Prevention's 3-2-1 Circuit Workout

Chris Freytag
Year Released: 2005

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

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This is a 49 minute cardio, strength, and ab circuit workout (10 min is warmup + cooldown). The format is: 3 minutes of cardio followed by 2 minutes of strength, and then 1 minute of ab work. There are 6 six minute intervals. The set is bright and open and she has a beginner modifier and an advanced modifier working out with her. Each interval has a "theme"

Circuit 1: hi lo aerobics, legs, and abs

Circuit 2: kickboxing, chest and abs

Circuit 3: sports drills cardio, butt and abs

Circuit 4: dancy cardio, back, and abs

Circuit 5: bootcampish cardio, arms, and abs

Circuit 6: power yoga, shoulders, and abs

I really enjoy this workout and like Chris as a lead. I like the format and breaking the cardio, strength, and ab work into short segments really makes the time go by quickly. While I thourhouly enjoy this workout I dont do it as often as I would like because its one of those workouts thats hard to fit into a rotation. It has too much strength work for a cardio day, but not enough to really work your muscles. But its fairly long so hard to add on enough strength work to get a real strength workout.

I would rate this an intermediate workout that can easily be modified up or down to fit your needs.

Instructor Comments:
Chris is a good lead, not overly perky but fun.



I just LOVE this workout ! Its similar to Shape Your Abs and Crunch Bootcamp. There's something different about this one, though. I think its the cardio. The cardio is a bit more intense. Its still only intermediate level, but they show how you can up it to a higher intermediate level. My heart rate was up there. I do wish the ab work had all been standing abwork atleast until the final segment, and add the chest work at the end as well. Getting up & down off the floor wasn't comfortable, although I wasn't dizzy or anything.

I can tell, though, that this is going to really work well for me. The cardio was the perfect level of intensity for me & the weight work was a mix of functional & traditional exercises. Easy to follow & I could really feel my muscles working (especially the squat & lunge sequences.) The fun factor was up there too.

The set was bright & the colors were pleasing to the eye. I

Instructor Comments:
Chris Freytag does make some facial expressions that some may find a bit annoying upon review, but when actually doing the workout its not all that noticeable & she cues very very well.

Melissa S


This workout is structured into 6 circuits each consisting of 3 minutes of cardio, 2 minutes of weight work, and 1 minute of abs. The entire workout is about 50 minutes.

The menu is as follows:

Play All
Bonus Tips, submenus: Accupressure or Moves for Better Sleep

Those body parts correspond to the circuits. You canít mix and match very well though; meaning, you couldnít do just cardio, just sculpting, or just abs unless you time-search with your DVD player. Most of the segments actually work upper and lower body, so you canít really separate them as easily as you would think.

The set is an open room with wood flooring, light colored background, and a couple of large plants in the corners. The exercisers wear dark colored bottoms and pink tops. One background exerciser always shows lower-impact or slightly easily modifications.

The music is familiar, typical CIA-ish stuff thatís been used in many other workouts. Itís mostly upbeat, sometimes techno- or dancy-ish, and appropriate for the workout.

The cardio segment of each circuit has a particular theme. The breakdown is as follows:

Circuit 1: Basic athletic hi/lo. You do heel digs, jacks, v-steps. The weight work includes lungs and plies with delt flies. For the ab work, you sit on the floor with your feet on the floor, knees bent up. You lean back, then sit up, eventually adding a twist to each side.

Circuit 2: Kickboxing. Chris teaches the moves slowly so you donít do much more than a few jabs, hooks, knee raises and kicks. Sculpting moves include pushups where you do a couple, walk your hands to one side, do a couple, walk back, etc. Chest press with dumbbells are next, and then bicycles and double leg stretches with arms extending back for abs.

Circuit 3: Play Ball. Shuffle and kick a soccer ball, shoot the (basketball) hoop, catch a baseball to the side, center, and on the ground; football fast feet. Sculpting moves include squats to which you add side leg lifts and overhead shoulder press with dumbbells. For abs you lie on the floor and do lower ab lifts with legs straight up in the air.

Circuit 4: Dancy. Side steps, mamos, plies, box steps. Sculpting moves include lunges with a pair of dumbbells in your hands. You raise the dumbbells over your head while youíre up, then bring both down to your side when you lunge down. Double arm lat rows, back extensions lying face-down on the floor, and planks follow.

Circuit 5: Drills. Feet in-in, out-out; jumprope; football run. All the sculpting is for armsóbicep curls, French press, tricep dips. For abs you sit with your legs straight out and then twist to the side, alternating sides.

Circuit 6: Yoga. A few Sun Salutations, then straight arm raises with dumbbells, moving the dumbbells to the sides. Rotator cuff work similar to Slim Series. Boat pose for abs.

The cooldown includes some basic stretches.

The acupressure and sleep moves segments are done by one of the background exercisers who shows acupressure for headaches, menstrual cramps, and to energize yourself. The sleep moves are some simple, gentle stretches. Each segment is about 2 minutes long.

People have called this ďbootcamp liteĒ comparing it to Catheís bootcamp. With Catheís, I often feel a little shortchanged on weight work; it seems to get easier as it goes along. Preventionís workout is consistent, but not intense.

