As a young man who grew up in the age of High School Musical and 17 Again, jealousy towards Zac Efron and his famous good looks have followed me my entire life. No more so, however, than when I saw a recently papped picture of him behind the scenes for new wrestling flick The Iron Claw. Here, we break down the diet, recovery, and workout plan you need to follow in his A-list footsteps.
Though he may be partially to blame for Byron Bay’s recent real estate slump, one thing the Hollywood heartthrob could never be accused of is not looking the part. From high school sweetheart to buff lifeguard beach bum, Efron is no stranger to body transformations and all the hard work that comes along with them.
Later this year, Efron is set to star in The Iron Claw, a film about real-life wrestler Fritz Von Erich. Efron has outdone himself, undergoing an incredible mass-building transformation to become ready for the role but, as you might expect, the process was far from easy.
In fact, Efron has spoken about how previous transformations have left him feeling depressed. So, how did he manage to achieve his new physique in a safe and healthy way?
Well, it’s all down to his new trainer, Farren Morgan, ex-British Army hardnut who founded the (very intense) Tactical Athlete training method and guided Efron through the perfect bulk.
WATCH a fitness expert explain how Zac Efron got shredded for Baywatch below.
What is ‘bulking’?
Efron’s transformation involved a process known as “bulking,” which entails increasing caloric intake while combining it with intensive weight training to increase muscle mass and strength.
However, this is just the first phase of three, with the second being cutting to decrease fat levels, and the third being the retention of muscle growth.
To safely and effectively bulk, men should aim to consume a maximum of 20% more calories than their body needs per day, which equates to around 2,750 calories for the “average” man – we strongly recommend using a calorific calculator to tailor this number to your needs…
Do not, however, eat 20% extra calories of just anything to hand. Eating cleanly is crucial so you can control the levels of nutrients, salts, fats, and sugars that go into your body. Broadly speaking, aim for your diet to consist of 30-35% protein, 45-60% carbs, and 15-30% fats.
It’s crucial to avoid dirty bulking, which can lead to significant side effects such as unwanted fat gain and, along with it, high cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Proper muscle growth should be a gradual process that takes time.
To bulk safely, lean individuals should aim to gain 0.5-1lbs per week, while heavier individuals should aim to gain 1-2lbs per week. Tracking your calories and macros is the easiest way to keep yourself in check and reach your goals.
What’s the workout routine?
So, what does Efron’s workout plan look like? According to Morgan, his training program involves a mix of compound lifts and isolation exercises, targeting multiple muscle groups.
Here’s a workout for you to try: perform three sets of six reps, increasing to five sets of 10 reps when that feels easy…
Exercise 1: Overhead Squat
- Hold a weighted barbell overhead with arms fully extended.
- Hinge at the hips to slowly sit back into a squat.
- Push through heels to straighten up.
Exercise 2: Pull Up
- Grip an overhead bar with hands facing forward.
- Pull your chin up and over the bar.
- Slowly lower yourself back down.
Exercise 3: Back Extension
- Use a back extension bench and plate.
- Hold the weight to your chest.
- Lean forward then slowly raise yourself back up.
- If you feel any pain in your lower back, stretch out.
Exercise 4: Weighted Leg Raise
- You can do this lying flat with a dumbbell between your feet or use the leg raise machine.
- Extend your legs then slowly lower them.
Exercise 5: Incline Bench Press
- Adjust the bench to a 45-degree angle.
- Take a dumbbell in each hand and start with the weights at your chest.
- Extend arms overhead.
- Lower weights for one repetition.
Recovery Is Crucial
A crucial note: Efron also incorporates rest and recovery days to allow the muscles time to heal and grow, and you should do the same.
As well as rest days, good sleep is crucial to muscle growth. Aim for at least seven hours a night, every night. Consistency with your recovery is just as – if not more – important than your consistency in the gym.
You may never have Zac Efron’s good looks, acting acclaim, or millions of dollars in the bank… but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have his bulging biceps, back, and all the rest. Plus, you never know, maybe the WWE will come calling…