How I Got This Body: Giving Up Being “Skinny Fat” and Building a Booty Instead

Photographs courtesy Taylor Simpson.

Welcome to How I Got This Body, our look at some of the amazing things the human body is capable of and the Washingtonians who put their bodies to the test. Want to share your transformation story? Email

Who I am: Taylor Simpson (@ilikemyfitnesstaylored), 30, personal trainer from Arlington

Why I wanted to make a change: “I was sick of feeling ‘skinny fat,’ weak, and ready to just shake things up!  I actually was a New Years Resolutioner—the very first time I joined a gym was on January 1I did a major career change because of that leap of faith I took in getting a membership.  I went from working on Capitol Hill, in the non-profit world to then owning my own health, fitness, and mindfulness business. So, if people need January 1 to kick start their journey, then I always say go for it. You’ll never know where it takes you.”

My inspiration: Funny enough, I remember my exact words for wanting to lift weights: ‘I want Michelle Obama arms!'”

How I transformed: I weighed 105lbs when I first joined that gym. I now weigh 148lbs! This was over a five-year period and ready for it? My body fat has maintained the same! This is why I always preach the importance of not going by that ridiculous number on the scale, because when you do it can get in your head and you obsess over it, and miss out on seeing what’s really happening to your body. I do compete in bodybuilding competitions (bikini division), so when I prep for that, my body fat drops significantly, but my ‘maintenance’ has always stayed the same, even back at that 105lbs. My strength has increased drastically throughout my transformational journey.  I started off deadlifting probably around 60lbs. Now I’m up to 265lbs. It truly is amazing how much we can change our body with consistency and dedication. My glutes have transformed the most—going from ‘a long back’ (thanks to my brother for that one) to being known for my ‘bigger’ glutes.  Again, just goes to show that no matter your body type, anyone can have their own drastic transformation and create the body they want!”

I remember my exact words for wanting to lift weights: ‘I want Michelle Obama arms!’

My exercise plan: “I love glute and leg day. So anything that involves deadlifts, Bulgarian splits, squats, or walking lunges. When it comes to shoulder day I incorporate Around the Worlds (killer!), Arnolds, angled lateral raises—all of which I share videos of on my Instagram pageIt’s also important to note that some weeks I only get to the gym two to three times. I find it’s key to make exercise a part of your life, but not your entire life if other things arise.

My healthy eating plan: At first I just ate whatever I wanted, not really aware of the importance of nutrition around a workout program. Once I became more educated, I realized how much your food intake impacts your body changes. I eventually took up If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) macro counting and thrived with that. I realized how specific each of our bodies are and learned how to calculate my own macros and did so for two to three years.  I began coaching (and still do) other women on macro counting which I believe is the ideal ‘diet.’  So I never had to cut out any foods, because as long as I hit my macros by the end of the day, I could include Oreos along with my spinach.”

How I stuck to my goals: The community I’ve build and my determination to always improve myself. I first created my fitness Instagram account to simply share my workout outfits (because I love fashion) and then eventually I began filming and sharing my workouts. Sharing when I am at the gym, and knowing people were looking forward to my outfits and eventually to get my workout of the day, pushed me to get to the gym on the days I really wasn’t feeling it.”

How I feel now: “I was insecure, unsure of the body I was in, including my mind, and now I feel confident, self-aware, and most importantly my mindset is all about improving myself so I can help inspire others to do the same! I recently created The Mind and Body Empowerment Tribe, which guides women through their transformation—these are the tools that I’ve been using over the past five years, which I now can confidently share.”

One piece of advice: Write down any ‘limiting beliefs’ you have and on the opposite side of the page write down what you could do if they weren’t true. I’m too fat, other people at the gym will judge me—instead write and say, Everyone started somewhere at that gym! I am no different, as each of us have different goals. They’re there to support me!”

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.