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Celebrity fitness is a fascinating game of one-upmanship, as actors consistently turn themselves into Greek gods and Marvel superheroes in the service of their films. It's a never-ending struggle to see who can pack on the most muscle and lose the most fat, and Zac Efron took the fitness game to the next level with his Baywatch body. In fact, we now know that his process involved going on 20-30-mile bike rides, burning over one thousand calories per workout and completely forgoing processed food from boxes. Celebrity trainer Patrick Murphy recently opened up about approaching Efron's Baywatch physique, explaining:
I threw my whole tool box at [Efron]. I basically covered everything dealing with stabilizing and balance and everything dealing with strength and everything dealing with power. We did a lot of balance and agility training, we did a lot of the heavier lifting and strength training with slow movements, and then we also did power train[ing] --- quick, very controlled movements like power jumps and power lunges and quick twitch movements and jumping movements.
It makes sense that Zac Efron would need to use every fitness strategy in the book for his Baywatch preparation. While most fitness enthusiasts typically try to stick with one workout modality at a time (bodybuilding, CrossFit, calisthenics, etc.), Efron incorporated all of them into one behemoth workout schedule (which included five to six workouts a week, with occasional two-a-days) and blended it with an agonizingly restrictive diet. He even got to throw in some American Ninja Warrior-style training, which eventually made its way into the film.
Playing former Olympic swimmer Matt Brody, there's a certain look that many people expect from that type of character. Then, of course, there's the fact that Efron would find himself sharing the screen with a walking pile of muscles named Dwayne Johnson. Efron has always been the athletic heartthrob type, but working with Patrick Murphy and acting alongside The Rock took him to the fitness stratosphere. Meanwhile, I'm over here wondering if I should have five cupcakes or six tonight.
Patrick Murphy's comments to Vulture about Zac Efron's approach to this workout regimen underscore a trend that we have seen in Hollywood over the course of the last few decades. In the same way that Brad Pitt became a cultural sensation for his lean, Tyler Durden physique in Fight Club, Zac Efron apparently went into his Baywatch training with a desire to make a statement, at one point acknowledging that he wanted to channel Bruce Lee as inspiration for the process.
Apparently, it worked, as his body has become one of the most talked about aspects of the film. Looking ahead to the future, we will have to wait and see where this type of regimen takes the 29-year-old actor. Obviously a long way from his Disney days, he could parlay this into an iconic character---maybe even a superhero. After all, I hear the lead role in the Nightwing movie will soon be available.