Maximize Your Training With Minimum Time


The past two years I’ve enjoyed a luxury that some dream of. I’ve been a full time athlete. And, by this I mean that literally all my time was dedicated to training and participating in the sport of obstacle racing. Specifically, I was a sponsored Spartan Racer. I’d of continued on with this activity, despite its minimalist income, as it was and is something I am passionate about. Unfortunately for me, at the moment, my body reacquires some serious work to recover from poor training decisions, and the trauma that being an athlete caused my finances. 


Some would throw in the towel, as at 36, it seems people would say I’m over the hill. To them, I say, I’m just getting started. Regardless of my clear enthusiasm to endure massive amounts of physical and financial pain, the reality set in that I needed to recover my body and wallet. So, this year I have returned to the work force to reclaim my health and wealth. With this new chapter comes the fear that I’ll loose what I spent hours a day, and by this I mean regularly training for 6-10hrs with biking, swimming, running, climbing, hiking, lifting, and whatever else I could to make myself a top placing Spartan Racer. Alas, despite being consumed to my fears, I switched gears and began researching how I could maximize my results despite my limited hours, in comparison, available for training.


Having spent time working with various training partners and  techniques I’d picked up from the internet, I knew there were options for me to create great results without as much time. Alas, this would come at a cost. As some know, there are forms of high intensity training that force the body, albeit, somewhat traumatically, into going into overdrive. These high intensity training techniques are essentially rocket rides to light headed, star speckled sight. Sometimes ending with your lunch in the wastebasket. Actually, if you’re really doing it right, your lunch always exits the system.


The options one has in creating maximum results with minimum time, is only limited to your creativity and willingness to push your limits. For some, they’re looking for a short cut to running endurance and speed, while others just want to get ripped. For me, it’s a bit of both. In wanting to strike a balance of the two, I’ve compiled a list of links to various high intensity training techniques that will actually produce results within limited time frames and schedules. While I cannot guarantee the same results for all, I can say this. You results are only limited to your efforts. If you want to see massive gains, you’ve got to be willing to go hard, the whole time. No excuses. This training is not for the weak, and will take you way beyond your comfort zone.


So, find your most self-deprecating thought. Find that thing you hate most, the thing that drives you the hardest. Or, perhaps a lost love, lost chance, a bad choice, a foe, a failing, whatever brings out your inner beast. Let that beast loose, and seriously, take care in doing so. If you’ve got any heart issues, DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY OF THESE TECHNIQUES. Otherwise, best of luck in your training. Ease into these techniques, as it is very easy to hurt yourself when you’re going this hard. Most of all stay focused, dedicated and inspired. 





  1. I’m not surprised you were getting injured training 8-10 hours per day. Few elite athletes from any sport would be doing those sorts of hours. Just a couple of points. Firstly HIIT is effective and certainly part of any serious OCR’s training but it’s still more a runners race than anything. You need to get miles in the legs if your training for the Beast, Ultra etc. Time and time again I see the crossfitters fading towards the end because they have not got the running endurance. And I can’t disagree more with your comment that your not doing it right unless your lunch exits the system. I have been training for over 35 years doing Triathlons, lots of HIITetc etc ( and also teaching movement for nearly as long) and I have yet to puke while training. At 52 I’m still in the top 1% of the field. I think your enthusiasm for the sport led you to overtrain. Thinking you need to puke every time you do a HII session will ensure you burn out again. Just my opinion. I say train smarter and leave your lunch where it belongs.

  2. That statement about Cross Fitters couldn’t be more accurate. I too have that J.O.B. problem and have limited time so I have adopted training almost exclusively HIIT. I do run 5-9 miles once a week in addition, just to go for time on the feet, wether I’m training for a beast or 50k. But it kills me when people don’t understand how easy HITT becomes. A few other things that may broaden the scope of the discussion beyond your piece that I personally experienced: with HITT I love the recovery time — once you get a few months into daily HIIT training, my recovery for the next days’ workout is much better than a longer less intense workout (even a graduated distance run schedule). I feel like I can get stronger, quicker and have more endurance because I am building more efficiently; ‘Daily-Religious-half-your-body-weight-in-water and getting a balanced meal within 30 min after HITT session has helped with my recovery and results; Rediculous creativity on the workouts keeps things fresh, but it always is a ‘Total Body” or core day. Thanks for sharing and trying to better the community of old school trainers and motivators to think differently. Keep up the good fight. Oh, and I love when core triathletes think OCR is like what that sport calls for…I guess you could bike for an hour then do jumping jacks for two minutes, then run for an hour then….ect..right.. FYI, I’ve done a half iron with no training other than HIIT. I would love to see a typical triathlete do a beast without HIIT. I’ve seen dozens of em with their IRON wear and they melt on the 5th obstacle. HIIT is the only way to train for OCR– IF YOUR TIME IS LIMITED! GREAT ARTICLE!! OK I’m done.

