With the pandemic taking its toll on my physical and mental health, I looked to Centr for a new approach — and the secret to Thor's abs

By Stephanie Emma Pfeffer
November 05, 2020 02:31 PM
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Credit: Centr

What It Is: Centr, a personalized digital health and fitness program developed by Chris Hemsworth

Who Tried It: Stephanie Emma Pfeffer, PEOPLE Health writer and editor

Level of Difficulty: 5

If there's anything the last 9 months have taught me, it's that I suck at being healthy during a pandemic. My gym is closed, my home has become a classroom and my kitchen is boring me to tears. Like almost everyone else, I have anxiety from the health crisis, the election and the country's general state of unrest, coupled with my own malaise.

I needed a boost, a reset, something new to propel my physical and mental health in a positive direction. What I liked about Chris Hemsworth's app Centr — what seemed to differentiate it from other health and fitness programs — was its holistic approach to wellness. In addition to workouts and recipes from experts handpicked by Hemsworth himself, the app prioritizes mindfulness.

Centr is easy to use and well organized. After answering a few questions about my goals (lose weight, build muscle or get toned and fit) and preferred meal plan (vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, or gluten-free), I jumped right in.

Every morning I would look at my "planner" for the day's nutritionist-approved recipes and workouts that supported my goal. The recipes were especially helpful because I never know what to cook (and it's not one of my strengths—just ask my kids). I liked that the meals didn't involve too many weird ingredients or require a special grocery order.

For the workouts, I got to choose from nearly 230 options of varying intensity, mostly functional training. My favorites were HIIT, boxing and yoga. Whether I had 20 minutes or 40, I could find something to fit my schedule. Although I try to run several times a week, I would turn to the app to supplement with strength training on the days I was stuck at home due to kids or weather. Users can choose self-guided workouts or to sweat alongside some of Hemsworth's favorite trainers.

Credit: Centr

The mindfulness portion of the app was especially convenient during this chaotic time. I often feel overwhelmed trying to work from home, supervise remote learning, maintain my sanity, not gain 50 lbs. — or get COVID! — while also worrying endlessly about current events. I liked using Centr's quick, short breaks to calm immediate chaos, saving the longer guided meditations for when I had more time. The app even features sleep visualization segments for kids, which I tried out when mine needed help winding down. They got a kick out of Hemworth's Australian accent. I not-so-secretly loved his deep and soothing voice.

After a 7-day free trial, Centr is $29.99/month. Or, sign up for three months at $20/month or 12 months at $10/month. There's also an active Facebook group, where "Legends" share tips about weight loss, motivation, nutrition and more. Judging from the posts, many people have successfully lost weight using the program.

The Verdict: This was a great resource for me, even though I wasn't able to follow the plan exactly. I dropped a few pounds, but probably because I was paying more attention to what I was eating and consciously making an effort. I bet someone with more time (and fewer kids) would have even more success! I especially benefitted from the mindfulness segment, which helped me squeeze in a few minutes of calm everyday. While you don't need an app for that, Centr made it feel easy — when nothing else does.