The Complete Zac Efron Workout & Diet Guide
Stop laughing, because by the end of this article you will be convinced that Zac Efron has a body that is worthy of respect. But first answer these two questions:
- Do you believe that you have had more sex than Zac Efron?
- Do you believe that you have a better physique than Zac Efron?
If the answer to both of those questions is yes then we don’t believe you but congratulations, and please consider getting your parts tested. If however you answered no to either, or (let’s be realistic here) both you might consider that the Zacster might be onto something.
Teen to Terminator Transformation
Recent photos of him walking on the beach during shooting for his most recent film (Baywatch) show a guy who has added some serious muscle in a short period of time, now Zac has always been in pretty decent shape but his most recent look is much more 90s action hero than modern pretty boy.
Speaking about being a pretty boy, we feel that sometimes people get pushed down when they’re successful, we’re all guilty of it, and it’s kind of a shame. Seth Rogan kind of sums up what he liked about Zac in a Men’s Fitness interview (and if Seth likes him, we like him too!):
What’s surprising about him is how sympathetic and vulnerable he seems,” Rogen says, “probably because people view him a certain way and he’s been shit on. He’s someone you sympathize with, and that’s really hard to do when you look the way he does.
A quick History of Zac Efron
Zac Efron was born in California in 1987, he made his breakthrough with High School Musical in 2006 before branching out into movies with such features as Hairspray, New Year’s Eve, Neighbors, and Dirty Grandpa.
He now has a net worth of $18 million and has dated Vanessa Hudgens and Sami Miró, he also recently got into a fight with a homeless person so maybe he’s not so different to us after all. He no longer drinks alcohol after fighting addiction in 2013.
He seems to be a fairly typical guy who possibly over-shares on twitter and Instagram, he just happens to also be an internationally famous actor.
One thing we should get out the way before we begin, Zac Efron is not a fitness expert. In fact after reading what he has said and done regarding both fitness and nutrition it would be fairer to call him clueless. He clearly has a good trainer around him, and he puts a lot of effort into looking great, but a lot of the things he comes out with should be ignored.
For instance he claims that training early in the morning is important for releasing toxins from the body. Uhhh what? Never mind the fact that studies have shown that training in the afternoon is more effective (due to circadian rhythms) , there is no evidence whatsoever that exercising at a certain time has an effect on ‘toxins’. We’re chalking this up to some wayward Hollywood “guru”.
Not to harp on about this, but how can you come to this conclusion? Do you finish your workout and say “Wow I feel much lighter now that I have managed to remove so many toxins”? Crazy! Moving on though, you came here for a reason and that was to figure out what you have to do to get a body like Efron. Let’s dive in.
How to Train like the “Zac-ster”
As mentioned above, Zac has said in interviews that he likes to train in the early morning. Nothing wrong with that but caffeine might be required to reduce the negative effects of tiredness on performance. When we do morning workouts we like to kickstart things with a mix of orange juice and Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy (orange flavor naturally). It’s important to have some amino support when pumping iron in a fasted state (like when you wake up after 8 hours of no nutrient intake).
His personal trainer is Ramona Braganza who is a celebrity trainer who has worked with Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway, Tom Welling, and Jessica Alba. The program that she gets her clients to do is the 3-2-1 method, this is made up of:
- 3 cardio segments
- 2 strength segments
- 1 Ab (or core) segment
Completed as a circuit with each segment lasting 10 minutes (though this might very well be scaled to suit different fitness levels). This can be made to suit the individual, so whereas a novice female may be lifting light dumbbells in a simple bench press a strong male with a lot of experience might be performing weighted pull-ups or heavy deadlifts.
Ramona says that the idea behind the program was to be able to do something with limited space whilst the actors and actresses were in between shoots. As a training method for this situation it is ideal, but as a training program for people who have a full gym and a lot of time on their hands there are better programs out there. Hard to argue with results though!
And it’s equally hard to argue with the satisfaction of the client. On his current workout plans and his current physique, Efron told Men’s Fitness:
Right now I’m probably the physically strongest I’ve ever felt,” he says. “Not in terms of bench press or how much I can squat, but in how quickly I could get out of this room and destroy everything in my path. If the zombie apocalypse happened right now, I’d definitely be able to defend myself.
What About Cardio?
