Pain is a real pain.

Something hurts on me every day. No, I don't mean "Call 9-1-1" hurt; more annoyance than major concerns. A strained this. A tweaked that. A sore something or other. One body part almost always seems to be saying: "If you try that move one more time . . .!" And it's not just because of my age. Anyone who works out regularly, anyone who trains and strains and pushes their body physically is going to mess up something at some juncture. Pains are just part of the deal. Even injuries are an almost inevitable by-product of challenging yourself to reach your physical peak. Being hurt is just going to happen. To all of us. In the gym. In competition. In life.

Hurt is inevitable.

When I tweak some part of my body, I want to do everything I can to speed the healing process. Heck, I keep ice bags in my freezer, and a special heating pad is never more than a minute away from an ache. I research the injury to ensure I'm not doing anything that'll cause long-term damage. Then I do extra stretching and change up my workout to try and speed the healing and strengthen the injured area. I also take supplements to make sure my body has everything it needs to repair the region.

All well and good, but ultimately, the healing process is going to take as long as the healing process tales. The ice and heat might help me get through it. The stretching might diminish the pain. The new moves in the gym might help strengthen the affected part of my body. The vitamins and supplements will certainly help , too.

But no matter what I do, I just have to let my body do its thing. Time will be the best healer.

Too often we take our need to heal for granted. We ignore the pain and keep on playing or working out at the same pace as before. That's the wrong move—inside and outside the gym. Healing has a purpose. It repairs what's broken, of course, but it can also do more: It can make us stronger.

Sure, it's easy to say that twisted ankle or injured knee (or broken heart) will never be the same. That the joints, muscles, and ligaments (and the emotions) are forever altered and will never be as strong as before.

Bull. With proper healing, your body can be stronger than before.

You can be stronger than before.

Pain may be inevitable, but it doesn't have to be forever. And we can be better for it—if we just allow ourselves to heal.

Roy S. Johnson
Men's Fitness
Editor In Chief



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