Do Abdominal Toning Belts Work?

Companies selling abdominal toning belts assure you that you can shape your abdomen without any exercise just by strapping on their belt and letting it do its magic. Well, it is true. The effect of these belts is just like magic, which means - it does not exist.

Wearing a toning belt does give your muscles a nice tingling sensation and you might feel that they are being stimulated, but you are not burning any more fat than when you are lying on a table getting a massage. Without vigorous exercise and diet, you cannot make any difference to your shape or size.

These belts, that cost anything between $90 to $200, send pulses through your abs, which causes them to tingle. But this tingle does not melt abdominal fat. If it did, people wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on annual gym memberships and personal trainer fees. If all one needed to get a six-pack was strapping on a belt for 10 minutes, gyms across the country would go bankrupt in no town.

Research is Inconclusive

In 2005, Sports Science in Medicine published a study that concluded that just using a particular toning belt for 5 sessions of 20 to 40 minutes a week while doing no other ab exercise resulted in a notable increase in strength and endurance over a period of eight weeks as well as a loss of about 1.3 inches around the waist. The results were in comparison to a control group which also did no ab exercise. The ab belt group also reported that using the belt improved their posture and they felt more “toned.” However, there was no change in the body weight, BMI or body fat measure of the group.

Later studies reported changes in strength but no change in waist size. With not much other scientific research, there has been no consensus on the effects of toning belts and the jury is still out on the fat-burning property of these belts.

Why Toning Belts Won't Give You a Six-pack

Toning belts might work for people with less than normal weight who do not have much body fat. For overweight people, the layer of fat over the abdominal muscles is too thick for the stimulation to reach the muscles. Even if the abs do get stronger, the thick layer of fat over them will obscure any results.

Key to Fat Loss

There is no shortcut to fat loss. It is simple math. In order to cut fat, you have to expend more calories than you consume. The key to getting lean is exercise and a diet that is low in calories, high in lean protein, and includes a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates while eliminating sugary snacks and drinks.

When your body has a calorie deficit, it will dig into the fat stores for fuel. Even 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity for 4 days a week can induce the body to cut fat reserves. You will see more dramatic results if you increase the cardio time to 60 or 90 minutes. Adding two strength-training workouts per week to this will add the required balance to this regimen. Targeted strength-training exercises like crunches, planks, and twists are more likely to whip your abs into shape than any toning belt that promises magical results.

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