Keaira LaShae is tapping into the power of the Internet to help women get into shape and have a good time doing it.
You might remember Keaira LaShae from The Voice, America's Best Dance Crew, or So You Think You Can Dance. (Seriously, there's nothing this woman can't do.) But the professional singer-turned-dancer has turned her focus on creating body-positive, fat-burning workout videos on YouTube and Instagram. You could say it's working: Combined, her videos have been viewed more than 80 million times! Oh, and they're absolutely free. (Check out some of our other favorite workout videos on YouTube.)
"I used to think that only rich people went to the gym," Keaira told Shape exclusively. "I grew up with people who couldn't afford access to a fitness facility and I really wanted to change that by bringing workouts to them."
When Keaira first started out on YouTube four years ago, she began posting dance cardio workouts mostly for fun, hoping that if nothing else, they would help people she knew.
"Working out with someone or with a group of people holds you accountable, so I wanted my friends and family to experience that," she says. "But over time, the people in my community were reaching out to people they knew to partake in my workouts and challenges and it kind of took off from there." (Related: 4 Reasons Not to Dismiss Dance Cardio)
With the positive feedback pouring in, Keaira soon decided to hit pause on some of her other interests and make this online fitness community her main focus. "Rather than just becoming motivation for each other, my viewers became a huge inspiration for me," she said. "They made me feel like what I was doing was valuable, and that's what made me want to go all in."
Before she knew it, her loyal supporters were asking for more—they wanted exercise DVDs for when streaming just wasn't an option. While Keaira admits that she first thought the viewing method was obsolete, she eventually decided to give it a try and put her own stamp on the category. "I wanted to create my Dance, Move, Werk DVD in the same realm as my YouTube content but make it a little more fun and upbeat," she says. "I wanted women to be able to just grab their friends, dance it out, and realize that fitness can be fun and it doesn't have to feel like a chore."
With both her YouTube channel and her DVD, Keaira's mission has stayed the same: help women feel good about themselves and their bodies. "We as women beat ourselves up about the smallest things when it comes to our bodies," she says. "That's why through all of my workouts, I try to promote the idea of loving each other because we simply don't do that enough."