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Why I Work Out With Soup Cans

by Courtney on June 13, 2012

I just love trying out new workouts…especially when the kick my butt in unexpected ways!


A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from the folks at Barre3, inviting me to try out their newly launched online program, mybarre3. If you’ve never heard of a barre class before, it’s basically a combination of yoga, Pilates, ballet barre work and some other balancing work which is said to help lengthen and strengthen the entire body.

At the time, I hadn’t yet come up with the June Yoga Challenge, but now that I’m fully immersed in that, I knew I had to give these online videos a shot.

Since my new laptop is HDMI capable(?) I was able to hook it up to our regular TV, which was great.

I then got all of my equipment ready: yoga mat, Core Ball, and…soup cans?


Yes, my friends. I worked out with soup cans today. Jay happened to stop home quickly this morning from work and one of his first, immediate responses was, “why are there soup cans on the floor in the living room?”

Well, that would be because they were the closest things to 1-pound weights I could quickly find before starting the workout.


It’s recommended for women to use 1-2 pound dumbbells with the barre workout videos, and the lightest pair I own are 5lbs, so I figured this would do. They weren’t quite a pound, but they worked in a pinch. As Jay said, “improvise, adapt, and overcome.” Winking smile

As for my workouts of choice today, I chose (1) 30 minute + (1) 10 minute routine (I love the fact that they offer different lengths: 10, 30, 40, and 60 minute options):

Both of the videos were challenging in their own way; the 30-minute video had my legs and butt screaming. Seriously. The burn was almost as bad as that class I took back in February.

I’m really curious to try out some of the other videos now and see what they’re all about!


Once I finished killing my backside, I showered up and put together a little lunch, which was enjoyed al fresco today.


This meal was put together in no time, thanks to a couple little freezer friends of mine.


I paired a crumbled Boca burger with the white bean/yellow carrot/spinach mixture and topped it all with some crumbled feta.


Done in less than five minutes, and delicious to boot.


Gotta love that!

Question for the Afternoon:

What are some different ways that you’ve adapted a workout that may be considered “unconventional?” (i.e., soup cans!)

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caroline @ After Dinner Dance June 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Way to make it work! I’ve been wanting to try Barre but there aren’t any classes around me. It looks like it gives you a good workout! Maybe one day I’ll venture to do it online – I just always worry I won’t do the positions right if I’m not in a class.
Caroline @ After Dinner Dance recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday #9


2 Rachael @ Ready To Get Sweaty June 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Barre is by far my FAVORITE workout. I’m addicted and have been going to classes since December of last year. It is the perfect way to strength train while also working on the long and lean frame I strive for. I’m glad you liked the videos I and I can’t wait to give this site a try!


3 Megan@ The Running Doc June 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I’m intrigued by these online workout videos! I usually stick my my Jillian Michaels 30-day shread since I own that DVD but I might need to branch out a bit!
Megan@ The Running Doc recently posted..It’s Skyline Time


4 Khushboo June 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Love those burgers! I’ve resorted to doing tricep dips of chairs and park benches several times and both get the job done :)
Khushboo recently posted..Hey, It’s Okay… (June Edition)


5 kristin June 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Lol – Monday I was enjoying a workout on-demand and didn’t realize I needed weights so I quickly pressed paused and the closet weight object to me was “soup cans”! I also use them – we recently moved and my weights were packed away somewhere so I grabbed the heaviest cans I could find!


6 Courtney @ Outrunning Insecurities June 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I might have to give these workouts a shot. You have me intrigued.
As for unconventional workouts I once weirded out my entire family when I went out for a walk one summer in 100 degree weather with my just iPhone and headphones, and literally just wandered around my neighborhood for HOURS. I honestly didn’t realize how much time was passing when I was walking. I was off in my own little world.
Courtney @ Outrunning Insecurities recently posted..“Do You Like Waffles?


7 Angela June 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I have used water bottles before while working out on vacation or park benchs for tricep dips!


