The first people that spring to mind when thinking of an hourglass body are Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez.
These women have embodied the meaning of curvy in the “ideal body shape” and millions of women around the world are trying to mimic that shape. This is not necessarily healthy, but you can sculpt your body without surgery.
In this article, GCT lifestyle journalist Despina Karp examines whether you can really get an hourglass figure, whether waist trainers work, and why lifting weights can be the key to a more curvier body shape.
First, what is an hourglass-shaped body? The coveted hourglass shape is the kind of figure you’ve likely seen on billboards, magazines, influencer posts, and celebrities on the red carpet.
Well-known beauty icons like Marilyn Monroe have this body shape. It appears with chiseled shoulders, shapely curves, and a narrower waist.
The truth, however, is that an hourglass shape doesn’t necessarily mean you are healthier or more attractive.
How did the hourglass figure come into fashion?
The first depictions of hourglass women appeared to appear in the 14th century. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, plump bellies were considered desirable in northern Europe, but the rest of the figure was generally thin. This can be seen most clearly in nude paintings from this period.
When looking at clothed pictures, the belly is often visible through a mass of otherwise concealing, puffy, loose garments. Since the stomach was the only visible anatomical feature, it was exaggerated in nudes while the rest of the body was taken back.
This was the case in southern Europe around the time of the Renaissance.
Fast forward to the 18th century and the body shapes are starting to change. And then the waist trainer was born!
Depictions of nude women in the 18th century tend to have very narrow waists and high, pronounced breasts, almost as if they were wearing an invisible corset. La Maja Desnuda is a clear example of this aesthetic.
The 19th century retained the general figure of the 18th century.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the rise of athletics led to a drastic slimming of the female figure. This culminated in the “flapper look” of the 1920s, which has since become familiar with modern fashion.
In the 1930s, American goods such as the Coca-Cola bottle were exported to Jamaica for the first time.
In Jamaican culture, the Coca-Cola bottle has become the epitome of a perfect woman’s body. Women with curves shaped to look like a Coke bottle received the highest compliments from men, while skinny women were ridiculed and ridiculed for not having that adored body shape.
Today we owe Kim Kardashian the “hourglass” body trend. Remember, Kim had ribs removed to achieve the perfect waistline. In an interview with E! News in August 2018, the star revealed that, with the help of trainer Melissa Alcantara, she works out for an hour and a half every day! Who has that much time? Not many of us.
So let’s talk more about waist trainers.
Similar to corsets, a waist trainer is an undergarment made of thick fabric and hard metal rods. It is worn around the middle part and is fastened with a lacing system, hook or Velcro fastener.
It is meant to be worn much tighter than a bodice or shaping underwear to give you a slimmer, narrower waist. While the results are instantly visible, waist training requires frequent wear of the garment for months.
The almost “instant transformation” you see right after removing the waist trainer can be impressive, and the theory is that you can “train” your waistline to maintain that shape with prolonged use.
According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, a waist trainer won’t change your body shape drastically. Even if you have the body type that temporarily lends itself to this shape, your waist trainer is unlikely to have any lasting effect.
The bottom line is that waist trainers are simple unlikely to have a dramatic or long-term impact on your figure. This doesn’t mean they don’t work!
Anyway, meIf overused or overtightened, they can cause health problems. The healthiest, most effective way to lose (and keep) weight is there through a balanced diet and regular exercise, and that is what we will focus on.
How to work towards an hourglass shape with exercise and diet
The three target areas you should be working on for an hourglass shape are:
- Your upperbody
- Your waistline
- your glutes, thighs, and hips
The emphasis on what you are working on depends on your natural form. If you are already slim all around, the first thing to do is to build muscles in the shoulder and chest area to get wider at the top. If you’re carrying weight around your core, you probably want to prioritize belly fat shedding. This can be done through cardio, HIIT training, or weight lifting!
Since reducing fat in just one area of your body is next to impossible, it is important to focus on overall weight loss if you are looking to lose inches from your waistline. However, there are some exercises and workouts that have been shown to be more effective at targeting fat around your midsection and we are going to talk about these:
When it comes to waist slimming, yoga is an option that is hard to beat.
In a study of 60 women with abdominal obesity, participating in 12 weeks of yoga practice resulted in an average loss of 1.5 inches around the waist! And that without going on a low-calorie diet! Imagine if you had combined both!
Yoga poses like Bow Pose, Boat Pose, and Reverse Warrior can activate, tone, and tone your deep core muscles.
Planks (normal and side planks)
According to a 2017 study, planks and other stability exercises have an increased ability to activate your inner core. This, in turn, can help trim your waistline and improve athletic performance. As a bonus, planks have been proven to support your posture and stamina in activities such as running or cycling. Start with 1 minute a day and slowly build up to 10 rounds of 30-60 seconds. Let’s get down to planking!
High intensity interval training (HIIT)
Another study found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be an effective tool for breaking belly fat and burning lots of calories. This type of cardio exercise requires short, intense workouts followed by a short rest period that is repeated many times. An example of this is sprinting: running hard for 40 seconds and resting for 20 seconds. Repeat ten times.
Weight training (or weight training)
The amount of weight you lift can affect the way your body looks. If you want a particular muscle to grow, you need to lift heavy weights. If you’re interested in creating curves, lifting weights is the natural way to do it. To form an hourglass figure, you should have your shoulders wider than your waist and your buttocks symmetrical with your shoulders. An hourglass figure usually carries a large amount of loot. Lifting heavy weights can enlarge your butt! Squats, lunges, deadlifts, and heavy weight presses. Consult a personal trainer before lifting heavy weights yourself.
click here for the best weight training exercises to sculpt that hourglass body.
Mix in HIIT training with strength training to tone and strengthen your muscleswhich sculpts your body. This is where a personal trainer can help you create a workout routine that is tailored to your individual needs.
Diet for a longer hourglass figure
Balanced diet with a high protein content. Focus on fresh whole foods and high quality protein. Protein are the building blocks of the body and can dramatically support muscle growth. Cut down on sugary snacks and drinks, as well as overly processed foods.
The bottom line is, YES, it is possible to get more of an hourglass figure with diet and exercise, and you could try adding a waist trainer, but I would suggest doing your research before buying. You don’t necessarily need a waist trainer and with the right exercise routine you can tone your body through weight loss and muscle building.
Instead of aiming to get the small waist and big hips, we should instead focus on exercise, eating healthy, mindfulness, and sanity.
Try to find motivation to get stronger, fitter, or healthier instead of striving for the ideal figure. Remember, a perfect hourglass figure can be difficult to achieve and it is a body shape that few people naturally have. And it’s important to remember that a lot of celebrities we see in photos don’t have these perfect measurements. Instead, they have expensive cosmetic procedures and use the best of personal trainers, expensive shapewear, and a professional photo editor to create the illusion of an hourglass figure.
After all, it’s important to be realistic and remember that your measurements don’t define you!
When in doubt See your doctor. Talk to your doctor about safe and effective ways to lose weight that won’t harm your health in the long run!
Talk to a specialist. If you are interested in changing certain parts of your body, ask your doctor for a referral to a certified cosmetic or plastic surgeon.
Read more about waist trainers here.
The best exercises to sculpt your body through movement can be found here.
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