The Concept of “Waist Training”
Though “tight lacing” has been around for years, the concept of “waist training” sprung up over recent years after pop-culture celebrities like the Kardashians made it a trend.
But what is waist training really?
For some concrete knowledge, we turned to the professional advice of Eric Roberson, certified exercise physiologist and personal trainer, who says he’s been a“fitness enthusiast” since he was about 13. If we’re describing it in basic terms, waist training refers to the process of wearing a tight fitting garment in order to modify the shape of your waist. This can be done of of two ways:
1. By using a metal or wire framed corset under everyday clothing. This method creates the temporary illusion of a slimmer waist.
2. By using a thermal, sweat inducing band to generate additional heat around the waist in attempt to burn fat
Waist Trainers vs. Waist Trimmers (Sweat Bands )
Traditionally, “waist training” referred to the use of steel boned corsets to develop an exaggerated hourglass shape. By cinching a corset tighter and tighter, the waist trainer corset was able to pull in a woman’s floating ribs and even do a bit of rearranging of her internal organs to effectively reduce the circumference of her waist. The effect is semi-permanent, requiring continued corseting even after the goal reduction has been achieved.
More recently, celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Amber Rose have redefined the term with the use of latex waist cinchers during workouts, shifting the entire concept of waist training (this process if better referred to as “waist taming”).
The controversy in how effective waist belts can be often comes from a failure to distinguish the difference between “trainers” and “trimmer,” the latter being the gar. Read on to see how Eric breaks down the difference.
A waist trainer trains your body to form the shape of the product you’re wearing. They are marketed to help you lose fat, flatten the belly and strengthen your abs, but this isn’t how fat loss works,” he says. The sweat trimmer helps you sweat more by shedding some water weight around the abdominal area & giving you a leaner look for a short period. You’ll gain this back through proper hydration but, it works in that aspect.”
The Truth Beneath the Band
Also called sweat belts or sauna belts, sweat bands take one of two forms: a plastic wrap that encompasses your midsection, holding heat in as you exercise; or a similar belt with its own heating mechanism, meant to be used when you’re idle. Although these “fitness aids” may actually help you lose a few inches, it’s just a temporary effect of all the water you’ve sweated out. As soon as you rehydrate, the weight — and inches — will come right back.
Heated Vs. Unheated Sweatbands
There are a number of versions of abdominal sweatbands. Some types are heated to help produce even more sweat, but it’s better to avoid these due to reports that some people have suffered burns while using them. Remember, sweating more doesn’t mean you’re losing more weight, just that you’re losing fluid and may be more likely to become dehydrated.
Importance of Exercise
Simply wearing the abdominal sweatband isn’t likely to produce any significant results. It’s meant to increase the amount you sweat as you exercise, so product labels suggest wearing it while exercising.
Increasing the time you spend exercising, even without a sweatband, can help you lose weight. For the best weight-loss results, aim for at least 300 minutes of aerobic exercise and at least two strength-training workouts each week. Each strength-training session should include about 10 exercises — targeting different major muscles of the body — repeated at least 10 times.
Potential Risks of Using an Abdominal Sweatband
Although the sweatbands may cause increased perspiration, they don’t allow the sweat to evaporate and cool your body, which could result in dangerously-high body temperature, an electrolyte imbalance, dizziness, weakness, confusion or death. Having your stomach tightly wrapped may cause your organs to move and may limit the flow of blood to your organs, including the intestines and kidneys, which could cause health problems.
Conclusion: Do these things work?
Despite the svelte-sounding name, sweat bands — also called sauna belts — are actually pretty large, covering most or all of your torso. Although they’re not as all-encompassing as an old-school, head-to-toe sweat suit, they work on the same general principle. Sweat is your body’s natural cooling mechanism. So when the sweat band keeps your sweat from drying and cooling you off, it prompts your body to sweat even more.
That sort of excessive sweating can take pounds and inches off quickly, but only because you’re dehydrating yourself. As soon as you rehydrate — a critical part of fueling your body for more exercise — you’ll put the weight and inches right back on. If you choose not to hydrate in an attempt to maintain the weight lost, your blood chemistry may alter due to reduced blood volume and you may be at increased risk of heat strain. Your body may feel weak — even during gentle exercise. And in very extreme cases, dehydration can even cause death.
Does that mean trainers should encourage their clients against using them? Not at all. “I don’t encourage or discourage people from using them, I educate them on not being dependent on waist trainers/trimmers and thinking they are some magic pill to gain the body they want,” said Roberson. “I encourage them to use things like sweatsuits and the occasional trimmer to get a good sweat started.”
Although sweat bands can’t offer true, sustainable weight loss and may actually do you harm, you can lose inches in a healthy way. Focus on a nutrient-rich diet and increase your time — and intensity — spent doing cardiovascular exercise. As you get both diet and exercise under control, the pounds and inches will start to melt away. And as tempting as it might be to reach for “instant weight loss” gadgets like a sauna belt, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say you’re more likely to keep the weight off if you lose it steadily — at a rate of around 1 to 2 pounds a week.
All in all, [wearing a sweat belt] plays a psychological role in how hard some athletes work. “The More the sweat the harder they work and if a safe trimmer will help you stay consistent,” says Roberson. ” Sweat trainers help boost the morale of some of my athletes, so I appreciate them for that!”
Tips on Wearing Waist Trainers during exercise:
- Wear a thin tank top underneath your waist trainer. When you exercise your body will naturally produce sweat, the sweat will be trapped underneath the tight garment and friction will cause acne. So unless you’re a fan of backne, wear something underneath!
- Do wear it during weight training. The waist trainer will keep your abs tight and back straight and help you sweat extra during your workout. It may lead to quicker inch loss and weight loss.
- Do not wear it while doing high intensity cardio or exercises that elevate your heart rate. It is essential to remember that waist training will naturally condense your organs. This may make it harder for you to take deep breaths. If you are doing a high intensity workout class, it may cause you to loose your breath and in the worst case scenario, pass out. Never wear a waist trainer or any restrictive garments during high intensity workouts.
- Do not wear the waist trainer for longer than 8 hours per day. Some people wear them for over the allowed time but this isn’t beneficial and may even be counter productive. Your body needs to slowly adapt to the new shape and wearing a waist trainer for longer than 8 hours a day can put too much of a strain on your body.
- Wear the waist trainer on the tightest hooks but only if it feels comfortable. Do not push your body and tighten your waist cincher to the point where you feel restricted or out of breath.
For more tips on waist training or other fitness advice, follow Eric on Instagram @MRcommmandoathletix!