Friday Roundup: Are You a Small-Sized “Large?”

I had great feedback on my first roundup last week and yes, I am doing it again this week. Today I share a real-life anecdote about how muscle changes your body along with a thought-provoking message from a fellow blogger.

How Clothes Fit When You’re Fit

I was at one of those “I-wish-I-was-rich” workout clothing stores (not a good thing as I’m severely addicted to workout clothes), trying on various wish-list items. I went through about 10 small and medium sizes and every single one was too small. Not entirely surprised but a little frustrated, I told the sales lady I needed a size large and asked if their clothes ran small.
She just kept shaking her head, furrowing her brow, and explaining that there was simply no way I could be a “large” (and no, their clothes did not run small). She said she wore a medium so certainly I should.  She was a little taller than me and had a slightly bigger frame, but most notably she had “booty,” meaning she was genetically blessed with a larger, shapely behind.

I finally explained to her that I lift weights, and with that I rolled up my sleeve I flexed my bicep to prove the point. She merely continued to look perplexed (I will say that another sales lady actually gasped when I did this – ha!)

What most people don’t understand is that when your body composition consists of more muscle, clothes fit differently than when you have more body fat. I wear a size “large,” but that’s because muscle is denser than fat.

The take home? Don’t get caught up in clothes sizes and what the scale says. Muscle changes the game, friends, and it’s a good thing.

What it Really Takes

I follow a lovely lady named Jody and you may know her too. She’s one of the most gracious, generous, and positive people you will ever meet, and also pretty experienced with this fitness stuff. Her thoughts this week about what it takes to reach your goals piqued my interest:

I respectfully think we baby people too much in this regard. People expect it to be easier than it is OR that they can go back to the way they were eating & living prior to weight loss & lifestyle changes. I think people need to understand it will be hard but worth it & they can find ways to make it more enjoyable to them by finding food & exercise that works for them vs. trying to conform to a diet that they may not like long term… If expectations are that it is going to be “not that hard” or “not life long work at it”.. well, they give up because that is what it is… finding ways to let them know this & encourage at the same time is the key…”

In other words, there are NO FREAKIN’ SHORTCUTS.

I attract motivated, star clients.  They work their butts off and make the big effort, including reporting to me online every week and being accountable to themselves. They think ahead and know that getting into the best shape of their lives is a long-term deal. Hell, I have one client who wants to be in the best shape of her life by NEXT SPRING. I admire her commitment to the process.

But there are *some* people (definitely not my clients) who want results quick. They have a vacation in two months or a wedding in six weeks, and they want to be all fixed up by then. Ten pounds gone and lots of fabulous muscle too. Or they have a bit of a health problem that they’re just sure can be remedied in six weeks.

I’ve learned not to work with these folks, not just because they’re impatient, but because they give up. It takes hard work to attain your dream body. It takes perseverance to overcome chronic pain or fatigue. It takes commitment to reach any goal.

I have endless respect for those who buckle down, take deep breaths, and keep forging ahead, day after day, even when they know change isn’t happening tomorrow or even next month. Is that you?

Coming Up Next Week

My clients have suggested I write a “day in the life of clean eating” post and I’ve resisted since I already written lots of clean eating articles. But I decided to follow myself (huh?) last week and document my thoughts and behaviors as I went through a typical day. I’m glad I did because I think it will be insightful to anyone looking to improve their eating lifestyle!

Until next time…

34 thoughts on “Friday Roundup: Are You a Small-Sized “Large?”

  1. It’s definitely hard to forget about size and numbers sometimes, but it’s so important to take a step back and think about how you actually feel! I agree, no shortcuts and people often forget or don’t realize that it’s hard work. But it’s totally worth it 🙂


  2. Okay it’s like you read my mind!!!!!

    First, I noticed this when I reached goal weight. I’d lost my weight mostly by swimming and as such, I have big swimmer’s shoulders. It’s near impossible to find shirts that fit. Ever. I rarely find a button-up shirt because then I can’t move my arms. Most of the time I have to buy a size bigger in shirts that are comfortable in the shoulders and then they are baggy everywhere else. 😦

    So I went up a size in jeans this summer. I’ve lost the “vacation weight” and am back to my normal size (which used to be a size 4) and I thought for sure that I’d go back down in my jeans. But now I’m thinking that it’s the weight lifting! Because my pants are no longer loose in the hips and butt area like they were before! Weight lifting most definitely changes the shape of your body.


  3. THANK YOU. I needed this today and actually just tweeted how it sucks all my pants which are slim fit or skinny jeans are too tight. The fact that they are tight in the waist makes me nervous but I’m 2 weeks out from my first full marathon, which has really coincided with me taking up crossfit and actually lifting super heavy so I’ve got shoulder and back muscles, and big ol’ quads and hamstrings now. When I’m sad and don’t like my pants or the scale, I think about how strong I’ve gotten! These legs can carry me 26.2 miles!


  4. I hear ya about the sizing issue. But it’s the second thing your wrote about that is in my mind. So many people want to lose the weight fast, and like you said, that can happen, at the risk of losing that bless-ed muscle. This is something for me to ponder as I accept new clients. I need to hold out for the star clients. 🙂 Thanks Suzanne.


    • This will be so important in your business, Bethany, and I found it out after quite a bit of struggling in the beginning. Even as a new trainer you need to connect with people you can help.


  5. Suzanne, this is one of my favorite posts you have written! I have shopped in the store that shall not be named and had a similiar experience. It really is about your own optimum fitness and not the size. Btw at my location they t sizes rune ll people the sizes run small.


