The Baywatch Body workout has gotten a lot of Google searches — and for good reason! Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario used the plan from personal trainer Patrick Murphy to prepare for their roles in the 2017 movie. It's been getting a lot of the buzz lately because … well, have you seen their bodies?! So I decided to put the Baywatch Body workout to the test to see if an everyday person like me could keep up without a celebrity trainer by my side.
Murphy offers two phases of the workout with each costing $149.99 with additional costs for meal guides. Since I wasn't quite ready to splurge on the full program, I hacked the system a bit and tried some of the routines that Efron and Murphy have talked about on social media. And while Murphy designed the workouts to be done in a full gym, I improvised at home because I’m still not comfortable going to a gym indoors during the pandemic.
For starters, Murphy listed a sample shoulder circuit with dumbbell front raises that seemed easy enough. So I eagerly grabbed my 5-pound dumbbells and got to work.
I did 15 reps of each exercises, and repeated the circuit three times. There are six workouts based on circuit training in Phase One of the Baywatch body workout. They focus on cardio, agility, balance, power and speed. So while this particular rotation focused on upper body, Efron definitely did more than just these exercises in one workout.
Dumbbell front raises
Start with your feet as wide as your hips and pull your abs in. Then lift the weights up in front of you as wide and as high as your shoulders. Lower them down with control.
Lateral raises with a cable
Since I didn't have a cable at home, I used dumbbells instead and started with my arms at my sides and then lifted the weights out to the sides and up as high as my shoulders. Then released them down.
So far I was loving this circuit! I started my overhead presses with the elbows bent and arms up in a goal-post position. I pressed my arms up overhead but still in front of my face so that I could see the weights, and released them down.
Lateral raises with dumbbells
This time, Murphy listed lateral raises with dumbbells, which for me was repeating the second step. At this point, my shoulders were really starting to burn, but I pushed on!
In interviews, Efron listed out exercises and typical workouts that he’d do with Murphy, including a lower-body circuit.
20 alternating jump lunges in one place
These are very challenging on the knees, so if you plan to follow this workout, feel free to modify by doing half jumps or eliminating the jump altogether. Start with your feet open as wide as your hips, and step into a lunge. Then jump to alternate the foot in front. This works the quads, hamstrings, and glutes all at once.
20 jump squats
Start in a squat position with your feet open as wide as your shoulders. Press down through the heels to jump up, then softly land with your knees bent. Repeat this 20 times.
60 mountain climbers
This is one of my least favorite exercises: mountain climbers. From a plank position, you’ll step your right foot forward, then your left and act like you’re running forward in place while staying in the plank position. Brutal!
Even as a personal trainer who considers myself in good shape, I had to modify this part and do these on my knees. This starts with a normal push-up but includes pushing up so hard that you can lift your hands off the ground and softly land back on your hands with your elbows bent out to the sides. This works the chest and arms even more intensely than a regular push-up.
Running up five flights of stairs
This was killer! I went into my apartment building's stairwell and ran up five flights ... and then I may or may not have taken the elevator back down.
One-leg squat hops using a TRX rope
Admittedly, I skipped this exercise. Not only was my body exhausted (and I had no idea how I’d repeat this circuit two more times like Efron!), but I also don’t have a TRX system in my tiny downtown Chicago apartment. Sorry, Patrick Murphy! But I did repeat this lower-body circuit twice more, and my legs felt heavier with each exercise.
One thing to note about the Baywatch Body workout program is that it’s based on doing a lot of repetitions of the same exercise, and then hitting those same muscles again and again. So I would advise doing the lower-body circuit coupled with the arms routine, and then either taking an active rest day (like a yoga class or a brisk walk) or doing a totally different workout. (I’m sure Efron barely had days off, but for the regular population, I’d advise giving your legs a rest day after that intense of a circuit with so many repetitions.)
In terms of diet, the saying “abs are made in the kitchen” definitely applies here. Efron ate a strict diet six days a week with one cheat day allowed. He ate only organic, whole foods (so no processed foods) and lots of lean protein. You can find out more about his diet in Murphy's meal guides.