Is Zac Efron Using Steroids?

is zac efron using steroidsA recent photograph of Zac Efron as he appears in the new Baywatch movie recently showed up in a thread on Reddit. The haters and naysayers immediately began shouting “steroids” — you can read the comments under this part of the aforementioned thread.

Here’s a few choice selections:

  • At least 1000 calories of trenbolone. (trenbolone is one of the most popular steroids used by bodybuilders)
  • I can only imagine the steroids he’s on. Others are saying he looks like he’s on gear. I don’t disagree.
  • Steroids, my man, steroids. Very unlikely hgh (human growth hormone) since his other proportions haven’t changed, that looks pure anabolic to me.
  • Eat CLEN! TEST yourself! And never give up. Unless you’re out of Anavar (clen is clenbuteral, a drug used for fat loss, test refers to testosterone, and anavar is the trademark name for oxandrolone,  an oral steroid)
  • Test/tren/mast brah (trenbolone, masteron, and testosterone)
  • don’t be jealous. he has a personal trainer, personal chef, and the best steroids man can buy.
  • If you think this dude is natty…… Don’t.

That’s just a sample of all the hate that runs along the same theme — that you can’t look like this without steroids. Yeah, a bunch of people, for most of whom typing is the only exercise they get, who don’t know much about resistance training or nutrition, have decided you can’t look like this without chemical assistance.

Despite this overwhelming opinion, there were a few voices of reason commenting as well:

  • You don’t need drugs to get that physique. If you hang around /r/fitness you’ll see people doing this naturally all the time. It looks amazing and unattainable to /r/movies, because most aren’t educated on fitness. Eat clean (“Oh I can’t be bothered”), train hard (“I’m tired. I want to play video games”), and count calories (“no way I’m doing that!”). That’s why you see so many steroid accusations. They don’t follow the plan and then accuse every lean and muscular person of taking steroids.
  • It’s been two years since Neighbors. He doesn’t have much to do when it comes to body fat. He was already there, for anyone that saw that film. On the body fat part, he just had to maintain and continue what he was doing. In the last two years, most people here look the same. For him, getting paid millions for a role where the shirt must come off in front of millions, he worked out. He’s not Mr. Universe big either. His results are possible after two years of busting ass and sweating hard in the gym.

But these comments promote hard work, knowledge, and dedication, so of course most people poo-poo them.

Now I’m not saying Zac did or did not use performance enhancing drugs, but his look here is achievable naturally, although one probably wouldn’t be able to maintain it indefinitely. While it isn’t easy and it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and time in the gym, anyone can do it. Also consider that Zac is 28, which is still pretty young, and 5-feet 8 inches, a great size for bodybuilding.

frank zane at 5'8" 180 poundsThen there’s the whole practice of “peaking”. Peaking refers to the bodybuilding practice of getting into the best condition right at the time of the show. This “best condition” can only usually only be maintained for a few days and is uncomfortable. Despite how “huge” Zac looks, he probably only weighs in around 170 pounds or so.

The picture to the left is Frank Zane, one of the most popular bodybuilders of all time. Frank was 5-feet 8-inches tall and competed at around 185 pounds — which is about what he weighs in the photo here. Now there’s no doubt Zane used steroids (his nickname was “The Chemist” after all) but the point I’m making here is that a lean person with muscle looks a lot larger than his weight.

Chances are Zac peaked for a week or so, they filmed all the shirtless muscle scenes in that week, and then he went back to a more “normal” diet routine and likely smoothed out. From the thread:

When an actor needs to play someone especially ripped, they basically do the same thing bodybuilders do and cut food/water hard before each shoot. Brad Pitt did the same thing in Fight Club. He’s (Zac) basically like a bodybuilder in show form here, and they don’t stay that way for long because it’s unhealthy and kinda just unpleasant.

stallone in rocky balboa 2006

If you do a search, you can read about how Stallone did this for the film Rocky Balboa. He peaked, shot the fight scenes and workout scenes first, and then eased off and did the rest of the movie. That’s because it’s hard and uncomfortable to stay peaked.

Peaking generally includes restricting calories and fluid intake to maintain that dry, ripped look. Add in some lightweight resistance exercises before the scene, and you get a guy that looks a lot more pumped, veiny, and muscular than he does normally.

huge jacked man If you search for Hugh Jackman and his prep for shooting shirtless scenes for Wolverine, he talks about this too.

I want to add my opinion here that Jackman and Stallone most likely used performance enhancing drugs. Stallone has admitted to using testosterone and HGH. Although Jackman never has, for someone to be so lean and so muscular in his mid forties, there’s probably some chemical assistance. Maybe not, but unlikely.

But, again, Zac is only 28, still in his prime as far as muscle building goes.

So with that out of the way, let’s take a look at how Zac got that bod and why, despite his fame and busy schedule, it’s easier for him to do it that you or I. Which is not to say we can’t, of course, just that it’s harder for us since there’s so much involved.

Personal Assistant

No doubt Zac has a personal assistant, maybe even more than one. They handle his schedule, and part of that schedule is gym time, no ifs, ands or buts about it. Heck, it’s probably written into his contracts that a certain amount of time be set aside each day for him to workout.

Personal Trainer

Zac has a personal trainer. And not the personal trainer down at the gym who he meets up with when he shows up for a work out. He probably has a full-time personal trainer that travels with him. It’s this guy’s job to find a workout space that has all the equipment they need as soon as they hit the ground. He’s tracks everything Zac does in the gym, programs his routine, and makes sure the work gets done.

Personal Chef

I’d place money on Zac having a personal chef as well, maybe more than one. Like the trainer and assistant(s) this chef goes everywhere Zac goes. He (or she) and the trainer (and maybe a nutritionist) are joined at the brain to make sure Zac is getting the fuel he needs in perfect proportions to maintain the look he wants. This person spends all day cooking and packing delicious and perfectly proportioned meals for Zac to eat. And that’s all Zac eats. No snacks for Zac.


The nutritionist might be the personal trainer, it might be the chef, or it might be a whole separate person. But someone is preciously  calculating the nutrients, including macros and calories, in Zac’s diet to keep him looking good. This person might even be taking caliper measurements for body fat, or even ordering and interpreting blood tests to gauge levels of nitrogen (indicating catabolic state) or cortisol (a stress hormone).

Personal Shopper

This one is optional. It might be that the chef does the shopping as well, but he might be busy enough cooking and packing meals for Zac that he has a dedicated shopper whose whole job is to buy the food on the lists he gives him.

Looking Like Zac

So if you want to look like Zac, all you need to do is fill the roles of each of the positions above as well as put in the time under the iron and in the gym. If you can do this, you’ll look like Zac in 2 – 3 years. If you don’t have the funds–which most of us don’t–you’ll have to do it all yourself.

Hey, I said you could look like Zac. I didn’t say it would be easy.

That’s not to say you can’t make vast improvements in your health and fitness, as well as your appearance. Put in the time, put in the effort, gain the knowledge, do the work, and you can radically change the way you look even if you don’t have the resources of a Hollywood movie star.

And you don’t need steroids to do it.


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