Tag Archives: fitness

HOW I WILL FINALLY DEFEAT CHRIS HEMSWORTH USING THE FITNESS APP, CENTR

I want you to close your eyes and pic- wait, hold on, open your eyes. That’s my bad. If your eyes are closed, you won’t be able to read what I’m saying. With your eyes open, I want you to picture Chris Hemsworth, the Australian actor/hunk who portrays Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Hemsworth has brown hair often disguised by blond highlights, sky blue eyes and outdoorsy-white skin. He has large sculpted muscles with approximately 10-12% body fat and is 6’ 3”. Now, picture the article’s author- black hair, dark brown eyes, inconsistently 5’ 6”, slim-ish body type, warm-skin toned with a round face. What do these equally sexually-appealing individuals have in common? We both have the same fitness team.

In February 2019, Chris Hemsworth decided to share his personal team of health experts through the launch of Centr, with the goal of helping others reach their untapped potential. Then, in January 2021, after eating three donuts in one day and running out of breath walking to his car, author Isaac Hermosillo decided to purchase a year’s subscription to the Centr app.

The Centr fitness application (available for IOS, Android, and online) provides workouts, recipes, and daily articles covering various health topics. Designed as a one-stop shop, this app provides everything you need, based on your needs, to improve yourself physically and mentally. To set up your account, you must select your fitness goal, workout difficulty and type of meal plan. Centr will then develop a weekly schedule with meals, a workout, and an article about health for each day of the week. In addition, you are able to swap out any workouts or recipes as needed and can explore the countless options of workouts that are easily searchable. 

Centr boasts a support team of fitness instructors, chefs, and wellness experts to help you become healthier. I found the coached workouts to be more invigorating than the self-guided ones, which are comparable to the majority of workouts on a similar fitness app, Aaptiv. The recipes are enhanced with a virtual grocery list. The meal plans are all gluten-free, and range from vegan to omnivorous (which the app designates as “Regular”), making them accessible to those with any dietary restrictions. The tools and advice section of the daily planner consistently provides you with compelling information regarding various aspects of health. However, it is the part I tend to skip the most. Overall, the app really does simplify the fitness process and does most of the heavy lifting for you.

Armed with Centr’s professional team of personal trainers, I started my fitness journey. I was aimless, lost, following along with workouts and making healthy recipes without a goal in mind. Then, a lightning bolt from the Norse god struck me: I could make like Thanos and defeat Thor. Foolishly, the oldest Hemsworth brother has given me everything I need to build myself up to the same physical level as him. With the following advantages, I will finally defeat Chris Hemsworth.

  1. No Kids, No Problem

Chris Hemsworth has fathered three beautiful children with his lovely wife, Elsa Pataky. Unfortunately, he has spelled his own doom. Everybody knows children make you weak, which is why I don’t have any.  Newton states that when two equal and opposing masses meet, they will stay in place. However, when one of those masses is also a father, the childless shall prevail (Newton’s lesser-known Fourth Law Of Motion).

  1. Easy To Imitate = Easy to Beat

In December of 2020, the only real way I could stay in constant communication with my older brothers was to play the obscure indie videogame known as Fortnite. Unfortunately, we suck at the game and always lose to 12-year-olds and streamers with blue hair. In an attempt to better my gaming skills, I joined a random squads match and was assigned random players from around the world to my team. One of these teammates used a microphone, and I could hear their voice through the telly (television). A young British woman spoke, asking if anyone had a snipe (sniper). Knocking over everything in my path, I grabbed a pair of headphones, plugged them in, and answered her call for help… in an Australian accent

I still don’t know why I chose to do that. I speculate my theatre kid instincts got the best of me. I played with this British lass for four months and even played a couple of games with her younger brother and sister. It was a family affair. Together, the British and faux-Australian won countless games. Eventually, I ended the charade by saying I moved to America and immediately began speaking mid-sentence in my native American accent. It was ripper (that means “awesome” for those who aren’t fake Australians). Everybody knows that the easier it is to perform an impression of somebody, the easier it is to beat them. Thus is the reason all Americans can do British accents and why we won the American Revolution. Since I proved myself to be an excellent imposter by duping an entire family of Brits into thinking that I am Australian, it is clear I will beat Chris Hemsworth.

