No-Excuses Fitness Training Tips

Having trouble getting motivated? These soldiers toughen you up with their custom can't-quit tips.

When Lt. Christine Bone began training for the 2008 Primal Quest–a 10-day, 500-mile adventure race held this June in western Montana–she needed a place to run. Her only option: A dusty track circling an airbase in the Iraqi desert. Mortars and snipers, not blisters, were her main concern. "It was definitely scary," says Bone, 35, who ran 50 to 60 miles a week, occasionally wearing a 20-pound flak vest when the base was on high alert. The danger factor, she quips, made her run faster. Scott Olson, 32, an Army Special Forces sergeant and one of Bone's Primal Quest partners on Team Enduring Freedom, logged his own hazardous miles while serving his fifth tour in Afghanistan. To state the obvious, the pair had every excuse to skip training sessions–but didn't. Here are their tips for achieving top fitness under any circumstances.

>> Speed up
Bone's fast pace limited her exposure to snipers, but high-intensity workouts are also a good way for time-strapped athletes to get maximum return for their training. You can do the same thing in the gym with circuit training by moving rapidly between machines to keep your heart rate high.

>> Avoid routine Land mines limited Olson's training rides to a single 3.5-mile loop inside the base, so he fought boredom by adding off-road challenges to his rides. Bone and Olson also recruited training partners to add social variety to their workouts.