A belt that can get you a toned abdomen without breaking a sweat? Sounds absurd, doesn’t it?
That’s what I thought too!
In this honest Flex Belt Review, I’m going to cover everything about this device including my own personal experience.
I wanted to test out if this device works as well as the manufacturer’s marketing material claims.
Can it give results to individuals who don’t want to or can’t go to the gym? Is it suitable for those with a hectic lifestyle who cannot invest a lot of time into exercising?
I get it… it’s hard! Consistent motivation is hard to work with.
There are so many products out there claiming to work, and you’re just too skeptical about trying. Diet teas, detox formulas, laxatives, protein diet shakes are all part of the unending list. It’s hard to find real reviews of some products.
It’s only fair to want to invest your hard-earned money into something that sounds and feels legit. This brings us to the topic under discussion – the Flex Belt.
What Is The Flex Belt?
It’s a belt for abs… As the name suggests, that you wrap around your midsection.
It is manufactured by Bio Medical Research Ltd.
Here’s a secret: this is the same company that make Slendertone products.
The company claims that they use medical graded simulated technology that tones, strengthens and firms your abdomen. All you have to do is wear the belt, whether at home or office for a few hours a day. You’ll be able to see a visible difference in a matter of weeks.
Sounds hassle-free, right?
You have probably seen those Flex Belt infomercials that include celebrities supporting the product. These include Lisa Rinna, Brian Wade and Adrianne Curry.
The endorsement from Dr, John Porcari is what interested me the most. He is a Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. In 2005, a research study into the Effects of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Training (NMES) was conducted by Porcari et al. The study concluded that the use of NMES “significantly increased abdominal strength and endurance, decreased waist girth, and improved self-perceived abdominal firmness and tone“.
This study was performed using an older version of the Flex Belt, so it got me wondering what a more modern version could do.
How Does It Work?
The Flex Belt is an electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) device or EMS belt. The inside of the belt is lined with three carefully and strategically positioned medical-grade gel pads.
When powered on, EMS technology is used to send out electrical impulses to the abdominal region via the gel pads. This causes the abdominal muscles to contract and relax in a way that mimics the action of muscle contraction and relaxation when exercising.
Usually, it is the brain that causes muscles to contract when we move. The electrical pulses cause the contraction to happen automatically without you thinking about it.
Since this movement is directed at the mid-section only, so it’s safe to say that the effects target the core muscles in that specific area only. It targets to strengthen and tone your stomach muscles including upper and lower abs, obliques, and love handle.
Does The Flex Belt Work?
I am usually skeptical. The market is full of fitness products that make larger than life claims, cost a hefty amount and fail to deliver.
The first reason that let me drop my guard a little was that it is FDA approved. It is approved for the purpose of “toning, strengthening and firming abdominal muscles”.
This means that the manufacturers had to prove their claims to the Food and Drug Administration along with handing over their research and developmental data to be thoroughly evaluated and receive approval.
The EMS technology that I mentioned earlier has been vastly implemented in the sports and fitness industry. It is often used in physiotherapy and athletic sciences, rehabilitation, and recovery.
EMS allows its users to target a certain area of the body and put it under stress without affecting the rest of the body. Much like exerting pressure on tendons and joints.
The Flex Belt features 150 intensity levels. This made it quite easy to fine-tune and get it feeling just right for me. The strength of the electronic pulses is set using the intensity controller.
I’ve heard of people having problems when an EMS device is either too high, making it uncomfortable and too low, making it ineffective. That’s something I didn’t need to worry about here.
How high does the Flex Belt go? It has a maximum power output of 70mA. This is about a normal output for these types of muscle stimulators.
The belt offers a choice of 10 training programs. They are named P1 to P10 with the concept being that you start at P1 as a beginner and progress to more intense workout programs and abdominal exercises.
Programs P9 and P10 are bonus programs that are different to the others.
The manufacture describes these toning programs as making use of the concept called Muscle Confuson.
The theory is that mixing up the ab workouts prevents your body from getting used to them and hitting a plateau. But there’s still plenty of debate as to whether Muscle Confusion is a real thing.
It automatically cycles to the next program after a set number of sessions to cause Muscle Confusion. Here are the details of them:
|After 2 sessions
|After 3 sessions
|After 5 sessions
|After 10 sessions
|After 10 sessions
|3 x 10 crunches
|3 x 10 crunches
With these 2 bonus programs, you have the choice of utilizing all of the electrodes or having them alternate sides during the routine.
The normal belt will fit waist sizes between 24″ and 47″. But it comes with a belt extender which allows it to accommodate waist sizes up to 52″.
The package comes with a carry pouch to keep the belt and its accessories together. This is handy if you use the belt away from home or if you just don’t want to lose anything. The bag is 13″ x 7.5″ in size.
Battery & Charging
The Flex Belt uses a rechargeable battery. The battery icon flashes on the screen, to let you know when it is low.
It comes with a wall charger that plugs directly into a power outlet. I personally found that the ab belt needs to be recharged after 3 to 4 sessions. But this depends heavily on the intensity levels and programs that you use.
