If it’s a washboard stomach you’re after, will wearing a weight loss belt help you reach your goal? Or, do these exercise gadgets fail to live up to their claims?
What Are Weight Loss Belts?
Weight loss belts are designed to be worn around your abdominal area and they contain electrical stimulators. The claim is that the pulses of energy that the belt delivers are beneficial to not only building your underlying muscles by stimulating them to work properly, but also in reducing the amount of belly fat that you carry.
As recent research has found that fat around your midsection (known as visceral fat) is associated with the development of metabolic syndrome (diabetes, heart disease, etc), people are willing to try just about anything in an attempt to lose it. And, even if the reason is more vanity related than health based, there’s a certain amount of desperation in the general public to have abs that are worth showing off – prompting them to buy into the hopes and promises made by weight loss belt manufacturers.
Of course, one of the major advantages being flaunted by makers of the weight loss belts is the fact that you don’t have to exercise to get the stomach you’ve always wanted. Simply put on the belt for a certain amount of time daily and before you know it, you have a trimmed, tone middle section worthy of bikinis and midriff revealing clothes. Who wouldn’t want that?
The Truth Behind the Products
Luckily, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is there to look into the claims these businesses are making and help you, the consumer, determine whether the companies are living up to their promises. And, they’ve already found at least three manufacturers that they think are failing the test and using the desperation of overweight individuals to their advantage.
Fast Abs, AB Energizer and Ab Tronic were defendants in an FTC lawsuit which alleged that these three companies aired their $40-$120 products on infomercials, TV commercials and on the web by using false representation. They claimed the belts would cause loss of inches and weight, abs that were “rock hard” and that physical exercise wasn’t necessary to get great results.
While the FTC does admit that the belts can be beneficial for people with specific medical conditions or in physical rehabilitation scenarios, anything beyond that is questionable. In cases like those, the electrical stimulation helps repair the muscle, not make it bigger and stronger. The FTC goes on to say that the contractions may tone the muscle to a limited degree, but you’ll likely see no effect without engaging in proper diet and exercise in addition to using the belt.
They’re not the only ones looking into the effectiveness of such claims. Diet Spotlight is doing the same and suggests that these types of products may offer limited benefits only to the right people. For instance, if you already have a stomach that is relatively thin but is not responsive to exercise, then wearing a belt may help you gain some muscle definition. And, at a minimum, the electrical stimulation helps relax the muscles in your back.
While that’s great news for those that are already in decent physical shape, for the rest of the population that has a larger amount of weight to lose, not so much. The belts don’t actually rid your body of fat as the only way to lose weight is to burn calories. And, unfortunately, the belt is not that powerful.
Are the belts really worth the investment, then? That’s up to you. However, if you do decide to see for yourself whether a belt helps you develop the core of your dreams, you may want to follow these recommendations first:
Research the manufacturer thoroughly. See if they have a good reputation for living up to their claims. And, if you want to return the equipment, how willing will they be to take it back?
Read the disclaimers offered by the company. Pay attention to phrases such as “up to” and “results not typical.”
Take testimonials with a grain of salt. Just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you too.
Don’t fall for any claim that says exercise is unnecessary for a toned body. Exercise is necessary if you want permanent results.
Ignore spot reduction claims. You can’t lose in just fat in just one area of the body.
So, How Do You Get a Strong Core?
Even if the belts aren’t the answer to your abdominal prayers, you still have options. You can have a defined midsection by doing other things, such as watching the amount of calories you consume. If you eat more calories than you use, you’ll gain weight – likely around your midsection. So, either reduce the number of calories you take in or ramp up your exercise program so that you burn more than you take in.
Also, certain exercises will help you develop a more tone belly area. For example, Pilates and suspension training are great for developing lean muscles and strengthening your core as most of the exercises focus on balance and coordination.
What have you found to work when it comes to developing enviable abs?