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Are Waist Trainers Effective at Reducing Belly Fat and Waist Fat?

There is nothing new about the desire to get a fit body by taking shortcuts. A constant stream of new "secret weapons" is introduced to the market that promises to make body shaping quick and easy. It seems like waist trainers have become a craze among celebrities these days.

Women have been cinching their waists for centuries. The corsets on the market today have basically the same functioning principle as those worn 100 years ago. However, a recent spike in popularity could be attributed to celebrities like the Kardashians posting selfies of themselves working out in the gym with waist trainers.

Proponents of waist trainers claim it helps them shrink their waistline, have better posture, eat less, and enhance the effects of the waist trainer during their workouts — even if it does make breathing difficult.

But do they really work? More importantly, is waist training dangerous? In this article, we find out.

What is a Waist Trainer?

Waist trainers are essentially undergarments made with thick fabrics and metal boning that cinches around the midsection with a lacing system, hooks, or Velcro.

Unlike a girdle or shaping underwear, this garment is intended to be worn tighter for a sleeker, smaller waist. This method of waist training publicized by celebrities like the Kardashian requires wearing the garment for long periods of time and frequently over a period of months.

In the fall of 2019, Kim Kardashian's shapewear company, Skims, started selling a $94 waist trainer; other brands, such as Spanx, offer similar products.


What are the supposed benefits?

Hourglass figure

Those who endorse waist trainers on social media claim that wearing them regularly trains their waist into an hourglass shape.

According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) blog, waist trainers won't change the shape of your waist significantly. Even with a body that naturally lends itself to that shape, your waist trainer is unlikely to have a lasting effect.

Weight loss

Some waist trainer devotees also claim that it promotes weight loss because they eat less throughout the day. The truth is that you're probably eating less because it is being compressed.

Wearing a waist trainer might temporarily cause you to lose weight, but the loss is more likely to be fluid-related than fat-related.


Decreased appetite

The squeeze of your stomach likely makes you feel full faster. This may be the reason why people tend to eat lesser when they're wearing a waist trainer.

To stay healthy and get all the vitamins and minerals you need, you need to eat the right amount of nutritious food. When you eat too little, you may risk losing weight too rapidly causing a drop in metabolism and causing a rebound further down the road. Find out more about what happens when you lose weight too fast.

Better posture

When you wear a waist trainer, it may help you maintain good posture. You can, however, weaken your core muscles, resulting in back pain and poor posture if you wear it too often.

Here's the truth about waist training (and why you should avoid it)

Even though wearing a shaping garment every now and then won't harm, waist training is not effective over the long-term. The body's proportions will not change, and many health issues can arise.

Here are just a few reasons why you should avoid waist training:

1. It is possible to damage vital organs by waist training

You have more than just fat and muscle in your torso; you also have lungs, stomach, liver, kidneys, and many other vital organs there. These organs are unable to function properly as they are pushed into unnatural position. While this may seem uncomfortable in the short term, long-term waist training can permanently damage your organs.

2. You might be slowly suffocating yourself

Wearing a waist trainer while working out can deprive your body of oxygen by reducing lung capacity by an estimated 30-60%1. As a result, you may experience fatigue and discomfort, but you may also find yourself passing out, building up fluid in your lungs, or inflamed2.

By wearing a waist trainer for long periods of time, you restrict your lymphatic system, which relies on deep breathing and normal movement to properly remove waste products and toxins.

3. You can damage your digestive system

A waist trainer can interfere with proper digestion because it compresses the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. This can potentially lead to acid reflux and other digestive problems, such as blockages in your digestive tract.

4. Waist training simply doesn’t work

Contrary to popular belief, waist training won't burn belly fat, cause you to lose weight, or produce similar results to liposuction. A waist trainer can only temporarily alter your appearance by squeezing your torso.

There is no evidence to verify that weight loss is achieved due to simply wearing a waist trainer for long periods of time rather than calorie restriction and exercise.

5. You cannot drastically change your body shape with a piece of fabric

Waist training promises to give you a perfect hourglass figure in addition to losing weight. In reality, if hourglass curves aren't your natural body shape, you won't be able to maintain that after you remove the waist trainer.


Even the fittest people have different body types and carry their weight differently; you cannot dramatically alter the shape of your body once you are healthy.

Reshaping and Improving your Body Contours

Adopting a healthy diet and exercising regularly is the best way to trim down and enhance your body contours. Although you might lose weight by exercising or dieting, some stubborn pockets of fat might still remain. Targeting weight loss in specific areas cannot achieve spot reduction purely through dieting and exercise.

When diet and exercise do not work for you, there are multiple procedures you can use to permanently reduce unwanted bulges, tighten loose skin, and sculpt a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. Non-invasive fat removal treatments are effective methods that can help reshape and contour the silhouette of the body without the need to go under the knife.

Fat Freezing | Cryolipolysis

Fat freezing works by killing fat cells through cell apoptosis (fat cell death). Due to fat’s sensitivity to cold, the cold temperature will freeze and eliminate the fat. As fat is sensitive to cold, a cold temperature will freeze the fat cells and eliminate them, while leaving other tissues unaffected.

With CoolSculpting, the only FDA-approved fat freezing treatment on the market, fat cells are frozen at temperatures as low as -13°C, leaving other tissues like skin, blood vessels, and nerves unharmed.

Over time, the dead fat cells will be slowly disintegrated and be naturally metabolized out of the waste system.

Right after their CoolSculpting treatment, patients can resume their regular daily activities as normal. CoolSculpting does not require any downtime post-treatment.


WarmSculpting | SculpSure

With SculpSure, fat is targeted and eliminated using a laser-based, non-invasive lipolysis treatment.

SculpSure is placed around your waist and the applicators are wrapped around you like a belt. The applicators deliver a diode laser with a wavelength of 1060 nanometers and a temperature of 45 to 47°C which is hot enough to kill fat cells beneath the skin without harming other tissues.

Eventually, broken down fat cells will be naturally metabolized out of the body.

The SculpSure treatment also requires no downtime and patients can resume daily activities immediately afterward.


In the long run, waist trainers are unlikely to make a significant difference to your figure. Its excessive use or cinching too tightly can even cause health problems.

However, if you are looking to reduce unwanted bulges, tighten loose skin and sculpt a more contoured silhouette without having to go under the knife, schedule a consultation with us today to find out which treatment might work best for you.

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