8 Kristen @ notsodomesticated June 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I’ve done the soup can thing before … whatever works, right? ;)
Kristen @ notsodomesticated recently posted..Ben and Jerry know what’s up.


9 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries June 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm

i’ve worked out with a gallon of water or laundry detergent in place of a kettle bell before!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted..WIAW #38: Where Did My Appetite Go?!


10 Laurie @ Love, Laugh, Laurie June 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm

My sister and I were working out at my parents’ house and my mom has only one set of weights so I used bottles of laundry detergent. It was still a great workout!
Laurie @ Love, Laugh, Laurie recently posted..Tuesday Night BBQ


11 Lindsay @ LindsayInNYC June 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Oh man, my husband LOVES to use the “improvise, adapt, and overcome” phrase with me. Some days I don’t mind. On the annoyed days, I kindly remind him I wasn’t in the Marine Corps ;)
Lindsay @ LindsayInNYC recently posted..Money, Money, Money


12 Courtney June 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Hahaha :)


13 Chelsea @ Chelsea's Health June 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I love Barre3! I actually went to the original studio when on vacation in Portland and took a class with Sadie. I ended up bringing home a workout dvd and ball! I did not even know this type of workout existed until I was out for a run and found the studio. Thanks for sharing this resource!
Chelsea @ Chelsea’s Health recently posted..Fusilli with Goat Cheese, Peas and Prosciutto


14 Sam @ Fit for My Fork June 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I used water bottles for the 30 Day Shred because I didn’t own weights. Totally worked! The barre3 classes sound like fun, too. I’ll have to look them up next time I need a new workout!
Sam @ Fit for My Fork recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday


15 Lisa June 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I SO want to try out barre workouts, it looks like a great workout, and a little different from yoga, which I can not get into for the life of me. I may have to try this out…
Lisa recently posted..WIAW #12


16 sherice@foodieluvsfitness June 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm

what do you need to hook up your laptop to your tv? I have a macbook pro that I’m sure will work on our HDTV been wanting to try this


17 Courtney June 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Oh gosh, the hubs would know the correct answer better, but it just required one special cord. I think an HDMI cord? All I know is that it’s usually hooked up to our PS3 (which I use for DVD’s) and I just had to unplug it from there and hook it up to my computer. Haha, hope that helps somehow!


18 Jaren@Kiwi Fit Blog June 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I’ve used soup cans for pilates before, but it always cracks me up.
Jaren@Kiwi Fit Blog recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday #6


19 Ellie@Fit for the Soul June 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

haha I love it when husbands are confused because of our little workout quirks. Those barre routines sound fun! Have you heard of Leah Sarago? If so, what differences do you see? And I’ve been loving salads! Especially when I pop in your blog because they always look amazing and I’m more inspired to take the time to chop veggies and make myself a nice bowl. :D So thank you!
Ellie@Fit for the Soul recently posted..Nearly Died but Lived


20 Courtney June 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I haven’t heard of her, but now I may have to go check her out!
And, you’re welcome ;)


21 Talia @ Bite Size Wellness June 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Ah! I miss having a bigger space so I can workout in the living room. I think I will just have to shun the pets to the bedroom and make it happen!
Good call on the soup cans…love your adaptability. Can’t wait for the time when I see you with milk cartons or something else!
Talia @ Bite Size Wellness recently posted..Get Passionate about Passion Fruit


22 Hannah R June 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I’ve been hearing a lot about barre lately. I will certainly try it soon! My unconventional workout equipment includes a walker in place of a dip station for now:) So great for the core and triceps!


23 Alyssa @ Fit and Fun in Third June 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I’ve definetly used soup cans too! Big water bottles work well, too! :)
Alyssa @ Fit and Fun in Third recently posted..W.I.A.W: The last week of school!


24 Jessica Kane June 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I’ve totally done the soup can thing! I learned it from my aunt who used to do in-home physical therapy. She said it was just enough weight and resistance especially for the elderly patients, and who doesnt have canned soup or canned vegetables in their house? Before I bought my hand weights that’s what I used.


