Are you one of countless fitness enthusiasts who’s constantly looking for ways to optimize your workout so you can achieve the best possible results in the least amount of time? Have you tried other fitness gadgets that claim to help you tone, strengthen, or slim down your body with minimal effort — and been disappointed? Are you reluctant to spend more money on fitness-related products due to bad past experiences?
Then this article was written with you in mind!
In the following write-up, we’ll examine the Flex Belt: the first FDA-cleared device that claims to tone and strengthen abdominal muscles via gentle electrical impulses. We’ll examine the manufacturer’s claims, explore user reviews, and present a balanced looked at it to help you decide whether this product is right for you. By the end, you should feel informed enough about the pros and cons to make a decision about whether to buy it or not.
Please note that this is not a paid endorsement. The author has not been sponsored by Flex Belt, nor any of its competitors. We’re simply people like you who value physical fitness and want to know that we’re getting our money’s worth.
If you fit the aforesaid description, then keep reading!
If you already know what the Flex Belt purports to do, feel free to skip this section. However, if you’ve never heard of it and want to know more about it, keep reading.
According to its page on Amazon, it is “the first abdominal toning system cleared by the FDA for toning, firming and strengthening your core.” The manufacturer further claims that the Flex Belt can “train your abs even if you’re too busy or too tired for a traditional workout.” It’s “ultimate toning technology” that the website promises will give you “maximum core strength.”
Rather than doing strength-training exercises or watching what you eat, they promises a better body through electronic stimulation. Simply slip on the belt, and it will stimulate the nerves that make your muscles contract in a manner similar to a vigorous core workout. Since wearing the belt involves no physical activity, you can wear it while you work, watch TV, or putter around the house, making it both a time-saver as well as a fitness solution.
Right off the bat, the company makes a promise that will appeal to couch potatoes the world over: the prospect of a better body with no effort. Even the most disciplined gym rats will be tempted by the thought of a more sculpted physique for minimal work. It also has numbers on its side: It has been a leading seller for over fifteen years.
But can it really deliver the kinds of results it promises?
According to Flex Belt’s Amazon page, 100% of participants in a six-week clinical trial reported abs that were firmer and more toned as well as heightened abdominal muscle endurance with consistent use of the Flex Belt. [Source.] Notably, the page doesn’t specify what sort of diet or exercise regimen the participants may have been using in conjunction with it, so it makes sense to be skeptical of the study’s conclusion without more information.
As to its claim that it is “the first abdominal toning system cleared by the FDA for toning, firming and strengthening your core,” that also deserves some closer scrutiny. Let’s take a look at why.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating products that can affect the public health, including food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, tobacco, veterinary drugs, and medical devices. In order to be cleared by the FDA, a medical device must be submitted with an application for review. Before it can be cleared, it must be proven that the medical advice does no harm to the user, and that it will also do some good.
Its FDA clearance tells us that it is not a hazard to consumers, and that it does indeed offer some health benefits. However, its clearance should not be read as an endorsement of the product as a “magic bullet”: a miracle solution that will instantly transform the user from an out-of-shape person into a fit and athletic one. The truth is more nuanced than that.
Keep reading to learn more about the science behind it: how it works, what it does to your body, and whether there’s any evidence to suggest that it will give you firmer, more toned muscles.
How Does it Works?
The Flex Belt utilizes electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) technology. It’s designed to transmit gentle electrical impulses that stimulate the nerves that make your abdominal muscles contract the way they do when you exercise your core. Similar technology has been used for decades to treat muscular problems, but it’s only been in recent years that developers have attempted to use EMS technology for fitness purposes.
According to it’s website, users will “feel a mild pulsing sensation, followed by some tightening of the abdominal muscles. The muscles should contract smoothly, hold themselves in a tensed position for a few seconds and gently relax again.” [Source.] The intensity of the impulses ranges from 1 to 150 and can be modulated by the user.
The website recommends using it daily for 4 – 8 weeks for best results. After that time, frequency of use can be reduced to 2 – 3 times a week for maintenance. A big part of the Flex Belt’s appeal is that it can be worn virtually anytime, anywhere, which allows the user to multi-task during use rather than spending an equivalent amount of time at the gym.
In theory, the belt makes your abdominal muscles contract in the same way they do during a core workout, giving the user better muscle tone and definition without having to do vigorous exercise. And to the product’s credit, many users do report at least initial success from using the it as recommended.
