Zac Efron says his ‘Baywatch’ body was not sustainable, suffered from ‘bad depression’ during training


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Zac Efron is taking a new approach to fitness.

The actor, 34, told Men’s Health magazine that he is no longer interested in maintaining the body he had in 2017 for “Baywatch.”

“That ‘Baywatch’ look, I don’t know if that’s really attainable. There’s just too little water in the skin,” he told the outlet. “Like, it’s fake, it looks CGI’d. 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, two to three percent body fat.”

Zac Efron said his “Baywatch” body led to depression in 2017.
(Ture Lillegraven for Men’s Health)

Efron told Men’s Health he felt depleted and struggled with “bad depression” during the intense training “Baywatch” required. Emerging from the 2020 pandemic, the actor felt he was ready to make a change to how he approached fitness.


“I started to develop insomnia,” he added in the magazine’s October 2022 cover story. “I fell into a pretty bad depression for a long time. Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time recentering. Ultimately, they chalked it up to taking way too many diuretics for way too long, and it messed something up.”

The “High School Musical” star made major adjustments to his eating and sleeping habits. Efron had been a vegan for about two years, which was seen on his Netflix show with wellness expert Darin Olien “Down to Earth.”

Zac Efron is featured in the October 2022 issue of Men's Health.

Zac Efron is featured in the October 2022 issue of Men’s Health.
(Ture Lillegraven for Men’s Health)

During the pandemic, Efron took a break from acting and moved to Australia.

“At one point, that was a dream of mine — what it would be like to not have to be in shape all the time,” he said. “What if I just say, ‘F–k it,’ and let myself go? So, I tried it, and I was successful. And for all the reasons I thought it would be incredible, I was just miserable. My body would not feel healthy. I just didn’t feel alive. I felt bogged down and slow.”


That’s when Efron took a different approach to his healthy lifestyle. Now the star is an avid foam-roller and enjoys starting his days off with an ice bath.

“It’s my favorite part of the day. 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 — you do not want to get cold,” Efron shared. “That’s the simplest philosophy: Anything you don’t want to do, make it a habit.”

Zac Efron shared that his masseter muscles got "really, really big" after suffering a jaw injury.

Zac Efron shared that his masseter muscles got “really, really big” after suffering a jaw injury.
(Ture Lillegraven for Men’s Health)

Efron also addressed “Jaw-gate,” when he was accused of getting plastic surgery on his face in 2021.

It happened after he shattered his jaw. He hit it on a granite fountain after running through his home in socks and slipping. Zac worked with a specialist and did physical therapy, but he explained that as his jaw healed, “the masseters just grew. They just got really, really big.”

The masseter muscles are used for clenching the jaw and normally work harmoniously with the other muscles in the face.


Efron shared with the outlet that he didn’t know about the plastic surgery allegations until he got a phone call from his mom, because he tries not to spend too much time on social media. “If I valued what other people thought of me to the extent that they may think I do,” he said, “I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this work.”

Efron’s latest project, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” will be in theaters and available for streaming on Apple TV+ Sept. 30.



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