Zac Efron has been amazing his 12.1 million Instagram followers lately with some preview shots of his transformation for the upcoming Baywatch movie. Efron plays brash upstart Matt Brody and he has been getting himself absolutely jacked for the role. Let’s find out how he’s doing it.
Packing on Muscle Mass
Between his roles on Neighbors and Baywatch, Efron has packed on 10 pounds of solid muscle. At a height of 5 foot 9 inches, he now tips the scale just over 170 pounds of lean striated mass. The former High School Musical star’s body-fat sits at around 10%. Perhaps the most impressive aspects of his physique is his wide shoulder to waist ratio, which sits at the perfect 1.619.
So how did he do it?
Plain old hard work and consistency.
Zac was in the gym 5 days a week for up to 2 hours each session. His training was built around basic, compound movements designed to pack on mass and build strength. Here are the basic training principles that Efron followed to build his physique –
Compound movements – Zach knew that the best bang for his buck would come from compound exercises that work many muscles at once. By focusing on squats, pull-ups, bench press, deadlift and Olympic moves he knew that he’d be able to put his body into an anabolic state faster than if he relied on isolation exercises.
Heavy weight, low reps – rather than training in the traditional 8 – 12 rep range, Efron lowered it to between 4 and 8 reps on each working set. This allowed him to place the maximum intensity on the working muscle and work both fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers.
Rest between sets – in order to be able to give his absolute all to every working set, Zac lengthened the rest time between sets. Rather than the 30 seconds which is common to most trainers, his rest period went up to between two and three minutes. This allowed for recovery of ATP in the muscle cell and release of lactic acid.
Full body workouts – Efron’s focus on going hard and heavy on the basics meant that he built his routine around a full body workout that consisted of just six moves.
Intensity Enhancers – in order to place maximum stress on the working muscle, Zach employed a number of advanced techniques to extend his sets. With his training partner, he would use forced reps to eke out an extra two or three reps after he’d reached positive failure.
Learning from the Master – whenever possible, the young star would also train with his co-star Dwayne Johnson. The Rock gave him plenty of training tips and insights on how he could build muscle even faster. Their sessions together included such advanced techniques as descending sets, partial reps, pre exhaustion and pyramiding.
- Pull Ups
- Bench Press
- Military Press
Zach knows that the abdominals are the focal point of the physique. He was determined to rock a set of abs that would wow viewers on screen. While most people believe that abs are made in the kitchen, Efron knew that wasn’t quite true; abs are made in the gym but revealed in the kitchen.
Zach hit the gym twice per week to exclusively train his abdominals and core and to do his cardio. His abdominal training consisted of a circuit of exercises designed to target his upper and lower abdominals, intercostals and external obliques. Here is what that circuit look like:
Zach performed these 6 exercises as a circuit with no rest between them. He would perform 25 reps on each exercise. Between circuits he would rest exactly 60 seconds. The ab workout would consist of 5 circuits.
Zac knew that,while his mass training would put on the size, it was his cardio that would bring out the definition. He dedicated two training sessions per week to doing just that. By relying on high intensity interval training, he was able to put his body into the maximum fat burning zone and keep it there for the 24 hours after he had left the gym.
Efron’s favorite cardio exercise was the treadmill. After a five-minute warm-up at 6.1 miles per hour, he would ramp the speed way up to 13 miles per hour. At this speed, he would sprint for a full 60 Seconds. He would then throw his legs out to the side of the treadmill belt to give himself exactly 20 seconds recovery. Then he’d go straight into his next sprint. This 60/20 pattern would continue until Zach had been running on the treadmill for a full 30 minutes.
After exhausting himself on the treadmill, Zach would head out to the gym parking lot for a session of tire flips. He would flip a massive tractor tire the length of the car park and back again a dozen times.
Zach’s Baywatch diet consisted of two phases. Firstly he needed to increase his amount of calories and protein in order to support his mass building workouts. This meant lots of chicken eggs, steak and protein shakes.
During his mass building phase, Efron consumed around 3200 calories per day. This was broken down into six meals of about 540 calories per meal. Protein made up 40% of each meal. This was giving him around 1.25 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
The second phase of Zach’s diet consisted of stripping off body fat in order to reveal the hard body that he had forged in the gym. To achieve this he went on a restricted zero carb diet, zero sugar diet. Doing so pushed his body into a ketotonic state in which it relied on stored body fat for energy.
In order to ensure that he didn’t lose ony of his hard earned muscle during this cutting phase, Efron made sure that he kept up his protein intake. As he shared with his Instagram followers, his protein came in the form of organic grass fed / free range meat sources.
Every nine days would be a cheat day for the former High School Musical star. This allowed him to carb load, which would give his metabolism a boost while bringing up the levels of thyroid, leptin and IG-F, all of which are crucial to the fat burning equation.
Rocking the Baywatch Set
The results of Zach’s hard work have been visible to all on the Baywatch set. Not only has he been able to hang his own alongside the older and more experienced Dwayne Johnson, but his focus and commitment have impressed the big man. Posting on his Instagram page, the Rock had this to say about his Baywatch co-star . . .
On a side discipline note juuuuuust wait til you see the insane shape my boy Efron got in for our movie. Proud of the hard work he put in. That’s the way you make a character “Iconic”.
When Efron and Johnson hit the screen in the new Baywatch movie in 2017, the whole world will see the results of their dedication and hard work. We can hardly wait!