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Bangkok Faces: Jeff Andora, Co-Owner, Flash Fitness & Flash Fitness for Kids

Your Name: Jeff Andora

Job Title: Co-Owner of Flash Fitness and Flash Fitness for Kids

What is your nationality and background?

I am from the U.S., growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have been living in Thailand for almost 13 years now.

What is your profession?

I have been a fitness trainer for 22 years. I am co-owner of Flash Fitness and Flash Fitness for Kids with my wife Ritah. I also authored The Habits and Hormones Solution.

What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?

There aren’t any skills that can make up for the lack of proper knowledge. All the people skills, patience, or any skill I can think for that matter, won’t do a trainer any good if he doesn’t truly understand HOW the body works and is choosing the wrong exercises, programs, nutrition protocols, etc. I started reading 30-60 minutes a day regarding fitness, nutrition, biochemistry, metabolic issues, endocrinology or psychology back in 1998. I figured that probably equated to roughly 300 text books by this point. As a trainer, if you want to help people, or even make it in this ultra-competitive industry, learning is the number one responsibility.

How did you get involved in your profession?

I grew up in a family where everyone battled with their weight. I also had lots of difficulty keeping the pounds off. I grew up during a time in the U.S. where there was an explosion of ill-health, succumbing to things like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. I originally started learning all I could about nutrition and fitness in order to better avoid these issues myself. After helping my former girlfriend’s brother lose 80 pounds, I was hooked and felt I had found my path. My first fitness business in California was actually called The Fitness Path.

How does your role enhance the wellbeing or experience of children?

First and foremost, it starts with parents. Kids know when parents are not confident or happy with themselves. Just as our health or ill-health has the ability to impact every area of our lives… it is the same in our children’s lives. This is why we have started working with children. A healthy life STARTS in childhood.

Higher levels of health and fitness aren’t just about “getting lean” or fighting disease. It is about improving the quality of every day life, as well as improving characteristics like discipline and patience, and improving self esteem, cognitive function and mental health.

What challenges do your face in this role?

The biggest challenges at the moment are getting people to unlearn all the horribly wrong information they have learned over the years. We are in need of a paradigm shift and that just doesn’t happen over night. For example, some parents still think rice, cereal or a juice is a better breakfast for their children than a breakfast of fresh eggs. A lot has been learned over the last 20 years, yet people are still following the same fitness and nutrition advice that was being given during the mid 1980s.

What do you hope to achieve within your industry?

I just want to educate and help as many people as I can. If I can spend my life knowing I am changing the lives of the people around me, I am quite content with that. We are proud and fortunate that, due to it’s success at Chulalongkorn Hospital, that our metabolic program is now being used by hospitals all around Thailand, helping elderly diabetics to lower their medication costs, and likely add years to their lives. Achieving anything in the “industry” pales in comparison to achieving positive results and improving lives.

Who or what inspires you?

I am fortunate to be surrounded every day by people I am inspired by. I am inspired by the effort they bring, the dedication they exhibit and the attitudes they possess. Without going into detail, we have trained some people who have overcome some incredibly overbearing circumstances to achieve great things.

Only a Bangkok local would know… I love the Sathorn District, especially on the weekends, when it is so quiet. It is loaded with little sois that are packed with little restaurant and coffee shop gems.

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