I always find it amusing and rather insulting at the same time that so many Hollywood gossip journalists always jump to the steroid use conclusion when they see actors going through significant transformations.
Zac Efron is one such actor who went from teenage heartthrob in High School Musical to ripped lifeguard in Baywatch.
Of course, he had to take steroids for Baywatch was the immediate conclusion. You can only build muscle like that if you cheat in the process.
So, did Zac Efron take steroids?
Let’s see what we found out.
Who is Zac Efron?
Zac Efron is currently one of the big Hollywood stars who shot to fame for his role as Troy Bolton in High School Musical.
But looking at his IMDB profile  reveals that his acting career started many years before that with some TV shows and movies.
Efron was the co-star in a few comedy movies after High School Musical, which included Bad Grandpa with Robert Deniro and Bad Neighbors with Seth Rogan.
But it wasn’t until he was cast for the 2017 Baywatch movie that he underwent some drastic physical changes.
And that’s, of course, when the rumors started that he was using anabolic steroids to get that ripped.
Here at Total Shape, we’re always suspicious of such claims because we have seen what people are capable of.
And if you’re a famous actor with the budget of a Hollywood studio behind you, then hiring a team of trainers, dietitians, and nutritionists to work on your body 7 days a week for a full year isn’t a big problem.
But, we decided to do some research to see if there is some evidence of steroid use.
Zac Efron’s Physique
There’s one thing that stands out when you look back at his character in High School Musical.
He was slim, and certainly not a ripped bodybuilder. Check out Zac's workout routine here.
And we think that was by design because of the character he was playing. As a teenage heartthrob, he needed to be a character that teenage girls would fall in love with.
Teenage girls probably won’t hang up posters of an obese actor on their bedroom wall.
But they’re also less likely to do the same for an actor with huge muscles.
So, his physique at the time was slim with some 6-pack abs, and nobody raised questions.
Baywatch Era Body Change
If you’re old enough to remember the 90s TV show with David Hasselhoff, then you probably secretly watched the movie Baywatch in 2017.
Yes, I admit it.
I snuck into a late-night show on a Sunday night, and I may have watched it on TV again.
If you haven’t watched the TV show or the movie, then this is what it’s all about. You have a load of ripped male lifeguards, and extremely beach fit female lifeguards.
They spend an awful lot of time on-screen running in slow motion to an emergency and save someone’s life.
The Baywatch Cast
Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, was cast in the lead role, and Zac Efron would star alongside him.
Imagine a 6’4” The Rock made of pure muscle, starring a 5’8” skinny Zac next to his co-star. It sounded like a Laurel and Hardy kind of mismatch.
"Your personality is the most attractive. Underneath the rippling muscles is a caring heart. Congrats 2, the sexiest man alive - love you dawg!"
- Zac Efron tweet congratulating The Rock.
But Zac rose to the challenge and spent the best part of a year preparing his body through a strict diet plan.
Simultaneously, Zac trained with The Rock, allowing him to burn fat and gain more muscle.
And this was immediately noticeable when the first images of the movie production appeared, showing a new Zac weighing 30 pounds more through the pure muscle.
And this is where people immediately started reading between the lines and concluding that he took steroids for Baywatch.
A lot of this came from journalists who read too much into a tweet from Zac, where he mentioned that months of training had paid off.
These people concluded that it would take more than months. But in my opinion, 9 to 12 months of focusing on nothing else would make this change in physique entirely possible.
Is Zac Efron On Steroids?
To answer this question, we took a closer look at interviews and videos with Zac rather than do a really poor celebrity journalist job of hanging onto one word in a tweet.
Let’s look at the timeline first.
Some people have said that from the time of casting to shooting, there would only have been about 4 to 5 months for preparation.
And I would admit that building 30 pounds of pure muscle in that kind of time would be suspicious and a sign of anabolic steroids.
But there is plenty of evidence that it was probably more like a 9 to 12-month timeframe.
And this is something that would be possible.
Imagine if someone told you they would pay you millions to train with The Rock for 9 months and have the best dietitians and chefs advising you on your meal plans.
Yup that does make it sound possible.
