By Ana Snyder, M.S., Exercise Physiology; CPT, FNS
This waist trainer stands out from the others because it is made of a breathable latex material. As a result, it wicks away excess sweat and prevents you from overheating during exercise. It’s also made with a curved design that’s perfect for supporting your spine during your heavy strength training days. Although it was made for exercise, it can also be appropriate for everyday use. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t bunch up, allowing it to lie flat under whatever you put on. Lastly, since it comes in 10 different sizes, it ensures you can find your perfect fit. It’s very important that the waist trainer you buy fits snugly, but doesn’t cause discomfort.
This trainer can only be worn for a couple of months. After that period, some of the clasps usually start to loosen, and the wire boning starts to stick out. This isn’t necessarily a con, as waist trainers should be changed out often just like regular undergarments.
YIANNA sport girdle stands out from other waist trainers because of its breathable fabric and sizing choices. Many waist trainers are either too small or so thick they put you at risk of heat stroke. Unfortunately, it can only be worn for a couple of months, before it starts falling apart. However, you shouldn’t wear the same corset much longer than that anyway for hygienic purposes.
This trainer is made of Neoprene polyester, which makes it extremely comfortable and stretchy. It doesn’t have any boning in it, which adds to its comfort level. Although it’s very stretchy, it still acts to compress your core and provides lumbar spine support to help you on your heavier lifting days.
Because it doesn’t have any boning, this trainer has to use more material to give you support. As a result, it’s too bulky to wear under regular clothes and should only be worn while working out. As a fitness belt, it’s perfect, though, because it doesn’t impede your movements whatsoever.
This is one of the most flexible waist belts on the market, making it perfect for your workouts. It isn’t the best choice for everyday wear, as it doesn’t fit as flat to your body.
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By now everyone should know what a waist trainer is. Ever since the Kardashians started posting about them all over their social media pages, they’ve become one of the most controversial fitness products. In case you still need a more detailed description, waist trainers are very similar to a modern-day corset. They are designed to train your waist to become smaller over time. But does waist training really work?
Part of the controversy around waist trainers is that there is no actual proof they can permanently change your figure. Another is that the waist trainer’s predecessor, the corset, is infamous for deforming the bodies of Victorian-era women. Between its lack of effectiveness and possible health risks, these super girdles have gotten a lot of negative press.
Even with all of this information, there is still a lot of confusion on waist trainers. Many people still see them as a viable option for weight loss. The reason they’re so appealing is that they tease the user into believing they can change their figure without changing their lifestyle habits. Society puts a lot of pressure on women to achieve the idealized hourglass figure, but how much risk is too much?
So does waist training really work? And if it does, what is it training your body to do? A casual outside observer might say that your body seems to go right back to how it was before as soon as you remove the training garment.
The simplest answer is that they do work, but perhaps not in the way you’re thinking. Waist training can’t physically shrink your body, but it does make you more aware of the food you’re eating. Many people have reported weight loss after they got a corset because it encouraged them to make healthier choices. However, there isn’t any other evidence supporting that waist trainers cause weight loss. Technically, they could be called one of the biggest fitness scams on the market.
Still, they do encourage you to reflect on your habits, and that can make them a useful tool. One person reported that she lost an inch and a half from her waist in only three weeks, when she had previously struggled with other weight loss attempts. Although she knew the possible health risks of waist trainers, she decided to use one to force herself to change her lifestyle. Waist trainers restrict your core, making you less hungry and more conscious of what you’re putting inside your body.
Although waist training isn’t as popular for men, they can also use them as a way to motivate lifestyle change. Since the traditional waist trainers are made for women, they may not be the most useful, however. Women customarily have wider hips than men, making the corset too loose for a man’s lower stomach.
Men also typically have longer waists than women and gain most of their weight in their belly. Therefore they need a waist trainer that takes these characteristics into consideration. For example, if a man has a large belly, he needs to buy a waist trainer with a larger front. If he isn’t overweight, but simply wants to lose a few excess pounds, he should use a corset with a cincher instead.
Waist trainers should never be worn for long periods of time, but especially not in the beginning. When they’re brand new, they’re at their tightest and need to be broken in.
Although the designs of men’s and women’s corsets are completely different, the effects for both are the same. Keep reading below to understand what waist training actually does to your body.
One of the first effects of waist training is good posture. When you wear a corset, it straightens and aligns your back. This can encourage you to adopt new posture habits with or without the apparatus. However, if you wear it too much, you may actually weaken your abdominal muscles, leading to the opposite effect. Weak core muscles often result in back pain and poor posture.
