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Tone It Up’s Karena Dawn on Staying Healthy at Home

Tone It Up co-founder Karena Dawn dishes on her favorite at-home workouts, how to stay motivated and finding community while social distancing.

By Kellee Katagi

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Community is the bedrock of Tone It Up, the fitness and nutrition app and website that friends Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott founded in 2009. And with 1.4 million Instagram followers, their brand of community has clearly caught on. Here, Karena offers an inside look at how connecting with others is carrying her through this potentially isolating time.

Karena Dawn

Karena Dawn, Tone It Up

How are you staying motivated while at home?

Honestly, it’s through the Tone It Up community. More than ever, social media has become such a positive space, and thank goodness for it. With Instagram and Instagram Live, we’re able to connect. And the technology of FaceTime and such is a great way we’re all staying in touch right now.

I’m personally communicating with the community even more, because I think right now a lot of people are feeling alone. Not everyone has someone that they’re quarantining with, and there are a lot of lonely people, so I think it’s really important to reach out to our community members.

I have family members and friends who are alone, so I’m definitely always checking in more with my friends and my family. It’s really nice—I talk to my family every day now. It’s interesting how all this is bringing us closer.

What are your favorite at-home workout routines?

I’m really enjoying HIIT workouts right now. I can get it done in 15 to 20 minutes. I also do yoga routines to calm the body and mind, and all of those are in our Tone It Up app.

What workout equipment do you use at home?

I just moved into a new home, and I hadn’t brought my dumbbells yet, so right now I’m using resistance bands, booty bands, sliders and body weight—and it’s plenty challenging!

What have been your biggest challenges during this time?

Maintaining my routine. It’s a lot of work to keep up my routine and self-care. Work has shifted, and it’s actually busier than ever, but in a different way. Sticking to a morning routine is so important—mine is meditating and working out—because every day you wake up and it’s like Groundhog Day, where it seems just the same as yesterday. So it’s important to get up and take care of you first. It’s the most important thing, because so often when we’re stressed out and anxious, we let go of the things that make us most joyful.

How are you staying accountable with your routine?

My husband and I are really being each other’s accountability partners more than ever. He’s used to going to the gym, but it’s become a nonnegotiable to work out to either something that’s in the on-demand section of the Tone It Up app or with some of the live workouts we’re doing on Instagram right now. Even today, I was teaching a live abs class on the Tone It Up Instagram, and I asked, “Do you want to do this with me?” And he said, “No.” And I was like, “if you don’t do this with me, you’re not going to move today. You’re doing it.”

Also, a few of my girlfriends and I are texting each other constantly—checking in mentally, physically to see how everyone is doing. It really helps.

Follow @toneitup, @karenadawn and @katrinascott on Instagram for daily inspiration, as well as free live workouts, interviews, recipes and even artistic endeavors like concerts and poetry readings. Schedules for live events are posted every Sunday. Also, the Tone It Up app is free for new users through April 22.

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