From “Neighbors” to “Charlie St. Cloud,” Zac Efron has never shied away from showing off his impressive body onscreen. But in a new interview with Men’s Health, the actor opened up about the devastating effects of his fitness routine for 2017’s “Baywatch.”
In preparation for the movie, Efron said he was taking diuretics, overtraining and eating the same three meals every day. He was waking up at 4 a.m. to work out, regardless of how late shooting went the night before.
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“I started to develop insomnia, and I fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time,” Efron said. “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.”
Efron continued: “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, two to three percent body fat.”
Efron said it wasn’t until six months after “Baywatch” wrapped that he started to feel right again. And as a reaction to the intense beach bod training, he decided to see what it was like to “fall out of shape,” which also turned out to be a “miserable” process for him.
“At one point, that was a dream of mine — what it would be like to not have to be in shape all the time,” Efron said. “What if I just say, ‘Fuck 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.”
Efron continues to push himself in the gym, but he now embraces “mindful” training — championing foam-rolling, self-massaging and ice-bathing, which he says is his “favorite part of the day.”
“Before is when it’s most miserable, and when you finally just commit and jump in there. From that point forward, you’ve conquered something deep within you; you do not want to get cold,” he said. “That’s the simplest philosophy: Anything you don’t want to do, make it a habit.”
Efron stars in the upcoming Vietnam War movie “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” which premieres next week at TIFF and will open in select theaters and on Apple TV+ on Sept. 30.
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