Andy Warhol was wrong: Some pseudo-celebrities have outlived their 15 minutes of fame and show no signs of quitting the public square. We can blame that on TMZ, Twitter, and Facebook—and their accompanying selfies—as well as a plethora of websites that give people such as Kim Kardashian more ink or bytes than they deserve. While most Americans easily ignore them, others choose to follow like lemmings. And there they go, over the cliff.
Kim Kardashian's latest meme is her obsession with wearing a garment that cinches her waist as narrow as the neck of an old-fashioned egg timer, leaving impressionable fans of her endless stream of selfies to gasp and wonder about the curves flowing above and below. That's all well and good, until others start binding their waists into organ-crushing garb based on her lead.
Ms. Kardashian calls this "waist training," a homophone that sounds more like your first days on the job at a dump or porta-potty company. Various definitions apply to these devices. Known as "corsets" in previous generations, they're potentially dangerous. Today, one version is called a "Squeem."
THE SQUEEM-ISH DETAILS
Foot binding is no longer popular in China; elderly woman with feet no larger than those of 3-year-olds can barely hobble on these broken and previously bound appendages. In their youth, this was seen as attractive and sexy, but sexual mores are often nothing more than fads. Extreme measures to achieve them in youth have left damage in their wake, and desire for them is hula-hooped into the past.
Today, even fitness competitors are following Kim Kardashian's lead, squeezing into Squeems and other waist-binding devices. The dangers include deforming your organs, causing you to faint, and reducing your ability to consume the amount of healthy foods you need for challenging workouts, recovery, and muscle building. The long-term harm of these newfangled corsets is not well understood yet.
Let's hope we don't learn what these dangers are through pervasive use during this generation.
YOUR GUT-CHECK MOMENT
If you're serious about reducing the ratio of your midsection to your hips and upper body, then you should implement these two basic strategies.
Follow a training program that encourages body-fat
reduction and muscle-building.
That's not as challenging as it sounds. Here are three quick tips:
- Include high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This entails quick bursts of all-out cardio that last 60-90 seconds, 3-5 per workout.
- Work your abs from a variety of angles, overemphasizing every contraction rather than volume.
- Hold your abs tight, sucking in your gut when you perform pressing, pulling, and legs exercises. Use control over your body to create your own corset—train yourself to keep your midsection in check.
Follow a nutrition program that supports body fat
reduction and muscle building.
That's not as challenging as it sounds, either. Here are three quick tips to help you display a ripped midsection:
- Cut carbs to about one gram per pound of your body weight every day. Eliminate sugar, processed flour, and other fast-digesting carbs in favor of vegetables and some fruits.
- Bump up your protein, taking in as much as two grams per pound of your body weight every day.
- Don't go hungry, ever. Eat several meals a day, emphasizing fats and fibers, which digest very slowly. And take in protein before you go to bed.
Our fear at Bodybuilding.com is that susceptible young people, especially women, will see the Squeem and other cinching forms of "waist training" as a quick fix, rather than turning to healthy alternatives to achieve the same results. Is Kim Kardashian's "waist training" stupid and potentially dangerous? Of corset is.
But so is the culture she represents. Don't buy into it either.