So we’ve convinced you that lifting weights is a good idea (or at least got you curious)? Here’s a heads up of what to expect.

8 weeks to LEAN muscles - Women's Health & Fitness

2 weeks
It mightn’t show in your skinny jeans, but trust us – things are happening. According to exercise physiologists at Ohio University and Pennsylvania State University, molecular changes in the muscle begin within two to four weeks of initiating a resistance program of five sessions a fortnight.

In fact, scientists found significant changes in the thigh muscles after just four workouts. "In the early phase of weight training, the body is adjusting its various systems to prepare you to become a stronger and more capable organism and it's these changes that we've found are happening at a much faster pace than anyone thought," said William Kraemer, professor of applied physiology at Pennsylvania State University and co-author of the study.

3 weeks
This is the time you want to put the scales in the shed. If you’re new to strength training, it’s not unusual to gain a bit of weight as muscle tissue grows. If you gain cms, sit tight. In a couple of weeks the balance will tip as you lose body fat. Those boyfriend jeans will be falling off.  

4 - 12 weeks
Sure, you can’t see it, but your body is getting better at recruiting motor units involved in muscle contractions (geek speak: neural activation). As more muscle fibres contract, your strength increases.

6 weeks
Hola, Superwoman. At this stage you can expect to be hauling as much as 80 per cent more than in your first session. Participants in one large study reported increasing their arm and leg strength by 46 to 80 per cent in six weeks.

8 weeks
Here’s where you need yourself a damn good belt, after losing around 1.6 kilos of fat and adding around 900 grams of cold, hard, calorie burning muscle. That’s the average leger from two to three strength training sessions a week, according to studies at Massachusetts’ South Shore YMCA. (That extra bit of muscle will burn an extra 35 to 50 calories a day, or half a kilo every 10 weeks!).

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