He has been a child star, a fitness pinup, a leading man, an onscreen himbo, and an environmental activist. But Zac Efron hasn’t always been healthy. Now he’s reinventing himself again, and he wants to do it right. For Men’s Health’s October issue cover story, Efron opens up about the hustle, what he wants people trying to obtain the Baywatch body to know, his current fitness philosophy of training militantly but mindfully, and more. Plus, in his Men’s Health Eat Like video, Zac Efron breaks down his extreme diets and how he eats now.
On not wanting his Baywatch body anymore—or rather, not wanting to do what he did to achieve that body: “That Baywatch look, I don’t know if that’s really attainable. There’s just too little water in the skin. Like, it’s fake; it looks CGI’d. And that required Lasix, powerful diuretics, to achieve. So I don’t need to do that. I much prefer to have an extra, you know, 2 to 3 percent body fat.”
On how long the ill effects of his Baywatch training lasted: “I started to develop insomnia and I fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time. Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time recentering. Ultimately they chalked it up to taking way too many diuretics for way too long, and it messed something up.”
On reevaluating his approach to fitness: “At one point, that was a dream of mine—what it would be like to not have to be in shape all the time. What if I just say, ‘F*ck it’ and let myself go? So I tried it, and I was successful. And for all the reasons I thought it would be incredible, I was just miserable. My body would not feel healthy; I just didn’t feel alive. I felt bogged down and slow…. I enjoy pushing myself and really laying it all out, to the point where I kind of have to do it. Otherwise I don’t feel like myself.”
On avoiding social media as a survival tactic: “If I valued what other people thought of me to the extent that they may think I do, I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this work.”
On being instantly taken with The Greatest Beer Run Ever: “Sometimes reading a script can take two days. I’m stopping and visualizing it and rereading pages. Sometimes I’m mouthing words. But with Greatest Beer Run, the writing was so specific and so clear…. It was the fastest decision I’d ever made.”
In his Men’s Health “Eat Like” video, on how he eats while on set: “I give myself permission now to let up and eat what I need to eat. It’s not the time or the place to put pressure on yourself. Unless you really need to be shirtless that entire film – which tends to be the case for me sometimes.”
The October 2022 issue of Men’s Health featuring Zac Efron hits newsstands nationwide on September 13.
[Photo Credit: Ture Lillegraven for Men’s Health Magazine]
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