The cardio segments can be anything from jogging to intense bouts of rowing or wind-sprints, while the ab section appears to be just that, a variation of ab and core exercises performed for one 10 minute segment at the end of the session.
This training program clearly worked for Zac and helped him keep that lean physique for the last 5 years or so, however for his more bulked up physique he clearly must have changed his program significantly. You can see on his Instagram account that he is participating in tire flipping races with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and completing extreme obstacle courses.
If you plan to up your lifting routine you have to make sure your body is getting the proper nutrients it needs, especially protein. We wrote about the “perfect lean mass stack” before, which is a combination of vitamins, oils, pre-workouts and protein designed to squeeze every bit of muscle out of each and every workout.
There are also photos of him lifting weights which must have been ramped up over the last few months.
How to Eat Like Zac
Zac’s diet is interesting to say the least, from his twitter page it is clear that he is following some form of carb cycling. On 9th March he posted that he had been on zero carbs and sugar for 9 days and only been eating organic protein sources and leafy greens.
Firstly, if you’re consuming ZERO carbs then you are obviously consuming zero sugars! Secondly eradicating carbohydrates from your diet is not the smartest move, there is a negative effect on both physical performance and mental. There are much better ways to cut or stay lean than removing all carbohydrates, primarily long and consistent cardio like up hill walking on the treadmill or stair stepping machines.. there’s a reason Kai Greene starts all his workouts warming up on the stair stepper!
Zac also seems to enjoy his cheat days, which again is not advisable. Looking at diet from a week long point of view find the logic in restricting your calories to extremes for 6 days of the week and then overindulging for the 7th.
And before anyone rushes to his defense, his tweeted photo of a typical cheat meal would be around two to three thousand calories! Assuming he also had breakfast and lunch (it was a cheat DAY after all) he would probably be going over his calories by a couple thousand. Sure, you might be able to pull this off when you’re young, but remaining consistent and cheating in moderation will benefit you more in the long run then dieting too extreme and then binging too extreme, especially if you’re older and have a slower metabolism.
We think Efron can pull this off now simply because he probably has a massively fast acting metabolism. While this can make building muscle difficult, because you’ll have to eat overtime to maintain a calorie surplus, it can make trimming down painful as you’ll feel hungry all the time.
Would it not make more sense to just slightly up his calories for 7 days rather than going through near-famine for 6 days and then feasting on the 7th? He’d end up consuming the same calories with none of the negative side-effects that come with such extreme eating.
Now all of this information has come from analyzing his twitter feed, reading interviews from himself and his trainers, and some educated guesses. It should be noted that what someone says in an interview or posts on their social media does not necessarily reflect the reality.
Customize Efron’s Program to Suit Your Body
Zac Efron is in tremendous shape and whatever he is doing is clearly working, but it isn’t necessarily the best way of doing things. Remember being in amazing shape is a big part of his career and as a result he can handle following a very restrictive diet, and exercising for hours on end.
You most likely won’t get the same results as him just by copying his training program or diet. The best thing you can do is find a training and nutrition program that suits you personally.
If you just skimmed over this whole thing because you’re on your phone and your thumb only has one scroll speed and that’s fast, or if you’re just illiterate, below is a video from Jeff from Athlean X, who is really good about digging into celebrity workouts and modifying them based on his own personal experience.
While we don’t really agree with his “bulking and cutting is stupid” philosophy, as it seems to be working out for a vast majority of natural bodybuilders, and while Jeff is super ripped, he’s definitely not the biggest guy, so we wonder what he might look like if he tried a few bulk/cut cycles over a couple years. Regardless, everyone is entitled to their own fitness philosophy and Jeff’s is clearly working for him.
Watch this video for an overview of how you can modify what Zac’s doing to make it more comprehensive and more bodybuilder-focused, that is, developing a balanced push/pull/leg weekly split. Check it out:
Hopefully this helps you out a bit. IF you have any specific questions let us know in the comments below. Zac, if you’re reading this, nice work bro!
References Mora-Rodriguez, R., Pallares, J., Lopez-Samanes, A., Ortega, J., Fernandez-Elias. 2012. Caffeine ingestion reverses the Circadian Rhythm effects on Neuromuscular performance in highly resistance-trained men. PLoS One 7(4): e33807