Let’s be honest, for most of us waist training is a bit of a mystery. It’s something we see advertised a lot on social media, by celebrities and influencers, and even on TV. But what exactly is waist training? Does it work, and how do you safely undertake this new fitness and fashion regime?
Over the years there has been a lot of speculation over the effectiveness of waist training. On one side, you have people who believe it’s ineffective at best and harmful at worst, reminding them of the Victorian corsets that famously reorganised the organs of women who wore them for too long. And on the other, you have celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Amber Rose, who have redefined the concept of waist training and brought it into the public eye again.
So who’s right? Or is it like most things in life, and is there somewhere in the middle for modern waist training to live?
The History of Waist Training
Waist training goes all the way back to the corset training of the 1500’s, when it was a common fashion staple in Europe and America. By wearing a constricting garment around the waist, women hoped to permanently alter their waistlines to mimic the ideal hourglass figure. This was achieved by periodically tightening the corset over a number of weeks, pulling in floating ribs and moulding the flesh of the body into the ideal shape – and keeping it there.
The practice fell out of mainstream fashion around the 1920’s, when the straight ‘boyish’ body shape was considered desirable. But in recent years, waist training has evolved from the rigid, steel-boned corsets of the past to modern waist trainers, made of supple materials such as latex; and thanks to celebrity endorsement, waist trainers are now the go-to shapewear for women wanting that perfect hourglass figure.
How Does Waist Training Work?
Waist trainers are designed to be worn for up to 8 hours a day. They are specifically meant to be worn during a workout. The theory is that, when worn during exercise, the waist trainer increases thermogenesis, melting away the fat and releasing toxins via perspiration. However, given that there’s no scientific data to support these claims, this theory is hotly contested. It’s more likely that water weight is lost, and wearers become more mindful of their diet and exercise routines, leading to the numerous positive testimonials out there.
Is Waist Training Safe?
If you do a bit of Googling, you’ll find a lot of critics talking about how dangerous waist training is, and how bad it can be for your health. Common complaints include bruised ribs, acid reflux, shallow breathing and back pain. And while there is a risk involved (you are modifying your body after all), if done carefully and sensibly, it’s no more dangerous to your health than wearing stiletto heels.
But that’s the key – safe and sensible. Most of the ailments we mentioned above caused by misusing waist trainers. Many people will take waist training to the extreme, making common errors. These include: tightening their waist trainer too much; wearing it for too long; tightening it far too quickly; or wearing one that’s too small to begin with. Rather than speed up the process, these mistakes can lead to discomfort and health issues. But these are all down to user error – not an issue with the waist trainer itself. Waist training, when done properly, is perfectly safe. Just remember, it’s not a substitute for diet and exercise when it comes to weight loss!
3 Things To Know Before You Start Waist Training
If you’ve decided to give waist training a go, then that’s great! But before you buy your first corset or waist trainer there are a few things you should know that will keep you safe while waist training, and help you avoid some common mistakes:
It’s Not A Permanent Fix: Putting on a waist trainer isn’t an alternative to good old-fashioned diet and exercise, and it certainly isn’t a weight loss solution. It can be used to give you the appearance of being slimmer, and can even help mentally train you into following a diet more strictly. But it can’t burn calories – which is ultimately how you will lose weight. So make sure you’ve got realistic expectations.
It Can Cause Health Issues: A proper waist trainer will cinch in your waist, which means your organs can shift around. Unfortunately, that’s not a myth. Your upper organs will move up, and your lower organs will move down. This can put pressure on your abdomen and lead to constipation, or make you more sensitive for certain foods (like gas-producing foods and fatty foods). So make sure you’re prepared! Also, if too tight, it can impair lung function, making you light headed. This is a particular concern if you’re wearing the undergarment during a workout.
It Can Affect Your Back Muscles: While waist trainers can help improve a bad posture, prolonged waist training means your core muscles aren’t as active as they usually are. This means that as soon as they’re taken off, you could suffer aches, pains and weakness in your back and abdominal muscles. So make sure you’re not wearing the waist trainer 24/7.
So, if you’re thinking about trying waist training, our main advice is this: take any health tips from the likes of Jessica Alba and the Kardashians with a heavy pinch of salt. Make sure you do your research before you jump into your first waist trainer and get properly measured. Don’t exceed the maximum time you should wear the waist trainer, and make sure you follow a healthy diet and exercise routine to help the trainer do its thing. Also, remember that taking selfies is a good way to monitor your progress, but don’t become obsessed.
So if you’re ready to take the plunge, here at Elle Courbee we supply a wide range of corsets and waist trainers that are ideal for beginners or seasoned corset wearers. Whether you’re trying to train your figure or just create a sultry silhouette for that little black dress, we can help. If you have any further questions about waist training, or need our expert advice, you can always get in touch and ask us!