In times like these, you want to hear from your trusted sources on how to stay strong and fit, and you want to rejoin your community of healthy lifestyle friends. I miss my usual spin class, as a way of "grounding" my thoughts and kicking off my productive day. Many of us are feeling a little at sea and adrift on our own health journeys right about now. So I turned to the two founders of Tone It Up, Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn, who have been coaching women to be their best selves for 11 years, and who opened their TIU App for free during this time of working out at home. Download it now from the App Store or the Google Play Store for free workouts and motivation, and join the community, and you will never feel alone at home again.

One editor's note, about why I am such a big fan of Karena and Katrina: We worked together for years, at SELF (where I was Editor-in-Chief) and I have never met a pair of more consistently upbeat, intelligent "pro-women" trainers or lifestyle coaches as these two. I send them my gratitude that they sat down during a rare moment of calm to give The Beet their best advice on how to stay fit and motivated during these times of crisis.

LSD: First of all we are doing a Smoothie of the Day newsletter. Can you share yours? I would love to add it to our line up of Immune-Boosting Energy Smoothies to give to people to make for their health and happiness!

Karena: Here is our smoothie recipe, and add our plant-based Vanilla Organic Protein Powder. Happy to get you any other items you need for this story. By the way, it's Karena here. Kat needs to circle back because she is watching her daughter and had to jump off. We can all relate.

LSD: Awesome! yes. We can all relate. I don't know how moms of little ones are doing it right now. My kids, thankfully, are big now! So we need Kat to give us her best "mom advice" on that. Whenever she can weigh in!

Meanwhile, You’re such a great inspiration on how to stay motivated and upbeat, all the time. The problem is there is a deficit of motivation right now. I barely feel like it's "okay" to take care of myself when there is such devastation on the news. It's hard to get back a sense of control, which can be deflating. So my questions are these:

LSD: How do we stay motivated right now? 

I want to stay motivated to be fit, healthy and strong given the fact that the world appears to be in a tailspin and all I want to do is eat carbs?

Karena: With social distancing now, we are not encouraging people to go outside.

We are doing all that we can to provide women with workout content to keep your body moving and to get up and workout and break a sweat, and we have meditation in our app. Meditation improves your immunity and your mental health. We have offered our app for free till April 22 for all new members, to help everyone stay motivated. Kat and I are front-facing and talking to our community, making sure they are okay. That is motivating us right now!

LSD: What plant-based snacks should I reach for when I am trying to eat healthy?

Karena:  You can make a protein shake with Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Powder. Definitely, on the go, all the time, you can make that into a healthy snack. Or you can try the protein bites, which are great to keep on hand on the go. And of course, we always recommend eating fruit, hummus, and veggies, Keeping them in stock is tough. I can't go to the store all the time. SO I keep a bag of frozen fruit and make a protein shake.

LSD: What is your advice to anyone who misses working out in a group?

What if you're missing the motivation of that favorite workout class or working out with a buddy, especially now when we are all practicing social distancing?

Karena: Everything we are doing with TIU community, is geared to staying in touch.

Like the free workouts on the app, or if live, Kat and I respond to girls on DM. And we get together on Facetime, with up to 20 people. Or we will host a whole group on Happyhour. Finding those ways to feel connected is so important, because we are social creatures, even when we are all apart.

LSD: Here is a specific one: How can I get my lower abs toned? 

What is the best move for that spot below the belly button? Something I can do on my living room floor? What is your favorite go-to lower ab move?

Karena: We have a go-to favorite Tone it Up Tummy Toner.

Here is a little GIF of it which we shot for our 10-minute Tummy Toner workout. We love our Tone it Up Tummy Toner. it's so quick for all our busy babes! And it doesn’t use any equipment so you can do it anywhere! Work those abs in your living room, any time you want to take a 10-minute break from work.

LSD: Katrina, let’s talk Moms! What would you tell moms who say they are too busy?

Or what would you say to moms who just feel like they are constantly running around after kids and are too exhausted to work out now, especially with their kids home from school?

Kat:  Well considering I am in the thick of it right now with Bella and work… I would say, start practicing self-forgiveness first.

If you miss a workout, because of work or spending time with your kids, it’s OK. Two, it’s best to create a schedule and a new routine for yourself. So if you know that the whole house wakes up at 6:30 and needs breakfast on the table and work calls start at 9 AM… Then your time to shine is at 6 AM for a half-hour workout in the Tone It Up app!

You may need to go to sleep 20 to 30 minutes earlier every night to get enough sleep to do this, but putting yourself first will allow you to give more energy and love the rest the day, because you know that you took care of you.

LSD: What is the best workout, now that you have Bella?

Kat:  While my workouts used to look like 45 minutes to an hour, now I focus on 20- to 30-minute workouts, five times a week during her naptime. With this consistency, I feel stronger than I did before having a baby. My number one advice for women who have kids is to not strive for the "bounce back." but to bounce forward into a new, stronger body!


LSD: What is your mantra? What do you tell yourself when you need a boost?

Kat: I always tell myself that I’ll feel so much better as soon as I start a workout.

And I’ll feel even better when it’s done! Sometimes if I feel tired or low on energy, I remind myself that working out brings new energy and inspiration.

Karena: I love this mantra that I've been using lately: Just because I can, doesn't mean I have to.

What that means right now is that the universe is telling us to slow down, and while we are shifting into this state (of fear or anxiety) we may be trying to do everything because we don't know what's going on. So this reminds me to take moments to slow down, to take time to appreciate things that are in my control. I did a day in silence because there was so much noise. Now if you have a kid you can't do a day of silence. But figure out what you can do to slow down. Anxiety does create energy where you think you have to do it all. You don't.


LSD: What is your favorite way to unwind or relax or give yourself a break?

Karena: Meditation. That is a must My meditation practice has increased right now.

I will go in my back yard, getting in nature, take time to slow down and breathe. Being stuck in one place can cause stress. My husband and I also have happy hour. At the end of the day,  we get together. Since we work in the same house now, we try to stay out of each other's space during the day. So in the evening we sit down on the porch swing and catch up.

Not everyone has a porch swing, of course, so figure out what that equivalent is for you, and enjoy that moment. Someday we will look back on this time and the important thing is to appreciate the little moments this period is giving us, and to try to make the most of them.

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