What Is Stim Fit?
Brought to you by BodyLogic Wearables, Stim Fit is a shaping belt that claims to combine Swiss electronic stimulation technology and body compression to help you strengthen, tighten, and firm muscles, while improving recovery.
But is Stim Fit really among the “most innovative fitness, wellness, and sport muscle enhancement wearable products” ever designed? Is it really a new, non-traditional form of exercise? Can it deliver the results promised by the manufacturer?
You have a lot of questions. Here, we’ll help you find some real-world answers, starting with Stim Fit’s basics.
How Does Stim Fit Work?
We understand you’re likely reading this soon after visiting the Stim Fit website, so we won’t go into unnecessary detail. But for the sake of making sure we’re all on the same page, a brief summarization is in order.
Stim Fit is an FDA cleared class II medical device that works by placing the belt over your abs, attaching the small PowerPod device, and powering it on. Then, it promises to stimulate muscles better, faster, and stronger than you can achieve from ordinary ab exercises.
Compared to the competition, Stim Fit uses something called Swiss Stimulation to send proprietary electrical patterns directly to the nerves, thereby exciting muscle fibers and enabling them to contract and relax—just like when you voluntarily flex and relax your muscles during normal workouts.
We’re even told Stim Fit’s proprietary dry electrode technology can increase muscle endurance and improve cardiovascular health, without wires, bulky devices to connect, or sticky gel pads to replace.
Using proprietary dry electrodes and EMS technology, the Stim Fit belt promises to stimulate muscle fibers and mimic exercise, leading to bigger, stronger muscles. Image credit: BodyLogic Wearables
Simply by turning a dial, you can adjust the intensity and how quickly you achieve results with Stim Fit. The company tells us that lower frequencies (1-10 Hz) are intended for muscle recovery, relaxation, and massage benefits, while higher frequencies (20-100 Hz) are for building strength, as well as for firming and toning muscles.
Another unique feature is that Stim fit can be turned around to also work the lower back, by helping to improve circulation and blood flow and to provide soothing comfort.
In short, the manufacturer tells us that Stim Fit can mimic doing exercise, but “without the psychological, cardiovascular, or muscular fatigue.” Just prep the conductive fabric and your skin with distilled water mist before use, put the belt in place, and it'll work on healthy muscles from ages 18-80.
Are any of these claims clinically validated?
What Is Electronic Muscle Stimulation?
Electronic muscle stimulation, or EMS, is exactly what it sounds like; the stimulation of muscle nerves using electric impulses. These impulses are generated by a centralized unit and delivered via individual electrodes placed directly over the muscles being stimulated.
In a nutshell, the electric impulses generated by EMS devices bypass the brain and spinal cord and stimulate muscles directly. Different electric patterns can be programmed into these devices, depending on the specific result needed.
In fact, it’s these electrical patterns that often distinguish one EMS device from another.
Because of this, EMS technology is commonly used in physical therapy and rehabilitation settings to temporarily strengthen, tone, or firm muscles; to increase localized blood circulation, and maintain or increase motion, without the patient being required to physically perform any exercise.
Now, even though EMS devices like Stim Fit must be cleared by the FDA before release, this doesn't mean the FDA verifies or approves every manufacturer’s specific claims. Instead, companies are only required to show that the device is “substantially equivalent to a device that is already legally marketed for the same use.”
Pro tip: Although the website claims that Stim Fit is one of the few EMS products to be cleared by the FDA since 2003, this simply isn’t the case. Any EMS product sold in the U.S. must first receive clearance from the FDA before being sold to consumers.
While EMS devices have been used for years in rehabilitation and recuperative settings, and have reams of clinical evidence showing them to be effective in these scenarios (some of which is referenced on Stim Fit’s website), the reality is that ab belts like Stim Fit—alone—almost certainly won’t give you the body you’re after.
Why? Let’s continue this discussion in the next section.
The Importance of Diet & Exercise In Reaching Your Fitness Goals—Stim Fit or Otherwise
Whether you’re grinding out crunches the traditional way or using an EMS device like Stim Fit, the reality is that, regardless of how ripped and chiseled your muscles are, you—and everyone else—won’t be able to see them if they’re covered in a layer of fat.
What’s the solution? A careful combination of diet and exercise.
Eating the right foods and ingesting the proper amount of calories will help ensure that your body’s nutrition needs are balanced. And when combined with cardiovascular exercise (raises heart rate), this will cause any excess fat to slowly burn off over the course of weeks and months.
Only then will all the hard work you’ve put into your abs (or any other muscle groups) finally become apparent.
Given this, while it’s positive that Stim Fit also comes with a companion eating and exercise plan and that EMS devices have been shown to increase muscle strength, it’s important to keep in mind that it alone will almost certainly not provide the results you’re looking for.
From this perspective, it seems like the companion eating and exercise plan advertised on Stim Fit’s website might help move you closer to your goals. Without any specific details, though, we emailed the company and received a quick response from Stim Fit’s creator, Dale Henn.
He clarified that Stim Fit does not come with eating or exercise plans, although this was still shown on the FAQ page at the time of writing. He noted this is for two key reasons:
“First, customer feedback since 2003 indicated that users didn’t really use the guides, but rather used an eating and exercise plan of their choice. Second, STIMFIT isn’t making any weight loss claims where it is important to include both an exercise option and eating plan in order to substantiate weight loss claims.”
