After one of our last article's about if and under which circumstances lifting belts are a good idea, I just had to hop on the wagon and write an article about waist trainers.
We're all aiming for an hourglass-shape and waist trainers seem like an easy and recently hyped way to get that. I know, losing weight and getting that perfect body shape can be hard. And why not use a waist trainer when all those celebrities have one, too?
But first things first: just because a celebrity or an athlete endorses a product doesn't mean they actually use it, nor that it actually works. They get paid for wearing and advertising them.
What is a waist trainer?
The concept of a waist trainer isn't new. Ever heard of a corset? A waist trainer is basically a modern version of a corset.
The theory behind them is that if you wear them on a regular basis your body will retain the shape and reduce the size of your waist and tummy. Most companies recommend to wear the trainer for at least 8 hours and up to six weeks to achieve that perfect hourglass shape.
Is there any scientific evidence for their benefits?
No. There is not a single piece of evidence to support the idea, that your body can be moulded into the desired shape using a waist trainer.
However, there is proof that wearing a waist trainer can lead to some pretty nasty side effects. But I will explain that later.
The ugly truth about waist trainers
Do they really work?
The most common marketing statement from companies looks something like this: "Waist trainers will help you to lose fat from your waist, metabolise fat, release toxins, compress your core and reduce food intake throughout the day."
NONSENSE! You'll only lose water weight. NOT fat!
Do you think you get slimmer legs by wearing super tight pants? No. Same with waist trainers. You will definitely not lose fat or lose fat faster by wearing them.
You might lose some weight (but sure as hell no body fat), but the reason behind that isn't magical:
Wearing a waist trainer makes you sweat more. Hence, you lose water weight.
You can save the money and achieve real fat loss in a cheaper way: proper dieting and a good workout routine.
They can harm your organs
By wearing a waist trainer you're compressing your internal organs. This can lead to an improper function and digestive issues. Doesn't sound nice, does it?
While constricting your midsection your midriff can not do it's job, which can make it quite difficult to breath properly.
Stop thinking spot reduction is a thing!
There is no such thing as spot reduction! The claim that waist trainers will reduce body fat is not true! Scientifically, this advert is a load of crap! (as with most things fitness related)
You simply cannot pick and choose where to lose fat. You have to get lean in general, to have visible abs and an athletic shape. Due to different receptors in different areas, our bodies gain and lose fat in a predetermined way. You can't change your genetics.
Waist trainers during a workout session
It's one of the worst things you can do: wearing a waist trainer during workouts. You will not only be unable to breath properly (exercising produces an increased need for oxygen). You might also not be able to perform certain exercises with a proper form and you will not develop your core musculature properly.
Much better and healthier ways to shrink your waist
Calories are king. You have to consume less calories than you burn in order to lose weight. Carbs don't make you fat! Fat does not make you fat! Too many calories make you fat! Deficit means fat loss.
Forget about the potato-diet, the "don't-eat-after-6pm"-diet or the "one-diet-fits-all"-approach. All that matters is a calorie deficit and a proper macronutrient distribution. With the calorie calculator down below, you can accurately estimate the calories you need on a daily basis. It will also show you a good macronutrient ratio in form of a pie chart, to begin with.
A higher intake of protein will also spare muscle on a fat loss diet, which means you'll not lose as much muscle on a cut as you would on a diet low in protein. Not to mention the satiety and thermic effects of protein.
You're not going to get the results you want by spending hours on the treadmill. Instead, make sure to focus on weight lifting. Yes, even the ladies. You won't get "too muscular" (that's a myth), but you will get a leaner and more athletic look, which most people desire!
Furthermore, you won't get visible abs by doing thousands of crunches. First, you need a very low body-fat percentage. It varies from person to person at which body fat percentage abs will show. Some will see their abs earlier and some later.
Be patient! Stick to the aforementioned points and you'll achieve your goals. But you have to be consistent. Change takes time, you're not going to transform overnight.
Like most things in life, quick fixes and shortcuts never work and if they work they most likely are not healthy.
Should you try it? No. You can't reduce fat in any particular area. Especially not by wearing a tight corset. If you push your stomach in, all the excess fat will go right back to where it was before, no matter how long you'll wear the waist trainer.
Do yourself a favour, save your money and spend it on something that will actually help you, like good food, decent gym clothes or a nutrition coach.
If it seems to good to be true, it most likely isn't!