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. Great article but can I correct you on one thing?

    You mention to stay away from cardio if you’re looking to pack on muscle however, it’s not cardio that stunts your muscle growth. Cardio is great for mantaining muscle (works your core, back etc.) This is a common misconception as muscle is lost simply because when you burn calories from running, you will sometimes end up with a calorie deficit. This is bad for muscle growth. As long as you keep your (quality) calorie intake up after cardio, you can still gain muscle.

    1. i never said stay away from cardio, i said to not go crazy with it. I also said “make sure you observe your energy levels and consume extra calories to compensate for the cardio.”

      Cardio isn’t bad but can definitely take away from energy (both mental and physical) that could be used towards building muscle which is what most guys are aiming to do.

  2. You forgot to mention that he’s probably take GH, andros, and whatever else his Hollywood doctors can put him on to make sure his body is at peak levels for growing muscles and staying lean.

    I bet someone his age/size/raw build can workout and eat with him side-by-side and mirror everything and won’t see nearly as much results in 1-2 years that Zac experienced.

    I guess if I was getting paid 8 digits to look for a role I’d cheat too.

    1. maybe he is taking something, but it doesn’t matter. A physique like his is achievable naturally, and comparing yourself to zac is always a losing battle.

  3. Beautifully written article…. I have been playing soccer almost my entire life, so cardio is obviously important…. My question is: if I still wish to maintain mass, should I work with heavier equipment and/or get into a “heavier” diet?

    1. If you play soccer or any other sports, your main goal to maintain muscle should be to consumer extra cals to compensate for the cals burned while playing soccer.

  4. Cool article, credz! but gotta say i haven’t been working mye absolutt with consentrated/isolated movements but still got same ab def as Efron and knows a couple of bodybuilders WHO doesnt hit abs and still got decent “sixpack”. So i would just say That the “abs are made in the gym” doesnt quite add up! Although abs are being worked in compound movements so yeah in the gym but not necessarily with exercises like leg raise and clutchen etc.

    But no hate,just sharing from experience! good article man

    1. Experience is fine but saying that those couple bodybuilders you know got abs by not training them and then believing that to be the case for everyone is very dangerous thinking.

      Abs are muscles like any other body part, and should be directly trained like anything else.

  5. Hey man I really felt inspired by your article, please help me out here..
    I’ve a fine body
    Not much of mass but they are fine like 2014 Zac efron i got abs and biceps same like that
    Now the main problem is I can’t afford extra proteins supplements every month for my gym,
    I need some other sort of advice to gain weight then I’ll work out like a beast!
    I just need to put on weight cuz if I worked out in this condition I might start feeling weak, I got a decent diet of 3 time meals but no chicken and milk and some fruits on low quantity..
    Help me out man
    Contact me on my email I.d please?

    1. You don’t need protein supplements, especially if you’re a beginner and trying to gain weight. Getting quality food and calories should be your goal.

  6. So I am basically the same height oz Zac Edson, 5’8-no taller than exactly 5’10, weighing in about 170-175. I drink pre work out before my lifts, add it with a bit of creatine powder, I do back/bi, chest/tri, shoulders/legs, and repeat either 3-5 times a week, so I try to cycle it out where I do back/bi twice a week. After each work out I do short sprints (30 seconds run, 15 second rest) for about 10minutes total, then do abs that are about 400reps total (8different exercises/50 reps each one) and shortly after the workout I drink my protein shake. My question is, does taking creatine and doing those short sprints affect me on getting ripped like zac efron or what should I take out or what should I take in? Should i intake more protein and not do those sprints? I saw in articles that he does cardio so I just assumed doing those short sprints would help with cutting the fat. Also I’m an advanced lifter btw

    1. – Creatine will not affect your fat loss
      – Sprints are fine, but i wouldn’t overdo them.

      Focus more on your lifting and making sure your diet is in check.

  7. Keith, based on what you’ve surmised about his Baywatch routine and him as an athlete, how much would you guess Zac benches/squats/deadlifts (at max)?

  8. Hi Keith: Well written article with a nice balance of fact, humor and pics. I could really use some direction. I have long battled my insecurity with image. Yup! Really I’m a guy. I have been the same height 5’ 9”, weight 150 and waist (okay from a 30-31 to 32 now) since about 18. I did the health club scene on and off from late 20’s to late 30’s without any real results. Even though I bought protein powder from time to time I never seem to be able to put on weight gain. In fact, I seem to lose weight. Sometimes after pushing weights I would start to get light headed and have to run to the washroom sometimes resulting in vomiting. I did mention this frustration of vomiting to my GP and the answer was over-exertion. Great! That’s it. Like you gotta be kidding me. I was hoping a supplement booster would be available since my system seems to reject bodily changes. My commitment included a personal trainer from time to time but still never saw physical results. I’m now in my mid 40’s and as much insecure about my upper body and arms as I was in my mid 20’s. Sweaters have been my best friend even on summer days. Almost never wear a short sleeve. I long to be one of those guys that only needs to wear a white short sleeve shirt and jeans. Any suggestions for me? And please don’t say to visit a shrink. Feel free to respond to my email ip. Thanks and happy new year.

    1. – The vomiting could be a wide variety of issues and I’m not qualified to diagnose that. Maybe try eating something light before training.
      – As for the body image issues, that runs very very deep inside you. I loved the book “psycho cybernetics” which covers a lot about what you described here and might help.

      1. Hi Keith; Thanks for the prompt response. I will look into obtaining the book. I’m not interested in being as big as Efron but would like more shoulder/upper definition to waist ratio. I took a quick wiki review and ironically I watched some interviews of Olympic athletes this past year and learned that a good part of their training involves visualizing their win at the podium. Recently, I have started to visualize what I want to look like and when doing so I feel my goal is attainable but it’s a real drag when I try and push I end up feeling sick and more toned then muscle mass. I’m not sure if I should be eating more food or more specific foods. I’m not really a junk food eater. My main dinner staple is chicken accompanied by salad or potatoes and pees/corn. I do pizza and pasta from time to time and never without dessert. Are you aware of any medical/blood work tests I should do to determine if I’m low on any specific hormones or proteins that might be inhibiting my body’s ability for muscle mass? It seems a bit strange to me that I can wear the same clothes at 40 that I could wear in my 20’s. Not that I am. Okay maybe one favorite coat :-). Thanks again.

        1. You can always get your Testosterone levels and thryroid checked. That and also check for any general vitamin/mineral deficiencies and adjust your diet and/or add supplements as needed.

  9. I’m about 157, 158 lbs. I’m 5’10’. I want to get to 160, how can I do so? Zac has a great body and I’d like to get sort of like him. Not too big. I work out 3 times a week, but I haven’t seen too many results. What should I do?
    And what about my diet? That is my main concern, what should I eat? and not eat?


  10. hi im 16 and i have a small waist 26.5 inches and a chest size of 33inches. is it possible to get a bigger waist roughly 31-33 inches and a chest size up to 38-40 inches if i put in the work?

    1. Bro, having a small waist is a good thing. Don’t try to make your waist bigger for two reasons. It helps the b-day look, and second it isn’t possible to widen your actual waist. But getting a bigger chest is definitely a good goal.

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