Zac Efron Workout Routine To Get Jacked: How He Went From Scrawny To Brawny

March 25, 2021 | 154 Comments

zac efron workout baywatch body
You gotta admit, that’s a crazy ass transformation.

So yeah…that Zac Efron dude is pretty hot now, huh?

If I was a girl I would totally want to do things to him like make him taco, run my hands through his eyelashes, and read Harry Potter to him.

But I’m not a girl so um…okay this is getting weird.

In all seriousness, Zac Efron has made a seriously impressive body transformation over the last few years.

From looking lean and defined in Neighbors to now getting totally jacked & ripped in the new Baywatch movie.

How did he pull it off?

I don’t know his exact workout and methods but I have a pretty good idea.

Here’s how you can pull of a similar Zac Efron body transformation if you follow the steps below.

Zac Efron’s physique from Neighbors to Baywatch (2013-2016)

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zac efron ripped

Comparing Zac Efron’s physique Neighbors and before to how he looks in Baywatch, he’s like a completely different dude.

He put on at least 10 pounds of solid muscle on his upper body and looks like an absolute beast now.

I remember how a ton of guys wondered how Efron got in shape for Neighbors, but his Baywatch physique is at a whole other level.

Getting a body like him in Neighbors is more of a fat loss issue where you need to focus on losing fat but if you want to look like Zac in Baywatch, then you really need to focus on lifting hard and eating more.

Zac Efron’s height, weight, measurements, blah blah bah…

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For neighbors Zac Efron stands in a 5’9″ and weighs about 155-160 pounds.

But for Baywatch, I would estimate that Zac Efron is about 5-10 pounds heavier putting him at 165-170 pounds.

As you can tell from his physique, he’s not huge and he’s not super shredded but he does have excellent muscle density, low body fat (10%’ish), and a great shoulder-to-waist ratio which is why his physique looks so damn good.

The crazy thing is that he’s about the same body fat in both Neighbors and Baywatch, he simply has much more muscle in the latter.

3 secrets to building a body like Zac Efron

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Zac Efron Shirtless training

Most people reading this are looking for that one special food, exercise, or technique…and believe that’s the secret to getting a ripped like Efron.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

The real secret is plain old hard work and consistency.

Sexy, I know.

But there are a few tricks of the trade you can use to help speed up the process of getting a body like Efron.

Secret #1: Body proportions matter more than overall weight

Have you heard of the golden ratio?

If not, it’s the scientifically proven ratio (1.618) that women are most attracted to when applied to your body.

Notice how broad Zac Efron’s shoulders are? If you measured them, you’ll find that they’re about 1.618 times bigger than his waist.

Having broad shoulders and a narrow waist is a sign of strength and power.

This is why it’s so important to focus on building your shoulders to get that lean, aesthetic look.

Secret #2: Your abs are not made in the kitchen 

Sorry to break it to you, but you can’t really diet your way to a ripped six pack.

Contrary to popular belief, abs are actually made in the gym when you train them using direct ab movements like crunches, leg raises, wheel rollouts, and woodchoppers. 

They are revealed in the kitchen with your diet and food choices.

If you’re a guy who doesn’t have a decent amount of muscle mass, then simply dieting down to a lower body fat percentage really won’t do much for you except give you a flatter looking stomach.

If you really want hard, muscular abs, then you need to work them hard in the gym.

Secret #3: It takes years to get a body like Efron in Baywatch

You want to know why 99% of guys fail flat on their face when they see a guy like Zac Efron and decide they want a body like his?

Because they don’t have patience.

They want to get game changing results in just 21 days.

But in reality, if you’re a complete newbie , it will take at least a few years to build up your body to the Efron’s level.

If you don’t believe me, just compare Zac Efron’s pre-2014 to how he looks now.

Before packing on the mass
efron vertical (baywatch)

He looks completely different now, but he put in that extra 1-2 years of work to pack on all that extra muscle.

And that’s the dirty little secret no one will tell you.

Looking like a Hollywood celeb takes time, more time than most guys are willing to put in.

