How working out affects your wardrobe

About Me · Fitness

I don’t really know how to write this post without sounding like I’m bragging or like I’m vain or, I don’t know,  like there’s something wrong with me. Because I’m not writing it for any of those reasons. I’m writing it because I’m proud and I want to share something that’s been working for me.

And what is that something? Strength training.

Photo Jul 23, 4 02 21 PM

Tracking journal customized and provided c/o Journal Menu

I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Wait. This is a style blog. Why are you talking about working out?? Don’t you have a fitness blog for that?”

But here’s the thing: working out can change your body. And when your body changes it changes what you wear.

For example, take these three dresses.


Which are all from Le Tote, by the way. Which I love because it lets me try things I wouldn’t think I could wear…until now. Try it yourself for 50% off with code ERIN25. Sales pitch over. 

Last year at this time I wouldn’t have felt comfortable wearing them. In fact, for the longest time I didn’t feel comfortable in a wrap dress at all. I felt like they clung, showed every bump I had (or imagined I had) and just weren’t flattering. Never mind a body-skimming knit dress that could possibly enhance a bulge or two.

Now, I know, you’re rolling your eyes and thinking that I’ve always looked just fine. But, when you’re in your own body and wearing your clothes every day you can tell when something is off. In fact, I noticed it with my red and green pants.


When I replaced my original red pants I had to go up a size. Actually, I had to go up two sizes. And I almost replaced these green pants that I’ve had since 2012 because they had gotten too tight in the waist. I haven’t been a couch potato in years, but clearly whatever I was doing (running all the time) wasn’t doing enough.

But last fall I met a woman in my office who had an enviable physique. I asked her what her secret was and she told it was the book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. So, I bought it. And it became my bible. How to eat, how to workout, what to lift at the gym. I even got a personal trainer that I meet with once a week.

And it paid off. I lost 10+ pounds, I’ve got almost visible abs for the first time in my life. I’ve got muscle definition in my arms that sometimes you guys even comment on. I can deadlift 1.5 times my bodyweight. And I’m even a faster runner! I don’t follow TLS as religiously anymore (I mean, I do have to train for triathlons and try amazing drinks) but I still workout 4-6 days a week, mostly doing strength training.


Journal Menu lets you choose what type of workouts you want to track and customizes the pages in your journal to match

So, believe it or not, I’ve actually had to re-buy those red pants TWICE, getting them in smaller sizes each time (thank goodness The Limited still sold them!) and now the green pants are a tad bit loose. Actually, a lot of my clothes are too loose. Most of my pencil skirts are too big at this point. Thankfully I rarely have to wear them. But, I have expanded my dress options because now I feel much more comfortable in knit dresses!

I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and, I have to say, I’m thrilled that my wardrobe options have expanded! I never thought I could wear a wrap dress but, look, here I am rocking one.

I promise I’m not being compensated to tell you about Thinner, Leaner, Stronger and while I received the Journal Menu for free I’m not getting paid anything additional to include it in my life. I just really think it’s awesome that yes, you can make a significant change to your body if you really want it.

If you want to know more, just ask. I know that talking about weight and body shape and what you look like isn’t necessarily “polite” conversation, but it’s such a huge part of my life right now and has had such a big impact on even my wardrobe that I felt weird not sharing.

Now, excuse me, I’m off to find some more dresses that make me feel like a million bucks.

June 4, 2015 - 4 of 4

29 replies on “How working out affects your wardrobe

  1. Nikki

    I think you look like a million bucks!
    I can totally relate to this because I gained some extra pounds over the past few years while at grad school (stress eating and commuting do not mix!) and I’ve noticed that a lot of my cute office wear – especially my pencil skirts and nice slacks – don’t fit as well as they used to. My husband and I started strength training together. We haven’t been doing it very long so I haven’t seen any exciting results yet, except that I do seem to have a little more energy that before. We’re still working on cleaning up our diet, but overall I absolutely LOVE strength training. It’s definitely my favorite type of workout and the one I’ve seemed to stick with the longest. I’m definitely going to check out the book. Thanks for sharing this post, and kudos to you for focusing on your health. You have every right to be proud 🙂

    NCsquared Life

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Please check out the book! It really did help me. His blog/website is and it’s pretty good, too. A little more “guy-focused” than the book, though. But still some good info. Let me know if you have any questions about anything you find in the book. I admit, I paid extra for a custom meal plan because I was having difficulty coming up with my own. It was worth the money, though!

