Why Waist Trainers Are a Total Waste of Money for Six-Pack Abs

If you’re like so many other gym-goers and healthy eaters out there, you’re after the seemingly unattainable six-pack (or, you’re just looking for a toned core). You’ve tried every crunch and plank on the internet. You’ve even cut down on carbs and foods that bloat you. But in the end, you may think your efforts are totally futile — and that may lead you to waist training.

Plenty of fitness trainers and celebrities work out with waist trainers, and they promise that the device helps whittle the waistline and keep them slim. But in the end, waist trainers truly aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

What is a waist trainer?

Khloe Kardashian in a waist trainer

Khloe Kardashian in a waist trainer | Khloé Kardashian via Instagram

Orchard Corset reminds us waist training goes way back to the days when women wore corsets. Steel-boned corsets were worn to exaggerate a small waist and give women the perfect (and difficult to attain) hourglass shape.

Today, no one’s wearing these anymore — but celebrities like the Kardashians and Amber Rose are big fans of the latex waist cinchers. These completely wrap around the belly and are typically worn during workouts. And because they’re made of latex, they can cause your midsection to sweat like crazy, resulting in many believing they’re melting away excess fat and calories the longer they wear the device.

Why you shouldn’t wear one

girl measuring her waist

Girl measuring her waist | iStock.com

Spot fat reduction doesn’t work: 

You may love your legs and arms, but just want to lose some weight around the middle — and perhaps that’s why you’ve considered wearing a waist trainer. Unfortunately, reducing fat in certain areas of the body while leaving the rest of you totally untouched isn’t possible, Healthline reminds us. When you lose weight, you have little choice in the matter as to where it leaves your body first.

It’s all about diet, not fad products: 

You’ve probably heard that abs are made in the kitchen — and that’s the truth. While quick-fix products like waist trainers seem like they’ll help you get your desired shape, but in reality, the best way to lose body fat is through diet. Remember: To lose 1 pound per week, you’ll need to be in a 500 calorie deficient daily until you reach your goal weight. Only then will you be able to see those ab muscles you’ve worked so hard for.

They give the illusion that you’ve lost weight:

You may appear smaller when first removing a waist trainer after several hours of usage. But in reality, in such a short timeframe, all you lost was water weight. And as soon as you drink fluids and eat your post-workout meal, you’ll notice your abs are right back to the way they were prior to wearing the waist trainer that day.

They’re bad for your internal organs:

Not only are waist trainers ineffective, they’re quite uncomfortable. The Huffington Post notes constricting your midsection in such a way can lead to your digestive system improperly functioning, and it may also give you breathing troubles. Mary Jane Jinkin, M.D., said if worn tight enough, the device could also cause rib damage.

What you should do instead

pilates exercises with an instructor

Young woman doing pilates exercises | iStock.com/VladimirFLoyd

Getting a toned core is attainable without waist trainers. Here’s how you can do it:

Eat the right foods: 

As stated before, a caloric deficit is necessary for weight loss — and there are certain foods that can help you attain your goals. Aim for high-protein foods that will fill you up without filling you out, like eggs, white meat chicken, turkey, and fish. And fibrous fruits and veggies, such as broccoli, spinach, collard greens, and berries can also help you feel satiated.

You should also do your best to avoid alcohol, as this can cause bloating and has been linked to increased belly fat. Sipping on green tea instead of a beer is the way to go.

Maintain a strong core with resistance training:

You can’t spot reduce fat — but once you’ve lowered your body fat, you can make them pop from certain core exercises. Try difficult plank variations, leg lifts, mountain climbers, and V-ups if you’re up for a challenge (here’s a full 10-minute workout to follow for a super strong core). Also, squats, lunges, and pull-ups all work your core without you realizing it, so add those into your strength training days, too.

Incorporate cardio:

Cardio burns through calories fast, so running, biking, and HIIT workouts are the way to go here. Your best bet is to incorporate strength training with cardio for a seriously heart-pumping workout that will benefit your core.

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