Disney heart throb Zac Efron is paving his way as leading man in Hollywood. His newest role as a soldier in the romantic movie The Lucky One required him to transform his body into combat shape, and it wasn’t easy. The Men’s Health cover model opened up to the magazine about exactly what it took to make a believable Marine, and what he learned from these real life heroes along the way.
Efron and his director went to the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to meet with real soldiers to prepare for his new role. The vibe on base was all business and Efron was inspired, and maybe a little intimidated, by the soldiers who had experienced two or three tours of duty already.
“They were my age. 23, 24, even younger,” said Efron. “And most of the staff sergeants were not huge guys. They were about my height, 5’9″, 5’10”, some shorter, but all very stocky. And I’m there in a backward hat and Vans, walking around like I’m still in college. It’s much different from the lifestyle I’m living over here. Where do you start the conversation? I didn’t know what to say, what questions were inaccurate.”
Efron trained for 4 months, 5 days to week to prepare for his role, eating around 3,500 calories a day spread out over 6 to 8 meals with a heavy emphasis on protein for muscle growth- and when I say heavy, I mean heavy. Breakfast alone consisted of “A shake and, you know, an eight-egg omelet. I got used to it at the time, but I wouldn’t recommend it,” Efron admitted. “It’s not practical to do for a long period of time.”
While the regimen was tough, Efron loved seeing the results of all his hard work.
The GI Bill reimbursement benefits for veterans will now cover the expenses of the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association’s (NESTA) Personal Fitness Trainer Certification Program. A career in fitness seems like a fitting career path for many former servicemen and women, because physical and mental discipline are such an important aspect of military training.
“We are very pleased to now offer military personnel the ability to earn a Personal Fitness Trainer Certification through our tuition reimbursement program, which they can complete online at their own pace,” commented John Spencer Ellis, the founder of NESTA. “At NESTA, we truly salute the brave men and women who serve every day in the United States Armed Forces and thank you for your service.”
The online certification program consists of video lectures and a digital manual. The self-paced program is entirely online, and will teach personal training students how to asses clients, teach techniques and design fitness programs. The classes are concluded by a 100-question exam, which is also administered online.
If you haven’t heard the concept behind the hit new television show, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, then you have been missing out on a very inspiring show. This show follows a different obese person each episode as they complete one of the hardest challenges of their lives: losing weight and redefining their lives in one year.
This week’s episode featured Alex, who at 23-years old weighed 459 pounds, which made him morbidly obese. Alex had battled his weight since he was a young child. Although Alex has always loved the sport of baseball, he quit playing in high school because he was afraid of being made fun of due to his weight. His lack of physical activity and his love of fast food and hamburgers (one of his favorite meals: a hamburger with the bacon and cheese cooked into it and on top of it) showed a diet high in fat and calories that obviously lead to his obesity. Before his mother died from cancer 4 years prior, she made him promise that he would take better care of his health and lose weight. Alex finally decided it was time to honor his mother’s memory.
An Army Times article reported this week that soldiers are taking drastic steps to meet the military’s weight standards. Soldiers have admitted to taking diet pills and laxatives, starving themselves and getting liposuction in order to meet what some see as impossibly low weight standards.
“Liposuction saved my career — laxatives and starvation before a PFT sustains my career,” an anonymous soldier told the weekly paper. “I, for one, can attest that soldiers are using liposuction, laxatives and starvation to meet height and weight standards. I did, do and still do.”
Almost half of all uniformed men and women in the US Army do not meet the weight standards, according to a 2009 military fitness report, and those officers are then made to use tape measurements to determine body fat percentage. If the percentages are too high, the soldiers cannot earn promotions or hold leadership roles. A further failure to lose weight is grounds for job loss. More than 24,000 soldiers were discharged between 1992 and 2007 for failure to meet weight standards.