Health websites and magazines are littered with articles on slimmer stomachs and thighs, but one part of the body many wish to change is the waist. A toned, slim waist is often a goal for men and women alike. While women tend to aspire for a beautiful hourglass figure, men tend to also want to slim their waist to achieve better muscle proportions.
It’s true that many wish for a smaller waist for looks and better self-confidence, but even with aesthetics aside a healthy waistline means better health. Excess visceral fat, which is the type within the abdominal cavity, already has a well-known correlation to increased risks of diabetes, heart disease and a number of other dangers.
The journey to a smaller waist is a long road that requires hard work, but humans typically enjoy their quick fixes and want to see results for their efforts as soon as possible. Whether that mindset is a healthy one is an entirely different subject, but the need for more efficient workout or diet results is important to many. This is one reason why so many people that are unhappy with their waist look to waist trimming.
If you fall into this category, you should carefully consider waist trimming techniques before you give the latest fad a go.
What is Waist Trimming?
Waist trimming is a broad term that describes the act of trimming, slimming and/or contouring the waist into a more attractive shape through a variety of different actions. Many people associate waist trimming with waist training, which is a method of shaping the waist by using corsets. Others associate waist trimming with special workout body wraps that are used to reduce fat on the body more quickly.
Some waist trimming techniques can be effective but most either under-deliver on promises or worse, even causing negative health effects. If it important to carefully research these alternative body shaping methods, considering both the pros and cons before trying them.
How Can You Do Waist Trimming?
Since there is no solid definition for waist trimming it can be assumed that any technique or article of clothing that focuses on changing the waist fits the category. That being said, there are four main methods of waist training:
- Waist Training Corsets
Waist trimming is often used interchangeably with waist training by the uninformed. Waist training with corsets was believed to have first began in 1550s France, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that these laced waist cinchers were called corsets. Though it is true that there can be medical reasons for corsets, for the most part waist training is done for pure aesthetics, and has been for thousands of years.
When it comes to the practice of purposely trimming the size of the waist, corset waist training is the most popular. It involves the use of various sized corsets being used to gradually shrink and shape the waist. Many modern waist trainers find that safe techniques will take up to 3″ off the waist circumference, reduce love handles and back fat, improve posture, help achieve an hourglass shape, and even suppress appetite.
The majority of the benefits of waist training are anecdotal and for the most part, the average person using waist training corsets won’t harm their body, though extreme use is dangerous.
However, even with some celebrity endorsements and positive reviews aside, a slimmer waist is only really achieved while the corset is one or for a short time after it is removed. In essence, you are squeezing your body into a more attractive shape but you aren’t losing fat or toning muscle.
Does Waist Trimming Really Work?
If you only want the looks of an hourglass waist and don’t mind wearing a corset, then yes, a waist training will work. If you want real physical changes and better health, along with a slimmer waist, then no. This method is only temporary unless you get into the extremes (which is not recommended).
- Waist Trimming Workout Belts
People that are on a journey to not just slim their waist but actually improve their body shape from the inside out will find waist trimming belts to be a more attractive option. Those that are involved in the health & fitness industry will also more likely associate the phrase waist trimming with these belts.
Waist trimming belts, also called bands or wraps, work very simply. They are wrapped tightly around the midsection prior to a workout in order to cause more sweating in these areas. Most waist trimming belts are made of neoprene, which is material that is soft and comfortable but increases sweating. They usually close with velcro which allows you to get a custom fit around your midsection.
The mechanics behind these belts is simple – the more you sweat, the more water weight is lost. These belts also help with better posture and force you to keep your abs engaged. You may see people using these types of belts just to help with back pain, while others at the gym are probably using them to help with safer posture while lifting weights.
Does It Work? Yes, but it isn’t going to perform a miracle. The belt does offer a nice secure feeling during weight lifting and it definitely will get your waist sweating more. Body shrinking from sweating is water weight being lost, which means it will return.
If you are looking to get a tighter waist for an event or weekend plans at the beach, using a belt will help you. This tool can also help encourage those that are dedicated to regular workouts.
- Weight Loss Supplements
It is probably safe to say that any pill or drink that promises a thinner waist line is a waste of money. Most of the supplements either don’t work at all or they only work as long as you take them. For the most part, these pills are not safe to use long-term and cause negative side effects like nausea, upset stomach, fatigue, and dehydration. Dehydration is particularly important to consider.
As mentioned above about waist trimming belts, when the body sweats and dehydrate it will naturally slim down. Many weight loss supplements function this same way. You may feel and look slimmer but it ends up returning, and sometimes you’ll end up gaining more weight than you lost.
Does It Work? Weight loss supplements are a slippery slope and typically aren’t recommended. Even the safer ones don’t usually do much, and higher ends supplements used by bodybuilders won’t even have an effect unless you’re strict with diet and exercise. Weight loss supplements are an attempt at a quick fix but not an answer for a truly trimmed waist.
- Targeted Waist Exercises
Targeted waist exercises are popular and are easily the better waist trimming choice compared to the other 3 mentioned. This is because you are not only improving your health but actually getting rid of the fat that is making you want to trim down in the first place. Some popular examples of targeted waist exercises include crunches, side planks, mason twist, scissor clap, and ab sprints.
In a perfect world it would be possible to target exercise efforts at one part of the body and only achieve results there. Sadly the body doesn’t work that way, yet many people remain unaware that spot targeted fat reduction isn’t possible. At least isn’t possible to the extent many magazines make it seem.
Does It Work? Yes, but over time. Focusing on abdominal and waist exercises will help you build muscle as well as get rid of fat, but you need to really exercise your entire body to slim the waist effectively. This includes addressing diet as well!
Some Final Thoughts
Instead of putting all your efforts towards your waist focus on overall health instead. First off, get more strict with your diet. There is a saying that “abs are made in the kitchen”, and this is very accurate. While you may break down muscle in the gym, it’s what you eat the rebuilds and grows muscles.
You need to eat clean to effectively reduce body fat and see a slimmer waist. If you are already fairly fit and workout regularly you might be surprised at how much muscle you already have under abdominal fat.
Also, adding in strength training is important for trimming and shaping the waist. Women are particularly guilty of focusing too much on cardio when they should also be doing training with weights.
The idea of lifting weights making women bulky has long since been proven false and is key in developing a strong body with an hourglass figure. Tabata or high-intensity interval training are also other great options to get abdominal fat burning off more effectively.
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.