One of the crazes of the weight loss programs from the previous century was vibration training. Even though modern machines have gone a long way from those 1970s exercising belts that make your teeth clatter there is still no hard research-backed evidence that vibration helps with fat loss. There are a few other benefits coming from this unique training type, though, which may make it all worth considering.
To the question can vibration burn fat there is a solid and proven answer – No, it cannot. Fat burning mechanisms in our body rely solely on the balance between calories that we intake and calories that our bodies burn during exercise. Since vibration won’t cause anything in our bodies that will lead to calorie burning processes it won’t reduce the fat either, especially the one in one specific place such as the belly.
In this article we will go through some of the basic processes our body relies upon when it comes to fat burning and take a closer look at the specific advantages and disadvantages of modern vibration workout machines.
The Essence Of Fat Burning
Fat is our bodies biggest resource of energy. We store fat for the sole purpose of having it when extreme conditions fall upon us and we run out of our primary fuel – carbohydrates. I say biggest not because we have the most of it (although we often do) but because one single gram of fat produces more than twice the energy a gram of carbohydrates will bring you. Still, to use that potential caloric energy, our bodies will have to put up a little more work as fatty tissue burning doesn’t occur naturally unless we force it via exercises or reduced intake of carbs.
There are different places which our body has chosen to store fat in:
- Lower belly
- The back of our thighs
- The buttocks
- The back side of the upper part of our arms
- Lower parts of the face and neck
These places are called fat depots referring to the fact that they are used for storage. There are some gender differences as to the places which our bodies prefer to store fat into. For women, it is usually the back parts of the arms, lower belly, and legs. For men its the neck, the belly, and areas around the chest.
When exercising we increase our heart rate, increase the work load of our muscle cells and organs and burn through most of the ready-to-use fuel in our cells which is generally found in the form of either glycogen or simple carbs. Muscle fibers convert their own glycogen fuel supplies into simple carbohydrates and use them as a fuel. Still, once this is over, our bodies go through fat-converting processes which, simply put, extract the stored fat and metabolize it using its high energy potential.
This is why through longer training sessions we manage to burn fats and lose weight. Of course, there is much more to that but I’ve dedicated a whole topic on cardio exercises and their relation to fat loss.
Logically, from all this arises one very specific question…
Can We Lose Fat From One Specific Spot?
Let’s face it – most of us would love to be able to lose fat from just this one spot (the belly) while keeping the rest of our bodies’ shape intact. Sadly, we aren’t built like that and this task has been proven to be nothing short of impossible.
Like I already pointed out, fats are used when conditions get less than ideal for our bodies, like when there is work to be done and our primary fuel supply runs out. Then, fat cells release fatty acids and triglycerides into the bloodstream from where they can reach the liver and all other cells in immediate need of energy supply – muscle cells, brain cells, etc.
This is a global process for our bodies and it happens everywhere at once, meaning your fat stores will begin to provide for your body at the same time in an equal manner. Still, some depots are bigger than the rest and will deplete slower. These are also the ones that are first in line to replenish their fat supply once the workout is over (belly, waist, and legs).
What this means is that it is equally easy to lose fat from any part of your body, and it generally happens with the same speed everywhere but it is also easier to gain it in the specific places I listed.
The most logical conclusion out of all the information I just gave you is that if the vibration machine makes you lose fat in one way or another, it won’t make you lose it from one single spot on your body but from the whole body in general. Yes, you will lose fat from your belly but you will also lose some from the back of your arms, face, legs, etc.
Now, let’s see where vibration machines fit into all this.
How Vibrations Machines Influence Our Bodies
Before I even begin explaining where these machines fit into the fat burning process I would like to point out that I like them for the sheer fact that they get people to do something. Often, the hardest part of the workout is starting it. By having the idea that you have something that will cheat your way up to the lean belly breakthrough you generally feel better about putting some time into working out.
That being said, I also am aware of the countless peer reviewed studies on this topic that are all definite and conclusive in their results that vibration training doesn’t specifically help us lose fat. It might aid in the process when we combine it with other types of exercises but as a stand-alone activity it benefits things different than our body mass index.
See, vibration makes the muscle twitch and react to the stimulus very fast which will ultimately make them stronger, and better tuned towards fine movements.
