Product - Slendertone Connect Abs
Summary - A padded system delivering electronic pulses to strengthen and tone your abs.
Price - £179.99
Website Link - www.slendertone.com/connect
Trial Period - 12th October 2015 - 20th November 2015
I wanted to know whether the claims made by Slendertone were true. Would slapping on a black belt and experiencing electronic pulses for 6 weeks really give me significantly better abs?
Having not tried any of slendertone's products before, I was pretty excited to get started, the results of my 6 week trial and a full review are here below!
But what about their latest product...
Is it worth paying for?
Will it give you the results you want?
The key innovation here with this product is it's connection to the Slendertone Connect Abs app. The app allows you to choose various programs depending on your goals, increase or decrease the intensity of the program, compare yourselves to other similar users and review articles on improving your health, along with a variety of other features. The app does this all both discreetly and effectively, allowing you to manage your sessions, even whilst at work.
(The belt does emit a small blue light, which led to answering a string of questions as my colleagues noticed it at a meeting in work!)
Fitting the Pads
For the trial, I completed a 6 week program entitled "Fitness" from the 12th October 2015 to the 20th November 2015.
When the app is first installed on your iPhone, you complete a short questionnaire on your current level of fitness and goals. The results of this little questionnaire then recommends one of the following programs for you.
There are 5 different programs on the app, including; "Essential Toning", "Upcoming Event", "Advanced Toning" and "Fitness". The fitness program is defined as "An advanced toning program delivering over 200 abdominal contractions in 30 minutes. Complement your existing exercise regime, through strengthening of your core muscles".
The First Few Sessions
It was almost undetectable, unless you complete a session, at which point it emits a blue light and a little beep. Fortunately, this didn't happen during an important client meeting, might have been quite embarrassing if it did!
I consider myself to be a relatively fit guy compared to the average Joe, so when I could only manage to withstand electrical impulses at an average intensity of 38%, I was fairly surprised!
Getting started with the belt was really simple, after setting the device to charge via a USB, it was ready to go. The belt connected with the app via bluetooth seamlessly and after putting the belt on, I was ready to go.
The gel pads did give a strange sensation, like wearing a cold gluey banana skin. However they did stick in place pretty effectively. Whilst wearing the belt for the first time it felt like a cross between a belt for a power-lifter, about to go for some heavy dead-lifts and Batman's utility belt. It goes without saying however that this belt can't be used for fighting crime...
A couple of weeks in...
From an initial intensity of about 38%, I could now comfortably withstand about 52%. I had realized from earlier weeks to not go significantly over what was comfortable...
Not only was it slightly uncomfortable, but also contracted my abs so sharply and powerfully that my torso crunched towards a ball shape whilst walking, this did of course attract some rather unusual looks at the office!
One aspect of the belt's fitting I did notice after continual wearing, was it's ability to stay tight around the stomach without being uncomfortable. Overall the belt did well, but for someone who practices Intermittent Fasting daily (i.e. eating all the daily calories from 12:01 - 20:00), my stomach was significantly larger and flatter at different points in the day.
This caused the belt to feel somewhat loose in the morning and somewhat tight in the afternoon. When the impulses are switched on with a loose belt, the charges can again feel slightly uncomfortable if they aren't completely against the skin.
A much better alternative (I realized late on after this happening several times) would be to take the belt in your bag to work, go to the toilet to get changed, go through a toning session, get changed again then carry on with the day as normal.
This is a bit inconvenient, but removes the need to wear the belt all day, which could easily be for 12 or more hours if you head straight from work to an evening event (note: wearing gel pads and becoming slightly sweaty is a pretty strange sensation).
It would have been great for Slendertone to release some sort of lightweight travel box to carry the belt around as I wasn't personally keen on the idea of having the gel pads stick to my notepad or lunch!
As with all things in life, whether it's fitness, wealth or even relationships, incredible results takes time. All you can focus on is ensuring that you are moving forward towards the goal you hope to achieve.
But the product is called "Slendertone Connect Abs" so let's zoom in on the abs and see if there's a difference. No tricky lighting, no spray tans, no camera wizardry, simply a topless man in the gym 6 weeks apart:
(you'll have to ignore the grumpy expression, I hadn't had my post-workout steak yet...)
Playing spot the difference is quite tricky here (apart from the shoes and a little haircut of course!). Reflecting on both photos, it appears as if my bodyfat actually increased after the 6 week period. It was bulking season afterall...
Even though my body-fat appears to be slightly higher and there's more carried around the waist, the abs look almost denser, suggesting that the abdominal muscles are improved underneath the layer of abdominal fat.
Is there a significant difference in ab muscles?
Personally, after several weeks of using the belt, I did feel like my abs were significantly harder. Additionally, when pushing forward onto a higher intensity, my abs would feel sore for a few hours afterwards, similar to the feeling of doing a big set of sit ups.
Slendertone Connect Abs
If you're hoping for a magazine style "ripped in 4 weeks!" style transformation, then you've sadly been misled. Going from chubby / weak and untrained to having the physique of a cover model that turns heads at the beach doesn't come easy and it doesn't come quick.
For those who's motivation is to build an impressive six-pack, will this help you? Yes. Will this be all you need? Sadly not.
EMS technology can be used to contract the muscles quickly and powerfully, when used over an 8 week period one study on the Slendertone website reported the following results; 52% increase in abdominal strength and 72% increase in abdominal endurance (Porcari and colleagues 2005).
These combined together should give you increased definition in your abs, great news for those wanting a six-pack, however, your stomach will look the same as it always has if your body fat is too high. So if you want to see your abs, you need to get rid of the belly, best slot in a few sessions of HIIT in that case...
For those wanting to use EMS as a way to improve sports performance, using an EMS ab belt in isolation, will (surprise surprise) activate your abs in isolation.
For the best performance you would need to use Slendertone Connect Abs as part of a wider fitness program, using exercises which recruit core muscles to ensure the development of ab strength.
Then your new found ab strength and endurance can apply to other activities such as swinging a bat, quickly changing direction or even completing a set of dead-lifts at the gym.
For those who can't train their abs effectively due to lower back issues or other personal restrictions, using EMS technology such as a Slendertone belt, is a great way to engage your core when other options aren't available.
If you're careful with your pads you might be able to stretch the usage of each set and buy only 6 sets through the year, resulting in a first year annual cost of £251.93...
So is it worth spending that much on Slendertone Connect Abs? It all depends on your priorities:
If you're someone who loses sleep because their abs simply aren't as defined and toned as you'd like to be, Slendertone Connect Abs could be one of your new best friends. With the handy app allowing you to track your workouts and push yourself further than the week before, it's easy to stay motivated and get better results over the long term.
Alternatively if you've got a back injury and are unable to do conventional core exercises, Slendertone Connect Abs would be a great way to help train and strengthen your core muscles without any of the potential discomfort of sit ups and crunches.
Using Slendertone Connect Abs does give you positive results in core strength, endurance and aesthetics. However, as with all things fitness, your priority should always be the food you eat and the level of exercise you get. With any fitness regime, you should be prioritizing compound exercises, the right nutrition and effective recovery.
So if buying a Slendertone belt means you can't join a nearby gym or eat the right nutrition, you're best keeping your credit card away and spending money on things which will have a positive effect on your whole body's health, not just your abs.
Slendertone advise that for maximum results, products are to be used as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Have you used Slendertone yourself?
Know someone who's eager to tone up their abs?
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