Workout fundamentals you MUST follow to get a Baywatch body

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I’m not here to argue about the best workout or best exercises when it comes to getting a lean and muscular body…

…but there are a few fundamentals most guys MUST follow if they want any hope of building a body like Zac Efron.

Focus on heavy compound lifts

No matter what workout you’re doing, your routine should be primarily focused around heavy compound lifting.

By this I mean you need to focus on exercises that hit multiple muscle groups.

So exercises likes heavy presses, rows, deadlifts, and squats are awesome.

However, focusing the majority of your workout exercises like barbell curls, cable crossovers, tricep extensions is a bad idea.

You simply get 10x more bang for your buck if you focus on heavy compound movements.

Lift at least 3x per week

Assuming your workout is structured intelligently, you can workout anywhere from 3-5x per week without burning out.

As you get more advanced, it’s recommend that you bump up your training frequency and volume so your body can adapt to the larger work load.

[thrive_link color=’orange’ link=’’ target=’_blank’ size=’medium’ align=’aligncenter’]Get the exact step-by-step training & nutrition system to look like Zac Efron[/thrive_link]

Some examples of 3-day workout splits include full body workouts, upper lower splits, and push/pull/leg splits.

And according to this Instagram pic, we actually know one of Zac’s workout routines include a back/biceps workout, so it’s likely he’s doing some form of push/pull/legs routine.

Back and bi’s #baywatch

A photo posted by Zac Efron (@zacefron) on

Here’s an example of how to build muscle as a beginner.

Don’t go crazy with cardio

Cardio could potentially be counterproductive if your main goal is pack on muscle.

Do too much and it’ll simply drain your energy to the point that you can’t perform optimally.

If you must do cardio for sports or whatever, make sure you observe your energy levels and consume extra calories to compensate for the cardio.

Or if you really just want to way to jack up your conditioning levels, do more sprints and HIIT.

If you want to just get ripped, focus on maintaining your strength

Let’s assume you already have a fair amount of muscle, and simply want to lose some fat.

What do you do?

In this case, it’s actually quite simple.

You simply need to maintain your current level of strength, eat in calorie deficit and make sure you get enough protein.

I cover the dieting tips you need to follow to look like Zac Efron below.

Zac Efron diet: What foods should I eat to build muscle and get ripped

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zac efron diet

When it comes to Zac Efron’s exact diet and the foods he ate, this tweet shed some light on it:

My best guess is that Zac Efron went on the zero carb/sugar diet to shed a lot of fat and water weight quickly.

But don’t think that you need to follow this exact diet too if you want to get ripped.

A low carb/low sugar diet is effective in the short run to shed weight quickly….but doesn’t work too well in the long run….

…hence this tweet from Efron afterwards:

So yeah, balance is key when it comes to long term dieting success.

Learn how to setup your own perfect diet with this easy to follow 7-step method.

People always ask me for a specific list of foods that they should eat if they want to get ripped but that list doesn’t exist.

You can pretty much eat anything you want and still get ripped.

You just need to understand that there’s a lot of give and take.

So if you want to eat a doughnut and still lose fat, just know that the doughnut is probably going to take up 25% of your entire day’s calorie intake so you’re not going to feel very satiated.

But I do have a universal set of diet philosophy that I always tell people to follow: Make sure you’re in a calorie deficit every day, eat plenty of fruits and veggies, emphasize protein (at least 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight per day), don’t skimp on fats, and don’t live on chicken and brown rice, have fun 🙂

If you want to learn more about my super flexible approach to nutrition, check out this article on Macro FLEX Tracking.

Want the step-by-step blueprint to build a Zac Efron Baywatch body?

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If you want to eliminate all the guesswork about how to workout and diet to get a ripped Baywatch body like Zac Efron, then checkout Superhero X12.

It was designed with for the sole purpose of helping guys build that lean and muscular Hollywood physique and includes all the different workout and dieting plans you need to see amazing results.

Leave any questions you have on Zac Efron’s workout or any other fitness related questions.

