Everyone wants to look and feel good. As part of getting in shape, everyone worries about their midsection, waist, and abs. Guys want a “tapered V” and girls want an “hourglass figure,” but many don’t want to go through the work of dieting and exercising to slim down and tone their bodies.
For decades, the workout equipment or accessories that promise to help you burn fat, slim your waist, and more with little effort have been a point of interest. The newest product that is fueling the craze is the waist trainer, a product that promises to shape your waist to help you achieve the hourglass figure that everyone wishes for. With celebrities like Kim Kardashian raving about how hers has helped shape her figure after having a child, everyone wants to give it a try.
Now for the question that you’re probably asking yourself: Does it really work? In this article, we’ll go over what you can expect from them, any dangers of usage, and will let you know if it’s too good to be true.
What They are and How They Work
Waist trainers are primarily corsets and other similar pieces of apparel that are used to help shape your body. They used to be steel-boned corsets that compress your midsection, but now have become latex “cinchers” that squeeze your midsection, but with more freedom than their steel counterparts. As you may have guessed, they are placed around your waist, with the intention of helping to shape any extra fat or skin inwards, making you look thinner. This is how women achieve the hourglass figure that you will find the Kardashians, and fashion and health magazines raving over.
These waist trainers work by compressing your waist – including the floating ribs, internal organs, and fat that it contains – inwards, giving you a slimmer look. You will often start with a model that is not very tight, and over time, you will gradually increase the tightness and duration that they are worn. As you go tighter, your waist will begin to appear smaller, and your body shape will change.
Results You Can Expect
The validity of using a waist trainer to slim your waist is heavily debated. Many companies have an array of pictures of their clients before and after using their products. They claim that their products alone have helped to burn away fat, reshape their body, and allow them to be happier in their own bodies. While the results are definitely encouraging, there is more to it than you may think.
Whether a waist trainer works or not likely depends on what your definition of “working” is. Many believe that they work to burn belly fat and tone the muscles of the midsection. However, scientists have spoken out against this claim, stating that there is no scientific evidence that a waist trainer of any kind will work to reduce body fat on its own.
Scientifically, there is no way that you can “spot reduce” fat, such as in the midsection. Instead, doctors believe that the latex waist cinchers and trainers instead increase the body temperature of the area, causing the user to sweat. This sweat helps to reduce the “water weight” that they are carrying around, giving the illusion of lost weight. However, upon rehydration or eating, you are likely to see your results vanish.
If your goal is to shape your waist physically rather than tone it or lose fat, then a waist trainer will likely work for you. They compress your midsection over an extended period of time, similar to how braces will correct your tooth alignment over time. This moves the bottom-most ribs, known as the floating ribs inwards. As they move inwards, the tissue and fat that surrounds them follow, leaving you with a thinner look. It also compresses your internal organs – namely your stomach – closer to each other and sometimes upwards away from the source of the compression. This helps to clear out the room necessary to move the ribs and skin in but poses its own dangers.
As you may have guessed, relocating your ribs and internal organs isn’t without its faults. There are dangers associated with compressing your organs and constantly applying pressure to your midsection and diaphragm. If your waist trainer is too tight, it could pose a serious threat to your health.
When you constantly have pressure on your midsection, your diaphragm cannot expand and contract properly. Because you need your diaphragm properly working to breathe, this can cause breathing problems that can do more harm than good for your health. When your internal organs are moved, you will also begin to have digestive issues because your body does not have the room to process regular bodily functions correctly. Compressing your organs can also lead to blood flow issues, can weaken your core muscles due to the waist trainer acting as stabilizing muscles, and more.
Depending on what you’re looking to accomplish, a waist trainer could work for you. In the short-term, a corset or other waist trainer can be a great way to look your best for events or for smaller durations. However, they will not actively contribute to losing weight or toning your midsection. They can help you to lose weight the same way that wearing more clothes when working out will help, but nothing outside of good old-fashioned sweating away the fat!
If you want to shape your waist, you can use a waist trainer to shape it. For the safest use, it would be best to go very slowly and to limit how tight you go. Limiting the tightness will allow you to avoid compressing your organs enough to cause problems, while still likely helping to make you look slimmer.
In the end, a waist trainer should only be used once you understand the risks and how to safely use one. However, it is no substitute for diet and exercise. There is unfortunately not shortcut available to get a healthy and toned midsection. Hard work is safe, will allow you to burn fat, and will improve your overall health – not just your waistline!