BFT: You have worked with celebrities, some of whom include Dr. Oz, Dr. Ian Smith and Angie Stone. So with all of your experiences and interactions, what can you say has been the highlight of your career thus far?
Andrea: I would say my highlight is when I am doing a large group workshop. Even though I have worked with some pretty recognized and really great individuals, I think for me, it is when I have a chance to impact a large group. I have worked with some large organizations. I have done group challenges – for example, the Get Body Beautiful Challenge had like 50,000 participants. I have also done church organizations with 10,000 people.
And I think the other highlight is being at a point where I have taken on other trainers and other young entrepreneurs who are trying to develop their brands, whether it is fitness or in other areas. And so for me, it is being able to take all of the mistakes and take all the wins that I had to be able to kind of give somebody else an opportunity to see how they can hopefully improve their chances for success too. So it is kind of fun to find out something that finally works and then able to help somebody else.
BFT: As a healthy living spokesperson for McDonald’s, how did that come about? Did you receive any resistance for aligning yourself with the fast food giant? And what ultimately led you to say, “Hey, you know what? I want to do this.”
Andrea: Going in, I knew that people might be very skeptical. But I looked at it as an opportunity to possibly [make] an impact that [could build] a huge platform. Because you look at all the people like I don’t know anybody who doesn’t go there, okay? Let’s say everybody goes there. And so I thought, “You know what?” If there is a way that I can partner-up with them, to try to really shed light on how you can actually incorporate something in the right way, I felt like it was okay. I felt like it was something that I could stay behind. And so I was specifically promoting their healthy food items like their grilled salads, low fat yogurt products and healthy oatmeal.
So everything that I was promoting was actually in line with some of my key principles for weight management, which are eating lean and green. You’ve got to have lean and green in your diet every day. You’ve got to have whole grains. You’ve got to make sure that you incorporate more water. So I thought it was like a different way to approach a very familiar problem. And I think that’s the strategy that I think seems to have a lot of impact. Because when you show up and you say hey, you know what? I know you guys wouldn’t expect me to bring you in front of McDonald’s. But the reason I decided to do it is because I want you guys to realize that you know there are healthy whole grains. There’s bottled water and there’s protein, and two cups of greens in your salad. So, I think it catches people’s attention when you can [find a] different way to address something that is very familiar to them because people are going to go there anyway so…
BFT: Overall in Atlanta, what is the fitness landscape within the African-American community? And what are some of the positive changes that you have noticed in all your years of work doing corporate and community health initiatives?
Andrea: I could definitely say since I showed up in Atlanta, I feel like I was really at the forefront as far as really, really trying to get out in the community and align corporate and community partners. So when I started in 2007 in Atlanta, I started out with what I called a Get Body Beautiful Expo and that was my first event in Atlanta and I drew several thousand people. And so I was really trying to apply all the principles of great business to a new product.
In Atlanta, there’s five million people here and a huge percentage of the population that needs the support of fitness professionals everyday on the ground who will show up and help you at the gym and do this and do that. It appears to me like there’s more growth and different entities that focus on “How can I go grab my people?” We need as many people doing that as we can all over America trying to grab some people you know?
I think the negative stuff is, and I don’t think and I would just put this on Atlanta, is that as you see growth, people want to get into fitness and health. I feel like you see a lot of growth in gimmicks and you will see a lot of what won’t work, [plus] fast, instant, quick solutions to weight loss that pop up everywhere…you see so many different things; that’s why I think for the consumer out there trying to figure out how to be successful, it could be very confusing because there’s so much stuff out there. How does the consumer or a person who is not well-versed, discern between what is good and what is bad? So I think that can create a lot more problems for people trying to figure out what to do. And I just believe if you do the wrong thing over and over and you get no results, it is going to be hard. And once you stop, it is going to be harder starting again.
Head to the next page to get details on Andrea’s new national challenge and how you can get your hands on her new Body Beautiful app!