They might not be household names to the average person with no interest in fitness, but hundreds of thousands of fans definitely know who Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott are. You might know them as the Tone It Up girls, the beach babes with perfect bodies who have been encouraging women around the world to live with confidence and check into the Tone It Up community.
Fitness is a huge industry, but it’s a tough industry to break into. There are a few larger than life personalities, but the majority of individuals end up being nameless trainers at commercials gyms. The Tone It Up girls weren’t content for this to be their future and they decided to take a risk and create an approach that they believed in – and it worked, captivating women around the world.
Tone It Up is hugely engaged with social media, and countless women who follow the nutrition plan and workout guide the girls set out check in with their daily #BootyCall (not what you’re thinking – it’s a workout you do first thing in the morning). Women post Instagram photos of their meals and progress, and encourage one another. Katrina and Karena call their followers beach babes and bombshells, they instill confidence and they’re maybe a little bit obsessed with mermaids. They’ve created a program that’s branded impeccably, with their beachy videos and boho vibe.
Here’s 10 things you might not know about them.
10 They aren't from California
With their perfect waves, bikini bodies and frequent filming on the sandy beaches at sunset, you might think that both of the Tone It Up girls are born and bred California chicas. That’s definitely not the case. Karena is originally from the Midwest, Indiana to be specific, and Katrina is from New Hampshire. However, their business did get its start in California – the duo met at a Southern California gym, and found themselves bumping into one another everywhere from the farmers’ market to the seashore running trails. Katrina first tried convincing triathlon athlete Karena to be one of her clients, but the duo ended up business partners – and it’s turned out to be a match made in heaven.
9 Katrina was her own first success story
Katrina picked up her first exercise book when she was only thirteen years old, and fitness became a passion of hers. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in health science and started a career in the fitness industry as a personal trainer. However, she found herself becoming very committed to her clients and perhaps neglecting her own training and physique a little bit. While Katrina was definitely never overweight, there was a time when she was about 30 pounds heavier than her current svelte form. She used herself as a test subject for the Tone It Up nutrition plan and workouts, and soon found herself shedding the pounds. It definitely gives Tone It Up followers motivation when they see where Katrina, one of the founders, started out and what she looks like now.
8 They got their start running beach boot-camps from a tiny fitness studio
The whole mermaid-obsessed, coconut-water drinking beach babe vibe definitely isn’t an affectation – it’s what the girls love, and what they’ve pictured doing since the beginning. Before they started their empire, they invested in a small fitness studio together, in which they taught beach boot-camps. They’ve admitted that they definitely loved it, but they soon outgrew it and opened up more spacious digs (which, if you’ve seen on any of their social media accounts, have breathtaking ocean views that probably make it pretty easy to get to work every day). Given how many women turn up for any of their appearances and boot camp classes, they obviously have way outgrown a small studio, but teaching boot camp classes was and continues to be a passion of theirs.
7 They had a reality show on Bravo
Ah, Bravo – the network of countless cities of Real Housewives. Bravo is known for its numerous reality shows, and the Tone It Up girls even managed to snag a show for themselves awhile back. It only ran for one season, but their reality show, Toned Up, definitely helped increase their exposure and drove countless individuals to check out their website and workout videos. Reality shows focused on a person’s everyday life and business are generally reserved for celebrities – someone like a personal trainer is more likely to be a mere contestant on a reality show than snag the starring role. However, Karena and Katrina had something that the producers at Bravo liked, and they were on screens across America for eight episodes with their larger than life personalities.
6 They were roommates at one point
Karena and Katrina live separately with their respective significant others now – Karena has even done a house tour on the Tone It Up YouTube channel taking viewers through her gorgeous beach-side digs. However, at the time they were filming their reality series, the girls were room mates in Manhattan Beach (also joined by Brian, then Katrina’s boyfriend who has since become her husband). The fact that they managed to work together all day, then come home and spend time together there too, and didn’t end up totally hating one another at the end of the day? That just proves that they’re true friends who are likely in it for the long haul. No breaking up the Tone It Up empire due to silly cat fights.
5 Their favorite fashion designer is Alice + Olivia
The Tone It Up girls are generally spotted in workout gear – adorable sports bras and leggings, yoga pants and casual tanks. Due to their beachy aesthetic, many of their bikini bod videos are even filmed with the girls in actually bikinis, toes in the sand as they do squats and sit-ups. With the exception of the public appearances they do promoting their brand on the red carpet (since they’re usually in workout gear when they appear on talk shows and morning shows) you generally don’t see the girls dolled up too often. When they do, however, there’s a particular brand that they’re fond of – the quirky New York brand Alice + Olivia, run by Stacey Bendet.
4 They don’t restrict themselves to an all-kale diet
Yes, the Tone It Up girls follow a fairly healthy diet to accompany their workouts. They eat a lot of salads, lean proteins, protein shakes made with their signature Perfect Fit protein powder, etc. They’re not chowing down on cheeseburgers off-camera – after all, even the most rigorous work-outs won’t allow you to out-train a bad diet. However, the girls definitely know how to splurge a little on what matters to them – wine and chocolate. They’re known for being fans of the girly pink rose wine (even slipping on cheeky ‘rosé all day’ tanks), and they admitted in a Q + A for Bravo they enjoy unwinding with a glass of wine and a few squares of chocolate at the end of the day.
3 They have an empire
Yes, the sheer fact that they’re increasingly in the public eye lately might lead one to recognize that these girls have evolved past merely posting self-filmed beach workouts on YouTube. However, you might not know just how far their empire reaches. On May 5, they officially released their first print book, entitled Tone It Up: 28 Days to Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous. They continue to post workouts to their YouTube channel, but they’ve also released several DVDs of their workout routines. They sell their nutrition plans, they sell the Perfect Fit protein powder, they collaborate with designers on bathing suits and sunglasses and more. These girls are incredibly business savvy and have managed to build themselves a multi-million dollar empire. It’s about much more than just shaping your Malibooty. Who runs the world? Girls.
2 Katrina’s husband proposed to her by jumping in a lake
You might be familiar with Katrina’s husband Brian if you’re a Tone It Up follower. He makes sporadic appearances on their social media sites, either in a workout out with his wife or helping around the office. What you might not know is their engagement story. According to Katrina, she was with Brian and her family at a lake house, and they were all just relaxing with a glass of wine. All of a sudden, Katrina’s boyfriend runs over and jumps into the lake. Weird, right? He emerged having ‘found’ a ring, then proceeded to propose. Katrina’s brother captured the whole thing on camera, and Katrina Hodgson has since become Mrs. Katrina Scott.
1 They have a LOT of followers
Yeah, yeah, they’re pretty popular, right – why else would you be reading an article about them? You might not realize quite how popular, though. They have two channels on Instagram, @toneitup and @karenakatrina, and both have over 400,000 followers. According to their book, they also state that their YouTube videos have over 35 million views. It might not seem like much compared to some celebrities with millions of followers and hundreds of millions of video views, but in the world of fitness, it’s pretty damn impressive. The sheer amount of Instagram users adding the suffix ‘tiu’ (standing for ‘tone it up’) to their Instagram names proves the legions of dedicated fans they’ve captured and continue to cultivate.