I Tried Zac Efron’s “Baywatch” Diet And Workout For Two Months And This Is What Happened

Hey y’all, certainly this isn’t Zac Efron. Just an average guy trying to get his Baywatch on.

I moved to New York in September last year, and spent the following six months eating and drinking whatever, whenever I felt like. I know, I know. I’d try and justify my unhealthy food by saying, “I’m new here. It’d be wrong not to try and eat whatever is local, right?” and my friends would shake their heads. “Taylor, you’re eating Hibachi, what even are you talking about?”

Disclaimer: If you want a quicker way to get the Baywatch star's body, check out the ZAC EFRON SUPPLEMENTSThis was my choice, pursuing fitness for my own personal goals and desires. Fitness and health lifestyle choices and changes should always be run by your physician. This challenge required drastic changes to my diet and fitness, so it might not be for everyone.

I’d be eating a diet full of 90% processed foods with some greenery thrown in there every so often. As if occasional lettuce and salad could get rid of the unhealthiness I was downing before it. To give you an idea of how deeply friend and processed food oriented my diet was, check out my GrubHub history.

Since moving, my exercise routine wasn’t exactly normal. I’d been working out only sporadically since I’d moved, making it to the gym a good four or five days on a solid week. But on other weeks… I’d only make it out once or twice. Inconsistency in the gym and in your diet can be a recipe for disaster. For me, that meant leading a diet and lifestyle that led me to being more out of shape than I ever have been.

The other night, I stumbled on this picture. It was the weirdest thing, but it just clicked. I finished ordering pizza when I came up on this picture of Zac Efron post-Baywatch filming.

Honestly I have a hard time with paparazzi but s/o to this dude 🕶

A post shared by Zac Efron (@zacefron) on


I got stuck staring at it for a minute, kind of wondering how in the world someone gets their abs to be so tight. How they got to be carved in stone, how they got to be such solid muscle with those protruding veins?

OK, ok. I had to know how I could do it, how I could get in that kind of condition. I told myself, “Taylor, You’ve gotta get it in gear. Stop being lazy and do whatever you need to do to get in shape.” And then the doorbell rang, and my pizza arrived. So the time for change was briefly put off.

After the pizza was gone, it was time to do a little research. Thanks to the research, in fact, I reached out to the guy who actually trained Zac Efron for Baywatch. Patrick Murphy, the physical trainer, created a workout guide and total body workout for the film, but he also agreed to help me out for a few weeks and see where we got. To see how fit I’d get.

First part of the game plan was to write every single thing I ate in a food diary, so what I put into my body could be evaluated.

Are you surprised my food diary was loaded with General Tso’s chicken? Patrick was, and he wasn’t so pleased. He created a list of things that needed to be off my diet, off my plate, and out of my food diary. Here’s that list:

  1. General Tso’s chicken
  2. White rice
  3. Sourpatch kids candy
  4. pulled-pork sandwich or BBQ
  5. M&Ms
  6. Chocolate-covered cashews
  7. Chipotle burrito bowls
  8. Chocolate cookies
  9. Pita bread or sandwiches
  10. Teriyaki sauce
  11. Cheeseburgers
  12. Hot dogs
  13. Wine and other alcohol

The goal was to get rid of the foods that weren’t nutritionally beneficial. In other words: get rid of the bad calories and crummy treats. Thankfully he didn’t let me flounder alone afterwards; he gave me a list of recommended nutritious foods so I could build a list of the ones I wanted to eat.

  • Fruits
    • Blueberries
    • Strawberries
    • Cranberries
    • Apples
  • Proteins
    • Egg whites
    • Chicken breasts (lean poultry)
    • Salmon
    • Tuna
  • Grains
    • Brown rice
    • Quinoa
  • Vegetables
    • Spinach
    • Kale
  • Drinks
    • Black tea
    • Green Tea
    • Water

We started in the gym with an evaluation. Which is to say, so Patrick could know how much I could handle without exhaust fumes.

Day one went about as well as you could imagine. Trying smaller weights surprised me at first, like, “These are cute little things, this will be easy.”

Oh, how wrong I was.

With these little weights, the exercises were actually pretty hard. Precise, perfect reps were what he encouraged, so my arms were wiped out. And fast! For the rest of the first workout, I had my ass handed to me over some little weights. So, can you imagine how tough day two might be?

Month One

It takes a minute to get used to exercises like this, the right way. Repetition and muscle memory help, but you just have to put the time in. Patrick was good and patient, letting me figure it all out before introducing new routines, heavier weight, or otherwise.

His patience and how slow we went actually made me feel better about the workouts and the challenge. When I was in the gym alone, I could use the mirrors to make sure my form was on point. Small but critical details, like keeping your abs tight, made a world of difference. And repetition helps them become muscle memory!

