TikTok’s viral 3-2-8 method can help you get back in shape. Here’s how to get results

While many fitness professionals would prefer to never look back at the unrealistic or downright ridiculous workout trends circulating on TikTok these days, the viral 3-2-8 method does have some merit. Experts aren’t backing away from an exercise trend that they say has real benefits, as long as you keep a few pointers in mind.

What is the 3-2-8 Workout Method?

The guidelines of the 3-2-8 method include:

  • 3 days a week of strength training workouts

  • Low-impact workouts, like Pilates or barre, 2 days a week

  • 8,000 steps a day

Many sources point to Natalie Rose, a UK-based trainer and barre and Pilates instructor, as responsible for the virality of this trend. Her fitness-focused TikTok features several posts dedicated to the weekly routine, with Rose claiming it can reduce inflammation and build core strength among many other purported benefits, including linking it to your menstrual cycle. Including using it as a way to sync your workouts.

While the science of cycle syncing, the concept of customizing your diet and activity according to the phase of your menstrual cycle, is still fairly vague, this workout trend has merit. This mostly comes down to the benefits of individual activities (strength, Pilates/barre, and walking) as well as a balanced approach to fitness.

Benefits of 3-2-8 Method

While Rose and others on TikTok have claimed that the weekly workout routine has helped them do everything from lose weight to ease PCOS symptoms, the 3-2-8 has many other science-backed benefits. Which are valid.

It is well balanced.

Working out hard five days a week (think: HIIT, lifting heavy, or running long runs) is a recipe for physical and mental fatigue and diminished results. Instead, the 3-2-8 method prioritizes recovery, variety, and complementary movements.

It’s a great balance, says Christy Larson, CSCS, NASM-certified personal trainer, adding that this method helps prevent overtraining and burnout. You have strength training, which we all need, and we have Pilates or barre which is going to be [with] Lighter in weight and less neurologically burdensome and really great for stability and mobility, she says.

Plus, Larson says 8,000 daily steps is far more achievable for most people than the generally recommended 10,000. However, both numbers seem arbitrary, she says, citing a recent incident. JAMA Open Network Studies that point to 7,000 daily steps as the key benchmark for long-term health.

Every activity has its benefits.

Larson says strength training is incredibly important for longevity and slowing the rapid decline that occurs with aging. Progressive strength training increases muscle mass and increases bone density, which is a big bonus for older women as menopause is a big culprit for declining musculoskeletal health and injury risk.

While barre and Pilates are both low-impact, it is not uncommon for barre classes to use light weights with too many repetitions, leaving you feeling more pain than recovery. That’s why Larson says that if she were to tell her clients the 3-2-8 method, she would rely more on Pilates for its deeper ability to work on small stabilizer muscles and core engagement.

Marisa Fuller, owner of Studio Pilates, says Pilates helps build overall strength, especially in the core, defines muscles, improves balance and posture, and can even be good for your mental health. . Plus, the low-impact nature of Pilates makes it a workout that’s accessible to people of any age, she says.

When it comes to the benefits of walking, the list is endless. Daily walks can help increase longevity, improve sleep, and reduce joint pain. Plus, if you add intervals and increase the speed, you’ll get even more benefits.

But they also complement each other.

Although it’s clear that all three activities have benefits for the mind and body, it’s the magic of cross-training that makes them even better when combined. Another thing I like about this method is that it’s reinforcing the idea that one workout isn’t everything, and not every workout has to be intense, says Larson.

Larson explains that using Pilates as a means of active recovery from your strength training ensures that you are repairing essential muscle damage acquired from previous workouts. It can help promote blood flow, she says, so you can heal a little faster. It may help reduce pain. The purpose of active recovery is to help your body repair the damage caused through exercise to really get the improvement you are looking for.

Fuller says Pilates is the perfect active recovery workout because it not only keeps your heart rate down, but it also provides deep stretching into some rehabilitative movement patterns. Plus, because Pilates focuses so much on your core activation, it’s been shown to improve your overall athletic performance, says Fuller. The main work done during Pilates activates more than just the rectus abdominis at the front of your body, but also your obliques, which help stabilize your entire center, and glutes, which provide strength. There are large, powerful muscles responsible for many complex lifts during. Session.

It is highly functional.

The right workout not only improves you in fitness but also helps you move pain-free in everyday life, and the 3-2-8 method is rooted in functional fitness.

When you incorporate Pilates into your cardio and strength training, you’ll notice injury prevention, better bending and lifting in everyday life, and improved balance and stability, says Fuller.

Plus, regular strength training reduces the risk of fractures from falls, increases independence, and leads to greater recovery if any type of musculoskeletal injury occurs, says Larson.

How to Practice the 3-2-8 Workout Method

Here are some important details to keep in mind to reap all the benefits of this routine.

Stay true to the definition of active recovery.

A lot of boutique Pilates-esque studios offer very high-intensity classes, sometimes with medium to heavy dumbbells, which will lengthen your recovery, not help it. Choose traditional mat or Reformer Pilates. If you want to try barre during active recovery days, choose a studio or class format that includes ample opportunities to stretch between all the vibrations and muscle contractions.

Keep your expectations realistic.

Larson says that as balanced as this program sounds, it still asks you to complete five workouts a week, which is more than many people can achieve. If three days of strength and two days of low-impact work isn’t attainable for your lifestyle, for example, try two strength sessions and a Pilates or barre day on the weekend, she suggests. And don’t become a slave to counting the steps you walk every day and give yourself grace if you miss crossing the 8,000 mark.

Bottom-line? Be mindful of fitness trends and really think about what will work for you and be realistic for your life, says Larson. At the end of the day, that will be the most valuable thing anyone has.

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This story originally appeared on Fortune.com

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