We often hear from new customers who ask, “What are the side effects of wearing a waist trainer?” or “Is waist training really safe?”
There are many myths and rumors when it comes to the safety and effectiveness of wearing a waist trainer. But a lot of these ideas come from people who haven’t tried waist training, or from those who haven't done it correctly, so they’re merely speculative, if not completely inaccurate.
Like almost anything, you may experience some discomfort if you don’t use common sense or don’t know how to practice waist training properly. The most common “side effects” of waist training are actually quite preventable, as long as you know what to expect and how to get the most out of your experience.
The Importance of Fit
It is possible to experience discomfort when waist training, such as pinching the skin, or putting too much pressure on the ribs or hips. But if that happens, it’s a sign that the garment is too small or isn’t the right length for your torso.
It’s a common misconception that wearing a smaller size waist trainer will make you even slimmer, but it in fact gives you less flattering results! Not only will trying to squeeze in a waist trainer that is too small be uncomfortable, but it can actually make your figure look unnatural, with an “overflow” effect (assuming you can even get the garment on).
To get the right fit, the first step is to get accurate measurements. Using vinyl or fabric measuring tape, take a measurement at the narrowest part of your waist, where there is a natural bend when you lean to the side. Make sure the tape is level and isn’t pulled too tight (you should be able to slip a couple of fingers underneath).
Once you have measurements, make sure you follow the sizing charts, which have been tested and adjusted for each waist trainer we offer. You may also want to browse the reviews for the waist trainer you are shopping for, to see if it tends to run large or small.
If your measurement falls between two sizes, always choose the larger size. Remember, waist trainers can be tightened, but they can’t be stretched out.
See more: Sizing Help
Other factors to consider when choosing the best waist trainer include garment length and style. If you’re petite, a longer waist trainer may cause discomfort, so be sure to shop for petite styles. If you have a large bust, you may prefer the extra support of a vest style waist trainer.
After you order your waist trainer, be sure to try it on and make sure it is comfortable before wearing it. It will feel snug but not painful. If it fits, you shouldn’t have to force it on, and you shouldn’t feel any pinching or experience any restriction of your breathing.
It does take a little time for your body to adjust to the way a waist trainer feels, which is why we recommend gradually increasing the amount of time you wear your waist trainer each day, rather than jumping in all day every day from the start. Once you’re accustomed to the way a waist trainer feels, it will feel as natural as any other undergarment.
Listening to Your Body
Here at Hourglass Angel, we believe that you should love your body as it is, no matter what shape or size you are. And one of the ways you love your body is to listen to its messages!
It’s just common sense; if you ever experience discomfort of any kind in a waist trainer, beyond simply feeling the compression, take it off. Again, if you experience unusual side effects like restricted breathing or pain of any kind, it’s very likely that your waist trainer doesn’t fit. Remove it. Your waist trainer should feel tight, but it should NOT hurt.
Another potential side effect of waist training, especially if you’re working out, is dehydration. This makes sense, as you can lose a lot of water when you sweat harder (this is how you know the waist trainer is working!). Signs of dehydration may include fatigue, lightheadedness, dark urine, headache and stomachache.
This is easily prevented. Track your water intake over the course of a day and make sure you’re getting at least a half ounce of water per pound of your body weight. Drink even more if you’re doing high-intensity workouts, and avoid diuretics like caffeine and alcohol.
Lastly, it’s important to let your body rest and relax. While you will certainly see benefits wearing your waist trainer eight hours a day, we do not recommend exceeding twelve hours a day. You will not see significant benefits wearing it longer than recommended.
Skin Care While Waist Training
One of the most common side effects of waist training is skin irritation, especially if your skin is sensitive. While you’re wearing a waist trainer, your skin isn’t exposed to air and can be trapped with moisture. It can also easily dry out since you will be losing a lot of water.
This effect is also easily remedied. First, taking care of your skin starts from the inside out—so work on staying hydrated.
We also highly recommend using a high-quality lotion on the skin around your midsection to replenish the moisture it loses during waist training. Amp Your Curves Gel moisturizes and tightens the skin and is formulated especially for waist training.
If you’re experiencing skin irritation from your waist trainer, it’s also possible that you have a sensitivity to latex. You may feel more comfortable in a latex-free option. We love this mesh corset and its waspie counterpart because they allow your skin to breath, making them ideal for warm climates.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’re properly caring for your waist trainer. When you take it off, drape it over a chair or hanger in and area that is well ventilated so that it can air out. If you wear a waist trainer during workouts, be sure to change into an everyday waist trainer once your workout is complete.
Lastly, we recommend wearing a light cotton camisole underneath your waist trainer. This can help your skin stay cool and dry.
Managing Your Overall Health
Some people try waist training because they think it is a “quick fix” to losing weight and getting thin. Nothing could be further from the truth! If you start wearing a waist trainer but fill your body with junk and don’t exercise, of course you’re going to feel sick and weak.
Waist training should be a part of an overall healthy lifestyle that includes hydration, a nutritious diet, regular exercise and adequate rest.
We recommend eating whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible and avoiding sugary, high-calorie drinks. While waist training, most people find it works best to eat 5–6 small meals a day rather than larger ones, as your stomach will be somewhat restricted under compression. Smaller meals are better for your metabolism and energy levels throughout the day and can help you maintain sensible portion control.
For some people, it’s possible to experience heartburn while waist training. Pay attention to what foods can trigger heartburn and avoid them while wearing a waist trainer (highly acidic or sugary food are typical culprits). Eating less and finishing your meals several hours before you go to bed can also help.
Waist training also works best when you’re working out at least 4–5 days a week so that you can help your core muscles be strong. Do a variety of cardio and strength training exercises—and yes, while wearing your workout waist trainer, of course! Need some ideas? Try these fat-torching cardio workouts and our favorite booty-building exercises.
It’s also worth mentioning that waist training is only recommended for women who are fully grown—at least 18 years of age. It’s not safe to use high compression while you’re still growing.
And of course, don’t wear a waist trainer while pregnant, as your growing baby needs room to expand. However, we do highly recommend wearing a waist trainer postpartum. See more: A New Mom’s Complete Guide to Postpartum Waist Training.
Should You Worry About Waist Training Side Effects?
It’s up to you to decide what feels best for your body. But if you follow our expert guidelines, you can avoid negative side effects. Here’s what to remember:
- Make sure your waist trainer fits correctly
- Listen to your body’s signals
- Stay hydrated
- Take care of your skin (try latex-free if needed)
- Wear a light cami underneath your waist trainer
- Only wear as directed; gradually up to eight hours a day, and then no more than twelve.
- Follow a nutritious, whole-foods diet, 5–6 small meals a day
- Exercise regularly
- Air out your waist trainer when it’s not in use
- Do not wear a waist trainer if under 18 or pregnant
If you have any more questions or concerns about waist training and how to find the right waist trainer for you, our expert stylists are here to answer your questions! Also be sure to check out real results from customers who tried waist training for themselves.