Waist-Trainers; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Jessica Alba has one, Amber Rose uses one and all of the Kardashians seem to be obsessed with them. Are waist trainers really the cheat’s way to a tiny waist, or are they just a dangerous fad like tanning beds or juice fasts?
Despite the rise in plus size models and manikins, and the new ‘realistic’ Barbie, it feels like there is more pressure than ever for women to have small waists. Yes, apparently society is now ok with you having a bum, thighs and boobs, but never a belly. You’re still required to have a tiny waist, to give you that hourglass figure that’s so unrealistic for most women.
The waist trainer seems to be the ideal solution, with first-hand accounts telling you that they genuinely take inches off your waist in a week or two. A waist trainer is essentially just a corset, but shorter so as to just be worn just around your waist to afford more freedom of movement. They are also made of flexible, stretchy materials, designed so that you can work out in them easily (supposedly).
The celebrities swearing by waist trainers have their pick of beauty and fitness resources, personal trainers, gym equipment, boot-camps; so they wouldn’t use a waist trainer unless it worked right? And at first glance it does seem to. A simple Google search brought up multiple articles written by journalists about their experiences trying out the trend, and even the most cynical of them couldn’t deny they were pleased with how their waist ended up looking. However, most of these articles also made the experience sound very unpleasant.
Breathlessness was one complaint, due to the corset squeezing the life out of your mid-section. So where do the organs go? Things get squished together and make it difficult to breathe, making your work outs just that bit harder, because we all need that. Another complaint was stomach pain. Your stomach and intestines are under pressure the whole time you are wearing a waist trainer, which means your stomach can’t expand the way it should and your food probably has a harder time getting through the whole system. This results in more indigestion and heart burn and general discomfort. A lot of corset wearers have said they find they eat a lot less due to their restricted stomach capacity and the discomfort involved in being full, so perhaps the inches lost are, in part, down to unintentional fasting rather than the training itself.
Some people say that the waist trainer is fantastic for posture, which sounds plausible enough, extra support for the spine and all that. However others say that it can cause long term damage to posture due to the muscles in your back relying too much on the corset and actually getting weaker. Most people say that they help you lose inches, but a lot of experts agree that it is purely temporary and if you were to stop using the corset you’d be back to square one soon enough.
Reading all of the information available on this fitness trend could send your head spinning, trying to work out if they are good or bad, genius or dangerous, the easy solution or extremely painful. My advice? Do some crunches, watch what you eat, remember everybody is shaped differently and buy clothes that flatter your natural figure. And if you’re still interested in waist training, wait a few years for the long-term health studies to come out...just in case.