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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.

4. Use Your Computer for Motivation and Help

Do you tend to work out better when someone is setting goals for you? Then don't overlook the power of your computer and the many free applications that can provide some of the stimulation you need.

You can find exercise-tracking tools and spreadsheets on a number of websites. Use them to create and maintain a training regimen, keep track of your progress, and even share online with friends, family members, and fellow exercisers.

For how-to instructions for specific exercises, check out WebMD's fitness slideshow, including those illustrating a 30-minute workout and abs exercises.

Video sites like YouTube are full of free videos from exercise gurus willing to share their know-how. Some other sites offer free workouts to download to your mp3 player. However, the experts warn, you shouldn't take advice from just anyone.

"Make sure the fitness instructor is qualified," Therese Pasqualoni, an aerobics instructor and director of, says. "There is a lot of questionable advice out there, even on DVDs you purchase. So always make sure the advice is coming from someone certified by a reputable fitness organization."

5. Take a TV Exercise Break

Here's a no-excuses, no-expense workout. Instead of going to the kitchen for a snack during TV commercials, exercise.

"Pick a different activity for each commercial and do it till the show comes back on," suggests Shina. "During one commercial, do crunches; during another, do squats; during another, march in place. The longer you watch TV, the more exercise you'll get in. And before the night is over, you've got at least 15 to 20 minutes of workout time."

6. Spend a Little, Get a Lot

If you do have a few dollars to put toward building a better body, here is the fitness equipment that experts say can give you the most benefits for the least amount of money:

  • A dumbbell set that represents a realistic range of what you need to lift (5-30 pounds for most women, 10-50 pounds for most men)
  • An adjustable weight bench (one that goes from flat to incline or decline)
  • A mirror for the wall so you can see your technique
  • Kettle bells -- hand weights that can be used to tone your entire body
  • Resistance bands, a type of rubber tubing that creates resistance for your muscles
  • Instructional DVDs
  • Stability ball
  • Step bench for step aerobics
Reviewed on October 01, 2009

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