Andrea Riggs, President of Body Beautiful, has a long history of promoting healthier lifestyles through corporate and community health initiatives. The launch of her now signature Get Body Beautiful program in 2007 garnered over 30,000 participants in its first year alone. The St. Louis native but now veteran to Atlanta focuses on three key areas – lifestyle, nutrition and fitness. As a trainer, former track & field athlete, entrepreneur, media personality, author, motivational speaker and more, Riggs knows that life’s demands can make achieving a healthy lifestyle difficult, but she has helped so many realize that better health can be achieved with the right tools and the right people behind you, no matter where you are in life! Her systematic approach has allowed her to leave her mark as one of Atlanta’s most trusted fitness experts, and one of the most influential in the African-American community.
Read our exclusive with Andrea about how Get Body Beautiful is making an impact.
BFT: So give us a brief introduction, Andrea!
Andrea: I am Andrea Riggs! I am a 20-year health and wellness advocate. I have been involved in intercollegiate athletics and with a background in business. I [wanted to see how I could] correlate my skill sets and choose a career that I really enjoyed, and I realized that health and wellness was really the career of my dreams. So I’ve somehow made that a reality over the last 10 years.
BFT: With you being a former athlete and also holding a degree in business, how has that foundation allowed you to build on your dream of creating a career in health and fitness and be successful at it?
Andrea: I think for me, it has really been a part of my systematic approach to developing my company. When I created Body Beautiful, I was very clear about wanting to create not just a business, but a brand. And when I say a brand, I wanted to create a brand that would be able to appeal to not only individuals, but I was looking at a platform where I could reach out for corporate and community support as well. And so, from the very beginning, I had a vision of an organization even though it started with one person; I had the vision of an organization where I could create expertise that would apply to a large group.
BFT: For the readers and listeners out there who may not be familiar with Body Beautiful, what exactly is Body Beautiful?
Andrea: Body Beautiful is a wellness company that was launched over 10 years ago as a platform to inspire and motivate individuals, corporations and community to achieve that health. I kind of found my sweet spot in 2007 and 2008. I had the opportunity to be the TV trainer on Atlanta’s Biggest Loser. And through that experience, I realized that you know what, I could train six or or seven people, but I can impact thousands more just by watching and just by the interactive feedback I was [receiving from] all of these people who weren’t even on the show.
From that experience, that really supported my vision and from there, I started Body Beautiful with the three principles that have been there since the [beginning] that we create all of our programming and tools and workshops around. My three most favorite words are lifestyle, nutrition and fitness. And so that’s the three-legged tool that I started with. Get Body Beautiful is all about teaching people a successful formula to lifestyle, nutrition and fitness.
BFT: Lets discuss one of your latest campaigns, “It’s Not Your Weight, It’s Your Waist” challenge in partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine and Mercedes Benz. How did that impact the greater Atlanta community and what were some of the things that you were focusing on during that time with the challenge?
Andrea: Any time I do a corporate and a community partnership, I always bring my signature Get Body Beautiful approach. So, during that challenge with Morehouse School of Medicine and Mercedes Benz as partners, we still took them through the three-part approach of lifestyle, nutrition and fitness. And so that is like the get Body Beautiful curriculum that we always integrate that in.
Every time we do a challenge, whether it is in the city of Atlanta or anywhere else, we always follow that format, which is the Body Beautiful stamp. I think the impact, because we put such a huge prize on it, created a lot of interest and a lot of awareness. And so all of a sudden people saw the shiny car and they wanted to know, “How can I be a part of this?”
I think the big impact was that it was a challenge but we didn’t focus on weight loss. We focused on inches lost. And that was based upon medical and clinical support because it was with Morehouse School of Medicine [and research] that showed that a person’s health and predisposition for chronic illnesses is based largely on their waist size.
Once you surpass a specific waist size, you are putting yourself at a much greater risk for every disease in the book. And so for us, it was all about getting people to shift their focus away from weight and understanding that you could be healthy and you shouldn’t worry about what you weigh and you should worry more about how much fat is in your abdominal area or around your organs. It was such a different approach because it was a huge challenge but it wasn’t all about weight loss.
From working with celebrities such as Dr. Oz, Dr. Ian Smith and Angie Stone, and serving as a McDonald’s healthy living spokesperson – what has been the highlight of Andrea’s career? Find out on the next page