Ab toner products are a lot like holiday regifts: every once in a while, you stumble upon a gem, but usually it’s all rubbish. If you’re a late-night infomercial shopper, odds are you’ve got a closet stuffed with crunch machines and uncomfortable belts that promise to help you sweat your way to a six-pack. When push comes to shove, these strange gadgets usually don’t work because they’re aiming for shortcuts. In fitness, there are rarely any shortcuts. You tend to see the biggest results when you put forth the biggest effort.
That said, it’s true that some ab toners can actually enhance your workout. The key is using them as an additional part of your gym and diet routines, not as a replacement. For example, the AB Roller, the little plastic handle that you roll along the ground on your hands and knees, does help strengthen core muscles, but because it works your inner abs, it’s not really possible to focus on different points of the abdomen. This means that using an AB Roller by itself will not give you a muscular-looking stomach. Ab toning belts, designed to force the abdomen to contract, can add muscle definition, when used correctly. Basically, if you’re hitting the gym a few times a week, alternating between cardio and strength training and sticking to a healthy, lean diet, an ab toning belt will help sculpt your six-pack faster. On the other hand, so would amping up your push ups and planks on a regular basis.
…But you don’t need ab toner junk anyways. You already have access to everything you need for flat abs.
There isn’t really one magical ab toner that will give you a flat belly. The truth is, it takes hard work, eating right and a variety of exercises, not to mention time. The good news is that you’ve already got the perfect ab toner: you. To get started, agree to commit an extra hour each day to your new, toned stomach. You’ll divide that hour between preparing healthier meals and working out.
For your meals, focus on dishes with lean proteins (think chicken, turkey and beans), plenty of fiber and an entire color range of vegetables. Remember that vegetables hold the key nutrients to your diet, but some of their beneficial qualities get washed away when we heap on the cheese and butter, so keep it simple.
Next, hit the gym (or the bike path). Cardio should take up about one half of your workouts. Most cardio workouts help burn fat away from your belly, while strengthening the abdomen muscles. The other portion of your workouts should be devoted to strength training, with a special focus on your belly. For bonus workout ideas, check out our featured exercises.
The bottom line:
If it helps motivate and inspire you to purchase fancy ab gadgets, go ahead and do it. A few may even be beneficial. But don’t feel like you need to. The key is that you’re working out on a regular basis and eating right. If it takes an Ab Master 2000 to get you going, more power to the products.
-“Ab Toning Belt: Myth or Miracle?” FitDay
-“Does the AB Roller actually work?” LiveStrong
-Photo courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos.net