Lose Belly Fat

A couple of month is ago, I asked Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S. one of the world's top trainers to create a cutting-edge fat loss program for Men's Health. And, of course, he obliged. But a curious thing: One of the workouts in the plan featured just two exercises.

That's right: When asked to create a super-effective, calorie-torching routine, Cosgrove gave us a workout that had readers do only a dumbbell swing and a squat thrust. This confused some folks, who wondered, "How can you lose fat with just two exercises?" Cosgrove's response: "Running is just one exercise, but no one questions that when it comes to burning fat."

He makes a good point. And in fact, once you understand the philosophy behind Cosgrove's routine, you start to see why it works so well. But first, an explanation of the actual routine itself.

Here's how it works: You do 15 repetitions of the kettlebell swing (you can also use a dumbbell for this), followed immediately by 15 reps of the squat thrust. (See below for descriptions of both exercises.) Without resting, do 14 reps of the swing and then 14 reps of the squat thrust. Continue this pattern until you complete only one rep of each exercise. This is called a countdown workout.

Sure, that's just two exercises, but do the math: If you complete the entire routine from 15 down to 1 you'll do 120 repetitions of each exercise. That's 240 repetitions. And these aren't just any exercises: They're movements that challenge your entire body. They're also done at a fast pace. On average, it'll only take you about three seconds per rep. So you'll do those 240 reps in just 12 minutes or so. That'll light your muscles on fire, and have you gasping for air (in a good way).

If you think that sounds too easy or too fast, I suggest you try it. You may find you can't even finish. But that's okay you can just start with a lower number, like 8, and work your way up as you improve your fitness. (In fact, I recommend this strategy.) If you want an even greater challenge, you can always take a breather and repeat the routine.