What is waist training? All about what the new celeb trend does (and doesn’t do) to your body

Waist training

Personal trainers, beware: There’s a newbie in town. Seen on celebs like the Kardashians and Jessica Alba (who says she wore two corsets to get her body back to post-baby shape), the waist trainer is becoming the most coveted item for slimming your midsection. But it’s nothing revolutionary, really. Everything old is indeed new again, when you think back to the waist-cinching corsets popularized 400 years ago. Even in the 2015 take on Cinderella, audiences were outraged by the teeny size of Lily James’s waist, which show-goers claimed must have been a result of CGI (James claims it was not; the corset was just that tight).

Off the silver screen and on Instagram, Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian have posted selfies hanging out (and working out) in their Premadonna waist trainers. There’s no question that they’re showing off otherworldly proportions (and we thought Barbie’s figure was unattainable), but do waist trainers really work?

So, what is waist training? According to WaistGangSociety, which sells the waist trainers the Kardashians wear, the “unique latex material attacks unwanted fat and impurities within your body. Our reshaping line will strengthen your core all the while improving your posture. The thermogenesis created within your body will allow your body to rid itself of harsh toxins and impurities, through perspiration. While wearing a garment or waist trainer, the tight compression will help to reduce food volume intake which will help achieve the healthier practice of smaller meals, more often, rather than three large meals a day.”

For people on the quest for an hourglass shape, this can sound appealing. However, we’re skeptical. Dr. Dara Maker, a family physician at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, says your body will return to it’s natural shape when you stop wearing the corset—unless you wear it all day long, in which case you could have some health issues to contend with, such as shallow breathing, abdominal pain and even nerve compression. “When you’re wearing [corsets], they obviously constrict everything and hold everything in, so certainly it gives the appearance while wearing it that your waist is slimmer,” she says. “But there’s really no evidence to show that in the long run it actually does slim down your waist.” You could, however, wear a waist slimming garment for a night out, she adds, for that head-turning effect.

Personal trainers have been telling us on repeat that you can’t spot reduce, and this age-old rule rings true again. So if you want to slim your waist you have to commit to a lifestyle change of a healthy diet and exercise, along with some killer core moves.