I wore a waist trainer for a month. Here’s what happened
I’m not particularly proud of it, but it’s true: I wore a waist trainer. For a whole month.
I’m always learning, so I’m often experimenting, trying and testing out different things that are fitness related. The whole concept of waist trainers had me curious, so I figured “hey, what have I got to lose?”
What is a waist trainer?
For those who don’t know, when I say “waist trainer”, I am referring to what can only be described as a modern-day less-extreme version of a corset! (Yes, I know I am only damaging my reputation even more here by telling you that I was basically wearing a corset!)
Essentially a waist trainer is a tightly worn belt that compresses your midsection, and it is to be worn for long durations of time daily, over periods of months or longer. I wore a waist trainer for most of the day for one month. Albeit a shorter time period, I figured it was enough time to notice any changes that might occur. Note, that I did not wear it whilst working out.
I am NOT referring to one of those compression belts made from neoprene. Those are in my opinion a complete waste of time. All they do is make you sweat from your abdominal area. They do not make you burn fat from your belly. The only way to burn fat is by creating a calorie deficit, through diet and exercise. And even then, you can’t pick and choose the areas you lose fat from!
However, I must say that waist trainers (and corsets too), also do not make you lose belly fat. You’ll need to be eating in a calorie deficit and exercising consistently to lose fat!
What are waist trainers meant to do?
Waist trainers are theoretically meant to make your waist “narrower”. Obviously, they are unlikely to make your waist narrower from a front view. You cannot change the size of your pelvis – this is determined by bone structure. Though there is the possibility of waist trainers “atrophying” (making smaller) your oblique muscles (the core muscles that run down the outer sides of your midsection). If this were to occur, then yes, to a degree, it could make your waist appear narrower from a front view.
More likely though, waist trainers are meant to force you to keep your stomach “sucked in”. Thus, making your waist appear smaller from a side view, overcoming any stomach distention. Basically, this means they are meant to encourage you to tense the Transversus Abdominis muscles – the abs muscles used to perform a stomach vacuum – read more about that in my posts HERE:
What did I do?
As mentioned, I wore a waist trainer every day for a month, wearing it for the most part of each day. I made sure to wear it tightly too, to ensure effectiveness (if it were to actually do anything, of course!)
I didn’t wear it while working out, because I found it restrictive to move in or to breath as deeply as necessary to perform hard exercise. Also, when performing exercise, I need my core muscles to be fully engaged. I was wary that the waist trainer might make it more difficult to fully engage my core muscles. This is because it would act similarly to a tight lifting belt, and take away the need for my core muscles to tense as hard as they normally would whilst exercising.
Nothing happened, to be honest! I got fed up of wearing it, because it wasn’t very comfortable. Though out of stubbornness, I did continue to wear it each day for a month.
But no, my waist size remained the same. I didn’t see any changes in how far I could perform a stomach vacuum either (i.e. how far I could suck my gut in). In fact, if anything, I think my core muscles (including my Transversus Abdominis muscles) got weaker, so making it harder to do stomach vacuums to suck my gut in. This is probably because those core muscles got “lazy”. I guess that after a while, they got used to being supported by the waist trainer. I’ve seen the same thing happen with people who unnecessarily wear a lifting belt all the time whilst exercising.
The take home message
Save your time and money. Don’t bother with waist trainers. No, they don’t encourage you to burn body fat anyway. The only way to burn fat is by creating a calorie deficit through diet and exercise. And even then, you can’t pick and choose the areas you lose fat from!
Extra sweating from your midsection isn’t very helpful either. This also doesn’t encourage fat loss!
You may possibly (though I think unlikely) be able to make your waist “smaller”. But I think for that, you’d have to wear an actual corset. It would have to be VERY tight fitting, which would be VERY uncomfortable. And I imagine that you’d have to wear it for the most part of each day, probably over a period of years! In my opinion, this is definitely NOT worth it!
If you want to make your waist “smaller”, then continue to diet and exercise to bring your body fat down. And, also perform resistance training to make your shoulders and lats “bigger”, giving you a nice “V-taper” and creating the illusion of a smaller waist!
I talk more about training for bigger shoulders in my post HERE:
I talk more about training for wider lats HERE: