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6 Ways to Build a Better Body on a Budget

Lean times don't mean you have to skimp on fitness. Try these easy ideas for workouts on the cheap.

3. Turn Your Housewares Into "Gymware"

Your home may already be a home gym. If you think outside the (treadmill) box, you'll be surprised at how many household objects can be substituted for fitness equipment.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use soup cans for weights. Janet Lee, deputy fitness editor of Shape magazine, says that you can do any triceps or biceps exercise at home using cans of soup that you'd do at the gym with dumbbells. To properly gauge the weight, don't go by the ounces listed on the can -- that's liquid weight. Instead, weigh the cans on your scale to figure out the poundage that's best for you.
  • Use jugs as weights. Fill a household bucket or jug with water (or sand, rock salt, or powdered detergent) and secure the top with duct tape. Lift it up and down in front of you as you do squats.
  • Substitute paper plates for body sculpting equipment. The key here, Lee says, is to use the plates to help your body slide on a carpet. This allows you to do body sculpting moves that would ordinarily require workout equipment. You can do the sliding lunge (put the paper plate under one foot and lunge forward). Try simulating skating to work your butt and thighs -- just attach the plates to your feet with rubber bands and slide away. Or, get down on all fours, put the plates under your hands, and use them to work your chest by sliding your arms back and forth.
  • Substitute a countertop for a push-up bench. In most homes, at least one countertop, either in the kitchen or the bath, is the right height for a push-up. Put both hands on the countertop, extend your legs behind you at an angle, lean down into the counter, and then push back up.
  • Substitute pantyhose for resistance bands. Almost any exercise you can do with a resistance band, you can do with old pantyhose or tights. For example, sitting on the floor with your legs straight, loop a pair of pantyhose around the balls of your feet and pull back with both hands as if you are using a rowing machine.

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