Put simply, it depends on what you’re expecting.
Misunderstood Fact: They make your waist smaller just by wearing them!
This, like in the 16th century, is true. However!!!! In the 16th century, women wore these garments all day, every day from a very young age. Not only that but they couldn’t eat properly and the constant pressure on their internal organs caused fainting, deformations, and a plethora of other health issues which many times resulted in death.
Nowadays, most waist trainers claim to shrink your wais if worn just a few hours. This is true, but it is NOT permanent. What happens is that your tissues are compressed the longer and tighter the trainer is worn and the hourglass shape is kept for hours after taking it off. You did NOT burn calories, tone your muscles or lose any weight whatsoever. You just squished your fat, skin, and organs to make you a bit smaller for a while. Imagine those foam earplugs; if you squish them, they’ll slowly return to their original shape. Tha’s literally all your midsection is doing.
Myth #1: It makes me sweat more! That has to help me lose weight!
While this is technically true -you do have a layer of non-breathable material tightly wrapped around your waist- it ultimately doesn’t truly make a difference. Yes, you sweat more, which means you’re losing water weight. As soon as you drink a glass or two of liquid, you will replenish it all and be back where you started. (More on “losing weight” here).
Sweating more, like in the almost as unhealthy hot yoga (that’s a whole other rant…), does not equal more calories burned; which, in reality, is the only thing that can really help you lose body fat.
Myth #2: Wearing it while exercising will help me lose weight faster! (You know, because of all the sweating)
We already covered the sweating part above. The thing that concerns me the most, is seeing women wearing these torture devices during workouts. Especially cardio or high-intensity workouts, which my classes tend to consist of. Cinching your waist tightly like this is NOT beneficial in the least. In fact, it is counter-productive!
As I mentioned before, these trainers, like corsets, squish your organs and tissues tightly, which means you are taking in far less oxygen than normal when you wear them; and while that may be ok if you’re walking around the mall or bingeing Netflix on the couch, it is a terrible idea while exercising. Your muscles need oxygen to work, develop, and strengthen, and an intense bout of exercise should have you breathing heavily as it is, adding the strain of reduced oxygen intake is the worst thing you can do to your body. You will likely not be able to complete many of the exercises (I’ve seen it happen), you will get tired quicker, light-headed, and possibly pass out because of the lack of oxygen and extra stress on your organs.
I cannot stress this enough: Never wear a waist trainer while exercising!! The only athletes -athletes!!- who should and can wear a belt –not a waist trainer!- are weightlifters/bodybuilders. Those are narrow belts designed especially to help them keep their back straight and their guts in while picking up extremely heavy weights. I doubt any of the women betting on these trainers are doing that. And even then, bodybuilders know not to wear the belts too tight, and because of how narrow they are, they don’t hinder breathing.
In a nutshell, waist trainers (and those stupid apettite-supressing lolipops), like most weight loss fads, are complete and utter BS and a waste of your hard-earned money. Not only that, but they do more harm than good most of the time. There is no magical cure for an unhealthy body composition and every body is shaped differently. Embrace yours! These women get paid by companies to promote their products, not to care about your health. They have personal trainers and diet regularly, or in some cases, they are just born with a certain body type.
Now, if you understand what you’re getting from these waist trainers, go ahead and use them. Shrink your waist an inch or two before an event by wearing it for a few hours -but not exerting yourself! But know that it’s only temporary and you’d be better off just changing your lifestyle permanently to achieve an hourglass shape naturally.
If you want to change your body composition, you know what you have to do. If you want it to be a bit faster, check out this article! I am sincerely concerned about these fads and the effect they have on women of all ages and walks of life. Please take care of yourselves!