Slim down your body as well as your workout time. As little as 15-20 minutes of intensive resistance exercise can help to flatten your belly in 45 days, say researchers from Southern Illinois University. “The first set of an exercise switches on the hormones that control your metabolism, and doing any more than three sets won’t help,” says study author, Erik Kirk. We got John Beall, a former US Marine and personal trainer, to devise a fat-burning technique that has you training for 20 minutes a day, five days a week. “The workouts are made up of bodyweight exercises done circuit-style [without rest between moves] to raise your heart rate,” says Beall. Do Giant Set 1 and Giant Set 2 on alternate days.
GIANT SET 1
Warm-up with 2-3mins running. Do each exercise for 45 secs, rest 15 secs, then move to the next exercise. Rest 1 min after you’ve done them all once, then repeat the circuit twice more.
Glutes, quads, calves, abs
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Bend your hips and knees. You can stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor. The deeper you go, the more muscles you’ll activate, helping to burn more calories. Rise to the start position.
Glutes, quads, calves, abs
1. Stand with your feet roughly hip-width apart.
2. Take a big step forward with your right foot and bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor and your knee is at 90 degrees. Reverse the motion, stepping back into the starting position. Repeat with your right leg.
Abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings
1. Kneel on all fours, your hands in line with, but slightly wider than, your shoulders.
2. Straighten your left leg and lift your right knee toward your chest. You should be on the balls of your feet, like a sprinter in the starting blocks. Now switch leg positions as many times as you can.
Core, quads, glutes, hamstrings
1. Lie flat on your back and put your hands under your glutes.
2. Raise your legs 15cm off the ground and hold. Raise the left leg to 45 degrees while your right leg is stationary, and alternate your legs. “The kicking motion recruits different muscles in your core, challenging it to stay balanced and fry extra calories,” says Beall.
1. Lie with your feet in the air and knees bent to 90 degrees. Lace your fingers behind your head. Bring your knees into your chest.
2. Straighten your right leg and turn your upper body to the left, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee. Switch sides, pumping your legs back and forth. Giant set 1 done.
GIANT SET 2
Warm-up with 2-3 mins running. Do each exercise for 45 secs, rest 15 secs, then move to the next exercise. Rest 1 min after you’ve done them all once, then repeat the circuit twice more.
Lats, biceps, forearms, abs
1. You’ll need a pull-up bar for this one. Grab it with a shoulder-width underhand grip and hang with your elbows straight. “Adjust your grip if you’re struggling,” says Beall.
2. Bend your elbows to pull your chest to the bar. Peer over the bar for a second, then slowly lower yourself to the start position.
Shoulders, chest, triceps, abs
1. For a solid chest, stick with the old reliable. Lie face down with your hands shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms straight, but not locked.
2. Bend your elbows to lower yourself to the floor. Then straighten your elbows to push back up to the start.
1. Hold on to the seat behind you. Straighten your legs in front, then prop them up on another chair.
2. Lift yourself off the seat, then bend your elbows to lower your body. Straighten your arms to push yourself back to the start position. “You’ll work the biggest muscles in your arms, burning the maximum number of calories,” says Beall.
1. Sit with your legs bent at the knee and raised a few centimetres off the ground.
2. Place your hands together, and reach over and touch the ground on the right side with your elbow. Rotate and touch the ground on the left. “Keep your core tight and your hands together to maximise your results,” says Beall.
Quads, hamstrings, glutes, core
1. Lean against a wall with your legs in front of you. “This keeps your back flat and places the stress on your quads,” says Beall.
2. Slide down until your knees are at about 90 degrees, and hold for 45 secs, keeping the abs contracted. Giant set 2 done.