Infomercial Insanity: The Ab Belt
Hey there! Welcome to Infomercial Insanity. The weight loss/fitness industry is a billion-dollar market. Sadly, companies take advantage of people’s desperation and often time make misleading product claims to make a quick buck.
In this series, I’ll review a fitness product and judge it merits and effectiveness…or lack of.
First up I’m talking about the AB Belt, a belt that literally shocks your abdominals with little jolts of electricity and promises a six-pack in just 6 weeks. There are many of these on the market. Here we go…
The Ab Belts claim that by sending small electrical impulses to your abdominal muscles through pads in a belt it will tone, strengthen and somehow make a set of washboard abs appear.
There are many brands: the Flex Belt, The Contour Belt, Slendertone etc, and they all cite the same science – that in clinical settings and rehabilitation facilities, electrical “stimulation” can keep muscles from further atrophying and provide some muscular contractions. This leads people to believe that wearing such a belt will make abs appear in place of their belly.
Most of these belts also come with an exercise and nutrition program and believe it or not the FDA actually endorses a few of them! They’re also quite pricey, ranging from $50 – $200 (all made affordable by easy monthly payments of course). The commercials depict users singing their praises while standing next to some remarkable before and after photos. Simply wear the belt every day and in a matter of weeks you’ll be beach body ready…
Come on! I can’t believe people actually believe this. Listen, I know it gets harder to lose weight as we get older and our bodies change with each passing year. But to believe a wearing a belt makes a six pack appear isn’t ignorant, it’s just lack of common sense.
Yes, clinically similar devices are used to increase blood flow and as part of rehabilitation, but only when a person is hurt, injured or immobilized. They may help a bit with salvaging some lost strength and a little muscle tone, but the stimulators that rehab centers and clinicians use are far more powerful than any ab fitness belt available.
Even if the claims of increased strength were true, that doesn’t equate to a six–pack, or any localized fat loss. And it surely is no replacement for a sound exercise program. Sure, if you sit on your couch all day and do absolutely nothing, perhaps a little shock here and there may provide a hair width of muscular stimulus. But even the most sedentary person recruits more abdominal muscles just sitting up or getting out of bed. And like most other infomercial products, any results that are seen are from use of the supplied nutrition & exercise program – NOT the product itself.
What’s most interesting to me is our nation’s fascination with the abdominal muscles. It’s viewed as the ultimate indicator of fitness and beauty, yet more than 50% of the population suffers from low back pain and issues. This is certainly a case of many companies twisting science and using it to take advantage of people’s desperation. The fact that some of these products have doctors endorsing them makes the situation even more despicable.
Building muscle and losing fat are two different things. If you want to see your abs, you MUST lose subcutaneous fat in your belly area. There’s no way around it and there’s no way to set reduce fat in any area of your body without surgery.
If only wearing a belt will gave you a six-pack – I’d have one in a different color for every day of the week! You know your gut is telling you it can’t be true – literally1
Disclaimer:All information contained within this site, traineralfonso.com, is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed within this website. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind
I will tell you what this belts are good for, at least for me, my menstrual pains and cramps and thats all.
Seriously. And even a quality hot water bottle is cheaper!
Most people like to believe it, and buy these kind of products because they want it to be true. They see an image of what they wish they could have, and some are just gullible enough to believe in what a tv star or actress says (although we all know they get good money to say those lines, not to try them or actually use them themselves).
And this discussion will always get to the fact that the easy way is the most chosen one. Six pack in 10 min/day without breaking a sweat, or a longer term program which requires you to work/sweat/diet/push yourself…Hmmm….I wonder what they will chose…
I chose the second, because it’s the only one that works, and let’s face it…do you feel that sense of accomplishment and gain those levels of energy after you complete a 10-15 minute belt (nap) stimulation?
The reason people believe it is because they have hope that it could work without them having to step out of their comfort zone (THE INFAMOUS COUCH!)
It is our duty to make those people aware of the truth!
Thank you Alfonso.
Ya know, Robin Williams made a joke about this particular, ahh… ‘health item’ in his stand up performance in New York a few years back.
At the end, he suggests attaching it to your head and as it shocks your skull, repeat to yourself, “I. Will not buy.Stupid s#it. For No REASON! Hang up!”
well if your fat and eating cheeseburgers while using the ab belt then its obviously not going to work for you, go on a diet.
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