When you come to share the screen with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a role that demands your shirt be off throughout most of the film, the pressure to look the part is high. For some, the mere thought of such a thing would lead to a “hard pass” on such a role, but it was exactly this kind of challenge that drew Zac Efron to Baywatch. As a TV show, Baywatch was a who’s who of Hollywood heartthrobs and, intent on bringing the same kind of charisma and jaw-dropping physiques to the big screen remake, Efron underwent a gruelling workout regime and diet to get in shape for the film.
Personal trainer Patrick Murphy worked with Efron on his diet for the film, which consisted of all-organic whole foods. Every two weeks, Murphy changed both the caloric intake and the ratios between proteins, fats and carbs. He supplemented Efron’s diet with unflavoured whey protein, which contained no additive ingredients and had the Hollywood star drinking a minimum of 3 litres of water daily. For the most part, food consisted of chicken, turkey breast, fish, egg whites, brown rice, quinoa, nuts, seeds, avocado and all manner of vegetables.
Efron has always had a passion for fitness and his year-round, gym-honed physique is testament to that. But Baywatch was an extreme for the actor and as he’s since revealed, he couldn’t be happier to be out of that role and the diet it required. In the fourth episode of his Netflix docuseries, Down to Earth, the star visited Aritzo in Sardinia, Italy with his travel partner, Darin Olien. As they savour the local delights including a carb-fest that features the likes of homemade ravioli with parmesan sprinkled on top, Efron expressed how Baywatch impacted his relationship with food.
“I’m so happy that I’m eating carbs again,” he said to the table with food in his mouth. “I went, like, years without eating carbs.” The star then added, “When I shot Baywatch, I didn’t have a carb for, like, six months. I almost lost my mind. You need this. I still can’t get over how this diet of carbs and low protein is the exact opposite of everything any trainer has ever taught me.”
During the episode, Efron and Olien speak to the locals about the secrets to living a long and prosperous life, but for Efron it seems pretty clear that the answer lies in finding a happy medium between food and exercise.