Preparing for a new role can sometimes be a difficult and tiring challenge, but despite this, as we’ve seen from his most recent movie, Zac Efron did rise to the occasion and managed to nail it.
In fact, pretty much all actors in The Iron Claw had to undergo intense training to play their respective roles; however, it is apparent to the naked eye how Efron took the effort to the next level. But just because Zac could do it, it doesn’t mean that everybody could or should.
Fitness experts SET FOR SET is aware of both the benefits, which are primarily aesthetic, and the challenges of such a journey, and while it is always advised to keep in shape and take care of your body, to go to such lengths is not advisable.
In fact, to achieve the amount of muscle mass we see in the movie, a person does not only need to exercise and lift weights; it is imperative to bulk.
Bulking means increasing your caloric intake and combining this with intensive weight training to increase strength and muscle mass.
To start bulking, it is essential to consume more calories than your body needs to properly function during the day, approximately 20% more, experts from SET FOR SET say. This will increase your weight gain by 0,5% circa each week.
Efron’s training program, combined with a high-calorie diet rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, included a mix of old-school bodybuilding and Olympic lifting, a challenge not for everyone.
But why do experts not recommend other people try it?
- Bulking is hard, and without the help of professionals, it can be damaging
If your goal is to gain muscle mass and improve your strength, for sure, you’re entitled to try, but experts do not advise taking it to the lengths it was taken by Efron.
This is because unless you’re an actor or a professional bodybuilder, there is no practical reason to put your body under that much pressure and stress, as it can lead to catastrophic results that cannot always be easily reversed.
Now, it is important to underline that if done correctly and followed by experts, then not only is it possible, but there’s a high chance you’ll reach your goals.
However, it can be pretty tempting to pursue this journey by trying to keep it cheap and make it quick.
Some of the significant side effects of bulking done wrong are unwanted fat gain, high cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer.
- Gaining muscle mass can easily become unhealthy, both physically and mentally
One universal rule of focusing on a goal of whichever nature is to pursue it healthily and without the expenditure of your well-being.
As bulking can be a challenging and long journey, embracing its toughness with determination and a positive mindset is essential while acknowledging and respecting your limits.
Pushing both your body and mind to the extreme to achieve unattainable results can be damaging in the long run, and to “become bigger” can become an unhealthy obsession.
Efron himself has in the past commented on how bulking while preparing for a role can be taunting.
He revealed that while training for his character in Baywatch, his mental health was adversely affected, making the whole process even more painful.
For The Iron Claw, however, he changed his mindset completely, focusing on embarking on a healthier journey.
- Maintaining such a lifestyle can be more challenging than achieving it
Bulking is just the first of three stages of bodybuilding: the second one is cutting, meaning to decrease the body’s fat levels, while the last one is maintenance, to retain your muscle growth and provide adequate time for your body to adapt to your muscle growth and physical transformation.
Maintaining the physique achieved through extreme bulking, like Efron did to portray Kevin Von Erich, can be challenging in the long term.
While in this case the transformation was done for one single movie and it can be slowly and efficiently reversed, if your goal is to preserve this lifestyle, individuals might find it challenging to sustain the required level of calorie intake, leading to a yo-yo effect where they cycle between extreme bulking and cutting phases.