Harder, better, faster, stronger, isn’t only an infectious song hook courtesy of Ye — it’s the mentality most people have when working toward a fitness goal. The more you do to make that time count, the quicker you’ll achieve that goal, right? Not so fast.

Though it’s hardly the first study to do so, a small study published in PLOS ONE suggests short and intense bursts of exercise benefits your muscles and body just as well as the longer bursts.

“We investigated whether a training protocol that involved three minutes of intense intermittent exercise per week — within a total training time commitment of 30 minutes, including warm up and cool down — could increase skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and markers of health status,” researchers said. Oxidative capacity simply means the amount of oxygen available to the working muscle.

Fourteen overweight or obese albeit otherwise healthy men and women took three training sessions on a stationary bicycle for six weeks. Each session began with a two-minute warm-up at 50 Watts (a way to measure a rider’s power) followed by an all-out effort (450-500 W) interspersed with two minutes of recovery (50 W) before ending with a three-minute cool down. So, total training time lasted 10 minutes and involved only a minute of hard exercise. Wash, rinse, and repeat for a little over a month.

Researchers found this short-term interval training (SIT) was a “potent stimulus” for physiological adaptations associated with greater health in overweight and obese adults. Oxidative capacity improved, as well as cardio-metabolic health, a strong predicator of all-cause morbidity and mortality. Short-term interval training also improved insulin sensitivity; however, researchers need to conduct further research in order to see why that is. The low sample size and fact women had higher blood sugar at the start of the study could have influenced that particular result.

“The protocol employed in the present study involved a training time commitment that was considerably lower than in previous … SIT studies and provides further evidence of the potential for very brief, intense bursts of exercise to elicit physiological adaptations that are associated with improved health status in a time-efficient manner,” researchers concluded.

If nothing else, this study proves it’s possible to get an effective workout in a short amount of time. The “all-out effort” model is integrated into so many forms of exercise, but perhaps most popular is Tabata training. According to Active.com, “Tabata workout lasts only four minutes but is one of the longest four minutes you'll encounter. The structure of the program is workout hard for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and complete for eight total rounds.”

Adjust based on the time your schedule allows and leave knowing you're as much of a badass as the men and women you left behind in the gym.

Source: Gillen J, Percival M, Skelly L, Martin B, Tan R, et al. Three Minutes of All-Out Intermittent Exercise per Week Increases Skeletal Muscle Oxidative Capacity and Improves Cardiometabolic Health. PLOS ONE. 2014.