It takes around 2 to 3 hours to fully charge.
I’ve been using it for abdominal toning regularly for 3 months without any battery issues. It’s a nice convenience to be able to recharge it without needing to buy new batteries.
I do misplace the charger and so I purchased a replacement charger for the flex belt. It was delivered quickly and worked fine.
Update: After using the belt regularly for a year, I have noticed that the battery would only last 1 to 2 sessions before needing a full recharge. This is common for rechargeable batteries as they have a limited number of charge cycles before they must be replaced. I ordered a replacement Flex Belt battery which was easy to install. Now it is back to its normal battery life.
Side Effects & Dangers
There are some health risks associated with any type of EMS product. But because the Flex Belt is FDA cleared, these risks are low when compared to unapproved fitness devices.
If you don’t have a medical condition, there is very little to be concerned about. But you should not use this type of equipment if:
- You have a cardiac pacemaker, defibrillator or suffer from heart problems.
- You are pregnant or have recently had a baby.
- Suffer from cancer.
The instruction manual contains quite a long list of warnings at the start. It is recommended that you read them before using the device.
Is The Flex Belt Safe To Use?
It is considered safe because it is FDA approved. It is actually the first device of its kind to be given the OK by the Food and Drug Administration. For a device such as this to be FDA cleared, it must prove that it does no harm to the user and that it also has some benefits.
Does The Flex Belt Hurt Or Make You Sore?
If you set the intensity too high when you start using EMS devices, the shock can be well… shocking! It can hurt. But if you are sensible and follow the instructions properly, it won’t be painful.
You may experience muscle soreness the next day after a good abdominal workout using the belt. This is to be expected, due to the muscle contractions that your body has performed. You would feel the same if had done some ab crunches.
Can It Cause Cancer?
There may be concerns about radiation when having an electronic device so close to the body for long periods. The manufacturer states that the device emits extremely low levels of radiation and conforms to radiation safety standards. A mobile phone emits 50x more radiation.
I’m certainly not the most technical person around. But I found the product easy to get started with and operate.
There are three steps involved in setting up the device:
- Charge the device
- Connect the belt and controller together
- Put the gel pads onto the belt
Once this is done, you are ready to remove the protective covers from the gel pads and place the belt into the body in the desired position. This is all described in the instructions.
The buttons are clearly labelled. You don’t want to accidentally increase the intensity when you mean to switch the unit off! The controller unit also features an LCD display which is used to show a countdown of how long is left in a session.
Flex Belt Results – Before and After
The Flex Belt is effective in my opinion. I saw significant results from using it regularly. So yes, the Flex Belt is legit!
Here are my midsection measurements before and after using it for 3 months:
- Before: 36.3 inches.
- After: 34.4 inches.
So my midsection got smaller by 2 inches.
Here’s the Official Flex Belt Video with before and after pictures:
How Long To See Results From the Flex Belt?
This depends greatly on your lifestyle. If you intend to use the belt alone without any exercise or a healthy, diet results will be slower. If you are already lean, you will see results very quickly. I saw a noticeable difference in my midsection and abdominal region after 3 weeks of use.
Benefits of The Flex Belt
The vast majority of the population can use the Flex Belt. There are hardly any reservations.
It requires a 30 minutes session per day during which it is estimated that the abdominal muscles will contract up to 150 times. It’s ideal for use by:
- Fitness Enthusiasts – people who enjoy everything a healthy body has to offer. It’s a great addition to any workout routine or everyday body maintenance lifestyle.
- Patients – people who cannot get up, are bed or wheelchair-bound due to disease/surgery/accidents and are in the process of healing. Stimulating exercises can add to the healing process. It is advised to use the Flex Belt only after consultation with a physician in such cases.
- Painful Joints – People who have weak joints or are suffering from conditions like arthritis. They cannot perform rigorous exercises and may be gaining weight, especially around the mid-section can add to their misery. Therefore, this belt can help them keep in shape.
- Limited Time – whether people handling jobs with shifts or parents with young kids who barely get any time to themselves. Let alone hit the gym. This is ideal since it can be easily worn and perform everyday tasks without any discomfort.
While it’s a great way to tone belly muscles, but the Flex Belt does not claim to burn fat or cause extreme weight loss.
It is not an alternative to liposuction, nor does it in any way claim to be. The body fat around the midsection, depending on age, race, alcohol consumption and metabolism is stubborn.
To work on that, you will need to make healthy lifestyle changes too!
Does The Flex Belt Work On Love Handles?
The electrodes will wrap around the midsection to cause the abdominal muscles under the love handles to contract. With these muscles improving in tone, you can expect love handles to appear smaller.
The Flex Belt is easy to recharge and easy to use. It’s hassle-free, safe to use and yes, it does work. It is highly advisable to follow the instruction carefully and use it consistently for the best of the effects.
Since these products are produced for the mass majority, there are chances that the results vary from individual to individual. The company offers a 60-day refund policy as well.
We believe these are not the solution entirely, just aids in keeping healthy. The ultimate rule of nurturing health will always be to exercise and eat right.
On top of that, the Flex Belt acts like a cherry on top!