woman sitting on bed in front of computer with weights in her hand

What to Expect When You're Expecting... A Weight Training Transformation

You’ve decided to start weight-training and are wondering what to expect. Should I start with the good news or the bad news?

Newbie Gains

Don’t worry. “Gainz” in the weight-lifting community is a good thing. It’s synonymous with progress and can refer to more than just muscle size. Gains can be in strength, power, speed, whatever. As a newbie, so long as you’re working out properly, gains come rapidly. You’ll be able to improve your performance at a rate enviable by seasoned lifters. Just make sure you’re executing your movements with proper form, so you don’t ingrain improper habits and use the power of newbie gains for evil.

Another advantage here is that you’ll be able to see improvements across the board. Newbies can realistically expect to be able to get stronger, faster, grow muscles, and lose fat (with proper nutrition) all at the same time. Later in the game, you typically have to focus your training on one thing at a time if you’re looking to make improvements in any of those key areas.

It is note-worthy that you can experience newbie gains later on in your long-term training relationship. They happen to a lesser degree when you switch up programming. 

Read: If you’re inclined to get down on yourself for feeling “weak” in the beginning, don’t. You’ll quickly improve.

Life’s easier

Trust me when I say don’t focus on the scale. You can certainly have fat loss goals, and they’re easier to meet when you strength train. That said, the benefits below are what will keep you motivated long-term. Fortunately, you’ll also notice them earlier in the game.

More energy

Your body will adapt to regular exercise by increasing the concentration of mitochondria in your cells. If you don’t remember from biology class, mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells, thus your entire freaking body. That’s where all your energy comes from. More mitochondria = more energy. 

More confident

Just two days into your program, you’ll probably be checking yourself out in the mirror feeling pretty darn proud of yourself. Your confidence will ebb and flow, but trust me, it’ll trend upwards into a positive direction and for good reason: you’re freaking amazing and are a beautiful person. Congrats on realizing this 😉


You’ll be able to show up to take more names and kick more butts in any of your cardio classes, burning more cals in less time. And in the scorching Phoenix summer, it feels pretty handy being able to take all the groceries from the trunk of the car up two flights of stairs all in one go. 


Your workout is the architect and sleep is the builder. Be prepared to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly

Less stress

Exercise is a form of self-care and is more powerful than medication in treating depression and anxiety. With the cumulative effects of the benefits above, more endorphins, and improved hormone function throughout the body it’s not hard to see why.

9 things to expect when you start working out
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Alright, now for the bad. I’m not being a downer for no reason. Preparing for the following inevitable downsides that you’ll face as you begin weight lifting will make you more likely to succeed long-term. 

Learning Curve

This is going to be a tough transition, but you’re tough enough to get through it. The reptilian part of your brain wants you to maintain the status quo and will trick you into thinking a lot of nonsense aimed at getting you back to “normal.” Recalibrating your “normal” won’t feel great. You have two options: either push through or learn to embrace the weird feelings that come with getting out of your comfort zone. Some people get addicted to that feeling, I think. I don’t know this from experience. Take comfort in knowing that when you get over the learning curve, it’ll be a lot easier. Ditto for when you have a new “normal” calibration.

Lack of motivation

No matter how much intention-setting, affirmation-saying, and dream-boarding you do, you will 100% lack motivation at several points along the way. The thing you have to develop is discipline. You work out. Even when you don’t feel like it. Sometimes you’ll let this lack of motivation get the best of you, and you won’t follow through on your workout plan. Normal. Get over it. 


When you’re lifting weights at the proper intensity, you’re going to create micro tears in your muscles. These tears = soreness. You might not feel the full effect for a couple of days after a workout, and soreness can sometimes last for days. Your body will adapt to exercise and stop getting as sore as you become more fit, becoming more efficient at recovery. Be sure to ease into a program slowly, fuel your body properly, and get adequate sleep to avoid debilitating soreness.


There you have it. If you’re a skimmer, let me tell you again in case you missed it: being able to anticipate the perks and challenges through the beginning of your workout journey will help you to stay motivated and on-track. As a coach I help my clients acknowledge the peaks and stay the course through the valleys, but I like to share my not-so-secret-sauce.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. I have an online group coaching program that helps women get through the learning curve of getting started – customized workouts, weekly coaching sessions, individual check-ins. Learn more here! If you’re more into one-on-one support, reach out to me for a free, online coaching session.

P.P.S. Grab a cool freebie here!! I wrote a post about what “before” measurements you should track to stay motivated and created a little downloadable/printable tracker. It’s pretty cute, too 😉 

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