to know. “We do. It’s a full-time job between producing all our videos, uploading them, interacting with our team members, doing giveaways and contests and even making sure we workout ourselves!” Katrina laughed pretending to do lunges as she was walking. I thought maybe they workout for a living, but seeing the business they run, they have to make time just like the rest of us. Karena and Katrina went on to explain their Tone It Up Nutrition Program and membership.
They have a membership to an exclusive part of their site and a Nutrition Program. Tone It Up is filled with amazing success stories; women who have changed their lives forever. After meeting them, I was interested to go on their site to see what exactly I should be doing for my workouts, what I should trade up my nachos for and how to get their glowing skin. After talking with them for over an hour and watching them interact with one another as they finished each other’s sentences, I had to ask them, “Have you two been approached by TV?” “We have. We’ve had to turn down things that didn’t seem right for us. If we do TV, it needs to be us, that’s the only thing we know how to do!” Karena said while reaching in her pocket for lip-gloss. “Oh, can I have some?” Karena handed it over before using it and said “This is what I have to put up with.” Katrina laughed and took her time. “If we can just continue to be us, we’re happy. As long as people don’t mind chaos and seeing two very regular girls in a big world like this, then we’re fine.” Katrina said while bouncing her hand on a ledge that lined the sand. “Whenever we share an experience, so many of our community members say they just went through that or they relate to our story. It feels good that we’re not alone — and we’re sure it’s the same way for them.”
I had one more question when we returned to the office. “What are your plans for the future? Where will Tone It Up be tomorrow, six months or a year?” The girls smiled and looked at each other. Karena stumbled on an exercise ball and Katrina looked at me rolling her eyes. “I told her she couldn’t go one hour without falling… ” Karena grabbed a bottled water from the fridge and handed it to me. “I don’t know where we’ll be in a year, but I do know tomorrow we’ll be right here, filming and motivating others, because our women all inspire us to keep going. We don’t like to think about it too much, but we do have plans. We want to make sure our viewers have a place to go to get the right answers about health, to be positive role models and to continue on the path we’re on with producing original videos that people can feel connected to.”
The girls walked me out handing me Tone It Up bumper stickers, a lunch cooler, sweatshirt, another water for the road and their Beach Babe Program “Let us know when you try it!” I felt like they were my trainers and I needed to check in when I did my first workout. So of course, the first thing I did when I got home was go to ToneItUp.com. What surprised me was I still felt like I was at their office. A few times Karena lost her balance in the video and Katrina gave me those same eyes. They laughed with me and worked me out for a very sweaty and challenging 30 minutes. When I was done, I settled at my computer. Visiting their community to check in, I saw thousands of other women checking in with pictures, workouts and healthy recipes. It hit me. I was now part of their movement to bring Tone It Up to every home. They are my trainers. I couldn’t be more honored to have interviewed these two bright, young women. They even turned me, a writer and anti-gym goer, into a Tone It Up Girl. As entrepreneurs with a caring attitude toward everything and everyone, these two will exceed any of their own expectations. Something tells me Karena and Katrina are well on their way to building an empire of products, branding themselves from head to toe and making every woman feel healthy and sexy…which is what makes them perfect for every home. After today, I want in on whatever they’re doing.
Stay tuned with Karena and Katrina