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
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