Of all of the habits I’ve tried and failed to keep throughout my life—journaling, waking up early, getting off my phone an hour before bed—working out is one of the few I’ve kept. It’s annoying to admit, but I’ve always loved exercise; it clears my head and helps my mental health more than anything else does. But what isn’t consistent for me is my workout regimen—that is, until I tried the 3-2-8 method.
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After seeing people talk about the 3-2-8 method every day on TikTok, I decided to finally investigate if it would be a fit for me and my goals. The videos I saw were full of women saying they absolutely swore by it, so I dove head-first into the routine two months ago, and have officially reached a consensus on whether or not I think it’s worth trying out.
Here’s exactly what happened when I tried (and stuck to) the 3-2-8 method.
What is the 3-2-8 method?
Started by Natalie Rose (AKA @natalieroseuk), a U.K.-based pilates and barre instructor, the 3-2-8 method is more of a workout structure rather than a specific routine that lays out the exact exercises to perform. It’s divided into three parts that are to be completed over an entire week: Three days of weight training, two days of Pilates or barre, and an average of 8,000 steps per day.
What happened when I tried the 3-2-8 method
It gave me structure
My usual workout routine consists of a combination of running, weight lifting, Solidcore classes, and some Pilates videos here and there, so off the bat, I loved that the 3-2-8 method would give me a little bit more structure. Rather than just doing what I felt like every day, it made me work off a checklist that felt productive to me. It allows for a lot of flexibility—if one day I didn’t feel like heading to the gym to lift weights, I’d do a Pilates video in my apartment instead—but gave me guidance on what workouts to do each week, rather than completely winging it.
I enjoyed my workout routine more
Something I’m definitely guilty of is obsessing over my workout routine to the point that it isn’t fun for me. I’m the person who does walks around the block before bed to hit my 10k steps every day, and I definitely beat myself up when I don’t get a gym session in if I had planned on it. But 3-2-8 allowed me to be gentler on myself, without sacrificing the quality of my workouts.
One thing that I really love about 3-2-8 is that the 8,000 steps a day is meant to be an average, rather than something you need to hit every single day. So if I had a day I took fewer steps than usual, it didn’t matter, because I knew some days I took more than 8,000 steps. I kept track of my average daily steps in the health app on my phone, and really prefer keeping track of the weekly average over what I’m doing daily.
I felt stronger
I tend to prioritize cardio over weight lifting, but 3-2-8 pushed me out of my comfort zone and into taking weight lifting a little more seriously. I used the Madeline Moves app (which I’ve loved for over a year) for guidance on weight lifting, and I can’t recommend it more. It gives you a pre-programed weight lifting workout every day, so you don’t have to guess which exercises to do or how much weight you should be using. I looked forward to the three days I headed to the gym to weight lift more than I ordinarily would because of the aforementioned structure it gave me. Three days a week of weight lifting is super doable, and left me feeling strong and excited to go back every time I left.
I’m newer to pilates, but I’ve enjoyed my journey into starting it more than I ever thought I would. I used the Alo Moves app to do pilates videos at home, and it always shocked me just how difficult they were. I’d find myself needing to take a breather more than I do in the gym or even on my runs, but it was easier on my body in ways that made it feel like it gave me recovery between gym sessions. After about a month, I noticed how much stronger I felt; I was lifting heavier weights in the gym and was making it through my pilates classes taking fewer breaks, which made me want to keep going.
I noticed changes to my body
I didn’t go into 3-2-8 wanting to shed a lot of weight, so I can’t speak on it from that perspective as I kept my diet the same as I always do; however, the biggest change I’ve noticed in my body from it is that I’m definitely more toned—particularly in my core. I feel physically stronger, and my body definitely looks physically stronger, too.
I love my workout routine more than I ever have
If you’re someone who has the motivation to workout, but just wants to be told exactly what to do, 3-2-8 is absolutely for you. I look forward to my workout routine more than I ever have, and it gives me enough variety that I don’t think I’ll get tired of it like I have of other workout programs.
I love that my workout routine now feels productive and challenging, but that my body doesn’t feel like it’s being pushed too hard. The structure of 3-2-8 has also saved me time in the long-run, as I don’t sit there debating which type of workout to do each day. I love keeping a checklist in my planner and checking off strength and pilates days each week, and prioritizing taking walks to hit my steps goal every week. If you’re debating trying 3-2-8, or are just looking for a new workout routine, I can’t recommend it enough.