How women revolutionized the fitness industry

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Jan. 1: The day to start fresh, to lose weight, to go on that diet that is sure to be successful. Exercising for an extra two hours per day and eating less than 1,000 calories can’t be that difficult, can it? These thoughts and more pervade many students’ minds as they start the new year. After all, everyone knows that when you look your best, you feel your best, and vice versa. But is forcing oneself to exercise for a prolonged period of time and eliminating food groups the strongest route toward one’s goals? Alongside female industry leaders such as Flywheel Sports and SoulCycle co-founder Ruth Zukerman and Bikini Body Guides creator Kayla Itsines, health and fitness experts Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn negate this mindset and approach to looking and feeling our best.

While spending a Friday night at the gym, the co-creators of the fitness and lifestyle community Tone It Up met each other and began a friendship that later launched into the career of their dreams: helping women become their healthiest, happiest and most confident selves. According to the stories they shared on their site, they began by filming YouTube videos that showcased their favorite workout moves, recipes and a host of tips and tricks that help women to make small changes leading to big results. Never have they advocated for eliminating entire food groups, cutting out sweets or exercising to the point of despising it. The journey as a whole is emphasized over the end goal. In other words, Scott and Dawn do not coach women to reach a goal weight and then call it quits. Many know all too well that it is not difficult for the number on the scale to creep up once again. Thus, both women approach fitness as a journey or an ongoing marathon rather than a sprint to the finish line. It was this approach that transformed Scott’s and Dawn’s own mindsets and careers.

Scott and Dawn have brought Tone It Up into the public eye through creating their website and app, their protein powder and snacks and ultimately their signature nutrition plan and recipe book designed for the busy student, career woman or mother. The attraction towards their brand is partly due to the undeniable success users can find from the host of transformations revealed on their site. In addition, one of the major differences between Tone It Up and its competitors is the unique community it offers.

The Tone It Up program is marketed as a lifestyle. It is a community in which any new member is welcomed by other women who share the goal of becoming healthier and happier regardless of their age, background or stage in life. This community is provided via the Tone It Up website in which one creates a personalized account and can converse with other members. The fitness gurus also launched their own app—Studio Tone It Up—where members can instant message before, during and after completing their workouts. The third online community host to Tone It Up followers is Instagram; many women elect to create separate fitness accounts that they use to track their progress, cheer on other members in the community and seek inspiration on the days when they feel less motivated or lose sight of why they began their journey.

Ultimately, the creators of Tone It Up have enabled women to transform how they see health and fitness. No longer should women— or men—go through the holidays over-indulging and feeling obligated to wait until January to lose weight. Rather, Tone It Up and many up-and-coming fitness icons promote a life-long journey in which one can enjoy food and exercise.

Similar to Tone It Up’s community-based, balanced approach to fitness, other brands are blazing new trails in the fitness industry. Eating meals with clean, wholesome ingredients and getting in a quick, efficient and fun workout has enabled the daughter of American fitness instructor Denise Austin to garner followers in her own age group. Katie Austin has created a fitness program specifically tailored to college students and busy millennial women. Likewise, Jen Glantz for Forbes recently highlighted celebrity fitness instructor Anna Kaiser, who has created her own brand—Anna Kaiser Technique (AKT)—to which well-known names like Shakira and Sarah Jessica Parker have gravitated. AKT provides a movement-based, kinetic approach to fitness that combines the intensity of a gym workout with the community culture of a boutique studio.

Tone It Up, Katie Austin and AKT are all contributing to the nationwide trend of women transforming the way they approach eating and exercising, health and fitness. Women are eliminating the negative effects that are time and again consequential to their fad diets that promise a weight loss of twenty pounds in twenty days. They are instead embracing fitness as a lifestyle and making it their own by finding programs that promote lasting health over quick weight loss as well as lasting happiness and confidence over fleeting contentment.

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