To Squeem, or Not To Squeem??

To Squeem, or Not To Squeem??

By: Tanya Burk

Are you prepping for an NPC show or simply trying to get into the best shape of your life, and you just can’t get your tummy where it needs to be? Using a waist trainer is a method of shrinking the stomach that is very popular for fitness competitors and becoming more widely used in the mainstream population. Waist training is a controversial topic though. Some research shows that using these devices can cause digestive problems and other health related issues. The decision on whether or not to use a waist trainer is a personal one. Every girl should do her research and weigh her personal pros and cons to conclude whether the risks outweigh the benefits for her situation.

My first two shows I did not use a waist trainer. Although I did well at both shows, both times the judges commented that my tummy could be flatter. The third show I used a waist trainer beginning at 4 weeks out from my show. It was very uncomfortable and I could barely get it on (even though I ordered two sizes bigger than the sizing chart indicated). At first, the waist trainer made me feel sick, and I got really hot every time I put it on. I was advised not to wear it for 30 minutes after eating, and not to wear it more than 8 hours a day. I could barely wear it a few hours a day! Those few hours a day of training my waist DID pay off though. I won a class at that show! Comparing pictures from the first two shows, it is obvious my midsection was flatter the third time.

The 4th show I did I started out wearing the waist trainer sooner, and I wore it more often. In fact, I became less careful about when I wore it and, at times I left it on while I ate, not even taking it off after the meal. This backfired on me. I started having an awful sensation in my throat. I realized (after ruling out allergies and other issues) that it was a reflux/indigestion issue. It was extremely annoying. I ended up taking an over the counter proton pump inhibitor for 14 days and my symptoms subsided. I blame this temporary digestive issue on my overuse of the waist trainer.   My stomach WAS flatter though – go figure!

Another benefit of the waist trainer was I found my posture improving. Another negative was I found my core muscles needing a little extra work when I wore it. I believe my body was using the trainer as a stability mechanism. I added in a little more core work to help counter that effect.

So the question remains, should someone use a waist trainer? I firmly believe it has to be a personal decision someone makes after doing research on the pros and cons of using one. Will I use one again? Yes! I just ordered a new one. I plan to use it as I prep for another competition, BUT I will be very careful to use it only after waiting 30 minutes after I eat. I will also use it limited hours a day. I know people who wear waist trainers every day for 8 hours or more. I don’t think I will ever fall into that category, but it is an option I use training for a competition. I personally look at it like a teeth retainer one gets after having braces. Using a retainer does not make your teeth straight, but it will do the finishing touches of keeping them where they are supposed to be. The more you wear a retainer the more the teeth stay in place. The waist trainer functions for the midsection in similar ways. It is not going to get your midsection where it needs to be (only nutrition and exercise will do this) but it can add a finishing touch that creates a slender, shapely appearance.

(Squeem is a brand name of a waist trainer. There are many brands available on the market. TwinFitness does not endorse any brand of waist trainer. TwinFitness does not endorse the use of waist trainers, but instead encourages everyone to research the topic and make an informed decision on her own.)