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Cardio-kickboxing with Christ

Pastor at Santa Clarita Christian Center teaches the faithful to read the Bible, and be active

Posted: October 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Pastor Gilbert Burns, center, leads a Living Faith Cardio class at the Santa Clarita Christian Center in Valencia on Tuesday.

Santa Clarita Christian Center isn’t your typical church.

Nestled in a Valencia office building, upbeat tunes by Michael Jackson and ’70s-style hits, such as “Boogie Nights,” greet you at the door every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

And Pastor Gilbert Burns isn’t your average pastor.

Burns teaches a cardio-kickboxing class twice a week. His Tae Bo-style classes are for not just his parishioners, but the local community. The classes are free of charge.


‘Whole-body’ approach

Burns, 49, takes a “whole-body” approach to his life and teachings. He believes a person should care for his or her mind and body. He emphasizes the importance of not only reading the Bible and attending church, but also being active.

“I have a heart for the whole person,” Burns said. “The Lord put in me to help people: spirit, soul and body.”

He bases his approach on the principle of discipline. He explains that it takes discipline to follow Christ and to pray every day. In the same way, it requires discipline to live a healthy lifestyle.

The whole-body approach has inspired some members to work out, lose weight and eat more healthfully. Several members have become vegans.

“I feel more energized throughout the day,” said Zsa Zsa Soberanez, 44, who has been attending the class for two months.

Trina Subia, 50, has been attending the class for more than three years, and has lost 28 pounds.

“He helps us keep our mind focused on our body, and what we are doing to maintain it,” Subia said. “I really enjoy his leadership as an instructor and as a pastor.”

“His passion for people’s physical and spiritual health has blessed me so much,” Jenni Gilbert, 42, said. She has been attending for two years and adds this class to her Pilates regimen.


Healthy beginnings

Focused on the importance of a whole lifestyle Burns credits his approach to his father-in-law and former pastor at Crenshaw Christian Center. They taught him to care for the whole being — and not just one aspect of it — and have a vision for life.

“If we don’t have vision, we lose sight of where we are going,” Burns said.

Another major influence was a friend he made while attending Crenshaw Christian Center, Billy Blanks, founder of Tae Bo. After attending church together, Blanks and Burns began working out together regularly and eventually, Burns was certified as a Tae Bo instructor at Blanks’ facility in Sherman Oaks.

“He is a very disciplined man,” Burns said of Blanks. “He has a passion for physical fitness and encouraged what I already had in me to do.”

In 2004, Burns founded Santa Clarita Christian Center and embarked on his vision to help people live a whole life by building the church and offering the kickboxing classes free of charge to the community.

Burns emphasizes that this isn’t the only work out, it is important to be active everyday, even just walking.

“You don’t change your body unless you change the way you think first,” Burns said. “My intention is to help and be that blessing to people.”


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