Will Chris Hemsworth’s new fitness app get you ripped like Thor? [Review]

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Centr is a new fitness app by Avengers star Chris Hemsworth
Centr is a new fitness app by Avengers star Chris Hemsworth.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

I’m a big Chris Hemsworth fan. The guy is walking workout inspiration. I spend hours at the gym hoping that one day I’ll achieve Thor-style arms. But so far, no luck.

That’s why Centr, Hemsworth’s new fitness app, immediately caught my interest. I was intrigued to learn the secrets of the training regimen that keeps him looking like a superhero. So I eagerly downloaded the app, hoping it would help transform my puny arms into guns worthy of Thor.

10 hidden Activity app features that will take your fitness to the next level

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Discover the secrets of the Apple Activity app.
Discover the secrets of the Activity app.
Photo illustration: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

At first glance, the iPhone Activity app seems pretty simple. It’s basically just a calendar to keep track of your daily Activity Rings. But if you know where to look, you’ll find a surprising number of pro features buried beneath that slick, simple interface.

So check out our top 10 iPhone Activity app tips and discover some indispensable stats that will help take your fitness to the next level.

6 Apple Watch apps for an awesome six-pack

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Want a more defined core? Your Apple Watch can help.
Want a more defined core? Your Apple Watch can help.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

For many guys wanting to get in shape, a chiseled six-pack is the ultimate goal. But achieving that iconic washboard look is not easy. Especially as you get older.

Fortunately, your Apple Watch can help you along the way to achieving a tighter core. Apple’s Health app, Activity app and even the Breathe app have a role to play. Here’s how to get a six-pack with a little help from your iPhone and Apple Watch.

Living with a MacBook keyboard is like managing a chronic condition [Opinion]

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Taking it out on your problematic MacBook butterfly keyboard will only make things worse.
Taking it out on your keyboard will only make things worse.
Photo illustration: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

At this point, we all know the MacBook’s butterfly keyboard can prove problematic. Apple recently admitted the problem is real — and even issued a rare apology.

Anecdotally, pretty much every MacBook owner I know has experienced keys sticking or repeating at one time or another. But occasionally I meet someone who seems blessed with a faultless MacBook keyboard. And Apple claims the problem only affects a small number of MacBook users.

So what is going on? I have a theory — and a tip that might keep your MacBook’s keyboard from crapping out if it hasn’t already.

How to draw a portrait with Apple Pencil

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Are you drawn to draw with your new Apple Pencil 2?
Are you drawn to draw with your new Apple Pencil 2?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Got a new Apple Pencil? Once the initial novelty wears off, you might find that it spends most of its time magnetically clipped to the side of your iPad Pro or, worse, stuck in the back of a drawer. After all, there are only so many PDFs to annotate and screenshots to mark up.

Which is a great shame, because what your Apple Pencil really wants to do is create art. You only appreciate the true joy of owning one when you draw with it. So, why not follow this handy how-to guide and start sketching lifelike portraits of friends and family? It’s a really fun hobby.

As Kate Winslet once said in Titantic, “Draw me like one of your French girls.”

VO2 max: The Apple Watch metric that reveals your aerobic fitness

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Max-out your aerobic fitness with Apple Watch by checking the VO2 max metric.
Max out your aerobic fitness with Apple Watch.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Want to know how fit you really are? Apple Watch provides loads of insightful metrics you could check. So many, in fact, that there is not enough space for them all in the Workout app. Instead, you’ll find much of this crucial data buried away in the Health app on your iPhone.

One of the most interesting is VO2 max, which is basically the ultimate test of your aerobic fitness. If you’re into endurance sports, VO2 max is a metric you’ll want to check out.

Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know about VO2 max on Apple Watch: What it is, how to use it, and how to improve yours.

How to win Apple Watch Activity Competitions every time

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Let the battle commence with Apple Watch Activity Competitions.
Let the battle commence with Apple Watch Activity Competitions .
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch Activity Competitions are a perfect way to fall out with friends and colleagues. Simply send a challenge via the Activity app on your watch and, if they accept, a seven-day grudge match commences.

With Activity Competitions, a new feature in watchOS 5, it’s not the taking part that counts. It’s the winning. The winner receives a shiny virtual medal to add to their awards, while the loser gets zip.

Fortunately, when you know how Activity Competitions work, you can maximize your chance of winning every time. Here’s how.

How gesture controls could replace 3D Touch and bring multi-touch to the Mac [Opinion]

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Hovering your finger over an icon could bring up more options
Hovering your finger over an icon could bring up more options
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Next week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, LG looks set to unveil a revolutionary new smartphone with gesture controls. In a brief teaser video, the South Korean tech giant boldly promises the end of multi-touch — the way we’ve all been interacting with smartphones ever since the iPhone launched in 2007.

A gesture sensor could pick up hand movements in front of the device, rather than requiring physical interaction with the screen itself. So, for example, you could point at a button from a distance, rather than actually needing to tap the glass screen to select it.

In reality, I doubt that gestures will replace multi-touch anytime soon. However, I do think Apple could make intelligent use of this new tech. It could replace 3D Touch (which Apple looks set to scrap), and it could serve as a clever way to finally bring multi-touch to the Mac.

Top 40 tips that make you love the Touch Bar

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You got the touch. Here's how to master your MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.
You got the touch. Here's how to master your MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The Touch Bar is one of Apple’s most controversial innovations of recent years. Located inconspicuously at the top of the MacBook Pro keyboard, where the function keys used to sit, some users ignore it altogether. Others actively hate it.

For pro users, like software developers, the lack of a physical escape key and function keys can be a real pain. And the Touch Bar’s touch-sensitivity makes it all too easy to trigger Siri by accident when you aim for the delete key.

But love it or loathe it, we’re stuck with the Touch Bar. Apple includes it on all its high-end laptops, without even offering function keys as a built-to-order option. So we might as well learn how to get the most out of it.

The good news is that once you get in touch with your Touch Bar, it turns out to have some genuinely useful time-saving features. Especially if you use apps that support it, like Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office. Here are my top 40 Touch Bar tips.

Get fit with Apple Watch and nail your New Year’s resolution

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How to get in shape with Apple Watch in 2019
How to get in shape with Apple Watch in 2019
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If your New Year’s resolution is to get fit with Apple Watch in 2019, maybe I can help. I know from personal experience that it’s never too late to get in shape.

I’m a middle-aged guy, and up until a few years ago, I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. I never exercised, I only ate junk food, and I was seriously overweight. Today, I have a six-pack, I run seven miles a day, and I even write about fitness for Cult of Mac.

The secret to my transformation is something I call “The Ratchet.” It’s a way of running that makes it so easy to get started that pretty much anyone who can walk can do it. All you need is your Apple Watch and a pair of running shoes.

So if you’re thinking about New Year’s resolutions for 2019, why not give The Ratchet a try? Here’s how.