I’m not one of those women who loves to work out. For me, it’s more of an obligation to my health, my family, and mostly, to my future. Honestly, the main reason I work out is to “live younger longer.” If I’m going to be one of the statistical seniors who lives well into her 90s, I want to be able to move, bend, dance and make love (if I can remember how to do it and with whom). So basically, when I Zumba and kickbox and do Pilates or yoga or Dance Jam (which is doable even for me, one of the hopelessly left-footed), I’m hedging my bets against the onslaught of an aching back, clogged arteries and the part about aging that truly sucks: gravity.
What I learned in my 40s is that working out to look good only goes so far; the real key to aging gracefully is a combination of flexibility and strength. And while my friends and I often complain that the first place we feel old is in our backs, the place to focus our fitness is our core — the area from just below the top of your ribs to the top of your hips, as well as your pelvic floor. The stronger our core stomach muscles, the stronger (and more protected) our back muscles, hip flexors and even our knees.
As I inched toward my 50s, I noticed that no matter how strong I was becoming — no matter how many sit-ups, planks or Teasers I did — I still didn’t have what I’d always dreamed of: a sculpted stomach. A visible six-pack. A firm tummy without the dreaded muffin-top. But I was already working out an hour a day – I didn’t have the spare time to devote another hour to what seemed like a pipe dream.
Enter the Contour CoreBelt.TM When I was given the chance to demo it, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. What most intrigued me was the promise that I could go about my day – working, carpooling, cooking — and the CoreBeltTM would be giving me an ab workout at the same time!
When the belt arrived in the mail I was a little surprised – it came in its own cute little carrying bag, but it also came with a 10-step DIY instructions. Did I mention I couldn’t even build my son’s Legos when he was little? To my surprise (and my son’s) I had the belt on my body and working in about 15 minutes – and that includes hooking up the digital monitor! Here I am wearing it for the first time.
The Contour CoreBeltTM uses an electronic stimulator thing-y that signals your muscles to contract. I don’t know what language it’s speaking, but my muscles heard it loud and clear! I wore the belt around my waist and I could definitely feel it working without it being at all intrusive or even uncomfortable. Stimulating is the word the company uses to describe the sensation and it fits. I was able to write, cook and fold laundry while all the time my abs were basically crunching. I even poured myself a glass of wine with five minutes to go on my preset, 40-minute program, so I was doing something good for my heart (red wine) AND something great for my abs. If this isn’t brilliant multi-tasking, I don’t know what is.
The makers of the CoreBeltTM suggest wearing it 30 minutes a day, five days a week, to see the best results. I have committed to four days a week, 40 minutes a day. That’s because you can’t do it just anywhere — you have to be at home or a place where you can wear the belt under your clothes (the gel pads must be next to your skin). You also want to be someplace where you won’t embarrass yourself if you make a little yelp when the electronic stimulators amp up and contract your muscles! It doesn’t hurt at all; but you definitely feel a vibration, pulsation, and some minor temperature rising. The way the belt is designed, though – with everything at your fingertips, right on the belt– you can easily toggle through different levels to control the intensity.
According to the Leah Garcia, the sexy, slim, and abs-of-steel fitness guru who introduces the exercise booklet (which comes with the belt, by the way), the CoreBelt’sTM “electronic stimulators mimic the way your brain controls your muscles.” Now here’s where I have to disagree. After 20 minutes of abdominal crunches, my brain would be telling me to go chill out, grab some popcorn (air-popped, of course) and watch Modern Family. The Contour CoreBeltTM tells me that I can chill out and watch Modern Family, but it tells my muscles I have another 20 minutes to go. Man, I love modern technology.
Stay tuned for more pictures of my progress!