  1. Commitment Issues 

Chris Hemsworth is a global superstar with modeling and acting contracts as well as a full-time father and husband. I, on the other hand, have an aversion to responsibilities and an allergy to duties. Time, anonymity, and his ignorance of my plans ensure that he will never know what hit him when I hit him. With my ample free time, I will be able to dedicate myself completely to my singular goal: to defeat Chris Hemsworth. 

Picture this: Chris Hemsworth returns home after a long day of filming the latest Thor installment. Taking off his blonde extensions and putting his hammer down, he begins to unlace his shoes when he feels the air above him shift. Looking up, he sees me, looking down, real Batman-like. Too slow to run away (since he has kids) and unable to overpower me physically (since the Centr app allowed me to match his physique), he must close his eyes and accept defeat. 

First, I will perform an impression of him, which will be easy after listening to his Calm meditation series in which he guided me to sleep. Then, I will reveal that I have no children. My previous plan was to have Maury come in and say, “He is not the father!” 1000 times in a row, but since that show got canceled recently, I may need a different plan. Lastly, I will read him this article out loud, and he will regret not being an avid reader of BurntX, his biggest mistake. Count your days, Thor; the anti-thunder is coming. 
(Unless, Chris Hemsworth, if you are reading this, this was all a joke, it’s satire, you’re fine, man. I really loved you in Bad Times At El Royale, and I can’t wait for Extraction 2. Also, my mom is a big fan of yours.)

My Top 5 Favorite Exercises

Keeping active while balancing school and other activities can be challenging, but it’s a great way to decompress and give yourself a moment to not think about anything that’s stressing you out.

Here are my top five exercises to try out:

1.  Bench Pressing using a barbell

This semester, I took a weight training class, and my favorite exercise was bench pressing! It was one of the first things we learned and I’m so glad it was a part of our workout program!

2.  Goblet Squat

I used to dislike these because they were so difficult for me, but once I got my form down, it was a piece of cake, and I increased the weight every single workout.

Tip: if you’re having the same trouble with squatting form as many people do, pull your hips back before you bend your knees and make sure to keep your spine neutral, instead of bending both hips and knees at the same time.

3.  Deadlift

 I didn’t start doing deadlifts until recently, but I find I really like them. The only thing I don’t like is the pain from gripping the bar. I haven’t had any calluses form, but my google search says I’m grabbing the weight wrong, and that’s something I’ll need to work on.

4.  Pigeon Pose

Okay, I use this one to stretch, not for its exercise, but I LOVE it so much I couldn’t exclude it! This pose is perfect for your hips and back, and I always feel like I can push myself a little harder than usual, especially after killing my legs with lunges.

5.  Jump roping

Of course, I could not forget at least one cardio exercise! It’s really fun when you have a set of earbuds in and jump to the beat of your new favorite song. Besides, it never gets boring since there are tricks you can learn from the pros online.

I like to use an app called Strong (not sponsored, but if you thought it was, thank you because it’s actually very flattering) to keep track of workouts and learn to do more exercises. You can create an exercise template or use one of the example templates instead. There are written steps and videos, and images to help guide you. There is a premium service, but I’ve only been using the free version, and it’s good enough for me.

I’m not going to lie, weight training looks intimidating, but it’s actually so fun challenging yourself to see how much stronger you can get. Jump roping will be more challenging than you remember, but still just as fun! Try some of these out, or look to other people’s gym routines for inspiration. Working out doesn’t have to be the dreaded thing you need to check off your to-do list, and you don’t have to do anything you don’t like.

How to stay healthy during quarantine

Freshman 15? Try quarantine 30. 

Being stuck inside a dorm or apartment all day not only is the perfect excuse to stay away from the gym, but also keeps the sun’s serotonin-inducing rays out of reach. 

