You’ll all have seen those adverts where there’s a woman with super-firm abs, lying provocatively on a sofa, munching away on a packet of cheese and onion, while wearing a belt that’s doing all the exercise for her. You’ll also, no doubt, have been as sceptical as me and thought, ‘Yeah. As if’.
So, when Slendertone asked me if I wanted to try their Slendertone Abs Belt Women (okay, own up – who told them I didn’t already have super-firm abs, huh?), I was sceptical but Shaun said the belts do actually do something because of, um, something scientific that I can’t remember now.
I’d put off trying the belt for a while as, when I first received it, I had shingles and had prescribed myself a cure of sitting in the sunshine, reading books and drinking freshly squeezed juice but most definitely not strapping things onto my body that were going to stimulate my already ravaged and over-stimulated nerve-endings. Also, on the press release I’d been sent were a load of floor exercises and I dislike floor exercises even more than I disliked having shingles. Still, when I eventually opened the box (which also includes a charger and quick start guide – not pictured above) and read the instructions, I saw there’s a choice of passive (e.g. sitting down eating crisps) or active (i.e. doing stuff) programmes. The passive programmes start at 1 for initiation, through to 7 for strength, with the active programmes being from 8-10 which you can do with the crunch exercises included in the instruction manual.
The first time you turn on the display unit, it starts at programme 1 and automatically progresses through each programme each time you turn on the unit.
So, this morning, I decided to do the first programme and sat with it on for 20 minutes while I went through my morning routine of checking my email and Facebook. I thought it would feel really odd but it doesn’t – it’s a warm tingly feeling which pulses and comes in waves. You control the intensity yourself via the unit and the instructions say you should try to increase the intensity to level 15 or higher in the first session (the range is between 0-150). Because I am so hardcore and because it didn’t feel uncomfortable at all, I increased the intensity to 50 on each side (you increase the intensity for each side individually – I have no idea why).
The unit counts down the minutes and seconds and bleeps at the end of the programme. The instruction manual suggests you do a 30 day plan, with 5 sessions a week and they’ve included a diary at the back you can fill in each day with the intensity you reached on each side.
I have no idea why I filled my first day in on the opposite side of the page. I swear I had the belt on my abs, not my head.
When you’ve finished that day’s programme, the belt fits neatly into the provided bag.
According to the blurb, 100% of users report firmer, more toned abs. It also claims to deliver an average of 1.4 inch waist reduction due to toning of muscles. I had a hunt around yesterday for reviews and found a forum where twenty users had been asked to trial the Slendertone belt and report back after four weeks. I didn’t read every single post but the first few I skimmed through all reported they felt firmer, had lost inches and were getting into clothes they previously couldn’t.
I measured my waist this morning and will use the belt for 5 days a week over the next 30 days and will report back on my progress. Obviously, I’m not going to be sitting around eating crisps while wearing the belt and hoping at the end of the 30 days I’m going to have abs like Jessica Ennis so I’ll still be doing my usual exercise routine and I may even do a few crunches, too. Then I’ll have abs like Jessica Ennis. Or maybe not.
So, what did I like about it? It’s comfortable to wear, easy to use and the display unit slips into a pocket on the belt so you can walk around with it or do some moderate cardio exercise. It comes with a detailed 20 page instruction manual which has a long list of dos and don’ts including, don’t use while cycling, don’t wear with a belly button ring, don’t use on heavy period days, don’t use if you have cancer.
As for dislikes; as I haven’t used it for long enough to see if it makes a difference or not, the only criticism I have at the moment is it advises the pads are replaced every 20-30 uses which, at £11.99 for the replacements makes the belt – which retails for £149.99 – quite an expensive piece of kit if you’re going to use it regularly.
I will report back in four weeks and let you know of my progress. Super-firm abs, here I come!