Zac Efron plays a Marine in his new film ‘The Lucky One,’ and let’s just say he’s come a long way since his ‘High School Musical’ days. Have you seen the his Men’s Health cover??
Efron transformed his body into Marine-fighting shape by heading to the source – a Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, where Zac met and trained with guys his own age who had been on two or three tours. He explains in his interview with Men’s Health:
“They were my age. 23, 24, even younger. And most of the staff sergeants were not huge guys. They were about my height, 5’9″, 5’10″, some shorter, but all very stocky. And I’m there in a backward hat and Vans, walking around like I’m still in college. It’s much different from the lifestyle I’m living over here. Where do you start the conversation? I didn’t know what to say, what questions were inaccurate.”
He trained for 4 months, 5 days a week, and loaded up on protein. He started each morning with protein shakes and eight-egg omelets! “I got used to it at the time, but I wouldn’t recommend it,” Efron says of his 3,500 calorie diet. “It’s not practical to do for a long period of time.”
But it worked. Efron was 145 pounds, lean and cardio fit, when he began training for the film. By the time The Lucky One wrapped 4 months later, he’d gained 18 1/2 pounds, says Men’s Health.
“You get this strange sense of power as those weights increase. By the end of the movie I didn’t recognize myself. You hear about guys like Christian Bale who dive into it and are really able to transform. I’ve always wondered if I had the willpower to actually do it. And I’ll always have pride around the sense that I can.”
Want to bulk up like Efron? Here’s how his trainer, Logan Hood of Epoch Training, got him in fighting shape:
Control the variables. Building a Marine-caliber body calls for a comprehensive approach. “Training is only one piece of the puzzle,” Hood says. “Sleep is huge. Stress is huge. Fuel you’re putting in your body is an enormous component. But nobody brags about having followed a regimented diet for 4 months.” You have to decide what’s more important: eating that entire pizza or having the body you want.
Opt for quality over quantity. Efron worked out 5 days a week, about an hour each time. “That’s another misconception,” Hood says. “If you’re eating appropriately and getting enough rest, you don’t need to train all day. All the work’s happening when you’re outside of the gym.”
Go old-school. You don’t need fancy equipment. Hood put Efron through a regimen of “typical old powerlifting stuff”: squats, dead-lifts, heavy overhead presses, weighted pullups—simple exercises that over time allow for heavier and heavier weights.
Stick with the plan. Efron didn’t bulk up overnight. Nobody can: “It’s months and months of process and diet,” Hood says. “What people see on the screen is a guy who basically immersed himself into a training process over a period of time. It’s more than just doing exercise and taking more protein.”