2016 State of the Communion



     State of the Communion     2016                                                                   


My first thought is one of thanks to all of you who have lived and shared our common journey together over so many years – some of whom have been with us for 23 years! (Can that be?I had to take my fingers and count!) Many have been with us for well more than a decade, and some welcome newcomers for a few years or less. It’s admirable to see all you have done and accomplished, in every way.

It is remarkable to look back. I went to a beautiful wedding for one of Tracy’s daughters this year, and I remember her and her brother riding skateboards in the old gym on Ortega Highway many years ago. (And, yes, two locations later we have moved beyond skateboards in the gym –  with the carpet and new design and all!)

So I am very grateful for you all and for the vast numbers of hours we have spent together staying fit and having a great time. In our fast-paced and constantly changing world today it is indeed remarkable to find such a long-term communion. I tried to do some more math on this and estimate that we have had over 75,000 “client training hours” over the years. (Couldn’t use my fingers for this one.)


Expanded vision

With the years comes insight, as well as hindsight. And our future-sight is more clear as we enter into and explore the phases of the “2nd half” of life. They’re certainly different from the phases and stages of the 1st half. Of course that calls for a new and expanded vision of life and fitness.

I was talking to a client today who is almost 70. He was very happy with how he felt and how he moved after the last decade here at the studio. He marveled at how many of his contemporaries were in a much different condition. The key to his success –  simply doing the right things well and doing them consistently. As we spoke of the physical realities specific to each decade of life I said, “While good exercise and healthy eating were always a good idea – now they’re mandatory!” And it’s true, 15 year olds who don’t exercise still can find themselves stronger  a decade later. Fifty year olds don’t. And, of course, that reality only continues.

So the VALUE of the lifestyle of fitness for each human person increases greatly with every passing year. We have to get smart. We have to gain wisdom. We have to accept a discipline. And the good news is – a healthy fitness life lived with style is fun. I love it! It’s a good life, as long as we learn to love goodness. And, thanks to all of our great characters we have, and have had, I think the way we do it here at Lifestyle & Fitness makes it fun and interesting.

Now, with that said, our expanded vision also calls for specific changes in the way we approach our healthy lifestyle and our physical fitness. That shift has been in place for some time now.

A little trip down memory lane, again – I remember when we used to “pump iron” and “do cardio”. That was it. Heavy iron, hard cardio. The gym was filled with weight machines and free weights along with a couple of bikes and a treadmill. Not a square foot for flexibility training. One studio client (I guess in those days the term was “gym member”) bench-pressed 350 pounds! The music got so loud at times that the walls shook.

That was quite a time, especially since that I had already gotten my Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and Wellness Management – and “knew better”. I had an expanded vision. But the members in the gym I joined ranks with weren’t interested in “wellness”. In fact, they didn’t even know what it meant!

My final Master’s Degree project was the design of a private fitness studio, from top to bottom. I called it Wellness Systems. (I still have the hardcover version!) But when I gave people my business card which said “Wellness Systems”, they would look at it blankly and say, “What’s wellness?” (Maybe that’s why I’m still a little skiddish about locking-in business names!)

To make matters worse, one of my first clients took my comprehensive 6-page intake form … and threw it away! Wow. Now I had a great experience in graduate school at Humboldt State. I graduated #1 in my class and my Master’s Project got great reviews. I was ready to be a top-level professional. But now, quite clearly, I was in a different world! I was going to have to make a few  adjustments for a time.

And, as they say, “The customer’s always right”, so I changed the name to “Fitness Club San Juan” and changed the way I approached my fitness training. “Muscle & Fitness” became the magazine of choice (which had Arnold and his friends on every page), and this actually worked a bit for me since I was athletic myself and a weight lifter most of my life. I could show clients 12 ways to pump up the biceps and helped some to lift 300+ pounds. Not exactly “master’s level” wellness work, but it did seem to fit a familiar pattern.

It was a lot of fun and I look back on those days and smile. But fortunately, we have finally, as a group, moved beyond “Muscle & Fitness” to the world of Lifestyle & Fitness! I’m excited. We’ve got a lot fewer weight machines. We have carpet on the floor and not inter-locking rubber mats. We have more cardio machines and A LOT more space for flexibility, mobility and functional bodywork. We’re making good use of exercise bands, or tubing, which is great for strength training as we age – and everyone seems to know what wellness is! How great is that! (Should I change the name back to “Wellness Systems”?)

