In his book The Four Hour Body Tim Ferris seems to make everything seem possible in such a short time period. He provokes thoughts on a number of levels which question the time / effect / reward equation.
The bottom line is often that is you want something you have to be willing to bust your butt for it. People can take that one of two ways and many opt for the longer time duration. Well in the world that we live in today and with the most common excuse for not doing something being "I don't have enough time" my advice is we stay well away from long workouts when it comes to hard work.
What my InnerFight programs deliver and what I have found through training systems such as CrossFit is the ability to get great results through short workouts that are extremely hard. These programs put the body under high intensity pressure for a short time, in some cases only 3-5 minutes on particular days. On other days the work requirement may be up to an hour which demands a more sustained energy release.
For endurance athletes gone are the days when you train miles and miles on end hoping for small % increases in performance. The endurance world is slowly waking up to the need for a broader outlook and delving into activities such as strength training which have previously been thought of as taboo!
No matter what your sport or what your goal, in order to be the best you can be at it you are going to have to dish out a fair share of hard work to get it. If you want it faster you are going to have to work harder, if you want to be better you are going to have to work harder and if you want your body to perform to its best you are going to have to work harder.
There is no substitute for hard work so make sure what you are doing is right!