Does the Flex Belt Ab Toner Really Work?Saturday, August 22, 2015
I received a Flex Belt in order to facilitate an honest review; All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
We've all seen the infomercials, but does the Flex Belt Ab Toner really work? Can you really strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles without sit-ups, crunches, and planks?
My personal fitness history:
I've never had a six-pack. More like a one-pack. I wasn't overweight, but I didn't workout to tone my muscles either. Then I got pregnant for the first time....
My first pregnancy was normal, but I did gain quite a bit of weight. I walked a lot and it fell right off. Go-go-gadget under-30 metabolism!
I waited 6 years to have another child and this pregnancy was a tad more difficult. I went into early labor a few weeks before the 7-month mark and was put on bedrest and medication to stop labor. Bedrest for months, y'all. It worked like a charm and I gave birth to my 2nd healthy (and large) baby at 39 weeks, but I had not only gained weight, I lost muscle mass from being inactive for so long.
Fast forward 4 months: I was putting my daughter in her carseat in the back of my 2-door car. If you have ever had to do this, you know exactly how difficult it can be: Open door, flip seat forward, step in with one foot, insert carseat into doorway, lift, and twist. This particular day, I hurt myself.
The pain was awful, and if you've ever injured your back and are unable to walk upright, you'll know that every move of every limb pulls on a muscle in your back. I went to my doctor who sent me to physical therapy.
The Physical Therapist taped my entire back with kinesiology tape and did a little test where I had to lay facedown with my abdominals over a sensor. I was then asked to contract them as hard as I could for certain amounts of time. After that I was told that my core was too weak to support my back, and that's why I injured myself doing something as simple as putting my baby in the car. Womp.
They sent me home with exercise worksheets and instructions, but what mom of 2 with a voracious breastfeeding baby has time for that? I heated and iced it, and it felt much better; I could take care of it later.
After 7 years and 3 more back injuries, last summer I finally got around to it. I decided that it was a great idea to join in with some ladies online to do a 30 Day Ab Challenge.
If you haven't seen a fitness challenge online yet, it goes like this: Someone is motivated to do a physical fitness challenge, but wants some friends to join in to help motivate them. They will probably start a Facebook group and ask you to join too. You think "Well, I really should", so you join in. Oh look, a handy 30-day chart of progressively harder exercises! On the first day you start the program, following the chart, and you check into the group and try to motivate others, because this is great, right?
It was! Until I injured myself halfway through the 30 days. I injured my back because my core was too weak, while doing exercises to strengthen my core. Seriously universe? After another round of muscle relaxers, heating pads, and ice packs, I was deflated. How am I supposed to strengthen my core without physical exercise? Magic? Unicorn wishes?
I remembered an infomercial I had seen a while back for the Flex Belt, but does it really work?
I contacted the company (ah, the power of blogging!) and was provided with a Flex Belt to review. I used it for 30 days to answer this question. Keep reading to see what I found.
About the Flex Belt:
"The Flex Belt® is the first Ab Belt Toning system cleared by the FDA for Toning, Firming and Strengthening the stomach muscles. With The Flex Belt, you can train your abs even if you're too busy or too tired for a traditional workout. Just slip on the comfortable toning ab belt and the clinically demonstrated, patented medical-grade technology stimulates the nerves that make your muscles contract and relax. As a result, you get an effective abdominal workout that targets all the muscles in your abdomen – all in just 30 minutes a day.
The Flex Belt will stimulate all your major stomach muscles at the same time providing you with the perfect abdominal contraction – that means your upper abs, the lower abs and even your obliques are going to get worked from The Flex Belt... and it does all the work for you. You don't have to worry about your form or come up with the time to get it done. The Flex Belt is clinically demonstrated to deliver firmer, stronger and more toned abdominal muscles while you are: at home, at work, watching TV, exercising, folding laundry, helping your kids with their homework, taking a walk...virtually anytime and anywhere."
