Review: I Tried Chris Hemsworth's Centr App for Two Months and This Is What Happened
None of this information is meant to be taken as medical advice: for that you need to chat with your doctor. Thank you.
Centr, the wellness app developed by Chris Hemsworth and his team has been on my radar for quite a while. I'd seen it advertised on his Instagram page, then Facebook decided to show me an ad or two. Eventually, after watching a third ad of Chris doing some weird spidery moves on the floor I got way too curious and gave in.
|Centr: screenshot used with permission|
I eat fairly well, I move around in my day (I rarely break into a sweat outside a heatwave, but I do walk everywhere and navigate steps) and I'm kind of feeling OK about my body, but I do have a muffin top (aka Mum Tum) that my kids left behind and the dreaded bingo wings. I also suspect that my heart isn't very efficient because I just can't handle it when I need to run for the bus. And my doctor always peers over their glasses at me kind of accusingly when they take my blood pressure which, they say, is on the high end of normal. So far.
I'm not getting any younger, and I felt like something had to change (preferably that Mum Tum and the bingo wings), and I was excited to be welcomed onto Chris' 'team'. I downloaded the app.
Centr is not your run of the mill health app, and is, honestly, nothing like I'd seen before. It says that it aims to make you 'fitter, stronger and happier', but would it? I was excited to find out.
There is equal emphasis on diet and other pieces of the health puzzle. You choose between losing fat or toning up and you set your workout status (I flicked on the beginner status). Each day, there's a guided meditation to help you wind down after the day and a workout. Sometimes there's a bonus workout. Or a little tutorial to help you master things like boxing or pilates. Some days you get a podcast about an aspect of wellness, for example how to introduce gratitude into your life, or something similar. The workouts are varied, so one day you'll be crawling around à la Chris and the other you'll be stretching out your muscles with a half hour yoga practice. You don't have to buy special equipment - I did buy a pair of dumbells and a kettlebell - but before I got these I just used things around the house, like tins from the kitchen. A mat is a good idea for the yoga. Recently there have been some workouts using a punching bag but I've done those just punching determinedly at the air. At least I'm moving. And I have nowhere currently to hang a punchbag, so there is that.
|Centr: screenshot used with permission|
Diet-wise, the meals are again tailored to your end goal. They're fairly low-carb, although pasta and bread make appearances every now and again. I did find that, despite the odd pasta dish for dinner, or slice of sourdough I was still losing weight (you can swap out recipes you don't like for others in the app, or mark it as you're going out for food or eating leftovers that night). The food is colourful, healthy and you can choose between vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian or regular (omni). I expected my shopping bill to increase, but I've actually seen it reduce. You can select the number of portions you need and then the app works out how much shopping you need to buy and adjusts the recipe accordingly. It also accounts for leftovers. I've seen my food bill reduce quite a bit, and there's a lot less wasted food in the house. The kids are drinking smoothies, and eating salmon with stir-fried greens for dinner. It's all good. The shopping list feature is amazing. A job that used to take me a couple of hours takes me two minutes now while the app works out everything I need to buy. All I have to do is go to the shop (the app can't do that. Yet.).
|So this is basically when my breakfast looks like now|
Two months in, and did I see a difference?
I haven't lost weight judging by scales, but I have slimmed down physically. The Mum Tum is significantly reduced, and I reckon it'll be toast within another week or two. Bingo wings are gone. I presume the weight I still have is muscle growing. I have been complimented on my bottom more than once in the last month, which is always a good sign and payback from the squats I'm doing pretty much daily. I feel stronger. I no longer wobble when I try and get off the bus or find it difficult to stand after sitting. I was styling my hair one morning when a bicep popped out of my arm. My chiropractor has told me I seem a lot more physically balanced and need fewer adjustments (yay). And I'm finding that while when I started I used to manage maybe one wobbly press up before falling face down flat into a sticky hot mess on the mat (sorry Gunnar), I'm busting out pushups now like it's going out of fashion. I might even try the one-armed ones next. Go me.
I've also discovered a love for movement. The endorphin-rush I'd get from that 25th dumbell lift got addictive. I love Tiffiny's MMA moves, Luke's kettlebell workouts and Michael's boxing workouts. The exercise, plus the meditations and podcasts have left me more settled in myself and my mental health is better. The workouts are around half an hour in length, and so there's really no excuse not to fit time in to do them. My favourite time to do them is after I've picked the kids up from school and before I go down to cook dinner. I grab a glass of water, prop my phone up against my salt lamp and I'm good to go.
|Stir Fry Goals.|
Some people would say that £15.49 per month is expensive, but when you consider what you get, I think it's great value. I save hours in my week meal planning, my body has been transformed in less than two months and I feel better in myself. I don't have to think about what's for dinner. I enjoy the workouts. I've joined like minded, supportive people on Centr's Facebook group, and I've followed my favourite trainers on Instagram. I do really feel like one of the team, a team of people all over the world also seeing dramatic changes in themselves and their physical health. You don't need to join a gym, although you can if you like. And you'll need very little in the way of equipment. So £15 for access to tailored, nutritionally balanced meals, a daily workout from a top trainer, guided meditations from life gurus and other bonuses? Cheap as (beetroot) chips, if you ask me.
If you're looking to improve your health, have a look at Centr - you can sign up for a free trial to see how it works for you, and then it bills you (mine is through iTunes) each month after that. Go to the website or look it up in your app store. And if you're still curious, come and have a look at me posting my Centr meals on my Instagram profile.
So did it make me fitter, stronger and happier? HELL yes.
Have you tried Centr? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below...