Is TikTok's Favorite '3-2-8' Workout Method Effective?

For people looking for new ways to incorporate exercise into their lives, TikTok is never at a loss for fitness trends. The 3-2-8 workout hit TikTok in November 2022, and the search term has 276 million views as of this writing. The method's creator, Natalie Rose, says you can transform your body and get an hourglass shape in just three months if you follow this plan. Rose's online studio, Body by Barre, says you can sculpt and tone your entire body while improving mobility and flexibility. She also claims you can reduce burnout, improve cardiovascular fitness, and ease polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) symptoms.

Rose explained in a TikTok video how the 3-2-8 method works. For three days a week, complete weight training workouts consisting of compound exercises that work your full body. You'll also need to increase the intensity of your weight training sessions every four to six weeks. On two other days, you'll recover your muscles with barre or Pilates workouts. Rose says these active recovery days will help reduce inflammation, build core strength, and shed bloating through lymphatic drainage. The number 8 in the 3-2-8 method is 8,000 steps per day. Rose says that these added steps will help shed 300 calories daily.

Rose says that the 3-2-8 method is suitable for all fitness levels. How safe is it to add more steps and exercise five days a week?

Variety is good, but the 3-2-8 method may be low on cardio

According to Everyday Health, the 3-2-8 method is good for emphasizing muscle building while also working on flexibility, balance, and recovery. Your body is less likely to reach a workout plateau if you challenge yourself to move in different ways. Because barre and Pilates are low-impact, you can give your body — particularly your joints — a rest on these days. Pilates and barre can help reduce exercise-induced inflammation that can zap your energy.

Because the method doesn't specify the length or intensity of your workouts, weight loss will vary according to each person. It also doesn't consider what your diet looks like, which is a heavy factor in any weight loss program. People who are new to weight training might need to consult a personal trainer who can coach them on how to do compound exercises with the right amount of weight for proper gains. You also might need to consult your doctor if you're just starting to exercise.

Although the program suggests averaging 8,000 steps a day, this might not provide the cardio benefit to improve health unless the steps are part of a brisk walk or jog. Moderate cardio exercise involves the heart pumping just enough so you're slightly out of breath. However, some high-intensity interval training and barre classes could also get your heart rate up, so you could incorporate some of those exercises to give you cardiovascular benefits.