If you want to lose belly fat, you should do lots of crunches. And if you want to tone your thighs, you should reach for your ThighMaster. Right?

Wrong on both counts.

Instead, you should do a form of short-burst exercise that I’ve been using with clients since 1998 – long before the average trainer jumped on the bandwagon.

In one study, Australian researchers from the University of New South Wales put three groups of women through a 15-week fat-loss exercise program. One group was a control group. Another group did three sessions of intervals per week (20 minutes per workout). And the third group did three sessions of long, slow, boring cardio (40 minutes per workout).

Forty-five women were in the study – and it is important to note that they were not all overweight. On average, they had a healthy body mass index of only 23.22 (well below the cut-off of 25 that signals overweight).

At the end of the 15 weeks, only the interval-training group showed significant weight loss and a decrease in body fat and trunk fat. The interval-training group also had a significant loss of fat from their legs. And the more overweight a subject was, the better the interval-training program worked for her.

Oh, and did I mention that the slow, boring cardio workouts did NOT result in a significant loss of body fat? Something we’ve been saying here at ETR for a long time now…

So if you want to burn your belly fat and lose a few inches from your thighs, get started on a short, 20-minute interval-training program done three times per week. That’s all you need.

[Ed. Note: If you are new to exercise but want to lose weight, start with a beginner bodyweight-training program for 2-6 weeks, such as the one in Craig’s Turbulence Training manual. You will also get specific step-by-step instructions on how to do intervals at any fitness level. ]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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