Chris Hemsworth's body transformation for the role of Thor is awe-inspiring and certainly inspirational for most, me included. So when I was offered a chance to try and pen a Centr app review – that's the workout app backed by Hemsworth himself and run by his team of fitness experts – I star jumped at the opportunity. Who wouldn't want to be coached by industry-leading fitness experts without having to even leave the house?
My Centr review period also coincided with the release of Centr Unleashed, a 6-week bodyweight training program, designed for people with little-to-no access to the best home gym equipment. As well as trying that feature, I also had a look at all the other features of the app, including diet/meal options, mindfulness practices and more.
Can you build muscle and/or lose weight using the Centr app? Let's find out.
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Centr by Chris Hemsworth (review): overview
Centr is a fitness lifestyle app that aims to offer comprehensive guidance based on your fitness goals. I appreciated the onboarding process where I had to mark what I wanted to use the app for: improving health, building muscle and so on. Based on your answers, the app offers specific workouts to achieve this goal; it is worth mentioning, though, that you can't set a deadline for a specific weight loss goal (as far as I'm concerned).
As well as workout ideas, the Centr app also offers meal suggestions and mental guidance (meditation/mindfulness) too. Better still, during the onboarding process, you can note any dietary requirements you may have and the app will recommend meals accordingly. Centr even has a 'pescaterian' option which is a nice touch, really.
I was surprised just how much content is available in the app and how well it was adapted to the special circumstances we live in (gyms not being open). For example, although my recommended muscle regime involved a lot of work with barbells and other gym equipment, the app tried to offer home gym alternatives to those exercises that might be a bit too difficult to perform at home (e.g. barbell deadlifts).
One thing worth mentioning here is payment options. There has been quite a few complaints about people not being able to cancel subscriptions and it is because you can only change payment options on the same platform you used for the sign up. I'd recommend signing up online, on the computer, as opposed to through the app as the web interface makes it easier to see and change payment options.
Centr by Chris Hemsworth (review): workouts
The main appeal of Centr is admittedly the workout section – or 'Train' as they call it in the app – and the app has a lot to offer on this front. There are two different sections under the Train option: you can choose between self-guided and coached workouts, whichever you prefer. Depending on your personal fitness goal, Centr will recommend workouts for you on your 'Daily planner' as well.
There are also programs, including the aforementioned Centr Unleashed, you can follow: these have a set duration and are the same for everyone who partake in them. Having said that, Centr Unleashed has three different difficulty settings so you can pick the one that is closest to what you think is your current fitness level.
I went with the 'advanced' version of Centr Unleashed as I wanted to find out what this programme has to offer without any restrictions. I enjoyed the variety of the programme and the introduction of new exercises to my workouts, or at least variations of certain exercises I wasn't aware of before. The navy seal burpees are my new personal full body exercise for sure!
After the first two weeks, Centr Unleashed significantly upped the length of the daily workouts and, sometimes, I was spending 50+ minutes working out: talking about getting your money's worth! I usually burned upwards of 500 calories at each session, regardless of the area that was targeted, although I'd like to mention that there were some cardio elements in every workout session, such as running on the spot, seal jacks or burpees, which definitely helps burning calories.
The pre-recorded banter between the instructors got a bit boring by week 4 but having two of them on the screen was a good thing: where possible, they always offered a low-intensity option for the exercise we were doing. The structure of the Centr Unleashed workouts was well-designed and challenging enough.
One grief I must mention here is that videos can't be downloaded and watched offline. Especially when the weather was nice, I often took the phone with me to do my Centr workout in the park nearby but it also resulted in an increase of mobile data usage. It is possible to set the resolution of the video to 180p, but it needs to be done every time you start a workout and also, even 180p videos consume data, admittedly.
Centr by Chris Hemsworth (review): meal planning
Another pleasant surprise was the diet feature in the app. As mentioned above, the Centr app recommends meals based on your dietary requirements, and does it daily on the Planner. The recommendations are based on your age, weight and activity levels and most usually involve some sort of blended smoothie and at least one cooked meal a day.
I liked the option to change the serving size of meals which in turn adjusted the ingredients list. This was super handy since you can add your ingredients to your 'shopping list' where all the ingredients from all your meals are tallied up, making weekly shopping a little bit easier. Many people will appreciate the meal recommendations themselves, let alone the help with the shopping list.
You can also check out other meals and snacks apart from the recommended ones under the 'Eat' section and add these to your shopping list too. The recipes were easy to follow and didn't always require the most exotic ingredients either, a positive in my book.
Centr by Chris Hemsworth (review): mindfulness and meditation
Being advertised as an all-encompassing lifestyle app, Centr offers guided meditation sessions too as part of its health package. Of the three main part – Train/Eat/Live – the mindfulness part is probably the least fleshed out: it feels like a random selection of meditation exercises with the daily recommendations focusing on feeling better about yourself.
I would've appreciated a bit more structured approach where you could choose from morning, pre/post-workout and potentially sleep meditations to aid your physical transformation journey in a more targeted way. I understand that mindfulness is just one part of the app, but given how well the other parts work, it was a bit strange to see the afterthought-approach when it comes to mindfulness.
Although not directly connected to meditation, I would also like to mention the extensive amount of supporting content in the app, including articles about nutrition, mindfulness, workouts and even budgeting tips. There is also a blog with even more content, though this feature focuses on the Centr app itself more (understandably).
Centr by Chris Hemsworth (review): verdict
Can Centr transform you into Chris Hemsworth overnight? No, of course it can't, but the app addresses a very important part of the health journey successfully: the lack of motivation and structure. By giving you workout suggestions and meal options every day, Centr takes off the weight from your shoulders of having to put your own plan together.
Not only that but the Centr app also offers a wide variety of content too that will only expand going forward. And although not every new piece of content will be appealing to everyone using the app, by the law of large numbers, eventually you'll get more content relative to your interest and fitness goals.
As recommended above, make sure you sign up to Centr online as opposed to in the app as it can save you a lot of hassle when it comes to changing plans and adjusting payment options.
If you are one of those indecisive people who think you'll never be healthier and/or fitter because you don't know where to start, the Centr app can help you with the first steps and kick-start your body transformation process. You won't look like Chris Hemsworth straight away but putting the effort in, you might get there eventually.
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