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Waist Training: Is it Right for You?

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Waist Training: Is it Right for You?

We’ve all heard of waist training, but unless you’re an avid follower of Hollywood A-listers, for the majority of us this latest fitness craze is a bit of an enigma. So, what is waist training? How does it work? And the all-important question: is it right for you? If you’re thinking of slimming down for a Christmas party – or already planning your New Year dieting resolution – then this article could help you decide whether to try this new slimming method.

What is waist training?

While it’s only hit the headlines in recent years, waist training has in fact been around since Victorian times, when women used corsets to shrink their waists to miniscule proportions. As fashions and the ‘ideal’ body shape changed over the years, to the more boyish, athletic physique of the late 20th Century, their popularity dwindled. However, thanks to the power of social media and the public’s obsession with A-listers such as Kim Kardashian, killer curves have never been more popular. Indeed, when Kylie Jenner posted an image of herself wearing a waist trainer it got 1.4 million likes on Instagram! As a result, the hourglass fuller figure is now very much back in vogue.

But unlike the steel-boned, asphyxia-inducing corsets of the past, modern waist trainers are supple, wide belts. Known as waist trainers or waist cinchers, they’re typically made of softer materials and can be tightened to achieve the desired effect. While the likes of Kim K can typically be seen wearing this underwear as outerwear, the actual idea is for them to be worn under clothing. And they’re not just touted as a quick fix – if used as part of an exercise and diet programme, there are numerous positive testimonials out there that support long-term shrinking effects.

How do waist trainers work?

does waist training work

Waist Trainer

According to the science, waist trainers don’t remould the body just because of constriction. The theory is that they should be worn during exercise, as they create thermogenesis (i.e. you got hot wearing them) and this melts away the fat, as well as releasing toxins via perspiration. While these claims are disputed by the scientific community, wearers will lose water weight, although this effect will be short term. It’s far more likely that, as part of an overall fitness regime, people wearing waist trainers will have good exercise goals and be on a diet. Indeed, manufacturers recommend that wearers eat small meals throughout the day, as this stimulates metabolism. While this effect on metabolism is again questioned by researchers, wearing a waist trainer definitely helps lower food intake, as it would be uncomfortable eating large meals.

One unexpected positive effect of waist trainers is that they can help improve posture, increasing core strength and helping you maximise your workout. This benefit is really good news for all Moms out there, many of whom are left with weaker backs after giving birth.

If you’re thinking of embarking on this fitness programme, make sure you build up your use over time. Begin by just wearing the waist trainer for half an hour a day, while you get used to the feel of it, and increase your use over time, to a maximum of 8 hours a day. The key here is to listen to your body – if it’s uncomfortable, wear it for less time.

Are there any health risks?

This is where waist trainers do get a bad press. If not worn correctly – too small, overtightened or worn for too long – there are definite health risks. These include:

  • Impact on breathing – as was the case for their Victorian counterparts, if too tight they can restrict your breathing pattern, making you light headed. This is a particularly dangerous side effect if you’re planning on a strenuous work out.
  • Skin irritation – raised temperature and increased sweating can cause skin irritation and lead to skin infections.
  • Displacement of internal organs – the constriction can cause your internal organs to shift, affecting bowel function and leading to acid reflux.
  • Danger to developing bodies – waist trainers are also particularly dangerous for young girls, whose bodies are still developing. Given the power social media holds over this demographic, this is a major issue for Moms out there.
  • Impact on mental health – for teenagers and adults alike, holding yourself to unrealistic ideals can lead to feelings of low esteem and mental health issues.

So is waist training right for you?

shapewear results

Waist Training Results

All these risks aside, if fitted properly and worn according to guidelines, there’s no doubt that waist trainers can help women shrink down their waists to a smaller, firmer shape. Just be aware that they won’t work on their own. While being worn, they can reduce waist size by up to an incredible 4 inches, but unless accompanied by a strong exercise routine and strict diet plan, the effects will be short lived.

One thing that can’t be ignored is their power, when used properly, to help us mould our own figures. After all, how many of us lose weight, but it doesn’t come off of the area we want to slim down? Exercise can help, but with the aid of a waist trainer you can control your own shape, create your curves and achieve that hourglass silhouette.

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