  3. How come old salty trainers always take it personally when their is a difference of opinion? Keep up the quick transitions old buddy! You’ll be out of the game soon enough. If you judge credibility with certs and number of obese people you’ve overcharged, then keep up the troll chats. Accept the fact this guy put some time into a training method that worked for him and many others. Train harder tough guy!

  4. James, I don’t drink as it’s not really useful for my body. But gladly hangout at finish line.

    I came in 24th places in the world for men’s division in 2013, what place did you finish your 2013 season in?

  5. James, the moment one makes a comment on an article is the moment one is subject to scrutiny as well. Let’s step this back up to an academic conversation! Just because Brad is ranked among the Spartan Series doesn’t negate or confirm HIIT; the subject of the article was utilizing HIIT as an alternative to his previous attempt of longer duration training. You commented, ‘Not surprised you were getting injured..” and then went on to assert you understood what he does (which you now know, but didn’t before). He is training for events that are very UNLIKE crossfit games….which is what I was trying to help you distinguish… Spartan Sprints, Supers, Beasts are all different distances and mostly same obstacles, but are much different than training for say, the Death Race. It would be like comparing training for a Half Iron to a Sprint Tri or Full Iron. So for the new OCR racer, to replicate race intensity, Tabata Protocol (see links in article) is the best SINGLE method of training for the sport, if you had limited time to work out…and that was the point of the article. Toeing the line and seeing each other at the finish line and drinking beers together or personal rankings are irrelevant and annoy guys like me that struggle to knock out more than 3 six minute miles in a row. It’s also not olympic style lifting (much of crossfit) as the core training regiment, or endurance running. But as time permits, to bring those training regiments in. Tabata is to get high work rate with active recovery. If you could only do 4 HIIT workouts a week plus a 5 mile run, to me and many others, that’s the secret sauce for all Spartan events.
    I have not discussed how many people I train or what cities I’ve been to, I just want the outside reader to reference all the links in the article and consider it the BEST way to train for just about everything! And if you are truly doing it right, you should be at the 95% work rate during the intervals…which occasionally…makes ya puke. And for the record if you must know, I do drink…a lot. I play in the outdoors a lot (if you must know), but again…I don’t believe my own fitness accomplishments or more/less credentials validates my points any further. I can tell you that the HIIT for the groups I’m affliated with is among the highest ranking athletes throughout OCR, Ultras, ect, with wins in things like the Death Race, Fuego y Agua, and Spartan Team Qualifiers (Gut Check Fitness teams); both individuals and teams with people of all shapes and sizes but winning quite often..based on the training regiments we do. But just by stating that I am subjecting myself to the same criticism I have for you…but to the outside reader….do your homework!!! I guess it comes down to.. ‘how much time does one have to train and for what purpose.’ If you both are just trying to discuss elite level training methods…then back to the premise of the article…it’s a waste of time at this point in my opinion…there ain’t enough money in the sport to have a serious conversation about it. There is enough money to be made teaching people entry level tabata protocol. My one serious gift of info to you both… check out the iphone app store for ‘Tabata Pro’ app. Great App on the fly…

    I do appreciate though having a conversation like this, there are a lot of people trying to find their passion in this muddy journey. And puking is OK! Maybe next article is, ‘Training to Puke So Races are Easy?’ and how to fuel for training vs. during a race? BTW, Brad, I am engaging with James here because I like some of the stuff you are putting out there, and you need commentary on your page to increase traffic 😉 And James, I can appreciate your commentary only because it sounds like you are still growing as fitness professional and not feeling you are tenured and done learning. It’s just I’m so sick and tired of the trend of coaching down to athletes at all levels and I feel like you need to take a new look at how you are influencing others. You might be getting stuck and can’t see the forest for the trees. Just passing judgement on you, but don’t take it personally. Great Conversation!


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