A multitude of people are swarming towards gyms and fitness centres these days and it is clear, it is more popular to be a gym aficionado than not.
Many people have long swapped jeans for tights, towels, trainers and booked themselves into a gym in pursuit of the body they have long only dreamed about. However, not everyone has the stomach to endure all the hard work that goes into toning their body to the desire.
Many unwilling to fork out the costs for gym membership or just altogether too lazy to pick up dumbbells and lie on weight benches have found electronic stimulation belts to be a convenient cheat. An electronic stimulation belt is a devise that is strapped around the abdomen that cause muscles to contract; developers promise abs without a single sit-up.
Fitness trainer of Fitcity Trainers Windhoek, David Chitundu says, “The belt can be used burn fat if you are in a hurry whilst cooking cleaning and driving. It is also beneficial to travellers who cannot get to a gym or space to work out. Another benefit is that it can be used to work out a muscle or burn fat with minimum concentration so injuries are highly unlikely.”
However some have leaned towards believing the belt can be the magical answer to dreams of weight loss and a great body.
“I used to use the belt. I’ve bought two in my time but found no success with the second purchase, however, the first one was great. I saw a lot of difference in my body. I used it on my belly and I saw a lot of change,” says Nangula who claims to have achieved some level of success and has not experienced any negative effects. She adds, “I would use it for about 20 minutes a day. In fact, I am currently looking for one.”
However the belt has been found to have very little effect in fat loss as its job is to tone muscle, not fat.
“The belt might cause discomfort because the vibrations are not natural to the body. It might also cause skin irritation. The belt might will not help with other parts of the body because the vibrations and muscle stimulation is only focused on one area,” Chitundu cautions. He adds, “It encourages laziness if used on its own. The belt will not cause you to sweat so you will be selling yourself short when it comes to strengthening your heart muscle that can only be achieved through normal exercise. Sweating also helps to rid your skin of dirt, allowing your pores to breathe otherwise the belt might do more harm than good to your skin.”
According to the trainer Normal exercise encourages compound movements therefore, burning more fat and achieving better definition and muscle functionality. Normal exercise will help work your heart muscle and increase your lung capacity and help improve the way your body uses oxygen.
Meanwhile Alpheus recalls, “I used that thing when I was around 12 years old. It was meant for the abdomen but I also it around my biceps and it worked a little bit. I can’t say it made me stronger though.”
Heiko Diehl Director and personal trainer at FX Fitness argues, “EMS can be useful for muscle rehabilitation when applied properly by specialists. It can also provide minor assistance in muscle recovery for athletes.
These are however so minor that it is only useful for professional athletes where marginal gains are of importance. Namibia’s professional cyclist, Dan Craven, has used an EMS device for muscle recovery treatment, but Craven also comments that for the man on the street such treatment is useless.” He adds, “I would not recommend electronic muscle stimulation to anyone, as its benefits are extremely limited and insignificant to the man on the street. ”
The average stimulation belt goes for around N$500 to N$900 and can be found in shops like Game or some smaller outlets. Although they come with instructions and usage recommendations not everyone takes heed to these.
Although some fitness trainers would recommend the belt, overreliance can be deceptive and its effect can belie actual fitness.