As I have posted in the path, my own path to fitness has led to the inspiration to open up Sunburst Fitness Supply. It has been and continues to be my goal to help others down their own path to fitness. That said, a month or so ago I started coming to the realization that my own journey had reached a major plateau. I had not made any real gains in months. My weight and body fat started fluctuation in a very fixed range. I was not progressing to any heavier lifting. I was stuck.
Around that time I also came to a realization. While I definitely had some results over the past year and a half, I never seemed to truly shed any body fat percentage. It just shifted to my stomach while other areas got toned. No matter what I have done I have stayed right around 17% body fat. This led to some research and eventually stumbling on the video below.
Go ahead and give it a watch, I will wait.
This video both showed results and gave some insight into tools used to get the end results. I immediately got to work looking at the Centr app that was mentioned in the video to see what it was all about.
This app was put together by Chris Hemsworth to give insights, training and meal plans from his own team of fitness professionals. It works by giving you a personalized training plan each day based on our own activity level. In my case, I was already lifting 5 days a week so I started with the advanced training.
Each day, you are given a workout to complete. The workout can be more functional in nature on some days or could be pure strength training on others. The workout schedule itself changes based on the goal you set for your plan, whether that is to lose weight, get toned and fit or just build muscle. For my own plan, I want to build muscle so I went with that option.
In addition to the primary workout for the day, there are often bonus optional workouts that can be completed. These workouts are beneficial to also complete and shorter than the daily workout. There are also articles and insights that may be added to your training plan on some days to give some beneficial reading that will assist you in your training. This is all rounded out with daily meditations to help center your mind as well as your body.
Along with the Centr app, it is mentioned in the video that a search was done for the strength training routine that Chris Hemsworth did to get in shape to play Thor. I will provide a link to the routine further below. After looking through both of these items, an idea for a challenge and a new direction in my own fitness journey started to take shape.
I will pause here to mention that I have no affiliation with any of the apps, sites or links that I am mentioning within this blog. They are simply being provided as the tools I am using for the challenge I will detail further down.
Maybe I should rephrase that. It isn't an effective training plan without the right meals. As anyone who has done any amount of fitness training knows, what you eat is half the battle. This is also a battle that I often struggled with over the past year and a half. Keeping your calorie intake at a deficit is easy to do. Doing so while also getting enough of the nutrients to maintain and potentially build muscle is not. I often found that my daily meals were not giving me enough protein to truly advance. At the same time, I was feeling that I had to keep cutting calories in order to bring my body fat percentage down.
As mentioned at the start of this post, that has not been very effective. Sure, if I look back, my body composition has changed. But, I still stayed right around 17% body fat through it all. It just shifted to other areas.
This is another place where the Centr app can help out. It is actually one of the big things that became a deciding factor in trying the challenge below. Not only are the training routines provided, but there are also full meal plans included! This blew me away. I was further impressed by the number of options that were available. It was not simply a handful of options but a large list of potential meals. Each day starts out with meals automatically added but can be swapped and changed around at will.
As another perk, there is also a consideration for many dietary restrictions. I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease after a series of hospital visits. This has led to a sudden change to a gluten-free diet requirement. The meals provided in the Centr app can not only be filtered by that requirement but also often list alternative ingredients that can be used in recipes. This was huge for me as someone new to this restriction.
The meals I have tried so far have also been extremely tasty and satisfying. To give an example, this is what I prepared for dinner tonight.
It is supposed to also have naan bread with it in the original recipe, but due to my gluten-free requirements, I opted for no bread with it.
This research and the video that was shown earlier have inspired me to take my fitness path in a new direction. The results that were displayed in that video were very impressive for 30 days. Further, I would estimate that my own body composition is similar to that of Erik Conover's at the start of his own attempt at this workout. I have been lifting consistently for the past year and am definitely in shape but need that extra something to push myself over the edge.
