Londonderry native co-stars in new fitness series on Bravo
LONDONDERRY -- With New Year's Day and its inevitable flurry of resolutions fast approaching, the fitness-resolute can find guidance and inspiration from a New Hampshire native on national TV.
Katrina Hodgson, a graduate of Londonderry High School and Keene State College, is co-host of the new Bravo series "Toned Up," which premieres Thursday.
Now based in California, where the series is recorded, Hodgson said her interest in fitness was sparked while studying anatomy for a class at Londonderry High while she was a senior tennis player. Dreams of travel and a career spreading the word on exercise and nutrition ensued.
Five years after her relocation to the West Coast, her success has exceeded those dreams.
"I figured I'd end up in New York City someday, maybe writing a column of some kind," Hodgson recalled with a laugh. "I never imagined actually being (profiled) in the magazine."
Coast to coast
Hodgson's rise to nationally recognized fitness guru began with exercise sessions with friends at the Londonderry Workout Club and cooking sessions in the family kitchen, where she whipped up healthy baked goods for her teammates. By the time her senior year rolled around, Hodgson had her sites set on Keene State, which had recently opened a state-of-the-art athletics facility.
After earning her degree in exercise science in 2006, the young KSC graduate settled in Boston, eventually becoming a master trainer at one of the city's elite fitness clubs.
"I really didn't have a solid business plan, but I enjoyed sharing what I did with others," Hodgson said.
After her homemade videos of exercise routines and healthy cooking got a warm reception from friends and clients, Hodgson gradually began expanding her Web presence.
Around the same time, she decided to follow her then boyfriend to Southern California after he received a tempting job offer.
Working as a personal trainer for the Equinox Fitness chain of workout clubs, Hodgson met Karena Dawn, a sports model, tri-athlete and Indiana native who shared Hodgson's passions.
"We just had so much synergy," Hodgson said. "So we began working together towards a common goal. It began with a blog that we hoped would encourage other women trying to meet their goals."
The blog, www.ToneItUp.com, soon soared in popularity, with the two friends filming fitness videos on nearby beaches.
These days, Tone It Up has seven full-time employees, and the company has produced two DVD series of its own. Among Hodgson's credits is work as co-designer of Jane Fonda's "Prime Time" series of fitness DVDs.
"The cool thing about it is that everything came about so naturally," Hodgson said. "Because so many women were talking about us, the blog and the videos really took off simply by word of mouth."
When Bravo approached the duo about doing a series, she and Dawn were surprised, Hodgson said, but they soon realized a television show would provide an excellent opportunity to reach out to other women.
Even now, before the "Toned Up" premiere, it's not uncommon for Hodgson and Dawn to encounter fans of their videos when they are out running errands.
"People come up to us all the time like we're already their friends," Hodgson said. "They don't ask us for autographs; they hug us and say 'Thank you.' I feel like we have thousands of friends."
A healthier mom
Hodgson's parents, Jane and Chris, now live in Hollis, where they're already planning a viewing party to celebrate the "Toned Up" premiere.
Jane Hodgson can personally attest to the benefits of healthy living.
The elder Hodgson said she lost about 60 pounds over a three-year period by following her daughter's fitness and eating plan.
"She never tried to talk me into losing weight," Jane Hodgson said. "She just kept talking about a healthy lifestyle and 'Tone It Up.'
"I'd been on a strict diet before, and didn't know how I could eat good-tasting food at the same time," she added. "But when I finally decided to join my daughter's nutrition plan, that's when I started to really enjoy food again. I just kept sticking to it. Every week I would lose a couple more pounds, so that inspired me to keep on going."
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