“It looks CGI-ed”: Zac Efron was Pushed to a Dark Place After Rigorous Workout for Dwayne Johnson’s $177 Million Movie

Zac Efron deemed his swoon-worthy Baywatch (2017) physique unattainable, revealing how the training process pushed him into a state of depression and insomnia.

Zac Efron was Pushed to a Dark Place After Rigorous Workout for Dwayne Johnson’s $177 Million Movie

Hollywood superstars and their physiques are often the talk of town, with many impressionable viewers wishing to emulate it. When Zac Efron’s Baywatch body transformation was unveiled, most couldn’t believe their eyes—presumably because, as described by the star himself, it was an unattainable, unrealistic build. What was a bedazzling sight to many and an inspiration for a few became a nightmare for the 36-year-old actor.

Zac Efron in Baywatch (2017)
Zac Efron in Baywatch (2017)

In an interview with Men’s Health Magazine last year, the High School Musical alum revealed the devastating process behind attaining a metamorphosis like the one seen in the Dwayne Johnson starrer and how strenuous dealing with his regimen’s aftermath had been. The star went on to disclose the gloomy abyss he had been pushed to after the experience, which involved developing depression and insomnia.

The Brutal Aftermath Of Zac Efron’s Unattainable Baywatch Physique

Baywatch (2017) Credit: Frank Masi/Paramount Pictures
Baywatch (2017) Credit: Frank Masi / Paramount Pictures

The Efron and Dwayne Johnson starrer Baywatch is an action-comedy film released in 2017, helmed by Seth Gordon. The endeavor was poorly received on the critical front, leading it to be nominated for five Razzies. With 245 reviews, the actioner has a 17% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience’s score of 58% indicated that they favored it better than the critics.

Nevertheless, the pursuit proved a commercial success and amassed $177.9 million at the box office. It also brought forth Zac Efron‘s astounding, swoon-worthy physical metamorphosis for audiences to relish. At the time, with impressionable naivete, many had wondered how the actor achieved the look and how it could be emulated.

What they weren’t aware of was The Iron Claw star’s hellish training, diet (containing the three same meals every day), and diuretics intake that pushed him into a depressive state!

Zac Efron in Baywatch (2017) Credit: Frank Masi / Paramount PicturesZac Efron in Baywatch (2017) Credit: Frank Masi / Paramount Pictures

Talking to Men’s Health, Efron revealed how unrealistic and unattainable the Baywatch body type had been and how destructive its impact was on his emotional and physical well-being:

“That Baywatch look, I don’t know if that’s really attainable. There’s too little water in the skin. Like, it’s fake; it looks CGI-ed. And that required Lasix, powerful diuretics, to achieve. So I don’t need to do that. I much prefer to have an extra, you know, 2 to 3 percent body fat.”
He continued,

“I started to develop insomnia. And I fell into a pretty bad depression for a long time. Something about that experience burned me out. I had a hard time re-centering. Ultimately, they chalked it up to taking way too many diuretics for way too long, and it messed something up.”
It took around six months from the conclusion of Baywatch‘s production that the star could recuperate and start healing. It goes without saying that Zac Efron doesn’t miss his physique from the 2017 endeavor all too much.

How Zac Efron Was Able To Recover From The Baywatch Burnout

Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson in Baywatch (2017)Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson in Baywatch (2017)

Efron discussed in the same interview how he had to reevaluate his fitness and lifestyle because of the psychological and physical turmoil that came with achieving the Baywatch physique.

The actor even considered not always being “in shape.” He was adept at letting go when he received a window of time when quitting his regimen would be feasible. However, instead of feeling better about himself, the actor felt bogged down, slow, and unhealthy.

Following this, the 17 Again star turned to foam-rolling, stretching, self-massage, and yoga, which yielded better results. He also became a proponent of taking ice baths regularly. For a while, the actor’s resume was packed with jobs that didn’t require a specific, training-heavy build. Soon, though, it came time to train for the newly released and highly acclaimed biographical sports film The Iron Claw.

Stanley Simons, Zac Efron, Harris Dickinson , and Jeremy Allen-White in The Iron Claw (2023)The Iron Claw (2023)

This time around, he was able to commit to the role and transform into the on-screen portrayal of legendary pro-wrestler Kevin Von Erich. This the actor could do because he was motivated by the 66-year-old’s dedication to the ring. Talking to ET, Efron said of his training process:

“This movie’s a true story, and that man, Kevin Von Erich, right there, he really motivated me to get in shape for this movie. The physicality he brought to the ring every single day was really unique. It changed wrestling. I knew that was going to be the hardest [thing] for me to master and get right. So, I put everything I had into it.”

The actor is always up for a challenge, going to great lengths to stand triumphant. However, the celebrity has also learned the essence of focusing on his emotional and physical well-being post-Baywatch and finding the balance of not pushing himself to the edge.

The Iron Claw, starring Zac Efron, is in theatres now. Meanwhile, Baywatch is available for streaming on Paramount+.

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