What’s better than packing on lean muscle, melting stubborn fat, and building the endurance of a boxer? How about doing it in less than the time it takes to watch an episode of South Park? 

Sometimes, like during the holidays, it can be hard to schedule a typical 60-minute gym routine. Fortunately, you don’t have to—not if you’re willing to go all-out. Put these three workouts on your to-do list this month and prove to yourself just how little time you actually need to look like an athlete and perform at your very best. 

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Endurance Kicker

TIME: 5 MINUTES

Norwegian researchers found that high-intensity interval training boosted VO2 max (the amount of oxygen the bloodstream can carry to the muscles) more than traditional steady-state cardio—even if the steady-state work was done at a whopping 85% of maximum heart rate. “If you can maintain high force output and resist slacking off, you’ll blast through these intervals and be out the door before most people pick a TV show on their cardio machine,” says Jonathan Pope, co-owner of Rogue Performance (trainrogue.com) in Denver, CO, which specializes in training adventure athletes and Special Ops candidates.

DIRECTIONS
Perform five rounds of each exercise. 

1A) FRONT SQUAT TO PUSH PRESS
Work: 15 sec.
Rest: 15 sec.

1B) KETTLEBELL SWING
Work: 15 sec. 
Rest: 15 sec.

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Fat-Loss Frenzy

TIME: 15 MINUTES 

If you’re not doing interval training by now, you need to start. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that interval exercise melted more fat than steady-state cardio. This workout progresses in accordance with your fatigue, so the more tired you get, the simpler the exercises become, so you can keep going.

DIRECTIONS
Perform 1A–1C in sequence, repeating for three rounds. Alternate sets of 2A and 2B for three rounds. Alternate sets of 3A and 3B, then 4A and 4B, for two rounds each. Then do one round of 5A and 5B.

1A) BEAR CRAWL 
10 sec. forward/back

1B) TURKISH GETUP 
Reps: 2 each side

1C) DUMBBELL SQUAT TO STAND 
Reps:5

2A) GOBLET SQUAT 
Reps: 15

2B) SPRINT 
Work for 90 sec. on your choice of a track/treadmill, rower, exercise bike, etc.

3A) KETTLEBELL SWING 
Duration: 30 sec.

3B) DEEP SQUAT HOLD 
Hold a dumbbell in front of you. Get into a squat. Hold for 30 sec.

4A) PUSHUP PLANK 
Duration: 30 sec.

4B) FARMER’S WALK 
Duration: 
30 sec.

5A) DUMBBELL BENTOVER ROW 
Duration: Perform reps for 30 sec.

5B) DUMBBELL CURL 
Duration: Perform reps for 30 sec. 

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Muscle Blitz

TIME: 25 MINUTES

“A time limit forces people to push hard and get the work done faster,” says Pope. This 25-minute routine combines timed sets and heavy exercises to build muscle. “Most people don’t even do this much work in an hour,” says Pope.

DIRECTIONS
Perform 1A–1C in sequence. Repeat for three total rounds as a warmup. For 3A–3C, perform the exercises in sequence for as many total rounds as possible in six minutes. Afterward, hold a light dumbbell at arm’s length in front of you and squat deeply—hold the position for 60 seconds (this is your rest). Repeat 3A–3C for another six minutes. For 4A and 4B, alternate sets of each for three total rounds with no rest.

1A) BEAR CRAWL 
Duration: 30 sec.

1B) TURKISH GETUP 
Reps: 3 each side

1C) DUMBBELL SQUAT TO STAND
Reps: 5

2) ALTERNATING SPLIT SQUAT JUMPS 
Sets: 3
Reps: 3
Rest: 30 sec.

3A) DEADLIFT
Reps: 2-3

3B) DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS
Reps: 2–3 

3C) NEUTRAL-GRIP PULLUP
Reps: 2–3 reps 
Rest: 60 sec. in squat position

4A) DUMBBELL FARMER’S WALK 
Walk for 30 seconds.

4B) WAITER’S WALK 
Walk for 15 seconds per side.
Walk with one arm extended overhead while holding a dumbbell or kettlebell

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