We are now coming up on the one year anniversary of the lockdown that shook up our social lives, mental health, and physical wellbeing, and while some people have taken the opportunity to glow up, others have certainly let the somber mood get them down.

It’s not always easy to cook a healthy meal or get up and start moving when the world seems to be spiralling out of control, but with vaccines on the horizon and the winter months taking the seasonal depression away, it’s time to let the sunshine back in and get that serotonin pumping.

There are two important sides to health — the mental and the physical. So if you’re struggling to make it through this pandemic in one stable piece, here’s some tips to stay healthy during quarantine.

Mental Health

Humans are not creatures of isolation. We don’t enjoy staying put for too long, or being locked away in the fairytale-esque tower until our knight in shining armor (the vaccine) comes to save us. It wears on our mental health and creates the perfect environment for depression, anxiety, and other mental problems to seep in.

One of the best ways to combat this is to actively fight against the isolation tendencies COVID-19 has created. And no, Karen, this doesn’t mean breaking CDC guidelines. Zoom, while problematic for professors who can’t figure out what a ‘breakout room’ is, is actually a great way to interact with your friends no matter where you are. Think Discord or Facetime, but magnified into one program that has monopolized the videochat market during this pandemic.

Photo by Surface on Unsplash

With the power of Zoom people can play video games, like Among Us, follow Bob Ross painting tutorials, or have a group meet-up all from the convenience of a comfy couch. Plus, when you get tired of human interaction just pretend your internet is bad— no more waiting for your friend to get done talking so she can give you a ride home, or waiting till that boring movie finishes before you bolt.

On top of the lack of human interaction, the lack of sunshine can also get to us. Sunshine is one of those natural endorphin-releasers that allows for another source of serotonin besides turning an assignment in due at midnight at 11:59 p.m. Going out, whether it be to the store, to classes, or to visit a friend, allows for some outdoor time in the sunlight. Without it, we are less inclined to get those endorphins released. Reduced sunlight already is linked to the cause of Fall and Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder (better known as seasonal depression) so by combining that with the deprivation of human interaction, it may exponentially harm people’s mental health.

One of the best ways to combat this is to go outside and take a walk. It gives you time away from Netflix or schoolwork (and let’s face it, who doesn’t want an excuse to avoid that), and allows your body to absorb that outside energy we’ve all been losing since the pandemic started.

Photo by Church of the King on Unsplash

If it seems a little daunting to do that, another option is to sit by an open window and sip on  some coffee or tea, look outside and let the sun’s rays travel  through the window. Maybe even sit at a table outside for a bit while you procrastinate whatever work you actually have to do. 

Because the great outdoors, no matter how much millennials and Gen Z deny it, are really not that bad. In fact, it’s pretty relaxing around this time of year when the bugs have all receded back to wherever they go. It’s peaceful — which is just what we all need in a time that has tested the amount of stress we can handle before reaching a breaking point. 

Physical Health

Over the course of the pandemic, social media has run rampant with “COVID-19 glow-ups.”  People have used the extra time to their advantage to get that summer body snatched. But when mental health dwindles, so does physical. And while we don’t see quite as much energy around the “glow-down” of being too depressed to get out of bed, let alone go for a run, it is still something our society is struggling with right now.

Mental health is one of the most important aspects to physical health, so if you’re struggling, I’d suggest getting your mind right and then coming back to this. But if you’re ready to put in the work, I promise it’s more fun and rewarding in the end.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Physical activity is known to be a  mood booster. Exercise releases endorphins just like the sun’s rays, and can be a healthy way to destress. Instead of trying to think of exercise as some daunting chore to check off each day, find something you enjoy doing and make it a part of your daily routine. Your muscles don’t have to be immovable from soreness, and you don’t have to be drowning in your own sweat, for it to be an effective workout.

Something I picked up during the Pandemic is TheFitnessMarshall’s dance videos. To me, they are super fun and allow me to get out a lot of pent up energy. Beyond that, I definitely learned some new moves for when it’s safe to go to the clubs again.

