Chris Hemsworth Worked With Elite Team of Trainers To Create ‘Centr’ Health & Fitness App
Australian Actor Chris Hemsworth is known for his well-trained physique whether he’s bulked up as Thor in the Avengers films or sporting a leaner, more athletic look like you’ll see in the new film Men in Black: International.
While staying fit is part of his job, it’s also a way of life that goes beyond the training and exercise he does to prepare for movies. So a couple of years ago, his management team began looking at business opportunities that would showcase his passion for health and wellness, and allow him to share it with others. They began studying fitness apps already on the market and felt something was missing.
“We looked at some of these really successful apps in the fitness space and saw there wasn’t one that offered a variety, they were just basic workouts,” explains Hemsworth’s manager, Will Ward of Fourward.
Hemsworth and his team decided to create an app that would offer a comprehensive health program featuring workouts and training routines, but also offer guidance in other areas, such as diet, mindfulness, and much more.
“Given the relationships we have with celebrity trainers and nutritionists and other wellness experts,” says Ward, “we thought, what if we created something where we brought them all together and had a one-stop shop for consumers where they could get it all, sort of a Netflix for health and wellness?”
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They sought the expertise of more than 20 health and fitness professionals like Hemsworth’s own personal trainer Luke Zocchi, Special Ops Trainer ‘Da Rulk’ Joseph Sakoda, Celebrity and LA Lakers trainer Gunnar Peterson, Former Championship Boxer and trainer Michael Olajide Jr, and others. They brought in specialists in yoga, meditation, nutrition, well-being, and elite chefs who could share recipes and even shopping lists.
The app, which is designed to help any and everyone get in shape regardless of fitness level or long term goal, launched in February. It costs $19.99 per month and is available on iPhones, Apple watches, and online.
“It marked one of the most successful launches of a fitness app ever (measured by active paying customers during launch week)” says Ward. “It was downloaded by well over half-a-million people in its first two months, and has shown a steady increase in its customer base ever since.”
A check of the iTunes store shows Centr has more than a thousand ratings with 4.2 out of 5 stars when it comes to reviews.
There are a couple of interesting factors that may help determine Centr’s future success. Tom Forte, an Equity Analyst with D.A. Davidson, says the fact that Centr is not strictly a workout app, but more of an overall lifestyle app, gives it the potential to have broader appeal. And having Hemsworth behind it certainly helps.
“I think it’s fair to say when we’re talking about this individual, the beauty of his appeal is that men want to be like him and women adore him,” says Forte. “So, that’s the advantage of using him as a spokesperson for this type of product. And he has global appeal.”
A number of celebrities through the years have endorsed fitness products, and interestingly enough, Forte says actress Jane Fonda probably still ranks as the most successful with her workout videos decades ago.
Today though, due to social media, celebrities – especially those with a strong social media presence – can have an even greater impact than ever before.
“I would say that where celebrity endorsements are having the most influence on consumer purchases is in the beauty category,” says Forte. “If you look at how the Kardashians have disrupted beauty, it’s truly remarkable. So, if they (the Centr team) are able to mirror what the Kardashians have done in beauty, in the health and fitness category, that’d be saying something.”
Hemsworth and his team spent two years working to get the app ready. The actor’s personal trainer Luke Zocchi, who has worked with Hemsworth for the past seven years and on 12 different films, has created a number of video workouts for Centr. He describes the app as an encyclopedia of sorts on health and fitness.
“You get my spin and style on fitness and training,” Zocchi says, “but you also get access to others’ training style and their workout philosophy and curriculum. There’s also yoga, Pilates, boxing, MMA, and you get different experts in the field of food and nutrition. You and I can both access the app, get what we need, and get whatever results we want.”
In its early stages, Hemsworth and his management team worked with Loup to create the app. Loup was later acquired by Fitness and Lifestyle Group or FLG which is Australia’s leading owner of fitness clubs.
FLG’s Greg Oliver says his company’s overriding goal is to reach as many people as possible in the health and wellness space whether it’s through bricks and mortar gyms or a digital app like Centr.
“We’re proud of the fact that we’re part of a movement to get people active. We know the health problems we’re facing such as illness and disease due to lack of activity, and this product is really an antidote.”
Ward says the app provides provide something for everyone with a variety of workouts and fitness plans to choose from depending on needs and circumstances.
“You look at some of the workouts and say I need a jump rope for this or I need dumb bells for this or I need nothing for this,” he explains. “Or this workout is 55 minutes, this one is six minutes and so on. If you’re traveling and you check the app, you can squeeze in a workout that will accommodate you wherever you are.”
It’s geared to steer people away from the mindset that the only way to get a full and complete workout is to spend hours in a gym. Zocchi, who is known for helping Hemsworth get into whatever shape needed depending on a specific movie role, says he was able to help Hemsworth develop the more chiseled, leaner look you see in Men in Black: International without spending hardly any time in a gym.
“He’s nowhere near as bulky as in the Avengers movies. I designed a dumbbell program and it worked out really well because we traveled during that film. We went to Italy and Morocco and were in these little towns where there wasn’t access to big gyms. And the kind of training we were doing was still pretty easy to do in those locations.”
Oliver says while Zocci and other members of the team have already created numerous videos and extensive content for Centr, there’s much more to come.
“We’re going to continue to develop and innovate this product as training techniques continue to evolve. As Chris comes across new people and feels there’s a modality we can use in the program, we will continue to look at those things.
In fact, the app is adding a brand new Gunnar X Centr for women beginning June 17th. It’s a four-week program from Beverly Hills trainer Gunnar Peterson who is known for working with NBA players, and number of Hollywood stars ranging from The Rock to the Kardashians.
While Centr initially launched in the U.S and Australia, it has quickly expanded and is now available in a number of other countries.
His manager says Hemsworth is excited about its potential.
“We’re really, really excited and having fun. And Chris is having a blast.”