fashion · fitness

Workout corsets! For real…


I’m looking forward to reading Timothy Caulfield’s new book Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?

In it Caulfield debunks the health and fitness trends perpetuated by celebrities, everything from juice cleanses to to gluten-free diets.

Sometimes it seems as if celebrity diet and fitness advice ought to have a giant negation sign put in front of it. If Gwyneth Paltrow says to do something, that’s almost a reason not to do that very thing. Think of the Costanza maneuver, doing the opposite.

By the way, if you’re interested in the Costanza maneuver, you need to read Jason Holt’s paper in the Seinfield and Philosophy volume, “Is it rational for George to do the opposite? ”

What’s the latest version? I know, vaginal steaming. But I’m not going there. How about exercise corsets? Apparently Kim Kardashian recommends them. I don’t know if Caulfield’s book covers the claims made on behalf of exercise corsets but here’s James Fell’s assessment, Kim Kardashian: Queen of Celebrity Weight Loss Dumbassery

What in the holy mother of crap?

Here is part of the marketing pitch from the publicist: “a workout corset like this will support long-term slimming and help you lose inches through the science of compression.”

The science of compression? That makes about as much sense as “the science of Play-Doh.” Brain … hurts …

Wait, there’s more. Here are additional marketing claims from the email, alleging the results are:

Midsection control (Read: “I can’t breathe!”)

Increased thermal activity (Read: “This thing is hotter than a Kevlar vest.”)

Loss of inches reported (Yeah, as long as you’re still wearing it. The instant it comes off everything flops back into its pre-corset place.)

Mobilizes fat cells (BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!)

Stimulates perspiration (In case you don’t know what “Increased thermal activity” means.)

Oh, and one of the features of this corset is something called “FlexiBoning.” Does this mean there is a new sex tape in Kim’s future?

See We Tried Kim Kardashian’s Waist-Training Corset and This Is What Happened.


Kim kardashian waist trainer

What do corsets do to your organs? See X-ray images of corseted women, 1908


Forget about organs though, how about for exercise? There’s certainly lots of so-called “sports corsets” out there. The thing is exercise corsets go against everything I’ve been taught about the need for being able to take deep breaths when running and cycling. The argument for the superiority of bib shorts over regular cycling shorts says that regular elastic at the waist can be too much.

Bibs are more comfortable at the waist. They don’t need anything around your middle to hold them up. Elastic waistbands or drawstrings can feel restrictive during deep breathing and like a tourniquet when riding away from a food stop.

I’ve also bought “no waist” bike shorts for a similar reason. Though they did a feel a bit like they might fall down (they weren’t bibs) it was certainly easier to breath. I’m kind of a fan of breathing.

In addition to exercise, corsets are making a comeback as a general dieting and posture aid.

See Getting Waisted: The Dangers of Corset Training.

Through the practice of waist-training, women aim to reshape their bodies and trim inches off their waists by wearing 21st century steel-boned corsets for a certain amount of time per day. These corsets are said to put any extra-strength body shaper to shame, and according to New Jersey retailer, when waist training is paired with diet and exercise, it can “radically reduce the waist” and “help reduce food volume intake by constricting the internal organs thus helping promote the healthier practice of smaller meals, rather than three large meals a day.” The company recommends beginning with wearing the corset three to six hours a day, gradually upping the time to several hours a day for maximum results.

It’s being sold as a non-surgical version of the lap-band, bariatric surgery without the knife, but it’s also without medical advice or nutritional counseling. And no surprise, most experts say that they won’t work. It’s all about diet and exercise. As Tracy said in a blog post from awhile ago, spot reduction doesn’t work.

I’m sticking to my bib shorts, thanks very much.