How to Get Fit Quickly in Less Than 3 Hours a Week

What to Do on Your Running Day

For beginning runners, Johnson suggests that the running day be completed at whatever effort feels good on that day—and it's completely fine to take walking breaks during the run. Warm up with some dynamic movements for 5 to 10 minutes, then run or run/walk for 20 to 30 minutes, followed by a 5- to 10-minute cooldown.

More: A Better Pre-Run Warm-Up

For who can run or jog for 20 to 30 consecutive minutes, Johnson suggests the same routine outlined above for the first few weeks. When you feel confident that you can complete something more challenging, Johnson recommends a progression run for 20 to 30 minutes, meaning you pick up the pace a bit every 5 to 10 minutes, and maintain that pace until the next pickup, when you'll move a little faster until the next interval, and so on.

"At the end of your run, you should always be able to say, 'I could have run a little bit farther and a little bit faster,'" says Johnson. "That's how you know you've run the workout controlled and didn't have a race effort."

More: 3 Progression Runs to Achieve Success

What to Do on Your Strength-Training Day

If you belong to a gym and aren't completely new to strength training, take a body pump, P90X, boot camp or other interval-based strength class. If you'd rather work out at home, invest in some free weights or kettlebells and complete exercises that stress multiple muscle groups at once—for example, alternating lunges with bicep curls, kettlebell swings and single-leg deadlifts.

More: 3 Kettlebell Exercises to Boost Running Performance

If you're a beginner, jumping in a high-intensity interval class or completing at-home exercises with weights can lead to injury. Instead, start with bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and planks before progressing to resistance training.

"Take a body squat for example. Complete just the squat for a few weeks. Then you could move on to a body squat holding a medicine ball overhead for a few weeks or a body squat on a Bosu ball for a few weeks. Then you could move on to doing a squat with a bar—a squat with an overhead press with the bar," says Johnson.

If you're new to strength work, hiring a personal trainer can ensure that you're performing appropriate exercises with good form at the right intensity or resistance. "If you're on a budget, you might not need to retain this person for five months in a row; you can hire them for six weeks, do you own thing for six weeks, then go back to them for six weeks. You can oscillate and do some good work," suggests Johnson.   

More: 4 Strength Exercises for Time-Strapped Runners

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