Back, Biceps, and Blackheads: A Lesson in Pain

I experienced quite a bit of pain today. Don’t be alarmed, the pain I’m talking about is superficial and short-lived. It was all self-inflicted, too, starting at the gym and ending a few hours later in an esthetician’s office.

Today was “back and bicep” day for me. I didn’t train with my drill serg- I mean trainer, Michael, so I put my own personal training background to work and tried to devise a respectable routine. Devising a workout, my friends, is the easy part. Doing the workout, however, is another matter. (For those interested, you can find this routine on the “Workouts” page of this blog.)

Weight-lifting, if done effectively, hurts like mad, as many of you can attest. If it weren’t for the burning, the pushing past the point of, “I’m done,” the breathlessness, the ensuing soreness…yeah, if not for all that, working out would almost be a breeze. In fact, if working out was anything like kicking back to watch “Grey’s Anatomy” or play Xbox after work, you can bet America would be in much better shape.

What gets us through the discomfort that accompanies any workout worth its sweat – besides a killer playlist – is our knowledge of the end result. I don’t have space to enumerate all the benefits of working out, but here are a few, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  1. Improves mood
  2. Combats chronic illness
  3. Helps manage your weight
  4. Boosts energy
  5. Promotes better sleep
  6. Positively affects one’s sex life (make sure you’re married! 😉 )

After my workout, I went to get a facial. Sounds relaxing, doesn’t it? It was anything but. To start things off, I had a diabolical mask slathered all over my face.

“It may feel stingy,” my esthetician said.

It may? It may?! I felt like Harvey Dent having acid thrown on his face.

“What’s in that?”

“Pumpkin enzymes and…salicylic acid. It’s a more aggressive treatment. Helps unplug build-up made from your skin’s oil.”

Lovely.

Next up was microdermabrasion, which is basically a vacuum for your face. Some say it feels like a cat’s tongue licking you, I say that’s true if the cat’s just eaten a cactus.

Last but not least, extractions. Allow me to provide freedictionary.com’s definition for extract: To draw or pull out, using force or effort. The esthetician uses a needle to break open the skin and squeeze out “debris.”

Who knew a spa could be such a torture chamber. 😉

It’s apparent that the best things in life – from a healthy heart and slim physique to blackhead-free skin – take hard work to attain. I think this must be because it’s mostly the work that makes the reward so wonderful. We wouldn’t appreciate the benefits as much if things came easy, if things were granted.

There’s a simple quote in the book and movie, “True Grit,” that I love: “…there is nothing free, except the grace of God.” But His grace is only free to us. God’s Son had to pay an excruciatingly high price to give it. We’ll never know the extent of His suffering. Not even Mel Gibson’s heart-rending rendition gives us a complete picture of Christ’s “passion,” – agony – and our minds cannot come close to imagining it.

I’m eternally thankful Jesus loved us enough to endure the pain. Aren’t you?

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12

Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di

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