As we already saw, waist trainers can also help you lose weight. Although some of this is due to sweating out water weight, most of its results actually come from a loss of appetite. Corsets compress your tummy like a pair of tight jeans at dinner. They make you think twice about what you’re grabbing to fill up your plate. Unfortunately, compression can also lead to constant stomach pains.
Corsets can also make you lose weight because they instantly make you aware of the extra weight you’re carrying. Since you see yourself in the mirror every day, you may not notice subtle weight changes that slowly add up. You can fool yourself into believing that you haven’t gained very much weight. This is where the corset is useful. It makes you confront weight gain and can make you aware of changes you should make to your diet and exercise.
Are waist trainers safe, though? According to experts, if you are wearing a waist trainer every day for long periods of time, the benefits most definitely do not outweigh the risks. Waist trainers compress your organs, restrict your breathing, and damage your ribs over time. This makes it difficult for your stomach to digest food properly, causing acid reflux. Your lungs can also have oxygen shortages, leading to loss of consciousness and fluid build-up. Lastly, if your ribs are damaged by the compression, they can press into your liver and stress it.
Waist trainers also may not be best to wear when working out because they can cause severe body distress. For example, if it’s too tight, it can weaken your diaphragm. This restricts your blood flow and reduces your neural activation, muscular strength, and oxygen delivery. Neural activation and oxygen delivery are vital for muscular performance. If you reduce their effectiveness and reduce your overall strength, you defeat the purpose of your workout!
There are some exceptions where waist training in the gym can be helpful. It’s important to know which exercises are safe, as well, so we will discuss that a little later on. Cardio, however, isn’t one of them. In fact, corsets shouldn’t be worn during any exercise that raises your heart rate. Since they restrict oxygen delivery, you may feel extremely weak and pass out if you’re not careful. So avoid HIIT classes and any form of cardio whatsoever if you’re wearing a waist trainer.
Even with all these potential side effects, waist training doesn’t have to be dangerous. If you wear your girdle for short periods of time, like shapewear under certain outfits or as a motivator to make healthier decisions, you’re not at risk. Corsets are only dangerous when you wear them religiously in an attempt to restructure your frame.
Waist training can be perfectly safe if you avoid wearing it for long periods of time. When you start a “formal” waist training regimen is when you put yourself in danger.
Although not always recommended, waist training during weight lifting can also be beneficial at times. Corsets provide your spine with extra support and can help you lift heavier weights. Of course, you shouldn’t always rely on a waist trainer for support, as this would weaken your core muscles in the long run. If you choose to waist train, do it on days you’re trying to increase the strength of your lifts. Even then, make sure not to tighten it too much. You should never feel like you can’t breathe or move properly.
Wearing a corset once in a while should be completely harmless. For many people, it even acts as a confidence-booster, which is key to making permanent lifestyle changes down the road. As always, make sure it isn’t too restrictive and, if it ever makes you feel faint, take it off immediately.
When used as shapewear, waist trainers are a great quick fix to slenderize your shape for a night out with friends. However, they haven’t been shown to result in any long-term benefits. Compare them to a more intense version of SPANX that only flattens your stomach when you put it on.
As noted before, corsets can indirectly flatten your stomach by making you more aware of your extra weight, leading to healthier decision making and weight loss. Still, when it comes down to it, simply following healthier habits is more cost-effective and efficient. A study conducted in 2010 found that participants were more likely to stick to low-calorie diets for over a year than wear a girdle. Because girdles are so uncomfortable, most of the participants were unable to keep wearing them.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to drastically cut your calories in order to lose weight. To safely lose weight, you should focus on having a nutritionally balanced diet. Switch out your processed foods for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Also, and perhaps most importantly, practice portion control! Even if you’re eating healthy food, you will still struggle to lose weight if you’re not in a caloric deficit.
To seal the deal and tone your stomach during weight loss, it’s important that you also have a good workout for abs. That combined with aerobic activity and a clean diet will give you the healthy hacks you need for weight loss.
If you still want to invest in a waist trainer after reading all of the possible side effects, make sure that you are purchasing one for the right reasons. Remember that waist trainers are best used as temporary shapewear, to motivate healthier habits, or to increase strength during certain workouts. Under these circumstances, they can be used safely and effectively. On the other hand, if you want to wear one to change the shape of your body, you risk putting yourself in danger. There is also plentiful data suggesting corsets have no long term benefits for your waistline.
It’s also important that you choose the best corset for your needs and safety. Some corsets may be made too snugly or might only be made for the gym. The following are rated the top two on Amazon because they provide maximum support and comfort for safe use.
Waist trainers can be a great tool to help you get motivated to work out, but they shouldn’t be your main plan to reshape your body. There is no evidence that they can shrink your waist long term. However, there is overwhelming evidence they can cause you much harm if you wear them too much. Therefore, if you choose to wear one, you should do so with great care.