We all know what you do to build muscle, right? You go to the gym, lift heavy weights, and between sets you power down your protein shake. I recently heard a comment that totally turned this on its head, and when I heard it, I knew it was right. Here is what it was: “When you are working out you are breaking down your muscles. When you are sleeping is when your body is repairing and building new muscle.”
This principle of nature—the act of stressing and renewing—is so fundamental, yet so often forgotten or ignored. It appears in many places, not just in building muscle, but throughout the cycles of nature, including the daily warming and cooling of the earth, the ebb and flood of the tides, the longer cycles of the seasons, and the even longer cycles of our lives in which renewal appears in the form of children.
We are reminded to take the time for renewal so we can return to our tasks with new strength and fresh outlooks. And yes, if you want to build muscle you have to pay as much attention to the quality of your sleep as you do to the quality of your workout.