Speaking of which, what is its recommended use? Let’s find out!
How to Use it?
Before we look at usage, let’s delve into how it was designed. This will help us to better understand how it works the way it does and why it’s used the way it is.
The inside of the Flex Belt contains three pre-positioned medical-grade gel pads. These pads cover the central abdominal muscles as well as the external obliques. The pads’ coating adheres to the users’ skin and helps to conduct the belt’s impulses into the muscles, and the coverage area is designed for maximal stimulation of all the abdominal muscle groups.
The user puts it on, then uses the intensity controller to adjust the strength of the electrical impulses. New users can start at the low end of the scale, which begins at 1, and gradually work their way up to a higher level of intensity, which maxes out at 150.
After that, the user is free to go about their day. Since the Flex Rechargeable Power Supply Unit is self-contained, the Flex Belt can be worn practically anywhere. It can stimulate your abs while you’re doing chores, grocery shopping, or even just sitting and reading a book.
Most users report a noticeable, but not unpleasant sensation while using the belt. After use, the majority say their muscles feel like they’ve been exerted. The intensity will vary depending on the setting you use, but it should never cause pain.
Periodically, the gel pads will need to be replaced as their adhesive property begins to wear off. According to the manufacturers website, the pads will last for about thirty uses before they need to be replaced. If you happen to share it with your partner, they will of course need to be replaced more frequently.
Users who are interested in a more complete workout can also buy the Flex Mini, to work out their buttocks, or the Flex Arms. Both devices plug into the Flex Rechargeable Power Supply Unit and can be used interchangeably.
The Pros and Cons
Before you commit to buying a Flex Belt of your own, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons to get a clearer idea of whether it will suit your needs. To help you, we compiled the following list based on information from The Flex Belt Revealed, a review site about the efficacy of abdominal belts.
Here’s what we learned about the pros and cons.
- First and foremost, it comes with a 24-month manufacturer’s warranty. If you haven’t achieved the promised results within the first 60 days, you can return it for a full refund.
- Unlike traditional core exercises, which can put strain on the back and potentially cause repetitive motion injuries, the Flex Belt allows the user to be inert during use. This means the user faces lower risk of injury, and that it can be safely used even by those with physical limitations and mobility problems.
- It is a lightweight device that can be worn virtually anywhere. It won’t limit your movement while you’re out and about, and it can be safely covered up with clothing, so you can wear it even in public without feeling foolish.
- The Flex Belt is FDA cleared, which means it has been evaluated and proven to not only be safe to the user, but to offer beneficial properties.
- Although it has been FDA cleared, there is limited information about its efficacy. Studies conducted by the manufacturer suggest that the majority of users have seen positive results with consistent recommended use; however, there’s no in-depth research by the FDA as to its effectiveness.
- It costs about $200. For some, this will feel like a sound investment, while for those living on a fixed income the price will be steep relative to other fitness products or investments.
- The manufacturer doesn’t offer a free trial period for prospective users to test the Flex Belt. If you want to find out whether it works for you, you’ll need to purchase it. (You do, however, have the protection of the warranty mentioned above if you find it doesn’t meet your needs.)
- While it will help stimulate your abdominal muscles and can hasten the development of toned, chiseled abs, it won’t burn fat by itself. For optimal results, it should be used in conjunction with diet and exercise.
As you can see, as with any product there is a pretty equal mixture of pros and cons. It’s up to you to weigh them against your preferences and decide whether it is going to work for you. Fortunately, even if you decide to give it a try and then later conclude that it’s not a good fit, you can always return it for a full refund thanks to the manufacturer’s warranty.
But before you go ahead and make your purchase, let’s get real: Is the Flex Belt really worth the hype? Or is it a ripoff?
Is it a Scam or Not?
By this point, you’re probably wondering what the final word is on the Flex Belt. Do we fully endorse it as a fitness enhancer? Or do we think it’s a waste of money?
The answer is somewhere in between.
While it is far from a scam, if you plan to use it as an alternative to a healthy diet and regular exercise, you’re going to be disappointed. While the majority of users report more toned and defined abs with consistent use, it’s important to realize that it does nothing to promote weight loss.
Why is this worth noting? Because low body fat is what gives you a visible six-pack in the first place. In other words, if you’re an overweight person, using it every day without modifying your diet or exercise regimen will not reduce your body fat percentage, which means it won’t help give you more visibly defined abdominal muscles.