To keep the diet ever-changing, Murphy had me begin doing “intermittent fasting,” which is when you pick an eight-hour span during the day and you only eat during that period.

This led to me going to bed earlier to avoid late-night temptation, and for the first time in several years, I was getting eight hours of sleep on a regular basis.

Now, about that diet. To keep it from becoming stale, Patrick encouraged intermittent fasting, which is when you pick an eight-hour span and you only eat during that period of time. But hey, it totally helped some. It kept me from staying up and eating, and it actually helped pinpoint my late-night eating habits. Not only that, but it encouraged me to take care of my sleep hygiene too.

The first few weeks were really rough, but my stability and endurance definitely improved. Doing exercises with cables, resistance bands, weights, and using my body weight, I was able to get on the right track. We then moved into exercises with full-body routines, using proper alignment, posture, and stabilization in order to make sure that my body was affected the right way.

Let’s face it: most of us are concerned about our abs. Me, too. So though I’d seen subtle changes in my body already like more energy, my jeans fitting looser… I didn’t see any abs, so I was kind of concerned or worried I wouldn’t.

“Hey, when do we do the crunches and sit-ups so I can get all ripped?”

That comment made him laugh, because he told me we wouldn’t be. Using those exercises is good, but we wouldn’t be doing crunches at all. Instead, we’d be working on spinal flexion that makes your abs pop. And he assured me, they’d pop.

Month Two

Progress starting coming the next month. At least, that’s when it was visible, finally!

During week five, I noticed that if the lighting was just right, I could see a couple abs coming in. In week six, my face had lost the puffiness it’d had at the start. My cheekbones were more distinct and different muscles I hadn’t seen before started popping up all over my body. By the start of week seven, I felt firm, tight, lean, and more defined, as if I might finally be getting close to reaching a minor level of being ripped.

Week five is when I noticed a change in my abs in particular. I could see a few of them coming in, but I figured the rest would come. The next week, I started losing the puffiness in my face that had been there when we started. Muscles kept popping up over my body, and by week seven I was feeling like a lean mean fighting machine. And definitely more defined.

Staying within the diet we’d constructed did require a lot of attention though, and some adjustments.

When I craved anything for my sweet tooth, I’d swap to berries or dried and unsweetened fruit. I’d swap soda out for green tea or KeVita Probiotic Tonics instead. No. More. Soda! Unfortunately, there was a spot where I was munching chocolate covered cashews on the daily, though. There are some days when you go to grab fruit and wow. You end up with a handful of chocolate covered nuts, it’s over. There’s not much you can do on that one.

So, I curbed my chocolate addiction and my sweet tooth. Some days you go to grab a banana, but then you make eye contact with the chocolate-covered almonds and it’s over — resistance is futile.

The finish was important, so I took a page out of Zac Efron’s book and went 9 days of no sugar, and no carbs. Only organic grass-fed and free-range protein. Patrick was on board, suggesting I attempt a diet of nothing but meat and greens for the last nine days of the challenge.

For my protein and meats, I limited my meals to chicken or salmon, with a side of spinach or another green vegetable. Low and no-carb diets are done in short spans when people have extreme bodily composition goals. Or, they want to cut weight quickly. But know that it’s not a sustainable, long-term diet. It gets old fast, and boring even quicker. During that time, some of my cravings got stronger.  However, at the end of the nine days I did survive. So there’s that.

And finally, it was time to look at my progress.

So Zac Efron's Baywatch Diet CLEARLY WORKS!

At the beginning of the challenge, I weighed in at 192 lbs. Seven to eight weeks later with the help of Zac Efron’s Baywatch trainer, I was down to 171 lbs. I feel better in ways I didn’t know I felt poorly in, like my endurance level was way up. My shoulder pain was gone, too. And that’s near-magical, considering the length of time it’s hung around. It’s been amazing to see my body reach this level of fitness, and be in this good of shape.

All it took was some dedication, and working out with Patrick’s regimen once or twice a week. Following the nutritional guide was almost as important, if not more so. I don’t think I’ll keep this diet up because it’s honestly not sustainable when you love food, but I do intend to follow the 90/10 rule. Which is to say I’ll eat what I want to support my body composition goals with 90% of the time, and then the rest? I can eat what I want.

While it was fun to reintroduce my taste buds to Skittles and Taco Bell, my body wasn’t thrilled with me.

My body wasn’t thrilled with what I put back in it after the diet, either. Skittles and Taco Bell are no longer staples in my diet, and my body says thank you! As soon as I started eating these things again after Patrick’s guide, I felt the effects. Oh boy, I felt them. I want to eat more in line with my health goals and bodily composition goals (like you know, abs and all). Work out hard, indulge in your favorites, and maybe some day we’ll all look like Zac Efron. Maybe not, but hey, the challenge does wonders on your body.

This is a recap of this BuzzFeed Article


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