I absolutely adore the 1950’s. Oh those nipped in waists and waspish silhouettes… ah, my heart beats for those gorgeous dresses! If you can remember back to when we renewed our wedding vows back in Vegas, I had a 50’s fit and flare wedding dress and under it I was wearing a beautiful black corset that my dear friend Ashley had made for me in the past. I just wanted that cinched in waist…. and as I resemble an apple on a lollipop stick, it was very much the result I wanted.
I walked with more grace, my posture improved and I felt more put together. Corsetry isn’t for everyone but thanks to the rise and rise of the Kardashians, everyone is talking about waist training but do you know what it is?
If you wan’t to be more Dita Von Teese than Mr Pearl… read on.
5 Things You Should Know About Waist Training
It’s true, we are slowly becoming obsessed with waist training! You can’t scroll through social media, or meander through a women’s magazine without stumbling across an image of a celebrity sporting a waist trainer. But what are these mystical garments that promise to mould our figures into one close to Jessica Rabbit and is it really as easy as that? With most weight loss regimes, there are both positives and negatives when it comes to wearing a waist trainer, and I lay out some of the good, the bad and the sweaty.
Your Waist WILL Become Slimmer
Now before you think, DUH – Of course they do! Did you know that they work in 2 ways? While wearing one under your clothes is going to give your waist a slimmer appearance instantly thanks to its powers of compression, they also support and strengthen the lower abdominal and oblique muscles to flatten the tummy and define the waist. They also increase thermal activity, relieving water retention.
Let’s be honest – nothing about losing weight is ever easy and waist training often falls into the ‘not easy’ category. The first time can be uncomfortable and choosing an outfit day to day can prove tricky at times (steer clear of anything remotely cropped). When you take it off, you are often left with red marks from the compression, but wearing a thin cotton vest underneath reduces that.
While waist training will aid you to trim your waist, it’s not a method to lose weight. That my friend is still down to diet and exercise, although it will work in conjunction to a healthy figure with enviable curves.
Your Posture Will Instantly Improve
The health professionals seem to be at loggerheads when it comes to discussing some of the ways that waist training can affect us negatively. But one thing they agree on is the way that waist trainers improve our posture.
Waist trainers work to improve posture by supporting the lower back, encouraging us to sit and stand up taller. By adopting a better posture, we not only cut out the risk of any associated pain and fatigue, but it improves our confidence and our state of mind. When our posture is slouched our energy levels decrease and our body constricts blood flow and lung capacity, all contusive to our wellbeing and mental state.
“Traditional corsetry was damaging to internal organs thanks to the steel boning and harsh methods – steel is far too strong a material to use on your body and lace-up corsets are tightened too regularly, forcing your body into an unnatural shape in a very short space of time, “ explains Laura McGreary From WaistedUK, “With latex shapewear and modern waist training the key differences are the materials and time frames. Latex is much gentler, it eases your body into a shape that is already there, pulling in any excess fat rather than bones or internal organs as it isn’t strong enough to displace those things. As well as doing that the material promotes thermal activity (basically it makes you sweat) which helps to lose excess fat and water”.
Equally, my trainers have a maximum of three rows of hooks and eyes which stops people from fastening them too tight – we are very careful to help our customers choose the correct size and this stops any potential damage. It’s very easy to fasten a lace-up corset too tight as they go on loose and are then tightened to an inappropriate level but latex waist trainers are already tight and must be done up around the body, if it doesn’t fit it won’t fasten up.
For those of you into holistic therapy, being slouched means that our third chakra, the Manipura is covered (located between the belly button and the solar plexus). This chakra holds our personal perception and governs our self-esteem and when it’s covered, it’s closed and its inner energy is extinguished. In order to harness its personal power, there is lots that can be done – and good posture is one of them.
It Can Help After Pregnancy
Life after a baby is a learning curve. Between bottles, nappy changes and adapting to new sleep cycles – not to mention the trauma your body is recovering from, exercise is just not at the top of the agenda.
After giving birth the chance to reclaim your body as your own again is on the horizon! Your body must be allowed to heal from the birthing process, but if you decide you want to opt for waist training post-partum, then you should know it can help fuse the core muscles that may have split and ligaments that have softened during pregnancy. Due to the hormone Relaxin, the softening of the ligaments and the birthing process can leave the hips and waist wider and wearing a waist trainer can help to slim them.
This isn’t a new concept, women in Asia and South American have long used traditional wrapping and binding techniques after having a baby. Japanese women use a ‘Sarashi’ and Latino women wrap themselves with a ‘Faja’.
Under no circumstances should this be construed as ‘pressure’ on new mums, however if you want a little something to boost your confidence then waist training could be it – along with a manicure, a cup of tea and a nap.
You Can Wear Them in the Gym *Apparently*
I would like to focus on the word APPARENTLY. The celebrities swear by it, I’ve tried it. I understand the science behind, the thermal affect and increased sweating (nice) all means excess water loss can produce dramatic results when it comes to a flatter tummy.
But, in the early days especially – the trainer was super tight and when worn during intense cardio, I just couldn’t catch my breath. When I switched to weight and resistance training, it was a different story. The extra support meant that I was able to lift more weight because my form and stance were improved, working the muscles to their maximum effort.
As previously mentioned, the waist training isn’t going to give you a teeny tiny waist all on its own, doing plenty of core exercises with high intensity cardio will aid your efforts.
You Will Be Hotter Than the Sun
As well as the compression aspect, the thick rubber garment will raise your core temperature even if you aren’t working out.
You will feel hot hot hot! And a little clammy. Increase your water intake to make sure you are drinking 2 litres a day, although be warned extra water and compression around your tummy means extra toilet breaks!
Another point to be aware of is the possible impact it may have on your skin. Flushing out water from the body and sweating has the potential to cause breakouts. Invest in a body scrub or some exfoliation gloves to minimise the risk.
I think many people that opt for waist trainer often underestimate the will power and determination that is required to wear it long term. While I am not entirely dismissing the claims that waist training has the potential to be dangerous, I think that wearing one responsibly and listening to your body is the secret to success. To see long term results, wearing for 8 hours a day is the goal, but hell, if you want to carb up or just think ‘not today’, leave it off – life is too short not to enjoy a cupcake or 2!