Waist Trainer OR Waste Trainer?
There have always been people selling quick fixes, magic pills, and shortcuts to get you your dream body overnight. Waist trainers seem to be one of the hot new gimmicks being pedaled to the "dreamers". Though they may seem like a new hip trend, they have actually been around since the 1500's, except back then they weren't called "waist trainers," they were called corsets. The modern day corset, has hit the scene with manufacturers claiming they can shrink your waist, decrease appetite, and help you lose fat. Unfortunately these claims aren’t backed by real science, or even logic. If you wrap a tight band around your arm, will it all of sudden “shrink the fat” and shrink your arm? Your arm may look smaller when your first take the band off because of the decrease of blood flow, but those results are short lived and possibly harmful. Wearing a waist trainer too tight has actually been shown to shift your organs, which is definitely not something you want. On the quest for the “hour-glass” figure, some who "train" their waist too hard can end up causing more harm than good.
In my opinion, one of the reasons people are able to attain the illusion of a smaller waist through waist trainer use, is the improvement in posture. Because the waist trainer causes you to sit with a more neutral, and sometimes extended, spine, it can leave the illusion of a slimmer waist because the wearer no longer slouches keeping a straighter back. The illusion is not a result of any particular physiological change, but is the result of improved positioning. I wouldn't count that as a point towards waist trainers, or at least how they are being sold. Additionally, prolonged waist trainer use, may contribute to the engagement of the core muscles. If you are constantly flexing and sucking in your abs, of course your waist would look smaller, though you have not actually cause any change to the tissue itself. In my opinion, the true purpose of the waist trainer is not to actually help you shrink your belly by improved body composition, but give the illusion of a slimmer waist while wearing clothes. Similar to what Spanx do for the lower body. Because the waist trainer is just a garment, it provides the temporary illusion of the desired body shape, you realize nothing has really changed.
I believe the true downfall of the wait trainer is that it perpetuates a female body type that leads to unhealthy behaviors and body image. Though it can cause physical harm, I believe the psychological harm it does perpetuating this false standard of beauty, can be much more damaging.
I tend to support a more sustainable, evidence-based, and overall healthy approach. It’s not sexy, shiny, or new, but it works. If you want to lose weight, train hard and eat at an appropriate deficit. If you want to gain muscle, train hard and eat at an appropriate surplus. The only magic I can really sell you is hard work and consistency. By following an intelligently structured nutrition and training program, you’ll be able to reach your goals in a much safer and healthier way.