Alright, so it’s time for my no BS review of the Flex Belt. I’ve been posting here for a while, and I’ve written lots of overview posts of how I use it, what I think of the equipment and features, but a full review is long over do.
For those of you who don’t already know this device is manufactured by Slendertone and is very similar to the Slendertone System Abs. From what the official site says the Flex Belt is the “high end” version of the system abs belt with more intensity levels (0-150 VS 0-99) and more programs (1-7 Vs 1-10) plus a few additional bonus items you get when you order direct from the official website (dieting software, magazine subscription etc.).
I don’t place much value in the magazine subscription or the dieting software. I know it’s what all the other ab belt companies are doing (ex: contour provides workout routine and dieting plan when you purchase their belt as well) but lets face it you’re either interested in leading a healthier lifestyle or your not. If you fall into the later then you can probably just stop reading this review right now because you’re not going to like what you’ll hear.
How It Works
So just as a quick overview of how the Flex Belt works for those of who are reading this just after seeing the infomercial on TV or haven’t done any research on this device yet.
This belt, and others similar to it, use technology known as electronic muscle stimulation, or EMS for short. It’s been used for years by physical and physio therapists to treat muscles in patients that may have atrophied from lack of use or been in an accident and require recovery of their muscle mass and strength. In this medical environment EMS technology has become the industry standard and is proven to work.
Electronic Muscle StimulationThe basic concept is a slight electric current is sent through your skin into the densest area of nerve endings connect to your muscles. This electric current when “ON” (there’s both an on and off mode to all EMS devices) causes the muscles to flex or contract in a similar manner to if you flexed your abs or bicep. When the EMS is “off” the contraction stops. So each on and off cycle is sort of like a repetition if we were to use workout lingo.
How is the electrical current sent through your skin? In a physical therapists office he would have a small machine with wires that connect to gel pads that would “suction” to your skin with the help of a jelly like substance known as contact gel. In an ab belt there are just gel pads that are moist and sticky and thanks to the belt being completely wrapped around your waist they’re able to make great contact without the need of any gel (although I have seen on ab belt that uses contact gel still, kinda messy yuck!).
So that’s the simple version of how The Flex Belt works and how it flexes your abs and makes them work. Lets move onto the actual experience using the belt.
Using The Belt
Flex Belt says that using their EMS belt 5 times a week for 6 weeks will guarantee results. So much so that if you’re not satisfied with the device you can request a full refund within the first 60 days. While I haven’t exercised this right, I have been in contact with Customer Service and I can say there are real people on the other end, which is good news. So I’m sure they’d deliver on this guarantee should you want to take advantage of it.
The belt is easy to use, the difficult part is being consistent in using it. I say this from experience. I go through bouts where I use it 5 days a week at the office for a couple of weeks, and then it will sit in the corner for a week and I won’t put it on. Surprisingly, if it’s sitting in the corner, I’m not getting a flatter stomach .
Create a Routine
The best advice I can give anyone who buys this belt is to create a routine around it. Try and use it at the same time every week day and then take the weekends off. Since most of us work Monday to Friday it’s easiest to create a routine during those days and then give yourself freedom on the weekends. It takes 20-30 minutes to complete a session so using it in the morning before work, on your commute or even at the office would work.
Why This Belt Instead of All The Others?
There are a couple of reasons why I like this abdominal belt over others that are available. The first is that it is small and compact. You could get away with wearing this underneath a sweater if you wanted at work and no one would know it’s there. The second reason is that it has a really sleek wired remote that also doubles as the rechargeable battery for this device (most EMS toning belts take AA or AAA batteries). The third reason is because it offers a wide range of training options with 150 different intensity levels and 10 different workout programs. It’s just all around a more versatile and full featured ab belt compared to any other device available right now.
Is it Safe?
The Flex Belt is FDA cleared for use as an abdominal stimulator, so this tells us that the FDA thinks its safe. However there are a few disclaimers that they like you to know about. Such as if you recently gave birth then you must wait a minimum of 6 weeks before starting to use the device and you should check with your doctor. If you had a caesarean in the last 3 months your doctor must approve use of the belt prior to starting on a program.
What Does the EMS Feel Like?
The sensation of EMS is like a slight buzzing or warm feeling. I personally don’t’ feel discomfort, but I can feel it working my abs, and on days where I really push the envelope with the intensity level I have a bit of soreness afterwards. However that’s a result from the workout in my opinion not serious side effect of EMS.
Does it Work?
I know on their official website there’s a fancy video with a PhD talking about the clinical studies and trials that have been conducted on flexbelt. This is great, but lets talk real life scenario.