Flex Belt Unboxing:
The box contains the Flex Belt, a neoprene-type fabric that fastens with velcro and has three metal studs inside, a set of gel pads with which you cover those metal studs, a belt extension for people with waists over 44", the power supply, which is your controller as well, a charger for the power supply/controller, a Quick Start guide, and a full instruction manual that explains the settings and gives you a recommended program. Oh! Also a handy bag to keep everything in.
I should also note that they make other Flex toners for your arms and butt, and the Rechargeable Power Supply can also be used with the other products, so you can save some money by ordering the others without a power supply and just using the one from your Flex Belt. Neat.
So, I went through the Quick Start guide to set it up. First you have to charge your power supply. Just plug it into the charger and plug the charger into a wall socket. There is a power gauge to show when it's fully charged.
You then need to apply the gel pads in the appropriate places on the belt. There are printed guides on the actual belt, so no worries. Just make sure to read the quick start guide in regards to what position you should apply the side pads. There are 3 positions and you should choose the position that corresponds to your waist measurement.
Once the power supply/controller is fully charged, you can plug it up to the actual Flex Belt.
When you're ready to put it on, remove the covers for the gel pads (keep these, you will need to re-cover the gel pads when not in use!), put the center gel pad over your belly button and fasten the belt around your waist.
A note about the gel pads: These are good for around 30 sessions, but will need to be replaced after that. When they get worn, they will not conduct as they should, so the belt won't work properly. They recommend 5 sessions a week to see results, so one set of gel pads = 6 weeks of ab workouts. Just a head's up; You can order extra from the site.
There are 10 toning programs with intensities from 1 to 150. You choose program 1 to start and adjust the intensity to suit your body. Each program has a certain number of sessions before it automatically moves to the next program. For instance, program 1 has 2 sessions, so you would do program 1 for the first 2 days before moving on to program 2. Make sense?
I was ready to roll, so I took my measurements, weighed myself, took some "before" photos (urgh), and then tried out the Flex Belt.
I wanted results that were as purely from just the Flex Belt as I could get, so I did not diet or exercise while using it for the 30 day period. I just went about my day as normal. I actually used it during "Mommy Naptime" which is after homework and before dinner. Yes, my kids laughed at me.
Sidebar: I got to mess with my SIL who just started an exercise program at a gym. She would call me every day to tell me what she accomplished. I would say "Great job!" and let her know that I got in a 30 minute workout too...on the couch. I think she got tired of this around week 2.
It feels...kind of strange. Have you ever sat in a massage chair? It feels like that kind of vibration against your stomach, and then you can feel your muscles contract. It's not unpleasant and feels just as if they contracted with a sit-up. And then they relax. And then they contract. You get the picture.
They have a recommended plan in the instruction manual, so I followed it and recorded my intensities every day. This is what my 30 days looked like:
After 30 full days I can safely say "hell yes it works!" I could feel it working and there were some days I was sore. I overdid the recommended intensity levels (it's my nature, y'all), but it absolutely works.
After the first week my midsection actually felt stronger, and that was addictive. I was getting immediate results, so I knew I would stick with it.
I lost 2" from my waist and 1/2" from my hips. I actually lost some weight too; A total of 7 lbs. over the 30 day period. Not my goal here, but hey, I'll take it.
The absolute best part is the strengthening and toning; I can feel that my posture is better, and I'm having fewer backaches from everyday walking. My tummy is pulled in and I look slimmer overall. Are you ready for the before and after?
|Yes, those are boxers. No judging.|
Aaaand this is after only 30 days! I will absolutely continue using it, and this time I'm starting a diet and exercise program with it too.
If you'd like to try the Flex Belt out for yourself, you can find it on their website along with the Flex Mini, Flex Arms, and extra gel pads for each. The Flex Belt sells for $199, which is actually not that bad for a product that will absolutely deliver results and has a 60-day money back guarantee if you don't like it.
If you order the Flex Mini (butt and thigh toner) or the Flex Arms (arm toner, gah.) with your Flex Belt, you can get them for $129.99 each, so if you want those too, you can save some dough by ordering them at one time.
What is the hardest thing for you to workout? Could you use the Flex Belt? Or would you rather work on your arms or butt? I love to hear your comments!