Lifting weights damages muscle tissue—but that’s OK, because muscle damage as a result of resistance training contributes to hypertrophy (increase in muscle size) if the training is done properly. When muscle tissue is damaged, you may feel soreness within the next couple of days. While there are many theories as to why delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) occurs, most research suggests that it's a result of pain receptors being sensitized by the inflammatory response to muscle tissue damage. Luckily, there are ways to quickly recover from DOMS and get right back into getting strong. Use these strategies immediately after your workout to speed up healing so you build muscle faster.
A general rule of thumb is to replace the amount of fluid you lose after a workout prior to your next workout. Aside from weighing yourself before and after workouts, you can judge hydration levels simply by looking at the color of your urine. If your pee resembles apple juice, it’s time to drink more water. Replace that cumbersome gallon water jug with the hands-free Mil Tac H.A.W.G. ($172, camelbak.com), a backpack that carries your gym clothes plus 100 ounces of fluid in a bladder that's connected to a drinking tube.