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.