Find Your Thing: My Tone It Up Journey
If you spend time with me in my daily life, you’ve heard me mention Tone It Up a million and one times. I like to call it a fitness cult, but it’s really a lifestyle brand by Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn that started on youtube with workouts and nutrition tips and is now a multi-million dollar company. They have a workout app and nutrition program with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. The hashtag #tiuteam has over 4 million posts to date! Do I get paid to talk about Tone It Up or shill their products? Nope. It’s a program that worked amazingly for me and made me a healthier, happier person, so I like to talk about it a lot. I’ve been a member since 2015 and each year I’m fitter and healthier because of it.
That being said, it’s not everyone’s “thing.” I made a joke to a friend recently that it’s a fitness cult for type-A lunatics like me who don’t understand human limitations. Ok, it’s not that bad, but it’s not for everyone. I get that. I guess what I want to encourage today is for you to find your thing. Whatever makes you wake up in the morning, get stronger and healthier, and make you feel really good about yourself.
For today’s post, I wanted to share a little bit about my Tone It Up journey and then in the future I want to add a post with some tips on how to find your own thing. I firmly believe that chasing after health and happiness is good, it’s honorable, and it’s something worthy of admiration. You know, like in Philippians.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
We’re temples of Holy Spirit after all. Let’s see the honor and joy in that and take care of ourselves and extend ourselves some grace and love.
+ My Tone It Up Journey: Part I
That was me on the left, six years ago. I weighted 93 lbs. and really thought I was happy with my body and my life. After a lot of patience, hard work, and help, I managed to the the mental side of things together. So much of our physical health is tied to our spiritual and mental health, so it’s no surprise when those are off, our bodies can be a little off too. I decided to only focus on being emotionally healthy after that, afraid that if I even thought about my body at all, I would be back to where I started. Instead of learning how to eat well and learning how to be physically stronger, I ignored my health altogether.
I ended up in 2015 at a relatively healthy weight, but tired, unhealthy, weak, anxious, and unsure of myself. I started doing Tone It Up workouts on youtube to get the physical part of my life together and then started getting sucked into the lifestyle because I loved it so much. The workouts and trainers, Karena and Katrina, were so positive! Instead of saying “push yourself to your limit! It hurts because it’s working!” they were showing me that workouts and food can be positive and fun in and of themselves. When I would wake up early and do a 15 to 20 minute workout, I would feel better about myself during the workout and felt even better afterward. The “if you’re not suffering, you’re not working hard enough” vibe just didn’t click with me at all. I liked laughing, having fun, and cheering myself on. Eating and cooking were fun too, when you’re feeding yourself nourishing foods that fuel you and give you a bunch of energy.
I joined the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan on Black Friday, 2015 and then started my first TIU Challenge in January 2016. After eight weeks of that challenge, I finally got this healthy thing right! Meal planning and the TIU Nutrition Plan reminded me to actually eat five times a day, even when I didn’t feel like it (huge hard thing for me, to be honest). The TIU Community on instagram inspired me to value health and happiness over any number on a scale. They were so sweet and encouraging every step of the way. I was in such a confident, clear-headed place full of hope, and excited about the future. My TIU Transformation didn’t look like your average one, where I could show a dramatic weight loss, but that was ok. It was a journey that worked for me and spoke to my needs.
+ My Tone It Up Journey: Part II
Living in my healthiest body was a huge contributor to me getting pregnant in the summer of 2016. I won’t go into that whole story because, honestly, it has more to do with a spiritual journey than a physical one. But the physical part made that journey go way more smoothly! Though I did a lot of modifications, I kept going with my Tone It Up lifestyle throughout my pregnancy. I felt so much stronger throughout, had a lot more energy than I thought I could be while pregnant, and knew that I was taking good care of myself while my body was doing double the work. I think the biggest thing that it helped was my anxiety. I tend to be a pretty anxious person in general, let alone during so many changes in my life, but daily workouts and staying active were insanely helpful for my mental health. Not only was I doing TIU stuff, but I also started going to prenatal yoga classes. That just helped me center so much in my body and take care of myself inside and out.
I posted the above picture at the end of the “fourth trimester.” It was 12 weeks since my little guy had made his arrival. And it was at the very end of the popular Tone It Up Bikini Series in 2017. I finished that challenge really proud of the woman on the left who grew a tiny healthy human for 40 weeks (that pic was taken 2 wks pp). I worked my bottom off staying healthy & active during my pregnancy. I was even more proud of the woman I was after the Bikini Series! I think it’s really hard as a brand new mom to make yourself a priority. The sleepless nights, constant tending, tears, frustrations, & failures can really take a toll on your health. But there was real joy in the process too! I met myself over those eight weeks: a woman who is strong, confident, hard-working, optimistic, and persistent. I really felt like I could do anything I set my mind to. I felt so confident because it would have been easier to say “I’m doing this for my son. I want to be a good example,” but I 100% did it for me. It might have seemed selfish at the time, but I knew I needed to do something just for me. I didn’t want being my son’s mom to take away from myself and my own identity: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I’m a mom, sure, but I’m not just a mom and that’s something I like to be mindful of.
I think that’s why Tone It Up is my thing. It’s something just for me. It’s the path I used to remind myself of who God created me to be: strong, confident, persistent, positive, full of life and energy. And being physically healthy gives me all the energy to chase after all the other things I want to do in life.
That’s why I’m passionate about encouraging others to find their thing. Any time you struggle with your health, it’s important to think about your whole mind, body, and spirit. It’s easy to neglect one or make one the only thing you think about. Doing that starves you of creativity, inspiration, motivation, passion, and hope. You can just get along, or you can make a big change and choose to love yourself. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Your health and happiness depend on it!
I want to encourage everyone out there who struggles with their body: find your thing, whatever it is that motivates and inspires you to be healthy. It could be marathons, boxing, rowing, lifting, CrossFit, ballet, Weight Watchers, workout videos in your living room, whatever. You are worthy of being a priority. Trust me. Once you start on that lifelong journey to loving and caring for yourself, you will keep heading in the right direction. Things in your life can really build you up and some things can really tear you down. If you believe that you are worth caring for, you can start to feel stronger and more resilient. And you can start extending that love to the world around you.
“… we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Listen to that voice inside of you that pushes you forward and gives you strength. Listen to that trustworthy voice because that’s what’s going to lead you to hope. Throughout my journey, I couldn’t be more grateful and more proud of who I am, where I am, what I’m doing, where I’m heading, and Who is helping me along the way.