Exercise belts don’t help you burn belly fat. In fact, they don’t do much for weight loss at all. The only effective method of shrinking your midsection is to generate what’s commonly referred to as a caloric deficit. These devices can’t facilitate this process. Even when wearing them during physical activities, they’re not really doing anything to increase calories burned.
Don't Believe Everything
Ab belts have been lionized on TV as a way to zap the fat; literally. A small electrical current is released to contract your muscles. At that rate, it would take a long time to tone your muscles, not to mention the fact that these belts do not burn fat. In addition, people with conditions such as heart conditions, high blood pressure or epilepsy could at risk from the current exuded from the electrical muscle stimulation.
Cut the Calories
For you to lose belly fat, you must first reduce your total body fat. This is achieved by generating a caloric deficit. This deficit is the same for everyone, no matter your age, weight or gender. It takes a deficit of roughly 3,500 calories per week to lose one pound of fat. Wearing an exercise belt does nothing to help you reach this deficit.
For all intents and purposes, exercise belts -- or any other device that promises to trim your waistline -- fall in the category of spot reduction. Like abdominal exercises, you can’t target where you lose the weight. It’s all up to your genetics and a combination of diet and exercise. Wearing something around your waist won’t cause it to shrink in size.
Lost and Found
Exercise belts, however, often cause you to sweat more during physical activities. Most are made out of thermal materials that trap in heat, causing your midsection to perspire at a greater rate than normal. This increase in perspiration can make an impact on the scale, but this so-called benefit is only the result of water weight. As you drink anything throughout the day, the weight loss disappears.
It's Your Choice
Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with wearing an exercise belt, don’t expect it to increase the results of your chosen athletic pursuit. You’re going to burn right around the same amount of calories during your workout as you would without the belt. Instead, focus your attention on increasing your level of physical activity as well as limiting the calories in your diet. Both of these factors can help you reach the deficit needed to lose the weight.
- Personal Health: Perspectives and Lifestyles; Patricia Floyd, et al.
- ACE Fitness: So, You Want To Spot Reduce? Here’s How
- AskTheTrainer.com: Unhealthy Ways to Lose Weight
- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to do About It
- ACE Fitness: 6 Strategies for Losing the Spare Tire
- Fit Not Fat at 40-Plus: The Shape-Up Plan That Balances Your Hormones, Boosts Your Metabolism, and Fights Female Fat in Your Forties--And Beyond; Rodale