If you’ve been slogging away at a slow and steady pace on the treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical machine, you deserve some brownie points for making the effort. At a time when nearly 70 percent of all adults are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not enough of us are getting the amount of exercise we need to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.

But those slow and steady cardio workouts can be just that, a mind-numbing way to pay your dues, all in the name of trying to look your best. It’s not uncommon for people to stick with this kind of workout for months and never really see any results. And that can be a deal-breaker for some people that determines whether or not they’ll keep working out, or if they’ll throw in the towel.

Have you ever wondered if you’re really getting anything out of your cardio routine? What if there was a way to cut your workout time in half and achieve better results? Those are questions researcher Jason Talanian wanted to answer in a study on high intensity interval exercise published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

In the study, he recruited eight women to participate in a high intensity interval training program. At the beginning of the study, they rode a stationary bike at a steady pace for 60 minutes and measured their metabolic rate, body fat, cardiovascular endurance, and other indicators of health and fitness. Then he had the women complete seven 60-minute workouts in a two-week period. In each workout, they pedaled a stationary bike at full speed for four minutes, followed by two minutes of rest. And they repeated this cycle 10 times to complete the entire workout in one hour.

When they compared the results to a typical slow and steady workout on a stationary bike, they found that high intensity interval training burned 36 percent more fat and increased cardiovascular endurance by 13 percent. How’s that for working out just three days a week?

If you want to get more out of your workouts, pick up the pace. You can apply the principle of high intensity interval training to almost any workout. Pedal hard on a stationary bike for a few minutes followed by a short rest, then repeat. Try a run/walk approach instead of going for a jog. Or pick up a jump rope and go all out for a couple minutes, rest and repeat.

When you apply the principle of high intensity interval training to your workout, you rev up your metabolism, burn more fat, and challenge your cardiovascular system in a way that really improves strength and endurance. So forget about beating yourself up for not making it to the gym every day of the week. Give your workouts a makeover, and you’ll achieve better results in half the time.