Waist Training or Waste of Money?

In today’s society there’s always a new gadget or device aimed at getting a slimmer waist, a perkier chest, or a bigger butt. Most of the time these products are mildly beneficial and excruciatingly expensive. Today’s post is aimed at one such pathetic scams… the waist trainer.

Have you seen a trendy waist trainer out there on your favorite Instagram “fitness” model? Or maybe you’ve seen one of the Kardashians. There seems to be no end to the people who tout these “waist trainers” as the end-all be-all for achieving a small waist. So, what’s the deal? Do they work?

How They Work

These waist trainers offer a slight compression that can give you that hourglass look… when you’re wearing them. They are generally made of neoprene or other non-breathable materials and generally close with a “fish and hook” closure at the front. They have no boning and no laces.

Essentially, they work in the same manner that all of those old-school sauna suits work… they can assist with temporary water loss in the area.

Why They’re Bad

  • Firstly, these so-called “waist trainers” are, in fact, not training your waist. Quite the opposite, actually. By exercising with a waist trainer you may be atrophying your core musculature. It goes without saying, but, to effectively train one’s waist you must actually activate and use your core musculature throughout exercise. 
  • These so-called “waist trainers” can actually impair your ability to exercise with proper form and limit your stamina. For example, it is difficult to properly brace the core before heavy squatting or deadlifting and you may experience difficulty breathing as your diaphragm (a key part of your core musculature) is hindered from expanding fully. This can lead to injury, losing consciousness, and more.
  • It’s also important to note that fat loss comes from a calorie deficit. Since these essentially have no impact on how many calories you consume or burn they can have no impact on fat loss. So while you may experience temporary slimming of your waist, as soon as you replenish water and food your waist will be back to normal. 
  • At the hefty price they’re selling for (usually close to $100) that’s just a poor return on investment.

Solution: Control your calorie intake to lose fat in your mid-section.

The Misleading Fear Mongering

As much as I think these waist trainers are a complete waist-of-time (hehe), what I will contend is that they do not have the same negative side-effects as corsets.

I’ve seen several “experts” (usually physicians who have done absolutely no research) on local news channels going on and on about how this fitness fad is “going to re-arrange your organs” and “can be fatal”. This could not be farther from the truth. These “waist trainers” are not corsets.

Here’s a real “bonified” corset!

Real Corsets

True waist training (also called tight-lacing) with corsets is real, can be permanent, and a completely different beast entirely.

Firstly, real corsets offer a significant level of compression through the use of boning (usually steel) and are made even tighter with the use of laces. Real corsets must be worn for hours and hours a day (up to all hours!) for months and even years at a time to achieve real “waist training”. These individuals may experience a change in the shape of their waist even when not corseted, however, must continue to waist train or their results will also be temporary.

Corseting relies on manipulation of soft tissue. Your body fat, age, whether you’ve had children, etc. all determine how much you can reduce your waist. In general, if you’re able to achieve a 20% reduction with your corset on it’s considered “tight lacing”.

To Recap: Real “waist training” with corsets is not the same thing as using a “waist trainer”.


In Conclusion

Don’t waste your money on a fitness “waist trainer”. It’s not going to do a damn thing for your long-term waist size. If you are very passionate about corsetry, look into real “waist training”.  Understand that these have potential negative side-effects (including dependence).