Currently I restarted lifting (weights) after a 2 month hiatus to get stronger. Back when I was lifting almost daily, like 5 times a week, there was no soreness in my arms. But when I started, I remember there was a lot of soreness and you just adapt. Is there a phrase or even a single word that describes how it starts off hard, then it only gets easier? I realize that you can "adapt" to the situation, but that is not the phrase/word I am looking for. The best analogy I come up with is in chemistry, where some things have a high activation energy but then the chart gets lower. The phrase does not have to relate to weights/lifting/fitness.

  • This seems more a question for the Stack Exchange - Sports site.
    – WS2
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 9:34
  • I'll flag it, so that a moderator can see. Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 9:44
  • 1
    I was going to suggest acclimate but that isn't it; it's too passive. My example would be those tender fingers one gets when initially picking up a guitar. It's that initial floundering/pain of a new activity which subsides after time.
    – user116032
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 15:49
  • 4
    It's not a perfect fit, but it's similar to learning curve.
    – Barmar
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 20:03
  • 1
    It won’t work in the chemistry example, but @user116032 ‘s mention of sore fingers and learning guitar made me think of Ringo’s “You got to pay your dues if you want to [play] the blues (without hurting your fingers) ...And you know it don't come easy.”
    – Papa Poule
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 13:17

2 Answers 2


In business, one might call these high startup costs a barrier to entry, which is defined by Wikipedia as "an obstacle that makes it difficult to enter a given market".


growing pains: The difficulties experienced in the early stages of an enterprise.

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