New Years resolutions often include diet and exercise promises, goals and ultimatums. The promise to start running again or to dust off the home workout equipment turned coat rack is as common as the often forgotten pain that returns to those who make it through the first month back to exercise. While a good personal trainer is aware of clients muscular imbalances and trains for balance first, most do it yourselfers push themselves to attain their former glory in their chosen sport. Often these people just pick a time they want to make or a number of reps they think means something, without taking into consideration how long it has been since they were fit enough to achieve their goal. I always tell my clients that balance is the most important first step in increasing physical stress loads on the body. Most of the pain I am successful in resolving is based on treatment planned to balance antagonistic muscles and tissues around joints. Most of these situations begin with a client that was a [insert sport] enthusiast for years who is familiar and used to a specific ailment (ache or discomfort) that accompanies the activity. PEOPLE!! Pain is not a sign of success! Pain and chronic discomfort are signs that something is wrong! Most people accept an uncomfortable feeling until it is so debilitating that it affects every aspect of their life. While I can accept that “no discomfort, no gain” is true when increasing the challenges presented to a body in transition to a stronger place, Pain simply means “Stop”. This year, break the cycle that ultimately ends with you giving up again by getting a session from a bodyworker that specializes in assessment and structural work. When muscles are balanced around joints, the muscles move efficiently- the way they were designed to move, and with more power, less fatigue and more flexibility. Your therapist should be able to accurately tell you which stretches you need and what muscles to strengthen. Any strengthening you do after balancing work will be more effective and will instantly pay off in your sport of choice. Avoid hip replacements and herniated disks by taking unbalanced undue stress on your body. Get rid of foot and leg issues by balancing the lower leg muscles. It’s your body. Get to know it better before pounding and taxing it by taking a few sessions with a trained professional. You will get stronger faster and most importantly without injury!