The Ab Flex Belt is a device that has been on the market for over a decade. According to its website, celebrities, TV stars and even pro athletes recommend its use for toning the abdominal region. What most consumers want to know is whether it is helpful in losing weight or not?
The maker claims that the US Food and Drug Administration cleared the medical invention for use in toning and strengthening muscles. However, it does not work on its own to help a user lose weight. The short answer is that the stimulating electric pulses that make the device work do not reach through the abdominal walls to help reduce fat and promote weight loss.
More About the Flex Belt
The belt uses technology called electronic muscle stimulation. This is where short bolts of electricity are delivered to the body and then stimulate the muscles so that they contract. To facilitate the electrical impulses, gel pads have to be worn. These should be changed out every month or so. The maker claims that in order to see results, the Flex Belt has to be worn every day for 30 minutes each day for at least four weeks.
The belt is thought of as a Class II EMS device as per the FDA. The Flex Belt price is about $200 and gel pad sets cost about $15 each. These prices do not include shipping and handling.
The FDA’s Clarification
The FDA clearly states that the use of EMS devices is for medical purposes. For instance, the belt could be considered a good device for a stroke victim to use to improve muscle tone during recovery. It can be thought of as a medical device that temporarily strengthens and firms muscles, but the Flex Belt, it should be noted, has not be approved by the FDA for weight loss needs.
The Flex Belt will not give anyone a set of six-pack abs. You need to follow a reduced calorie diet and follow a strict exercise regimen in order to do that.
A six-week study conducted by an exercise scientists at the University of Wisconsin demonstrated that the belt did nothing to cause a person to lose significant weight. The study was done on 72 adult women who made use of several brands of electronically stimulating exercise belts.
The study did find that muscle strength from the belts used had improved across the group using the stimulation devices. However, a nominal change was shown in body mass index, weight and hip circumferences.
Legal Actions Against Makers of Ab Belts
Early in the 2000s, the Federal Trade Commission took action against manufacturers of EMS devices for making false and deceptive claims. The claims led consumers to believe that by using the devices they were getting the same benefits as they would with exercise. They also believed they would lose weight and inches off their bodies.
The claims were met with some attorneys representing the manufacturers with the attitude of disdain. Most any consumer, they contended, would never believe a belt with electrical pulses would help them lose weight. They further pointed out that the AbFlex came with implicit directions which indicated the need for healthy diet and exercise in addition to use of the belt for weight loss purposes.
How to Lose Weight with an The Flex Belt
The belt will not help you lose weight, at least if it is used all by itself. It can help stimulate some degree of muscle tone, but not weight loss. You need to be on a reduced calorie diet filled with vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. You also need to exercise regularly. Cardiovascular exercise should be done several times a week to help burn calories and help get rid of fat.
In addition to cardio exercise, spend about 20 minutes two or three days a week on strength training. Building muscle helps burn calories even when the body is at rest. It also helps speed up your metabolism. You can use the Ab Flex for added muscle toning.