To lace up, or not to lace up?

2015-02-08 18:30

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Waist training involves wearing a belt made from thick latex, cotton lining and sometimes boning around your waist and stomach, in what is in essence a corset to supposedly strengthen your core, build abs and lose weight.

It is said to work by forcing a more upright posture, which works your core muscles. It is advised users wear the trainer while exercising, since having a firmer posture makes one’s workout more intense.

Phumi Mthembu’s local online store, Urbane Lifestyle, supplies waist trainers.

She explains: “The end aim is waist reduction and to sculpt your midriff. It helps your posture because it’s uncomfortably tight, not sore – but you can’t slouch and so are constantly exercising your core muscles.”

The concept of waist training is not new. Postnatal mothers have, for several years, been advised to tie something firm around their belly as soon as possible after birth – for a few weeks or months – to aid quicker recovery and strengthen the stomach muscles.

Urbane Lifestyle says they’ve been selling these products for six months, mainly to private clients, but are now open to the public. They have plans to open a studio and have seen local interest grow as more people become interested in the trend. Brands such as Spanx offer a variety of products that also work like waist trainers, including their Boostie-Yay! Comfy Corset.

Mthembu says: “I’m not a waist trainer as such, because I only use it at gym. I don’t use it every day. I’m a size 30, so I don’t need to use it often.”

She adds: “There are different kinds of waist trainers, and currently the waist trainer we have is the flexi-boned range, which you can wear every day and commit to exercising in.”

Mthembu says that from February they will be offering a steel-boned waist trainer, which is a little more “aggressive” and can’t be worn all day, unlike the flexi range corset.

Waist training fans are emphatic it is not a “magic sculpting” solution.

Opinions on the dangers and benefits of waist training differ widely. Some doctors claim there’s absolutely no evidence of it working and caution that the body returns to its natural form as soon as the aid is taken off because the fat is simply being moved, not lost through exercise and diet. Lila Bruk of Lila Bruk & Associates says on whether she recommends waist training: “Definitely not. The only way to really make your waistline smaller is through a balanced diet and regular exercise.”

People will also often endure longer and tighter use because they think it will provide better results, but this can cause organ damage due to the pressure of the belt and lack of oxygen circulating, as well the skin chaffing.

It is advisable you consult a medical practitioner before tying yourself up in your beloved waist trainer.

*You can email Urbane Lifestyle on for a consultation, or visit

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