I’m here to help.

154 Comments - Leave Your Thoughts

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  1. Efron is listed across the board at 5’8″, including by sites like CelebHeights that try to be hyper accurate. Assuming this were true, wouldn’t that make him 5 or so pounds lighter than this at each stage? It also seems like he put on at least a few extra pounds of muscle in just the few months leading up to Baywatch. As recently as late last year, when he was shooting Neighbors 2, he didn’t look quite as ripped.

    1. Could be 5’8″ or 5’9″…but yes either way would skew the weight about 5 pounds.

      – Maybe he took low dosages of steroids (we’ll never know).
      – Maybe he did an insane pump up before the baywatch pics came up (a good pump can instantly make you look 10 pounds bigger).
      – Maybe, he got especially lean for those baywatch pics which can give the illusion of being bigger
      – Maybe the lighting was better in baywatch than neighbors.

      Point, is there are so many factors that we don’t know about…it’s really not worth even worrying about.

      He definitely put on a good amount of muscle since the first neighbors, but beyond that we don’t know anything.

      1. His JOB is to be ripped. It’s not difficult when you can hire someone to train you daily, and hire someone to cook and prepare every single thing you eat.

        Point is, Efron put in the work and it shows. He’s been fit for over 3 years now. And he’s much shorter than 5’9 lol, most people who meet him in person say 5’7 max. Doesn’t matter though, the kid is a beast. Mad props to him.

        1. So what if it’s his job to be in shape.

          That’s the lamest excuse anyone can make to be out of shape and unhealthy.

      2. What do you think Efron weighs in the new Neighbors 2? How much difference between when he was shooting that and shooting Baywatch?

        1. +/- 5 pounds. Honestly could be the same. Lighting, whether or not he had a good pump, glycogen levels…all play huge roles and can make you look 10x more muscular.

  2. Awesome article mate, I’m 17 and wanting to start getting in shape as i’m 6’1 and pretty skinny. Thanks for the info bro.

  3. Zac Efron got that body by training five days a week with trainer Patrick Murphy at Murphy Fitness in Los Angeles. Patrick transformed his body for Baywatch. Zac even credits him for it.

  4. Cheers for the article mate, really good. Its not the first article by you I read and I have found all of them helpful in one way or another, so I would like to ask for some help from you. I´m 17, about 6ft tall and weight about 170 pounds. I usually go to the gym about 5 times a week to do plyos and weights (bench 80, squat 140 and deadlift 100) so I have got a decent muscle mass. However I still cant get rid of that last bit of fat that dont let me looked ripped (I´m the opposite that you were; you can feel and see a bit the solid abs, just under that layer of fat thick enough to cover them). I´ve tried different plans (in diet and workout) but I still feel there´s something I´m doing wrong and not letting me achieve that shape you look at in this article. What can you advice to get rid of that last bit of fat, hopefully quickly?

    1. What you’re doing wrong is that you’re not giving it time.

      You’re only 17, and judging from your numbers you have a long way to go which is actually good because you can only go up. So stay consistent and build up your base of muscle before worrying too much about getting ripped.

      1. First off, good read. Second I want to get the right diet for myself but nothing really seems to work. Now I’m on the low carb diet. Im 6’2,235 and 33 years old.I want to get to 215 then build muscle. What would you suggest to be the best pill to help me along this path?

  5. Good read…. Who wild have thought the guy from Neighbors could look like that.

    I am starting a new life one that allows me to work out 3 – 5 times a week. I am going to be doing a lot of indoor and outdoor rock climbing. I have had 2 back surgeries, what kind off work out can I do? I Arendt know crunches, deadlifts, squats and running are out…. I can’t afford to go under the knife again. I and very active but need to lose about 40 lbs… I am 6 foot and want to weight about 195, and I am 45 years old. Thank you for your advise.

    1. Start light, go easy, and build up from there.

      Start with machines, make sure you’re using perfect form and do what you can.

    1. maybe, maybe not. He’s had at least a year gap between neighbors, if he focused on putting on size, it would definitely be doable naturally.

