The hidden absCredit: embitsFor many people, both male and female, the height of fitness is the six-pack. A six-pack in itself is not actually an indicator of fitness though - it only shows a lack of body fat. It doesn't show, for example, how long you can run for, or how much weight you can lift.

An ab belt is an electronic device designed to stimulate the muscles in your abdominal area, causing them to contract at regular intervals while you just get on with something else. While tensing the muscles in this manner may result in toning and strengthening, it is not a method for losing fat (or weight for that matter).

In order to get 6 pack abs, you need to do one of two things:

  1. Lower your body fat to below 15%, and preferably below 10% – reducing your body fat to this level will show the muscles beneath your skin. The lower your body fat, the more defined your muscles will appear.
  2. Exercise - sit ups and similar exercise will strengthen your abdominal muscles, and maybe increase their size – but if you have a thick layer of fat around your midriff, you will not be able to see them.

Ab belts won't help you lower your body fat - they don't cause your body to use much (if any) energy in the exercise, as the electrical charge causes the muscles to contract. You are effectively running your muscles on battery power rather than on your natural energy - the tensing action may strengthen the muscles, but not at the expense of any body fat. Your body isn't supplying any energy to the muscle to make it move, and so you aren't burning any calories/working off any fat/sweating. 

Furthermore, there's no load on the muscle. Sure, it's contracting, but it's not actually pulling anything. Some resistance is needed.

It is conceivable (with or without an ab belt) that you could  train your muscles enough to stretch the fat tight across your stomach, and reveal the hidden six pack - but this is highly unlikely! It would be a little like the story of the Princess and the Pea - but instead of a pea buried under a hundred cushions, it would be the muscles buried under half an inch or more of fat!

It seems misleading to suggest an obese person can obtain six pack abs by wearing one of these belts. If you have a low percentage body fat already, feel free to try it out – it may give you a tiny little boost, maybe even if it's only psychological.

But no amount of psychology is going to move a fat belly out the way to reveal the hidden beauty within. If you want a six-pack, you are going to need to work hard on both your exercise and your diet plan. You aren't going to achieve your goal with a gadget.

What you need to do is lose the fat - not necessarily weight, because bone and muscle weigh a fair amount too! However, if you ARE obese, weight loss usually goes hand in hand with fat loss. And an ab belt won't help with that.