The most common form of these machines today is the vibration platform on which we can stand while doing strength training exercises and muscle toning. For that, there are researches out there that conclude the benefits of these machines but they also warn us about potential side effects of longer daily exposure to vibration.
Let’s check out which are the major pros and cons of using a vibration machine nowadays.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Vibration Machines
- Improvement in motor functions for patients dealing with spine cord injuries
- Vibration therapy has bone strengthening and building effects
- Works great for fall prevention and fine motor coordination in the elderly
- Increases muscle tone and strength
Vibration belts that have warming options can provide beneficial effects on many parts of our bodies and are used to treat a lot of sports-related conditions. Still, the warming up does nothing in relation to fat burning unless it warms up our whole body, in which case our heart rate will go up and we will start losing more calories (and therefore burning fat).
Even though those advantages are great, people often misuse or overuse vibration machines which can lead to some serious issues. In fact, vibration has been known to cause trauma for a long time now, as there are professions out there which are exposed to it on a daily basis and they all suffer from similar vibration-related conditions. Let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks of too much vibration.
- Blurred vision
- Fatigue and loss of concentration
- Lower back pain
- Cartilage damage
- Hearing loss
- In the more severe cases – brain damage
These aren’t things that will occur to most people but just to the ones that don’t take the necessary precautions.
Wisdom Tip: Never use vibration machines for more than 30 minutes at a day/time.
Some manufacturers have gone as far as warning their customers that before using their product they need to ask their physician. People with pacemakers, eye or ear conditions, and joint issues should avoid using those machines.
If you want to lose fat in a very efficient manner that has guaranteed results, I suggest checking out my Fat Diminisher Review.
The One True Benefit Of Vibration Belts
Even though there are a lot of misconceptions thrown around in this industry, there is one thing that all sides agree upon. Warming up a certain area of your body increases the metabolism there. Still, people often misinterpret that a vibration belt with warming functions will make you lose fat in one specific place.
It will not do that but it will surely increase the blood flow in that area, ultimately proving itself beneficial for all the organs there, as well as the skin.
There are also disadvantages of too much heat applied to our bodies for too long of a time but as it is with everything – the effect lies within the moderation with which you apply things.
How often should you use a vibration plate?
This depends heavily on the person. Most companies advise you to use it once a day for 10 minutes. The upper limit is 30 minutes per day or per training session. Overusing it may cause side effects. The best way to use these plates is if you combine them with some other movements and exercises that workout different parts of your body.
A good practice would be to use the plate once or twice a week depending on your workout routine, just to make things more interesting and diverse. Having a repetitive workout schedule is one of the worst enemies to progress.
Are vibration machines safe?
As we thoroughly discussed in this article, they can potentially give you great benefits to your body but also cause harm if misused. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations and advising your physician beforehand are two precautions that you can do before buying one just to be on the safe side of things.
Nowadays, products which are harmful are really hard to gain any public traction as they are often sanctioned by government agencies that keep track of what is distributed to the public. Before something is approved as generally safe, it undergoes a lot of testing. That is valid for all the vibration products, making them safe to use within the proper limits.
How many calories do you burn on a vibration plate?
Rough estimates of companies selling these products provide us with the information that a 10 minute session on a vibration plate generally burns through 50 calories, or as much as a 6-10 minute walk will do to an average 150 pound person.
Is vibration bad for baby?
Vibration has always had a soothing effect for kids whether they have tummy ache or are about to fall asleep. This is why most modern child seats have these functions built into them. Still, as with everything else, the key is in not overusing it and making sure everything about the device is working properly.
Key Takeaway And Conclusion
My main takeaway from this topic is that there are far more efficient ways of losing fat, even if most of them are harder than just sitting around and vibrating. Diet changes, cardio exercises, and a bunch of other activities are great places to start if you want to specifically target the fats in your body.
I find vibration plates a good addition to any gym as they help diversify the range of things you can use to make your exercise less boring. I have a lot of friends that use them once every week just for the muscle strengthening benefits and all of them are well aware that in order to lose fat you will need to more than just stay in one place.
So, can vibration burn fat? The short answer is no but if you are smart about it and combine vibration training with other exercises you will achieve better results both for the fats in your body and for your overall muscle health. The main goal with far burning is to actually start doing something about it and if a vibration belt is all it takes then I am all for them!