“Muscles don’t grow in the gym.”

I’m sure you’ve heard that old bodybuilding adage before.

Well, there’s truth in it.

Weightlifting alone doesn’t make your muscles bigger and stronger. That’s what happens after the workouts.

That’s why the work that your body does to repair the stress and damage caused by training is just as important as the work you do in the gym to stress and damage your muscles.

The bottom line is if you’re not fully recovering from your workouts, you’re going to gain muscle and strength slower than you should.

This goes beyond muscle soreness, too.

The presence or absence of soreness is a factor to consider, but it’s not the acid test of post-workout recovery. Just because you’re not sore doesn’t mean your body is ready for another hard workout (and, on the flip side, just because a muscle group is sore doesn’t mean it can’t be trained again).

You see, heavy weightlifting places a lot of stress on the body that goes beyond muscle damage. It impacts your joints, glycogen stores, and nervous and endocrine systems, and it leaves a residue of systemic fatigue and inflammation that accumulates over time.

Your body does an excellent job of setting all this right, though, if you give it what it needs, which boils down these five steps:

1. Eat enough calories
2. Eat enough protein
3. Eat enough carbohydrate
4. Get ~8 hours of quality sleep every night
5. Take the right supplements

Let’s dive in and learn how to do each correctly.

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