You don’t need a swanky home gym packed with expensive equipment to crack out an effective workout. There are many household essentials you can use to help you stay fit and active without shelling out a ton of money.

Incorporate a few of the items listed below to your workout to up the intensity and stay on track with your fitness goals:

Paper plates

Paper plates can be used as glider discs. It’s simple – get into a plank position with a plate under each foot. Slide your feet outward and inward continuously for a designated amount of time. This is great for developing core strength and getting in some cardio.

Gallon water bottles

Gallon water bottles make great free weights. You can fill them up to your desired weight and some even have handles, making them easier to control.


Fill a backpack with books or cans until you achieve your desired weight. Wear it during your workout, especially during squats and lunges for a great lower-body workout.

Beach towel

Use a big beach towel as a yoga mat and you can get in a good stretch. This will help you stay centred and stress free while elongating muscles and facia.


Stairs are a great way to get in some cardio as they mimic the movement you would do on the Stairmaster. Before you begin, make sure your stairs are clear of debris and offer good grip. If your staircase is curved or slippery, simply jog in place or do high knees for increased intensity.  


Due to their size, books are great for cardio work. You can use them to increase the intensity of most mat work, including the Russian twist and dead bug.

Paint gallons or laundry detergent

Paint gallons and laundry detergent can be used as hand weights for upper-body exercises like bicep curls. Their handles make them a little easier to control and if they are empty, you can fill them with various materials to your desired weight.

A sturdy wall

A clear and study wall can be used to stretch your arms, do a push-up or hold a wall sit, making it a great tool for both upper- and lower-body work.


Fill one or two suitcases with various things until you reach your desired weight. Zip the suitcases tightly before standing upright, grabbing a handle and performing a side bend or a bicep curl.

Your kids

Incorporating your kids into your workout is a great way to have some family fun while also getting in a great workout.

If your kids are small enough, place them in a laundry basket and push it around a carpeted area for a make-shift sled.

If you’re at home with a baby, try our simple 15-minute dad and baby workout (moms can do it too).