PF Quick Hits: Zac Efron's Unattainable Baywatch Physique, Dry September, and a Fat-Burning, Dumbbell Workout
If you were a big fan of Neighbors, or even Neighbors 2, chances are, you know Zac Efron. I’ve always associated him with being one of those terminally youthful-looking actors. Of course, he’s also known for being INSANELY SHREDDED.
Efron, now 34, is on the cover of this month’s Men’s Health magazine in the U.S. In an interview with the magazine, Efron spoke candidly about exactly what he had to do to look INSANELY SHREDDED for his role in the Baywatch movie in 2017. His comments are making waves (hee hee) on social media:
“That Baywatch look, I don’t know if that’s really attainable. There’s just too little water in the skin. Like, it’s fake; it looks CGI’d,” he says. “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.”
Beyond taking diuretics, he was overtraining and eating the same three meals every day. And he wasn’t sleeping enough; if filming stopped at midnight, he would still wake up at 4:00 a.m. to train. Initially he was excited about Baywatch—he thought it could be a fun action franchise, and he liked his character—but the recovery walloped him. Efron says he doesn’t want to sound like he’s complaining, but he’s opening up now because he wants people trying to obtain the Baywatch body to know how devastating the process was for him, and how long the ill effects of his training lasted.
“I started to develop insomnia,” he says, “and 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.” Six months after the film wrapped, he finally began to feel right again.
My initial reaction to this was, “what the heck is Lasix?” A quick Google search revealed it as a drug used to treat fluid retention from extremely serious conditions like congestive heart failure. I don’t think the inventor of Lasix intended it to be used to by actors to add that extra something to their abdominal definition. Kudos to Efron for calling this out so people understand what it took to for him to look like this.
Efron’s comments underscore the inherent problem with Instagram fitness culture. We have no idea what goes into making fitness influencers’ bodies look so good, aside from what they reveal on social media about workouts and diet. Maybe it’s filters and Photoshop. Maybe it’s abuse of prescription drugs or steroids. Or maybe, just maybe, they actually are that ripped. Whatever the case, it’s not attainable for the vast majority of people, and it’s not worth the time or mental capital to chase unrealistic body aesthetics.
“Dry September” Didn’t Last Long in Our Household
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My wife and I took time off over the Summer for our wedding. Predictably, we both put on a bit of weight during a time of celebration. In addition, having broken my ankle on vacation, I suspect I’ve added a few more pounds during my period of forced rest (I’m avoiding the scale). With all the talk of weight gain, we decided we’d avoid alcohol for September.
We’re not heavy drinkers, but we enjoy a drink or two a few times a week. For this year’s “Dry January,” I made it 27 days without alcohol. So close! Dry September wasn’t as successful. My willpower broke after five days.
Upon reflection, we decided that maybe we took the wrong approach. I believe exercise should enable you to enjoy your diet, within reason. So why take an absolutist approach? Cutting out alcohol entirely isn’t realistic. It’s something we enjoy. Instead, we should refocus on our overall diet, and make sure we’re eating generally healthy, with a few cheat meals here and there.
Workout of the Week: “The 12 Dumbbell Exercises of Burning Fat Fast”
This week’s featured workout comes courtesy of Blue Star Nutraceuticals. I discovered this one earlier in the summer when I was looking for a total-body, dumbbell circuit workout. It actually reminded me of a dumbbell-based version of the first circuit workout I ever tried out way back in 2010, which used both barbells and weight machines.
This workout does require access to both lighter and heavier dumbbells. As an an example, I use eight or ten pound dumbbells on the low end (overhead tricep extensions), and 45 pound dumbbells on the high end (deadlifts/bench press), with some other weights mixed in. But you could effectively do the workout with one light set of dumbbells and one moderately heavy pair (ex. 20 pounds).
If you’re doing the workout at home, you may want to make at least one modification: the dumbbell Y-raises require an incline bench. I simply skip that exercise, or if I’m feeling frisky, replace it with pullups. On the lunges, you can also modify to step backward instead of forward (reverse lunges), which is easier on the knees.
The workout is designed to be done as two circuits. However, it’s very flexible. You could go a little heavier, do it for one circuit, and call it a day. Or, you could add on a third circuit and go lighter. Whatever the case, you want to make sure you’re keeping proper form—if you can’t, lower the weight.
I really like this workout as a change of pace. Before my injury, I was doing it about once every two weeks. Circuits are great for both building strength and burning calories.
Alex’s Rating: 5/5
Lasix is also used in racehorses to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage -- seems like a bad idea in horses or humans. This was a really eye-opening post. Thanks for sharing ... and I totally agree on the moderation front!