Zac Efron has suddenly transitioned from a teenage heart-throb to a ripped and toned young man. Rolling Stone magazine actually labelled him as a “poster boy for tweenyboppers” as he was so popular with not only the teenage crowd but also young adults. That was 5 years ago now, he has matured in the last 5 years and is now drawing interest from an older audience.
Zac’s career started in musicals, which included the original High School Musical as well as a Broadway adaptation of Hairspray. However, it is his most recent role that has brought him new attention.
The Lucky One
In Zac Efron’s latest role he plays a U.S. Marine called Logan Thibault in the new film, The Lucky One (Spring 2012 release). It tells the story of how when he returns home after his third tour of duty in Iraq he seeks a woman in a photo that became his lucky charm. Beth, played by Taylor Schilling, is “the lucky one”.
Zac’s personal trainer is Ramona Braganza. She developed the 321 Training Method which is specifically designed to allow actors to workout effectively while filming on location without access to a gym. The system uses a combination of core, cardio and circuit training workouts.
Ramona also trained Ryan Reynolds while he was preparing for The Green Lantern. It is from Ramona that we have learned much of what we know about how Zac got in shape.
Zac Efron’s Workouts
Zac is looking in great shape at the moment with a very well-defined upper body, including an impressive 6 pack. While he is not as ripped as Fight Club’s Brad Pitt or as big as Hugh Jackman, he is in excellent shape.
To develop a lean and muscular frame you need to perform a combination of regular cardio workouts to burn fat, bodyweight exercises with plyometrics to develop fast twitch fibres with long, powerful muscles and some good old fashioned weight training to build up the size of the muscles.
Early Morning Workouts
Zac Efron exercises 5 to 6 times a week. He is very focused and ensures that he gets his workout done first thing in the morning to ensure that it is not missed. He generally hits the gym at around 6pm.
This is a typical workout that will get you fit and toned. Note also that this workout is just as good for women who wish to lose some fat and tone up. There is a good balance of cardiovascular exercise with callisthenics and weight training.
Before training with Romana, Zac starts the day with a nice, long run before work. He has always liked to exercise in the morning.
Zac Style Weight Training
Weight training serves two functions:
- To build overall strength and power
- To build and define muscles
Zac developed a body that would not look out-of-place in a platoon. To do this he adopted a military style weight training program with exercises such as:
- Squats to develop powerful legs
- Bench press to develop the chest
- Pull ups and chin ups to work the back and the arms
- Rows (both cable rows and bent over rows) to work the back
- Bicep curls
- Tricep curls (triceps are the largest muscles in the arms)
- Weighted crunches for abs
- Side bends for abs
Important: Go Slow
Ramona says that when doing weight training it is important to slow down. Lifting slowly ensures that you focus on only using the muscles you are working on. Many people make the mistake of using the momentum of their body when moving to help lift a weight. This is especially true when men are performing bicep curls and other standing exercises.
The trick is to slow down. Leave the fast and powerful movements for the circuit training routines and plyometric exercises.
Zac’s Bodyweight / Circuit Training Routine
The second part of his regime centers around bodyweight training, often enhanced with weights. A typical routine will include:
- Squats / jump squats for power
- Dips on parallel bars to work the shoulders, back and triceps
- Push ups for additional toning and power in the chest
- Weighted lunges – holding a dumbbell in each hand to perform lunges – for thighs
- Crunches, including standard and bicycle crunches, with and without weights
Zac’s Cardio and Fat Burning Workouts
To help burn fat you need to do more cardio. This is especially important when you are weight training as you need to take in extra nutrition (both quality carbohydrate and proteins) to build muscle. Failure to do cardio on a regular basis leads to fat accumulation.
Rather than doing steady gym workouts Zac prefers to get outdoors for his exercise. He is known to enjoy hiking and cycling as well as running. He also plays soccer, basketball, goes rock climbing and enjoys surfing too. He is a good swimmer by all accounts as well.
The key to staying fit really is to enjoy your exercise, playing sports and having active hobbies are always the most enjoyable way to exercise – far more fun than spending 60 minutes on a treadmill in a sweaty gym.
Zac Efron’s Diet and Nutrition
Of course, without following a healthy and strict diet you cannot lose fat and bulk up to the same level that Zac has achieved. Diet is just as important in being fit and healthy as is regular exercise.
When working out with the aim to develop muscle and lose fat you have to balance your energy intake perfectly. You need carbohydrates to sustain exercise, protein to build muscle and healthy fats to help keep the body well nourished (fats contain many vital nutrients).
When you are packing on muscle quickly you need to eat. Zac would have to eat a good breakfast before his 6am workouts to ensure that his muscles we energized for an intensive session. Eggs and oats are great breakfast options – fast and easy to prepare and they provide energy and protein for exercise and recovery. In fact, Zac once admitted that he sometimes drinks raw eggs, just like Rocky!
Z.E.N. – Zero Effort Nutrition
Zac is also reported to have used the ZEN Foods diet. According to their website, Zac says: “Z.E.N. Foods helped me gain lean muscle for my role.” ZEN Foods is a company which provides ready prepared meals that have nutrition and calorie controlled portions – ideal for busy people who do not have time to prepare food but want to know exactly what they are eating.
It is also important to avoid all junk food, processed food and other foods with additional sugar and fat. Takeaways, candy, sodas and pizza are all off the menu! Instead, food should be as close to its natural state as possible and cooked without additional fat. So poached eggs for breakfast, rolled oats, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and lean meats and dairy. You still need to take in a lot of calories to get fit, but it is vital that these are healthy calories that will help your muscles to grow, not your fat tissue!
For more on healthy eating read our page A Healthy and Balanced Diet. You can learn more about fitness and weight training here at MotleyHealth too, see our page on Beginners Weight Training and then take a look at the fitness section.
Zac Efron’s official fan pages (that are actually run by him):