His Training With The Rock
It took Dwayne Johnson many years to build muscle and become a WWE and Hollywood star.
Now I would guess that you could put anyone in the gym with The Rock for 5 days a week, and they will learn a thing or two about effective muscle building. It lets them skip the learning phase of the journey, allowing them to get into the thick of losing body weight.
Personally, I have seen skinny and obese clients team up with some bodybuilders and achieve their goals a lot faster. It's especially common for those just starting out with their bulking journey.
There is something highly motivating about training with someone who has had success.
How He Built Muscle And Burned Fat
Creating mass while at the same time burning fat, is something that the majority of bodybuilders struggle with.
In order to go through a muscle mass building plan, you have to take in more calories than you’re burning.
Otherwise, you’ll just lose weight, and you won’t see much of a change in your physique.
But the excess calories don’t just disappear. They are converted into fat and stored for future use.
That’s why bodybuilders go through constant cycles of bulking and cutting. They build up muscles and fat and then switch their diet and training routine to get rid of the fat.
But how did Zac build up purely lean muscle?
One explanation would be a cocktail of steroids, which the media seems fixated on. But there is another possibility.
He was likely training at the gym twice a day, which would have allowed him to shorten the bulking phase to a few weeks. He would then have been able to have regular cutting weeks to continuously stay on top of his stored body fat. This regimen could be brutal to people with no prior experience.
But there are some other things you would need to look at that could be an indication of steroid use.
Here’s what I mean.
Zac Efron's Physical Changes
We’ve broken this down into three sections based on some observations.
1 - His Face Definitely Aged
A lot of celebrity gossip jumped on his facial appearance in Baywatch.
It definitely looked like he had aged when you compare what he looked like during interviews before he was cast.
Steroids have a tendency to reduce the amount of collagen your body produces.
And that may have an impact on skin elasticity and make you look older as well.
But, there could be another explanation.
If you compare Baywatch Zac to Bad Neighbors Zac, then there is a bit more similarity.
He was meant to look older in both movies, and makeup would probably have had a lot to do with that.
Read More: How to Tell if Someone is Taking Steroids?
2 - His Jawline Also Changed
This is an interesting one.
According to some research, steroid use may change the physical shape of a man’s jawline . Some people say that this is the case with Zac Efron, which could be a symptom of his use of steroids.
However, I personally don’t think that it’s as severe as many people like to make out, with some celebrity magazines cherry-picking specific camera angles to make it look more severe. Some photos are even edited, yet the media continues to be attached to these to support their opinion.
3 - More Body Hair
If you look through older photos of Zac, then you’ll notice that he definitely wasn’t a hairy man.
There didn’t seem to be an indication of much chest hair, and he never really went with that slightly unshaven look.
A lot of his scenes in Baywatch were topless, and there definitely is more hair growth on his body.
I thought he might have shaved or waxed before Baywatch, but this new hair growth could also be a sign that he used steroids.
Is That Zac Efron's Body in Baywatch?
Yes, that is Zac Efron's body in Baywatch. He spent many months training twice a day at the gym and living on an extremely strict diet. Some clever makeup probably helped show off his ripped body, but the muscles are real.
How Much Weight Did Zac Efron Gain for Baywatch?
Zac Efron gained about 20 to 30 pounds for Baywatch. He did this through a workout routine that was at least partially created by The Rock, which seems to have helped a lot with Zac’s motivation as well
What body type is Zac Efron?
Zac Efron is most likely an ectomorph body type. For most of his teens and twenties, he was a slim build, and he probably didn’t have much trouble with piling on weight. But this would also have meant it was more difficult to gain mass for his movie career.
Final Thoughts on The Steroids Allegations
After some discussion, we cannot say for sure whether Zac took steroids for Baywatch.
Some of his physical changes could indicate hormonal changes, and it’s probably not beyond a reasonable doubt that he did it in order to gain muscle mass for the role in Baywatch.
At the same time, it would be possible to achieve what he did through intense exercise with proper support of safe and legal steroids. These supplements are combined to imitate the anabolic environment in your body and may help you transform your physique.