  2. Valerie

    You look fantastic girl! That’s a wonderful feeling right?! I totally hear you on buying different clothes to fit the figure. With a baby and all, my size has been all over the place but now I feel like I’m getting back to “normal” after taking off about 16 lbs on Weight Watchers so far. It’s tough though- I want to clean my closet a bit and downsize and with a base of neutrals and then sprinkle in pieces in a couple accent colors, but it’s tough when your body is changing sizes all the time! A good problem to have though right?!

    PS- so looking forward to seeing you at the Hero race…I am prepared this year with a batman shirt/cape (and Bryce totally has a superman onesie with a cape.) We will be legit this year– and there is a photo booth!!!

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      My problem is that all of my dress clothes are too big but I don’t need to wear dress clothes right now so I don’t want to buy ones that fit. However, if I have to for some reason I don’t know what I’ll do! I’m planning to keep some of the classics (solid colored neutral pencil skirts & pants) just in case I need something in a larger size in the future. Otherwise I guess I’ll just keep buying jeans 🙂

  3. Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

    Tell me more! (You totally stole my wrap-up topic for my marathon post for this coming Monday, by the way 😛 Except mine’s the opposite of yours.) How restrictive is the diet? Am I not going to be allowed to eat wheat products? Do you have to stick to it 100% to get results? What about if you live in an apartment where, say, your roommates have a long-established tradition of cooking dinner for each other, thus rendering you completely out of control for what you eat for dinner twice a week (hence the “Do you have to stick to it 100% of the time” question)? Do you have to belong to a gym to do the strength training workouts? So many questions for a Friday…

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      When I first started I stuck to my diet about 80% of the time. It’s what’s called a “if it fits your macros” diet. So, you figure out how much fat, carbs, and protein you should be eating and then try to stick to those numbers. So, yes, you need to track what you eat. But nothing is specifically off limits. I did pay extra for a specific meal plan because I was having difficulty figuring out my own macros and what would fit them. But, I gave myself at least two “cheat meals” a week for the first 4 months or so (my “cut” aka my main weight and fat loss period) and now I’m even more relaxed (I’m now just maintaining). I can email you the two meal plans I’ve paid for if you want to see them 🙂

      As for the gym, I would say yes. You can only do so much with body weight and light dumbbell exercises. You really need access to an Olympic barbell and a squat rack. I can also send you some of the workouts as well if you want to see what I’m talking about 🙂

      1. Jill Will Run

        You just answered my question about needing a gym membership. I just can’t see signing up for a gym membership at this time because it’s so hard to get that time. We have a home gym that has a good range of dumbbells, I have TRX and my own self for bodyweight exercises. But I need to figure out something… I’ve noticed you looking more cut, the summer months where you’ve showed your arms more illustrated it! Eating to macros sounds restricting too though! 🙂

  4. Emily @ Out and About

    Rock on, Erin!!! Way to go!!! I think a lot of women are afraid of weight-lifting because they think it is for all the meatheads and will bulk them up. That is really too bad because it is so much more effective than cardio!

    Thanks to your inspiration, I downloaded a copy of Thinner, Leaner, Stronger this morning. I took a quick look through it and was happy to see all the details on proper lifting form. This will be really helpful!

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I swear. Mike from TLS should be paying me some kind of stipend considering how many women I have gotten to buy the book 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions!

  5. Melissa

    Love this post! I know I am “leaned up” the most when I am strength training/doing HIIT. I got a little bit (ok..a lot) derailed from this when I trained for NYC last year because hey, there are only so many hours in a day and when training for a marathon one must run! I’m finding my way “back” and pretty intrigued about the book.

    I am curious, how much are you running now that you are following this routine? And do you miss it?