Everyone needs to find that workout that doesn’t feel like a workout. Not only could finding it during quarantine be an entertaining journey, but once you find it you’ll have something to add to your daily activities besides your phone and school. Physical activity will offer another outlet and escape for the insanity of what we’re living in right now.

And nobody’s glow-up needs to be some intense weight loss or muscle gain. Nobody needs to be the most positive person in the world. A real mental and physical glow up can just be feeling better about the activities your body can do, maybe lifting a box that was too heavy before, or running a minute longer than you used to be able to. It can be smiling a little more every day, laughing with friends a little longer. It’s the little victories that encourage us, and make for moments of happiness in the wake of this pandemic, that will truly get us through it.

what’s the hype about the peloton bike?

What’s the hype about the Peloton Bike Cycling has become the hottest exercise trend in recent years. Studios such as SoulCycle and CycleBar have forefronted this movement by providing 60-minute long rides led by an instructor accompanied by hit music and dramatic light changes. These classes are said to be therapeutic for the body, mind and soul, but they are not so easy on the pockets. These classes range from $30-$50 apiece, a costly price compared to home-workouts, regular biking, or a gym membership. 

However, the cycling experience is evolving and is now available in the comfort of your own home with the Peloton Bike. This exercise machine is unlike any other with a 21.5-inch tablet and a sleek black design is sure to impress any cycling lover. Its popularity has continued to rise amidst quarantine as many individuals are looking for an at-home alternative to their normal workout routine, but similar to cycling studios, the price of this luxury bike is steep. 

Pricing 

While the bike itself is expensive, there are necessary accessories that are needed to go along with the exercise machine such as bike shoes and a bike mat. Not to mention that the bike itself does not come with a subscription to any of the live workout classes, but it has to be purchased for an additional $39 a month. A subscription is almost a necessity for the Peloton bike. Without it, it is just an extremely expensive stationary bike. 

When purchasing the original bike, the bike+ was recently released at an even higher cost-value, there are multiple package options. 

  • Bike Basics ($1,895): Peloton bike
  • Bike Essentials ($2,045): Peloton bike, one pair of shoes, one pair of weights, one pair of headphones
  • Bike Works ($2,145): Peloton bike, one pair of shoes, one pair of weights, one pair of headphones, one heart rate monitor, and one bike mat
  • Bike Family  ($2,345): Peloton bike, two pairs of shoes, one pair of weights, two pairs of headphones, two heart rate monitors, one bike mat, and two water bottles

All packages come with delivery and assembly as well as a 12-month warranty. While these prices might seem outrageous to many individuals, myself included, the investment might be cheaper in the long run for someone who is an avid cyclist. 

Pros:

Let’s talk about some major benefits of the Peloton Bike.

It’s convenient. With free delivery and assembly, the bike is ready to ride when you are. Not to mention, it is in the comfort of your own home a reassuring fact during a global pandemic

It’s versatile. There are a plethora of different classes, instructors and music tracks to listen to while working out. It seems as if it would be impossible to get bored of the same old classes with so many different options to choose from.

It’s motivating. Many users have lauded that this bike is a huge encouragement to workout on a regular basis. Maybe because its steep price, but also because of the entertaining nature of the classes and the wide variety of classes.

Cons:

The above reasons sound too good to be true, well, because they are. Here are some demotivators for purchasing this bike. 

It’s pricey. Perhaps this is the biggest negative of the bike. Not only is the set up costly, but the additional monthly service subscription seems excessive. It seems to me like this bike would only be a justified investment to people who are already spending a lot of money on in-person cycling classes. 

It’s complicated. Owners of the bike have also argued that they have gone months riding the bike in the wrong seating position unknowingly, and that it can be hard to search for classes using the tablet. The downside of using the bike at home is there is no instructor there to correct your form or instruct you on the use of the bike.

Overall, the Peloton bike is a sight to look at and the benefits and disadvantages of its services differ for all people. Try out a cycling class and see for yourself the persuasive nature of cycling classes, perhaps you could be the proud new owner of a Peloton bike.