For full disclosure, I am currently on Day 3 of this challenge as I was unable to get this blog post written prior to this. I also would not have been able to give my evaluation of the meal plans justice without being able to try some of them. That said, all starting measurements and pictures are from Day 1 which was Friday, August 23rd.
I have set some ground rules similar to those by Erik Conover at the start of his challenge. I felt that without having similar rules, this would not be valid. My final goal in doing this challenge, aside from my own personal goals is to attempt to prove that anyone in at least halfway decent shape can obtain similar results if they stay dedicated to their fitness path. Whether this will hold true and my results will match those of Erik remains to be seen but it will be an interesting experiment either way. I am sure there will be gains made... it is the extent of the gains that will be measured.
Number 4 requires some explanation. I had bad timing for starting this and didn't think of a vacation for a day that was upcoming when I started day 1. Rather than have extra days already doing the training portion of this challenge, I opted to allow the "vacation" cheat meals. I still did my best to keep those meals at high protein levels similar to what would be present in meals on my meal plan.
This is the baseline I started with on day 1 along with photos of myself at that baseline. These are all valid measurements and photos taken on the 1st day in order to measure progress.
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 157.2 lbs
Body Fat: 17.7%
These images provide the baseline for Day 1.
I would not consider myself to be out of shape by any means at this point in time. That said, Day 1 of this training program completely kicked my butt. The same was said in the video that inspired me to take this challenge but I can honestly say that it was one of the toughest workouts I have done in a long time. This is coming from someone who already was doing heavy lifting workouts 5 days a week. By the end of the morning workout, I was dripping with sweat and my body felt like it had been taken to the edge of my limits.
When it came time for the 2nd workout for strength training, it was extremely difficult to get my muscles to cooperate through the entire workout. I have never been able to get up to the number of pull-ups required so did as many as possible. Only 5 starting and declining from there. Far short of the 20 reps for the 1st set that were listed. I figure I will get up to the full 20 pull-ups over time and did as many as I could to start. I was able to complete almost all of the push-ups though and came in only 15 short out of 100 total for the 5 sets. My arms and shoulders were burning by then but I was able to push through the remainder of the workout without much issue.
I was leaving for an overnight vacation so I got up at 5 am to do both the regularly scheduled training as well as the bonus one. Once again these left me winded and drenched in sweat. The bonus training will take some getting used to if there are similar ones. It was based on punches and uppercuts which I am not well versed in so my timing was off for much of it.
After completing both training routines, I had the breakfast scheduled in my meal plan as well as a protein-packed smoothie to help with recovery. As I was traveling, I did not get a chance to do the 2nd workout so instead opted to push it to the next day. The 2nd workouts are only 5 days a week so there is some space to shift them if needed. I did get some laps in at the hotel pool as a replacement. My arms and shoulders were too fatigued and sore to do more than 7 or 8 times across and back but it was better than nothing.
At this point, my whole upper body was also sore and feeling the effects of the past day's workouts. This is something I am accustomed to and know will pass as my body adjusts but it has been a long time since I have been this sore after working out.
I have just finished day 3 of my 30 day challenge. I will be posting further updates weekly on Fridays up until the end of the challenge. On the 30th day, I will also reveal the final results of my own attempt at this challenge.
As promised, here are the links to both of the tools being used by me for this challenge. I will also once again provide the disclaimer that I have no affiliation with any of the apps, routines or links provided. I am also not receiving any payment to provide this information. I am simply doing so as part of my commitment to Sunburst Fitness Supply's mission to help people achieve their own fitness goals.
The Centr app can be found at this site.
The weight training routine used by Chris Hemsworth to get in shape to play Thor can be found here. This routine is being used as a basis for my own weight training routine in the 2nd workout 5 days a week.
Related: Week 1 Check In
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Spring is starting to peek in (at least where I live) and it’s so exciting.
It also means things are opening back up, including gyms! If you’re excited to get back into it, it’s vital to know about any mobility or flexibility issues you may have before you do. Jumping back into exercise without knowing if you’ve got full range of motion can lead to injuries.
That said, let’s talk about mobility and flexibility!