25 Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom June 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I have heard awesome things about the Barre workouts so I may just have to take a look at those online!

I have never used soup cans myself(well, maybe when I was younger) but I remember my mom using them in combination with her Richard Simmons workouts, lol!!
Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom recently posted..Happy Hump Day


26 Ali June 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

We use our water bottles as weights in dance class!


27 Kailey June 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Thats really smart to use soup cans as weights! Saves a couple dollars too :)
Kailey recently posted..Wrappin’ It Up


28 Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction June 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Soup cans?! What a great idea! I’ll keep that one on the back burner for next time I need some “free” free weights ;-)
Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction recently posted..Movie Theater Pet Peeves


29 Katy June 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I have tried the soup can workout before! I love finding random items to use for weights and workouts. I did dead lifts with a 30 pack once :-)
Katy recently posted..WIAW: Sensible Snacking


30 Amanda @ Let Me Be What's Underneath June 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Love that you improvised with soup cans! Looks like a great workout :)
Amanda @ Let Me Be What’s Underneath recently posted..Today I chose…


31 Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit June 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Well, not super unconventional but I usually take my 2lb dumbbells (and jillian michael’s DVDs) with me when I travel. I am always stopped my airport security wondering what they are. Note – I finally learned on my last trip to just take them out of my backpack and leave them in the plastic bins so they can see them.
Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit recently posted..Sweat is fat crying


32 michelle kim June 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Ooh those Barre 3 workouts are tough!
And your dish looks so pretty and colorful, especially with those yellow carrots :)
michelle kim recently posted..Get Ripped 1000 DVD


33 Yellow Haired Girl June 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I was just saying this morning I want to try a barre workout! Excited to give this a shot :)
Yellow Haired Girl recently posted..Sometimes A Girl Just Wants A Sandwich


34 Jessamy @ The Rambling Asian June 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I used my cat once… she weighs about 15 pounds… I was jokingly trying to a bench press, and used her. Let’s just say, that was the ONE and ONLY time it happened.

I use water bottles, since I normally have two of the same size. I also have used bottles of wine (hehe).
Jessamy @ The Rambling Asian recently posted..Beer, Bourbon and BBQ.. What More Can a Girl Ask For???


35 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake June 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I did a barre class once & it totally kicked my butt! I’ve never been so sore!
Erica @ For the Sake of Cake recently posted..WIAW – Week 17


36 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More June 14, 2012 at 1:22 am

Haha! I’ve totally used soup cans as weights in my workouts before. That or large water bottles work pretty well too in a pinch. :)
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More recently posted..Foodie for a Day // Banana Bread Gathering


37 Tara Deal June 14, 2012 at 5:29 am

I went for a time period last year where I didn’t have a gym membership and I found myself doing things like using household items as weights all the time. It was kind of fun to figure out how to use a water bottle, broom stick, soup cans, and other random things around the house during a workout!


38 Mandy June 14, 2012 at 7:41 am

Soup cans are a great idea! I have had to improvise and get creative quite a bit with a recovery from an injury that requires me to keep my heart rate under and at a certain threshold. So, I find myself doing repeats on the stairs anywhere I can find them so that I can do my workouts outside! Sometimes this includes my home or a public set in Boston. The great ones adjust!
Mandy recently posted..More of the Little Things


39 Debbie (Accidently Delish) June 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

these are the times i really wish i had a job, that program looks amazing! something i think i would really enjoy. alas extra money a month is not an option right now.

thanks for sharing though! and yes i’ve used random things as hand weights. my text books i think have made work out appearances. haha. gotta get creative!!


40 Madison @ Pilates Makes You Happy June 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Haha, this is embarassing.. I do push-ups against the wall in the shower… gotta do something while the conditioner is “doing it’s thing!”
Madison @ Pilates Makes You Happy recently posted..Things I LOVE Thursday


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