Without a doubt the Flex belt strengthens, tones and firms your ab muscles. My abs are stronger and firmer then they were when I started using the belt and just based on the fact that I started at intensity level 40 and am now working my way closer to 80 tells me that my abdominal endurance has increased. OK, so that’s all great but do I have a flatter stomach? Well I think so yes, however I don’t 100% attribute that to the abdominal toning belt. You see the Flex Belt doesn’t burn belly fat it strengthens and tones muscles. That’s only one part of the six pack abs flat stomach equation.
The Weight Loss Equation
The other half of the equation is diet and exercise. So if you’re a pretty thin person already chances are you’ll see some visual results in a few weeks without doing too much else. However if you carry a bit of weight around your stomach (don’t feel bad like 99% of us do too) then you’re going to need to do a bit more for yourself then just wear the toning belt every day.
Get out and start walking, jogging, bike riding or swimming. Something that will burn more calories for yourself then you would normally just sitting at your desk all day. Also cut out the soda pop and snacks. Replace that with water and fruits or veggies. Trust me on this. I know dieting sucks, but this small change can make a big difference. How? Well soda and snack foods are about the most calorie dense foods we eat. Water and fruits are not and they offer a ton of other great things our body needs. This small change will reduce your caloric intake and likely cause you to drop some water weight if you haven’t been drinking 6-10 glasses of water each day. The cardio exercise will burn extra calories, so the equation goes something like this
Reduce the calories your eating now + burn more calories with cardio exercise = calorie deficit each day so you lose some weight
Now this is’nt the perfect science of it all, but it’s the basic idea. If you’re getting out and being active, not eating a bunch of crap, watching your portion sizes at meal time and not snacking on junk food you’re gonna do good with this.
Here’s some images from my results at the beginning.
|Week 1||Week 2||Week 3|| Week 4|
I’m still working this thing, so I’ll continue to post update photos as often as I can.
What are the intensity levels likeThe intensity level in the belt is increased and decreased using two up & down arrow bottoms on the front of the remote. You can adjust the intensity on the right and left side of your belt independently of each other. I always kept the exact same intensity level on both sides to ensure I was giving my abs an even workout each session.
When I first started I began just under intensity level 40 and increased it every few days. I wasn’t too sure how I would feel after the workout at first so I was hesitant to just jack the intensity, however I quickly moved up to 70 and beyond after a couple of weeks. The intensity level you feel comfortable with is going to vary from person to person. The important thing is that you try and always workout on the highest intensity level you feel comfortable with. This ensures you’re getting the most effective workout each time.
While I haven’t broken the 100 level barrier yet, it’s nice to know that I’m only a little over half way through the potential power the belt offers. So there is still lots of room for improvement and results as I continue to use the Flex Belt.
What are the programs like
Programs basically are different variations of how the EMS turns on and off and for how long. So for example in the Beginner program the EMS turns on for 2-3 seconds and then turns off for a about the same time. This continues for the full 20 minutes. As you progress different patterns are used for how long the EMS is turned on and off and for how how strong an intensity is used. The higher programs work your mid section harder not only by being a more intense workout but also varying how the EMS flexes your abs.
Each program includes a warm up and cool down phase. The warm up prepares your muscles for the main part of the session and the cool down will relax your muscles prior to completing your session.
Here’s the details on the programs that are included with the belt:
Table from the Manual Coming Soon!
When you first take your belt out of the box it’s set to program #1, Beginner. The belt will automatically progress through the different programs up to program #6. To access programs 7, 8, 9 and 10 you must manually select them using the program button on the remote.
The toning power column references how effective the muscle workout is during that program. The higher the value the more effective the workout.
With each program you manually set the intensity level and you can also adjust the intensity level through out the session (you cannot change programs once you start, you must shut the belt off and choose a new program).
Personally I’ve gone through the first 6 programs. I’m now using program #7 and am going to bum up to “ab power” which is program #8 next week.
Buy or Don’t Buy This Thing?
I like The Flex Belt, in my opinion if you’re going to own an ab belt, this is the one to have. I like it because it’s concealable under clothing, has a rechargeable battery, has 150 intensity levels, 10 workout programs and more. The price on this belt is a bit more then the competition yes ($199 regular price) but I’ve got a couple of coupons you can use to reduce the price so that helps (click here to save 10% and get Free shipping today).
However, what really matters as to whether you should or shouldn’t buy this device is if you’re prepared to put the work in or not. Are you going to use it 5 days a week? Are you willing to make the lifestyle changes to reach your maximum potential results? If you answer yes to this then I say get it! They’ve got a 60 day guarantee on this thing so if you’re not absolutely amazed with it you can send it back and request your money back in the first 60 days.
Check out the informative video on their official site.