And, I’ve learned A LOT over the last 23 years. We’ve learned that for body shaping “Your fork is your chisel” (and not 4 sets of 8 reps and 3 exercises for each body part) and that “Perfect Effort” (not “pushing to failure”) leads to lasting success. We’ve learned that having a specific appointment time to put in your schedule is trememdously powerful in producing consistent attendance, and that E=MC2 (Excellence = Moderation x Consistency x Consistency). We know the power daily Flexercise can have on functional mobility which is so essential and perhaps most of all, we know that the key to lasting health and fitness is not just a workout at the gym 2 or 3x/wk but a comprehensive, daily, healty lifestyle pattern. Lifestyle Fitness Coaching can address this reality. I believe that we will find that Lifestyle Fitness Coaching as an offering will become one of the most powerful means of bringing about better health and wellness in our country in our future.

That opens the door to mention another one of the add-ons we’ve begun to employ over the years, which is Lifestyle Fitness Coaching. To further that cause, last year I became a Certified Wellness Coach. I’m now working on another certification in Lifestyle Fitness Coaching, which is more of the same. I am very excitied about this new and growing aspect of fitness, especially as it goes back to another of my earlier roots – I received my B.A. in Psychology and did a year and a half of graduate work in personal counseling as well.

The whole aspect of Lifestyle Fitness Coaching, as a stand alone or integrated offering which is done privately and sitting down in my office, is still kind of new here, but I’ve tried to implement various kinds of studio-wide group coaching events over the years and to engage clients in coaching-style interactions as we go through our weekly workouts. I now have created a more comprehensive, detailed, and structured Lifestyle Fitness Coaching component that is available to anyone who wants more structured support in developing and implementing a successful healthy-fitness lifestyle. (Just ask me if you’re interested.)


New things & the future vision

Here’s some new news: We now have some new, upgraded and expanded exercise tubing and I have developed some new exercises that will be implemented over the next month. Some who have tried them love them! It’s all designed looking into the future with your next 15-30 years of fitness, vitality and functional mobility in mind. You can use our upgraded Flexercise and exercise tube work for an entire lifetime!

And, we have another first – a new tea maker! It’s happily placed on the wire shelf next to the couch. And, I’m actually very excited about this. Why? Because this is another aspect of learning to expand one’s healthy life-style (emphasis on style).

You see, teas can be good for you. But I never have liked to drink tea. The tea I drink I drink using my willpower. But, now it’s different! Using the idea of creating a healthy life-STYLE, I started doing some research into tea making. Maybe if I learned more I could refine and appreciate the process enough to actually enjoy making and drinking tea. Maybe. But that’s what it often takes to create something new & good.

So I found that green tea is not supposed to be made with boiling water as I had been doing. No, it is best, they say, to make it at 175 degrees, and then to let it steep for only 1 minute, not just sit in the cup until you’re done. And then, you need to remove the tea leaves to not over-steep and then keep the finished tea warm to enjoy it over more time. Oolong tea has a different optimal steeping time and temperature setting as does black or herbal tea. Could that be?

Well, the new tea maker does it all! And guess what – I like it! I actually look forward to drinking the much better tasting teas, and I’m sure there’s more refinements to come. What a great healthy life-STYLE improvement. Just one, but I love it. It’s a very practical example of what we can do on our journey to a creative, fulfilling, healthy lifestyle. That’s the real exciting part as I imagine all of you creating your imaginative and upgraded bits of a new and healthier lifestyle. And, I look forward to it’s double use in expanding the social aspect of our studio. A bit of tea on hand in our nice sitting area can make for a nice place to take a few moments before or after a workout to share some thoughts and moments together. It serves a more meaningful communion, which is at the heart of our studio, and it fits with our occasional Thursday evening “Wine & Walnuts” gatherings. These things just make life a little better, and it’s been working already!

I’m excited about our new things for the New Year. I hope you are, too. May 2016 be a great year for the betterment of our lifestyles & our fitness as we support each other together in this most valuable quest, and thanks be to God, may I can say with gratefulness, that I believe that after 23 years, the “state of the communion” is good . . . and getting a little better every day!

Randy Bengtsson, M.A.; CWC

Lifestyle & Fitness

LifestyleAndFitness.org  (949) 443-9355

33161 “H” Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

By randybengtsson

One comment on “2016 State of the Communion

  1. Thank you, Randy, for taking so much time to craft this State of the Communion message. I have read it one time, but must print it to re-read to contemplate all the potential. Yours in health and fitness, Susan

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