It’s not secret that competitors go to extremes in hopes of achieving an ideal physique. Many times the drastic measures that women (and men) take are short-sighted. The do “whatever it takes” mentality is part of what separates those who talk about competing and those who get on stage, at least if you ask a competitor.
In the “good old days” male (and female) bodybuilders were known to put Preparation H on their midsection and wrap their waistline in saran wrap. Does it work? Well, that all depends on what it is you’re hoping to achieve. In this instance, it was/is said to pull water from the lower abs and help tighten the skin. This was/is used in the final week or two before a competition because of the low body fat and in bodybuilding you want tight skin, with little to no water over your abs. When it comes to other divisions, like Bikini, you shouldn’t have to deplete water or go to drastic measures as you’re not looking for a ripped, hard, grainy look to the muscle.
Then came along the “Rubber Waist Cincher” for women and men. It’s described as…
Walk tall and feel trim in this powerful body shaper. Reduce your waistline immediatly after slipping on this medium compression waist cincher. Made with latex rubber, this garment represents the newest in shaper technology. Rubber provides slimming compression in a soft and pliable cincher, resulting in a comfortable shaper that can also promote better posture. The cotton lining is soft against the skin making this one of the most comfortable yet powerful cinchers you will have ever tried.
The results vary depending on who you ask. Some people swear by them and others have experienced pain from using them. Those who have experienced pain seem to wear them too tight, wear more than one or wear them for extended periods of time. All things you shouldn’t do, much less all at the same time.
If you want to take things to another level you look take a trip back in time to corset training. The corset doesn’t have the best reputation. It’s been around for centuries and many women report getting faint or even so far as organ trouble. Some women swear it works and use it regularly and others shake their heads in disgust. When you go to this extreme you’re essentially changing your body composition and if you’re willing to do that all for a smaller waist then so be it.
There are hundreds of competitors who are using these methods and I’m not saying they are right or wrong. It’s your body and yours to do as you wish with it. All I’d ask of competitors is to think long-term and be more concerned about your health and wellness than placing at a competition.
Recently, Rebecca Adams at The Huffington Post spoke to a few doctors about the side effects of body-shaping garments. It’s not only competitors who are using compression garments but also many others willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a small waistline. In Rebecca’s story, some of the doctors were against the body shaping garments while others didn’t see the harm in it if it’s not too tight and worn for too long.
Some of the key take-aways from Rebecca’s piece ring true for all who wear body shaping garments, whether you compete or not.
SIX THINGS TO CONSIDER IF YOU WEAR SHAPEWEAR
1. Shapewear couldn’t do its job if it wasn’t tight. Unfortunately, this leaves your stomach, intestine and colon compressed, which Dr. Kuemmerle says can worsen acid reflux and heartburn. Restrictive clothing can also provoke erosive esophagitis.
2. Your digestive tract is also affected, explains Dr. Erickson. The intestines are supposed to contract and move food along, but when they’re compressed over a long period of time, the flow of digestion is stifled.
3. Another hallmark of shapewear? Shallow breath. When you inhale, your diaphragm expands and your abdomen flares out, Dr. Erickson says, but shapewear restricts this movement and decreases the excursion in respiration.
4. Sitting in shapewear can lead to a reversible condition called meralgia paresthetica, which is when the peripheral nerve in your thigh is compressed. This leads to tingling, numbness and pain in your legs, all of which can come and go or become constant.
5. Shapewear is occlusive, meaning it traps moisture and anything else under it, which predisposes shapewear wearers to both yeast and bacterial infections.
6. It’s not a problem if you wear it for an evening or a special occasion, she says, but it’s not a good idea to wear it daily and sit in it for hours on end.