Zac Efron Admitted It Took Overtraining and Diuretics to Get His 'Baywatch' Body

The actor opened up about the physical and mental toll training for the 2017 film had on him.

Zac Efron
Photo: Getty Images

More than five years after Zac Efron starred in the film Baywatch as Olympic swimmer-turned-lifeguard Matt Brody, he's opening up about the toll training for the role took on him physically and mentally in a cover story for Men's Health.

Anyone who's seen the movie can attest that Efron's body looks almost unreal on screen. That's because the process of achieving the muscly physique involved extreme tactics, including overtraining, eating the same three meals a day, and taking a powerful diuretic called Lasix, reports the publication. ICYDK, diuretics (aka water pills) are medicines used to help the kidneys release more sodium into urine, allowing the body to get rid of salt and water, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"That Baywatch look, I don't know if that's really attainable," Efron told Men's Health. "There's just too little water in the skin. Like, it's fake; it looks CGI'd."

In addition to the intense training, Efron wasn't sleeping enough during filming. Waking up at 4 a.m. to work out after late nights on set led to insomnia, said Efron. He also "fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time," he revealed. "Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time re-centering. Ultimately, they chalked it up to taking way too many diuretics for way too long, and it messed something up."

Efron's honesty about the pitfalls of achieving his Baywatch body is an important reminder that what you see on screen isn't always something to strive for in the real world. In fact, it might even be impossible. However, what's most important when it comes to health and wellness is finding practices that make you feel good, rather than chasing an unrealistic aesthetic look, and Efron seems to be reveling in his ability to do just that.

Now, the High School Musical alum has adopted a different approach to training — one that involves foam-rolling, stretching, self-massage, and yoga. For instance, he foam rolls for half an hour before working out and for an hour before bed, according to Men's Health. Efron is also "attached to" his Theragun (a popular massage gun), and his "favorite part of the day" is hopping into an ice bath. "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," he says. (Psst: Here's How a Cold Plunge Can Benefit Your Mind and Body)

It seems like Efron has found a more balanced fitness routine that works for him, and hopefully his recent quotes about the challenges of training for Baywatch will help fans understand that attempting to get that zero percent body fat look look isn't sustainable.

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