  6. I appreciate you taking the time to write this article. However, it has one major flaw that pretty much proves you are not entirely educated on the subject. You stated “having broad shoulders and a narrow waist is a sign of strength and power.” This is false – having broad shoulders and a tiny waist is a sign of body building. This is completely different than having strength and power. What Zac Efron did here was for aesthetics and I highly doubt he has a great deal strength or power. Anyone that truly has strength and power will have a very wide waist that enables them to protect their core when lifting heavy. If you take a look at the strongest man competitions, none of them are walking around with little tiny waists. Check your facts before pushing erroneous information on people that are truly trying to make a change in their life. Everyone move along, another uneducated fitness blogger here.

    1. Entirely depends on how you define “strength” and “power.”

      In terms of raw brute force strength, and lifting the maximum amount of weight you’re probably right. But we’re not talking about strong man comps.

      I’m pretty sure strong men don’t give 2 craps about zac efron and they shouldn’t. The average population would look at Efron and say he’s strong and powerful, that’s my driving point…not to get into an argument of what is or isn’t “strong.”

  7. Its not that difficult to get into shape or shredded, especially if you are in good shape to begin with. Diet makes up about 70% of your gains. I’m not saying that working out doesn’t help, but changing your diet makes a huge difference. Take terrible food out of your diet and sling weights around and notice the change of your body.

    1. Not difficult? I disagree, otherwise every other guy you pass on the street would be ripped which is clearly not the case.

      It’s very simple to get into shape, not easy.

  8. Is there any negative with going on a super low carb diet cause i genuinely dont have cravings for carbs?The day i eat less carbs, I simply have a flatter stomach and feel closer to seeing my abs.

    I’m trying to put on muscle but stay lean at the same time (and obv finding it difficult).

    1. I don’t recommend super low carb diets. THe only reason you have a “flatter” stomach is because when you’re on a low carb diet, your muscle glycogen stores are depleted.

      But most importantly, I wouldn’t recommend them because low carb diets make it notoriously difficult to lift heavy.

  9. Seems like over time, he found the balance I’ve been struggling to find. I want to cut weight (like, 8 lbs.), but want to pack on muscle simultaneously. It is SO difficult to find that balance. I start losing weight, then I think I’m not eating enough to gain more lean muscle.

    I know there’s no perfect regimen for this – and it’s a constant struggle for a lot of us out here – but there has to be some solid advice or SOMETHING that will push us in the right direction.

    Next thing to try is upping the weight and sets and decreasing reps/set. I sure wish I had the time to be in the gym as much as Zac…that has to be a HUGE advantage , here.

    Thanks for the article – good stuff. Kind of confirms what I’m going through right now…there is no magic regimen, or pill, or powder, etc., etc.

    1. Best advice i have is, “have patience.”

      Cutting 8 pounds of fat will take you prob 6-10 weeks depending on various factors.

      Your big problem (and a lot of ppl’s problems) is that you want it all in a span of 3 months. Sadly, if you’re not a beginner, you will not gain muscle and lose fat at the same time (unless of course you’re taking drugs). Just never gonna happen and most people just can’t accept this.

      So focus on losing fat or the other, not both.

      1. Thanks Keith. I’ll work on the patience for sure…but I think my bigger problem is that I’m 45 (I started back at training in early Feb. of this year).

        The muscle is still building though, which is good. I’ve got the ratio you mention in the article – just the nagging lower back fat that will NOT go away.

        Thanks again for the good advice here – excellent read.

  10. I’m 16 years old and I don’t go to the gym that often; however now that I’m able to drive going to the gym will be a much simpler task. I’m at about 5’10” and 155-160 I’m guessing maybe 20% body fat, and I’m definitely looking to cut down that body, but gain some muscle. What would be the best way to achieve this? Any special diet plans? (I’m mostly a meat eater, and I’m a very picky eater; thus, I hardly eat vegetables. any vegetables that I’d eat would be potatoes. I can deal with some more fruits however.)

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