  6. Every designer uses different cuts to their clothes. That means, even if you wear clothes at one store in a medium, you could honestly fit perfectly in a small in another store, and large in a third store. You have to focus on the fit, and not the size. But I am looking forward to reading your day in a life of clean eating.


  7. I’ve learned the same thing. After one bride and her mom it was enough. I am very upfront with people that my methods are slow and sustainable. They’ll see results quickly but just not always in pounds lost. I can guarantee more energy, more confidence and a better nights sleep!


  8. I learned at a young age that size shouldn’t affect how you are on the inside. When I lived in Singapore, I often had to wear L and/or XL when I was underweight my entire young life. I had to wait sometimes eight weeks to get shoes, because they didn’t have shoes larger than a size 5. So, this helped me when I had to buy bicycle shorts and needed to go up to size L, because of my massive thighs (going to say muscle thighs), although, the L fit sort of big on my waist. This is how it’s been for me. So, I’m used to it.

    And I suspect that people making women’s clothes have the wrong idea about normal women anyways.


    • You lived in Singapore as a child? I didn’t know that. I’ve never paid attention much to sizes myself but I was sure flummoxed by this sales lady’s reaction to the whole thing.


  9. LOVE this post!!! You rock lady & glad you are working with the serious folks! When I was training way way back when, people just did not get it & I got frustrated.. went back to Corporate work to make money & of course I hated it but never went back to training…

    Wish people would get that it is not a one time thing – lose * walk away.. I am so happy you get the truly committed folks that get it!

    Thank you so much for including me!

    BTW, your posts come to my inbox the next day so that is why I did not see this yet.. 🙂

    comment luv has days it does not like me 🙂
    Running Gear & Designer Whey Giveaway Winner–designer-whey-giveaway-winner.aspx


    • I think that’s frustrating for most trainers but I’m just proud of my clients! I do love my job and of course meeting people like you :). I hear you about not being notified of the post, sometimes that takes awhile!


  10. Hi Suzanne, I too agree that when you have quite a lot of muscle, clothing does not always fit as expected but it’s a small price to pay 😉 You’re spot on attaining fitness and losing weight are not achieved by a quick fix but by putting the time and effort in.


  11. I love this – I don’t tend to get too wrapped about size or weight but I’ve always wondered how some people can wear smaller sizes than me – now it makes sense (I have more muscle and they are just smaller!!).


  12. I don’t get how anyone thinks it won’t require a permanent change in lifestyle. How much evidence do you need that diets don’t work. Breaks my heart to see my friends yo yo. I’m not in the greatest shape but I’ve made peace with the idea that I need to find the routine I can live with and accept the body that comes with it. No point in looking great if it means making yourself miserable- which won’t last anyway.

    Well, maybe we can always be looking to make small improvements at the margins. 🙂

    And I have the sizing issue in reverse- people would be shocked by my scale weight since I still fit into smaller clothiers. Gotta love the muscle.


  13. i always ask my clients if they are WANTING and WILLING. It’s not a 6 week plan, it’s a life plan. You know?

    As for the sizing. I now have a butt and went up in pants. I mean, i actually fill it out now. To me, that’s good! They need to make bubble butt pants.


    • I like your question to clients (and may borrow it;). Asking the right questions is the answer, if that makes sense, especially when looking honestly at your own motivation. And congrats on getting a booty sista. Maybe you’ve hit upon a million-dollar marketing idea with the pants (may borrow this too? hahah).


  14. I really don’t care about going up a size in jeans or blouses, as long as it’s because I’ve been working hard in the gym and not indulging on sweet treats…

    And don’t even get me started on the whole upsizing of sizes in the fashion industry… who wants to be a ‘0’ anyways???


    • The sizing issue brings up a lot of emotion in people. Of course (many of us) are going to react when our size is different than it was before (good or bad). I think it’s a shame the clothing industry tries to manipulate how we feel about ourselves with upsizing.


  15. I have worked so hard to get where I am, but some days I admit it’s a struggle to not give up and I do at times give in. I’m not completely satisfied with my body right now, I want more muscle. It’s a challenge to find a balance. Your right though the scale and clothing size only reflect part of the journey, it really is a life style change. Now if I could only get rid of this pooch! 😉


    • I love that perspective – “The scale and clothing size only reflect part of the journey, it really is a life style change.” Important to keep this in mind to avoid losing motivation.


  16. Oh my gosh—yes! I very often have to buy size L t-shirts and fitted shirts because of my upper-body musculature. I am by no means a large woman, and sometimes I think, “If I have to buy a size large, what size do women who really *are* large need to buy?

    The other things that’s tough is buying suits. I have to buy different sizes for top and bottom. There’s usually a two-size difference between the jacket and the skirt.

    I also *love* the quoted comment from Jody. Hard but worth it: that pretty much sums it up for me.

    Building a fit body is a whole lot like any other worthy endeavor—like running a business, creating and maintaining a successful relationship, having a baby, writing a book, etc.

    If anyone told us *those* thoughts would be “quick and easy,” we’d laugh in her face. But some part of us still longs to believe that people with beautiful, healthy bodies must know some shortcut.


    • Right… I can relate with these problems. I think it’s important to understand that fat takes up less space density-wise than muscle. Sizes are so irrelevant… it’s how your clothes feel that matters. And thanks for your insight into how much effort is required for a healthy, beautiful body. Thinking of it as an endeavor similar to other large tasks really puts it into a more realistic perspective!


  17. I try not to focus on size too much. I do notice that even though I look and feel good, sometimes the size of my clothes can leave me frustrated. I then focus on what matters and that is how I feel, plus I am literally a different size depending on the store and department. I can run anywhere from a 2-8. HArd work pays off and slow and steady wins the race. Fast results usually work against you in the long run.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s