Yoga tips for beginners

Although yoga began thousands of years ago in India, there is no denying its popularity and growth in the United States over the past several years. The rapid increase in studios, online classes, and influencers have all helped to boost the popularity and awareness of yoga. With numerous health benefits, including muscle toning, increased flexibility, and ability to lower stress, it can be a beneficial practice for a wide variety of people. Because there are multiple styles of yoga and a seemingly endless array of poses, figuring out where to start can be tough. Here are 5 tips that I have for yoga beginners or those looking to expand their practice.

#1: Don’t Focus on What the Pose is “Supposed to” look like

This is a trap I think almost everyone falls for- myself included. When you first start practicing or learning about yoga, it can be hard to not shoot for whatever your teacher or inspiration photo looks like. Forcing your body too deep into a pose too soon can lead to injuries that will only delay you further. Because all bodies are different, they all look different in poses whether or not someone has been practicing yoga for ten minutes or ten years! My suggestion is to take it slow and find modified versions of more complex poses to do until you get there. 

Courtesy of Unsplash


#2: Try Multiple Styles of Yoga

It’s impossible to know what you’re going to enjoy unless you give all of your options a chance. Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Ashtanga, and Kundalini may not mean anything to you yet, but they are a few of the more popular types of yoga that you can find in studios or online. For most people, Hatha is what comes to mind when they hear the word “yoga,” but it is by no means the only option out there. Vinyasa yoga, for example, is a fast paced and dynamic practice. For some people it “feels” more like a workout. If you’re someone that is looking for something more fast paced, Vinyasa is definitely one to try. For those who are wanting to blend yoga into other types of workouts or principles, look into bodyweight training. Like a yoga practice, breathing and remaining present are vital, but inspiration for the workout is drawn from Animal Flow, dance, and other types of physical fitness. Francheska Martinez has a bodyweight training program with events in Austin or online at francheskamartinez.com. Your yoga practice can be as traditional or unique as you want depending on your body and preferences. A quick post-run flow, bodyweight training, pilates yoga fusion, or nightly mediation with only a few postures are some examples. Keep trying new things and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! 

Courtesy of Unsplash


#3: Use YouTube

YouTube is a great place to start because it’s free, you can easily try multiple styles of yoga, and it can be more comfortable for those who feel uneasy in a studio setting. Two of my favorite channels are “Yoga With Adriene” (who is based in Austin!) and “Boho Beautiful.” Yoga With Adriene has a lot of yoga challenges, videos for beginners, and an overall welcoming demeanor that makes her videos a delight between classes and other responsibilities. The Boho Beautiful channel is equally as wonderful and not only will Juliana, the channel’s owner, give you serious travel FOMO, but she also has everything from guided meditations to hardcore pilates fusion workouts. 

Courtesy of Unsplash

#4: Start Short and Sweet

Yoga is all about breath and the mind/body connection, but quieting your mind and learning the proper alignments can be challenging. Especially if you are looking to strengthen your practice, setting unrealistic goals for how often or how long you can commit to being on your mat can get discouraging very quickly. If you’re taking classes, start with one or two a week. If you’re using YouTube or something similar, try doing morning wake up call videos or a relaxing session before bed. Both YouTube channels I mentioned earlier have effective and short videos. Starting small will allow you to improve your practice without putting stress on your mind and body.

Courtesy of Unsplash

#5: If It Hurts: Stop!

Stretching is good; tearing a ligament is not. It should go without saying that if your body is truly in pain that you should stop what you’re doing but this can sometimes be a hard call for people to make, especially if they’re too focused on getting the pose to “look right.” Tenderness, a stretching sensation, and sore muscles during or after are normal just like if you were to lift weights or go on a run, but you shouldn’t feel like you are in agony! A few tips to keep in mind are to make sure your weight is supported evenly in whatever limbs are touching your mat in a particular pose, engage your core, and to modify poses to your ability/accessibility level.

Yoga has grown rapidly in popularity and is something that can offer multiple benefits to your mind and body both on and off the mat. Like trying any new thing, knowing where to start can be tricky. Focusing on your individual practice and trying different styles while not being too hard on yourself is the best advice for those looking to begin or deepen their practice.