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Aug 21, 2023

It calls for a combination of weekly strength training and barre or Pilates workouts, plus getting plenty of daily steps.

Is a combination of Pilates, barre, strength training, and upping your step count enough to get you a "snatched" body in just a few months? TikTokers say, yes.

Natalie Rose, @natalieroseuk, a U.K.-based Pilates and barre instructor and founder of the virtual Body by Barre Studio, took the 3-2-8 workout viral in late 2022 after a brief clip on Tiktok teasing the method wracked up over 1.4 million views.

"My not so secret method that will leave you feeling snatched and strong," she captioned one six-second clip on Tikok with 2.9 million views, promising results in three short months.

The fitness expert created the 3-2-8 method to help busy fitness enthusiasts get the most out of their workouts in less time, according to her Body by Barre website. It's more of a workout plan or schedule than a specific workout, involving weekly strength training workouts plus low-impact pilates or barre workouts, and taking an average of 8,000 daily steps. According to Rose, the method offers a variety of benefits, including reduced inflammation, period cycle regulation, and weight loss.

The search term "328 pilates" has amassed over 3.3 millions view on TikTok, with thousands of videos of people attesting to the benefits. But what do experts say?

Hours after her initial video went viral, Rose shared a follow-up video on TikTok breaking down exactly the 3-2-8 barre Pilates method. It calls for you each week to do three weighted workouts, do two low-impact Pilates or barre workouts, and take an average of 8,000 steps per day.

Rose suggests committing to the plan for three months to reap the full benefits.

Additional details from Rose are:

Nonna Gleyzer, a celebrity trainer and certified Pilates instructor in Beverly Hills, California, endorses the weight training, Pilates, barre-walking combination training method.

Weightlifting helps build and tone muscles, the Pilates or barre workouts build core strength and flexibility while elongating the muscles, and the cardio builds up stamina and supports metabolism, Gleyzer says. By combining the three techniques, she says, "It allows the body to be targeted in a different way without reaching a plateau."

Elizabeth C. Gardner, MD, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and sports medicine at Yale Medicine in New Haven, Conneticut, adds that this focus on muscle strengthening comes with a lot of benefits.

"While Pilates and barre are low impact (meaning the movements don't involve a lot of pounding on the joints) they do focus on balance, mobility, and endurance strength (building your ability to hold body positions for a period of time or to perform a resistance exercise in a slow, controlled manner)," she says. "These exercises are quite complementary to high impact cardiovascular exercise or strength training."

Gardner notes that the plan leaves a lot of details to whoever is following the plan to figure out (like length, pace, and overall intensity of the workouts). "Ultimately there are many different specific workouts and exercise routines that can fit into the 3-2-8 format," she says.

This means that if you want the workout to be effective and count toward the recommended amount of activity — 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity, according to the current U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans — you will be responsible for choosing workouts that fall into those parameters.

She adds about the plan: "It doesn't necessarily include the moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise that we know to be important for optimum health."

Moderate-intensity cardio should cause some breathlessness when you are performing it, Gardner says. You should still be able to talk, but you’ll notice it's markedly more challenging than if you were sitting down or strolling at a very easy pace.

If your daily steps are coming from brisk walking, jogging, or other moderate-intensity cardio, you might be meeting those HHS physical activity benchmarks. But the plan doesn't necessarily specify that.

A barre or Pilates workout may count if the pace follows a high enough intensity, but some do not, she says. And similarly, if your strength training workouts involve cardio (like a HIIT class), those may help you fulfill your aerobic activity needs. But again, not all strength training workouts will, Gardner says.

Gardner says Rose's claims that the workout method aids in reducing inflammation is accurate. "Controlled stretches can help to improve flexibility and reduce inflammation within the muscles and soft tissues that build up during higher impact activity," she explains.

Weight loss will ultimately depend on a lot of other factors in addition to whether you’re following the 3-2-8 guidelines, such as intensity and length of the workouts you're choosing and (in a big way) your diet, Gardner says.

In terms of the other claims about menstrual cycle regulation and lymphatic drainage, Gardner is more skeptical. "I can't really comment on period regulation and lymphatic drainage around the menstrual cycle — that is not something that I have heard about," she says.

As the workout plan doesn't necessarily prescribe specific exercises, the 3-2-8 workout is a great format for everyone from beginners to advanced exercises. "Its emphasis on strength training, consistent daily exercise, and active recovery is a great structure, which can evolve as the individual improves their conditioning," Dr. Gardner says.

But, remember to ease into it if you’re new to exercise, or picking it up after a long break.

"Start slowly and carefully at the beginning and increase intensity as you get stronger," agrees Gleyzer.

And always listen to your body, adds Jacqueline "JT" Lloyd, a Los Angeles–based certified Pilates instructor and ISSA-certified personal trainer, who teaches online classes for The Pilates Class.

"If you are a beginner and you haven't trained with weights before, try starting with lighter weights, and with time building up to a heavier resistance," she says. To learn proper form (and lower injury risk), watch training videos from reputable sources online, take a class, or, if it's an option for you, consider booking some time (even if it's just a session or two) with a personal trainer to learn the basics.

Consult with your doctor first if you have any heart, lung, or other health issues that may interfere with your ability to safely exercise, adds Gardner. It's also a good idea for people who are pregnant to check with their doctors before starting or changing their exercise routines.

Experts agree that the 3-2-8 Barre Pilates workout can do your body good.

"It is a great framework to help individuals plan and schedule their weekly workouts. It emphasizes diversity of activity, and includes strength training and active recovery days, which are very important, especially as we age," Gardner says.

But it may feel like a lot of workouts to add to your schedule if you haven't been making time for this previously or in a while, Lloyd says. "My advice to anyone who does start this program is to try to commit to hitting those days, but listen to what your body needs and don't be too hard on yourself," Lloyd suggests. Go easy on the active recovery days if you need to.

"Sometimes maybe all you need is a good stretch or a 30-minute yoga flow," she says. But do keep moving your body every day, and try to get into that habit of making time for movement, which can be a really good strategy to help you get into a more active lifestyle.

And do consider if you’re getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise each week if you’re following this plan, Gardner adds. That aerobic activity is important.

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