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I was just telling someone today that my friends and I used to joke that we couldn’t wait until marathon training season was over so we could get back in shape.

      I run maybe once or twice every two weeks and, no, I don’t miss it at all! I get in my “long” cardio with biking and swimming instead. So much better in this summer heat, anyway 🙂 For example, I used to try to run 8-10 miles on Saturday or Sunday and now I bike between 20 and 40 on those days instead. Or I swim half a mile one day and bike the other. During the week I rarely run. Maybe one 3-5 miler. And yet I still PRed at a 10K last Saturday! A hilly 10K where, admittedly, I was a little hung over and sleep-deprived at the start line. Crazy, right?

      1. Melissa

        Glad to know I’m not the only one! I love being active—at this point working out is a part of my daily routine just like brushing my teeth—but it’s important to me that I actually see results from all the time I put in as well! I visited a nutritionist about 2 years ago and had my RMR tested and had a customized eating plan developed (similar to macros because I am not going to spend my life obsessively counting calories) so I’m excited to challenge myself in new ways. Definitely going to check this out.

  6. Alexandra @ My Urban Family

    I love this post! Such a big part of looking amazing is feeling wonderful in your own skin. And that can be at any size, but I always feel so much better when I’m exercising and being healthy at least a little bit over the week. Thanks for the recommendation for the book!

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I’m glad this post is getting such a good reception! I know some people who get really weirded out or upset when others talk about their fitness/health journey. And I totally agree that it doesn’t matter your size but how you feel about yourself that matters.

      If you check out the book and have any questions, let me know! I’ve been following the workout and eating plan since last fall so , while I’m not an expert, I have a basic idea of what works and what you can ignore 🙂

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      I’ve been “working out” in one form or another for years but this is the first time I’ve noticed such a big change. It’s probably a lot about the eating, too, but DANG does lifting weights have a big impact!

  7. Maggie

    Well I actually WANT to look muscular. I don’t understand women who are scared to look strong. I look at Serena Williams and I’m like daaayyyuumm she looks good.

      1. Maggie

        That’s pretty badass. I wonder how long it would take me to achieve the same. Robert is like 270 or something.

        And now I have a new goal in life….

  8. Alison @ Peacoat Diaries

    Thanks! Definitely checking out this book. I know my mostly cardio plan isn’t working for me, but I feel like I don’t really have time to figure out what else I should be doing (and I don’t really want to spend $$ on a trainer).

    Appreciate the recommendation and glad to hear it worked well for you 🙂

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Let me know if you have any questions after you check out the book! I hope you find it useful. My mostly cardio plan kind of stopped working for me, too, and this really helped me not feel so lost at sea.

  9. Anne

    I wanted to comment on this last week, and especially after seeing you over the weekend (after it had been a while) – damn, you look awesome!

    Running never made a difference for me in terms of weight loss or feeling leaner or more trim either. I know that strength training is a lot more effective for those things. I bought a book “Strength Training for Fat Loss” over the winter that I’ve been working from, and I’m starting to see some results, but I’d like to check your book out too. Do you do much cardio in addition to lifting these days?

    In any event, you should be proud and celebrating your hard work! Buying new clothes because you’re getting smaller is fun – I remember doing it a few years back when I was working with a trainer, and hope to fit into those again sometime soon 🙂 Btw, if you have a good tailor, you can save all those pencil skirts. I had a lot of mine taken in and they looked just as good as new.

    1. Erin @ Loop Looks Post author

      Thank you for the compliment!

      Right now I do cardio 2-3 times a week just because I’ve got my triathlon on Sunday so I’m trying to swim at least once a week and bike and/or run at least once. Over the winter, though, I was doing maybe 1-2 times a week of cardio and very little running. TLS recommends doing 20-30 minute HIIT sessions 3-4 times a week and separating it from your weight lifting sessions by several hours, but I just don’t have time to spend 45 minutes lifting and then another 30 minutes doing cardio several hours later that often. I will say, though, that I saw faster results when I added in 1-2 HIIT sessions in addition to the strength stuff.

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