To be honest, after the third circuit, I just fast-forwarded and took notes on the rest. This one was that made me feel like I wasnít getting quite enough of anything. I think for some, this would be a nice workout that hits it all in about an hour. Itís also a good step up for a beginner or intermediate because it allows some room for making the workout more or less intense.

Iím also not a fan of doing cardio and then lying down. I feel like my heart rate sometimes hasnít gone down enough, or I hesitate to raise it at all because I know Iíll be lying down soon.

So, this oneís going on my trade list. Itís a well-produced workout that could really be great for someone, just not for me.

Instructor Comments:
Chris is MUSCULAR! I love her arms. She is friendly and encouraging. She cues pretty well, though the moves in this workout are simple enough that you could probably catch on easily even if she didnít.



This workout consists of a warm-up, a cool-down, and 6 circuits comprised of 3 minutes of cardio, 2 minutes of strength/weight work and 1 minute of core work. It is a fun workout and time flies because each segment is so short.

The workout is instructed by Chris with two background exercisers. Austin shows beginner modifications and does low impact through all the cardio sections. Michelle (who is the fitness editor for Prevention Magazine) shows advanced options. The segments are as follows:

Circuit 1- Legs
The cardio for this section is made up of standard aerobic moves such as v-steps, heel presses, jacks and hamstring curls.

Circuit 2 - Chest
The cardio for this section is boxing and kickboxing.

Circuit 3 - Butt
The cardio for this section is sports related with moves from soccer and baseball.

Circuit 4 - Back
The cardio for this section is latin dance inspired.

Circuit 5 - Arms
Boot-camp style cardio with jump roping.

Circuit 6 - Shoulders
Power Yoga

There are also 2 segments on the DVD hosted by Michelle on Accupressure relief for common problems and 5 moves for a better night's sleep. The dvd is broken down so you can play each segment individually, but you can't program it to play in any order.

Instructor Comments:
Cues very well. Very perky and enthusiastic.

Terri P


I've only done this workout once. I did not preview, just jumped right in. I consider myself a high intermediate/low advanced exerciser.

The DVD: chaptered into warm-up and chest, arms, shoulders, legs, butt and back circuits. Also separate "bonus tips" section about stretching and accupressure.

The WORKOUT: Full workout starts with an intro (skippable) then a 5-minute warm-up with standard step-touches, arm reaches, calf pumps, brief stretch. Ironically, this section had the best music, sort of funky with some low vocals. I thought that meant the muscic would be good throughout; I was wrong. The rest of the music was forgettable, at best (IMO). I really remember nothing about the rest of it.

Then, six segments as above. It wasn't until the first segment that I realized where the 3-2-1 came from. While it wasn't a party in a box, it was sort of fun. Each circuit seems to have a cardio theme: old-school hi-lo, sports drills, dance, kickboxing, yoga is how I would describe them. The "dance" section (what I call it), besides being the easilest (bar the yoga segment), was also the least fun. The bootcamp part was probably the most challenging (jogging, jacks, etc). There was a fun move in the sports drills section you "do a little defense" where you are in a sort of shallow plie/squat and you do "fast feet" with a little extra wiggle than usual. Chalene Johnson would have been proud. My HRM was on the fritz during the workout so I can't tell you how long I was in my target heart zone or calorie burn and I suck at perceived exertion. It seemed like the lightest workout I had all week but I did get my sweat on. I would rate it an intermediate level, like Collage, easily modified down but with limited ability to be modified up (I did all the impact moves). What keeps it from easily being modified up is the length of time doing each segment, IMO. Some of the cardio sections were more challenging than others but nowhere near Cathe, of course. And, the weight sections suffer from the lack of repititions because of time constraints. While you can go heavier (I used 5's and 8's....too little for me) it doesn't quite move slow enough for you to go REALLY heavy.

There is no time wasted and I did think the exercises were very effective ones, though, except for what I dubbed "the sprinkler" where, while sitting on the floor, you have your arms out like you're hugging a tree and kind of turn your torso by "ticking" 4 times to one side, then the other....nevermind, hard to explain. It was just wierd and I've never seen it before. There are generally 8-12 reps per exercise from what I recall.
OVERALL: It certainly doesn't suck. Total time: 48 minutes. Also should mention there is a (inadequate) 3 minute cooldown. I liked it and the w/o would be good for someone who wants a beginner/interm circuit workout with uncomplicated floor aerobics. My main problem is that the DVD lacks versatility. It is not chaptered into all-cardio or all-weights/ abs for about a 20 minute workout each, and I can't see myself doing any circuit alone as- is. Maybe you can do all the upper or lower at the same time but I can't think of a reason why I would do this. There is no way to program the DVD to do that, though, like on the Quick-fix DVDs. I would really do all or nothing. This DVD, therefore, doesn't really fill a whole in my already extensive collection. On the other hand, if you are a new vidiot and don't have a lot of workouts, or you would like more workouts of this intensity, or you just take a stronger liking to the workout and/or the instructor, I think it would be a good one to add to your collection.

Instructor Comments:
I like Chris Freytag. She reminds me of Petra Kolber a little buzzed on caffeine. I'm not completly sure why, but, there you have it. Her cuing could be better but the choreo is not difficult. She consistently leads right, so I wouldn't expect any difficulties the second time around. There are 2 women in the background, one showing beginner modifications, the other sometimes shows more advanced options. They both are unobtrusive.