You might be wondering if there’s any truth to the waist trainer fad...
What are waist trainers ?
Waist trainers are undergarments that claim to “train” your waist to become narrower, giving you more of an hourglass shape. They’re usually made of thick fabric and can contain hard metal boning. You’re supposed to wrap them around your middle as tight as you can, please ! Cinching the whole thing shut with Velcro, hooks, or laces.
If the design sounds kind of like a corset or girdle, well, that’s because it’s pretty much the same thing. All those garments are meant to suck you in like crazy.
But waist trainers take the whole thing a step further by claiming that wearing one often enough will actually reshape your ab muscles to shrink your midsection for good.
Fact or fiction?
Waist trainers claim to make your waist tinier. And they can… temporarily. A waist trainer will suck everything in while you wear it and things might stay that way for a short while afterward. Until your muscles relax back to their normal shape.
OK, but will they help you lose weight? Well, having a super tight band compressing your stomach makes eating pretty unenjoyably. So if you’re trying to curb your portions, wearing a cincher might help you take in fewer calories and perhaps put pressure on your bowels to get rid of extra waste.
But a 2010 study that looked into this actually found that most people who tried to lose weight while wearing a corset just ended up taking off the corset because it was so uncomfortable. They also may make it harder to breathe effectively, squeezing your lungs, which can majorly reduce the amount of air you can take in. That might make you feel like you’re struggling to breathe, leaving you feeling fatigued. This will make your workout more of a struggling which can be a plus by making you burn more calories.
There is one other actual potential plus… If you have a higher body weight, a waist trainer might give you temporary core support you might need to boost your mobility and flexibility.
Reasons NOT to wear a waist trainer
Wearing a waist trainer for a few hours will probably be uncomfortable, but it isn’t actually bad for you. Waist trainers literally squeeze your insides. Smooshing your middle several inches smaller means all the stuff on the inside is getting smooshed too. This can get very uncomfortable.
Exercising in general isn’t awesome when you feel totally out of breath. The breathing troubles will actually cause lactic acid to build up in your muscles, making you feel that burning, can’t-push-any-further feeling sooner.
They could wreck your posture and hurt your back. Despite the short-term core support a waist trainer might provide for some people with higher body weights, using one long-term will actually cause your core muscles to weaken since they don’t have to work as hard to support you. That can lead to a slumpy posture and back pain.
They’ll take you to Heartburn City. Again, the squeezing, people. All that pressure can cause acids from your stomach to splash up into your throat, especially if you’ve recently eaten.
Other ways to shape your waist
You probably know where I’m going with this, but it still needs to be said. The best way to make your waist smaller is just with basic diet and exercise.
I find you MUST wear a waist trainer religiously, for long periods of time, for it to be effective. This just isn’t practical for most people. However, I like to think of a waist trainer as “polish” for when my physique is close to “show ready” and I want to take it to the next level and put the work / effort in. If I am 20 – 30 lbs or more over weight, wearing a waist trainer not going to do much at all but make me feel uncomfortable. These things don’t actually work for weight loss or permanently change your shape to give you more curves. However, it may be fine to wear one for a few hours as part of a costume.
What do you think about this ? Feel free to comment here or head over to the TeamTNA forum to post a new thread.