If you hope to buy the Flex Belt, slap it on every day for six weeks, and end up with chiseled, rock-hard abs, you’d be better off saving your money and buying a gym membership, because that’s simply not how the product works.
In order to benefit from it, you must either already have a low enough body fat percentage to have visible abs, or you must also lose weight in conjunction with use. That means the users who will achieve the best results from the Flex Belt are the ones who maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. It is not a replacement for a good fitness regimen, but under the right circumstances it can be a great supplement to it.
Think of it in terms of doing crunches. Most people who know the basics of strength training understand that trying to “spot train” your abs is futile if you aren’t also doing fat-burning exercises. Even if you do a thousand crunches a day every day, you still won’t have a flat, toned stomach unless you burn fat.
The same is true for the Flex Belt. If you aren’t already burning fat, it won’t do the job for you. However, if you are burning fat, then it can help hasten the process of toning and defining your abs.
Pricing & Refund Policy
As we mentioned earlier, the Flex Belt retails for about $200. Let’s break down the pricing structure even further so you can see exactly what you’re paying for.
One can costs $199.99. However, if you decide to buy multiple belts at once, you will get a discount of 25% off each of your subsequent purchases. Here’s how the pricing breaks down, straight from the Flex Belt official website. [Source.]
1 = $199.99
2 = $349.00 (a $50 savings)
3 = $499.99 (a $100 savings)
4 = $649.99 (a $150 savings)
After you’ve purchased it, you should also keep in mind that you’ll need to replace the gel pads that allow it to work periodically. The website recommends purchasing at least an additional 2-3 sets with your initial order so you don’t run out prematurely. When it comes time to order more, here’s how the pricing breaks down:
Additional Gel Pads Cost:
1 Set = $14.99
2 Sets = $27.99 (a $2 savings)
3 Sets = $38.99 (a $6 savings)
4 Sets = $47.99 (a $12 savings
As you can see, maintaining it is an ongoing investment and process. Not only do you have to pay for the device itself, but there are also expenses involved in its upkeep. It’s worth it to keep this in mind when you’re making your considerations about whether to buy so you aren’t surprised by the additional costs later on.
At this point we’ve examined the Flex Belt’s claims, the science substantiating them, the reports of users, the pros and cons, and the cost of buying and maintaining it. We’ve shown that does not do a magic bullet for those looking to slim down overnight, it does hold up to scrutiny. What else is there to know?
The most important thing to keep in mind is that medical devices like this should never be used as an alternative to proper diet and exercise. If you are overweight, out of shape, or your nutrition is poor, it can’t fix those problems for you. Those are problems that can only be remedied through consistent discipline.
The Flex Belt can help you optimize your workout if you’re already taking good care of yourself, so proceed accordingly. Treat it as a supplement to your diet and exercise regimen, and not as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. Because at the end of the day, there really is no adequate substitute for clean eating and a consistent fitness routine.
If at this point you know you’re a good candidate for using it but you’re uncertain about the cost of the product, there are a number of other electrical ab stimulators on the market today for you to consider. Whatever your price bracket, you can find a comparable product that will suit your needs without having to break the bank. Let’s look at a few of them below.
We did some research on Amazon and came up with this short list of other ab simulators for you to consider. Like the Flex Belt, each of these devices is medical-grade, FDA cleared, and has been shown to produce results in clinical trials.
- Slendertone Abs 3 Abdominal Muscle Toner: This ab belt comes with 99 levels of intensity and 7 different programs, and it costs less than half of what the Flex Belt costs.
- iMate Body Toning System: This system comes with 10 different levels of intensity, and unlike the Flex Belt it can be applied to different parts of the body to stimulate more than just your abdominal muscle groups. It also costs less than the Flex Belt.
- Easy Body Shredder: This is another versatile option that works on your abs, legs, and arms.
These are only a handful of the many more electric muscle stimulators available today, and they only represent a tiny fraction of the huge range of medical-grade fitness devices. We encourage you to do more of your own research and comparison shopping to ensure that you’re choosing the right product before you make an investment. As with anything, always use your judgment.
By now you should have a comprehensive understanding of how it works, and you should have at least an idea of whether it’s the right addition to your workout regimen.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to keep in mind is that whatever sort of fitness device you purchase should be treated as a complement to your own personal diet and exercise routine, not as a substitute for healthy living.
If you’ve used it yourself and have experiences to share, please leave a comment below. We’d love to read your feedback!