Other than the lack of these eating and exercise plans, are there any downsides to Stim Fit?
Will EMS Devices Like Stim Fit Cause Any Side Effects?
According to the company, Stim Fit should be well tolerated by most customers for everyday use.
However, while EMS is most frequently used in physical therapy settings, the manufacturer specifically tells us that Stim Fit is not intended to treat or rehabilitate muscles, although it can be used post-injury and to stimulate weak, but healthy, muscles.
Like any other exercise program, we’re told that Stim Fit may cause muscle soreness as your body acclimatizes itself to this new intensity.
Also, since these electrical impulses will increase localized blood flow and excite the muscles, you may experience some degree of redness, which should subside soon after use. Stim Fit’s conductive material may sometimes cause minor irritation, which can be addressed by cleaning the area with soap and water.
For EMS devices in general (not specifically Stim Fit), the FDA has reported some shocks, burns, bruising, and pain, as well as interference with implanted devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators. This is why it’s important to speak with your doctor before using an at-home EMS technology.
Now, let’s find out what you’ll pay for Stim Fit’s technology.
How Much Does Stim Fit Cost?
Available in SM/MD (24-36 in) and LG/XL (34-44 in) sizes, the Stim Fit system is priced at $199.95. All orders include an AbBelt, PowerPod, instruction manual, power plug, USB cable, spray bottle, carry bag, and companion eating and exercise plan.
If you have a waist larger than 44 inches, the company also sells a 10” extender belt.
Stim Fit comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, less S&H. In order to qualify, the product must be in new or like new condition and in the original package with all of the materials, including accessories that were not part of the basic system.
Important note: Keep in mind that you must have tried Stim Fit for 30 calendar days before requesting a refund. And once these 30 days have passed, you only have a five-day window in which to do so.
Stim Fit also comes with a standard 1-year warranty, although a lifetime extended warranty can be purchased. We didn’t encounter this option when attempting to check out, so we emailed the company for additional information.
In order to request a refund or file a warranty claim, customer service can be reached at 612-248-2330 or email@example.com. They’ll even send you a return shipping label!
In addition to Stim Fit, the company also manufactures a line of related EMS products, including Sleeves, men’s and women’s Stimulation Tops and Bottoms, Electric Gel Strips, Socks, and PostureTops.
Given what we’ve learned about EMS technology in general, are Stim Fit’s customers reporting satisfactory results for this price?
Stim Fit vs. Other EMS Belts: What Can We Learn From Customer Reviews?
Founded by Dale Henn, CEO and EMS expert, Stim Fit is manufactured by BodyLogic Wearables based out of Edina, MN. Previously, the company’s other EMS devices included the Slendertone and Compex (2003), as well as the Contour Core Sculpting System (2008).
Overall, customer feedback for these models seemed to be mostly positive at the time of our research, with most compliments referencing ease of use, effective results (especially related to the recovery program), and quality components.
On the other hand, the most frequent complaints we encountered related to difficulty using and no results.
Obviously, we’re not saying you’ll experience any of the same with Stim Fit; we’re simply providing you with a complete overview of the situation.
Outside of BodyLogic’s models, you’ll find hundreds of competing EMS ab belts on the market, including popular options like Flex Belt, Smaarsen Toning, and dozens of generic models from overseas manufacturers.
Compared to these models, Stim Fit claims to differentiate itself by using Swiss stimulation technology created by Valmed, SA. According to the company, this technology “has been shown to closely mimic the electronic signals from the human brain enabling better, stronger, more comfortable muscle conditioning compared to other, older and out-dated technologies.”
While we’ve previously discussed the importance of these unique algorithms for achieving your goals, Valmed, SA doesn’t provide any clinical evidence on their website that their programs can deliver better real-world results than the competition.
We’re also told Stim Fit’s dry electrode technology is unique, although you’ll find plenty of other options that implement the same underlying mechanism.
Bottom Line: Will Stim Fit Give You Great Abs Without All the Hard Work?
Based on everything we’ve discussed here, authoritative websites report that EMS technology has been shown to help strengthen and tone muscles. However, we’re also told that this strengthening and toning won’t deliver any major changes to your appearance, without adding diet and exercise to the mix.
Together, we think the claim that Stim Fit will give you great abs “without all the hard work” sets up unrealistic expectations that are bound to lead to disappointment.
In other words, while Stim Fit may give your abs a bit of a boost, you’re still going to have to work hard and stick to a regular diet and exercise plan in order to experience meaningful results.
Instead, the FDA recommends that EMS devices are considered best for helping you recover from “impaired muscle function due to a medical condition,” but “not to increase muscle size enough to affect appearance.”
Stim Fit’s Active Recovery Program might also help you remove lactic acid from your muscles, as well as to reduce spasms, perhaps making it an ideal way to reduce post-exercise discomfort. In the end, only you can decide if this benefit is worth the $200 price tag.
Fortunately, if you feel like giving Stim Fit a try, the company stands behind it with a 30-day refund policy. They also provide a return shipping label, so you likely won’t incur any out-of-pocket expenses.
Just keep in mind that the return window is fairly narrow, so you might want to set a reminder on your calendar to ensure you don’t miss it.