Here’s How To Get Into The Shape That The Rock’s In
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is no average 44-year old. From his career as a pro wrestler to landing leads in top action films, the star has stayed in incredible shape for decades. There’s no magic pill for muscles like that—the actor puts in serious work in the kitchen and the gym. To get healthy and fit like The Rock, follow these tips to copy his diet and workout plan and maximize your own results.
Meal #1 – Pre-Workout
Dwayne Johnson hits nutrition just as hard as he hits the weights. The actor eats between five and seven meals a day, each one high in protein, fibrous carbs, and starchy vegetables. He often starts his day with 10 scrambled egg whites, three rice cakes, a cup of oatmeal, and 24 ounces of water. Reduce the serving sizes if you’re not as bulky as the Rock (yet) or used to his extremely high-calorie diet.
Meal #2 – Post-Workout
After a couple of hours, it’s time for your second meal of the day. Try grilled chicken breast, grits, yams, steamed asparagus, and water for another healthy dose of protein, fiber, and vegetables. The 6’4″, 270-pound star totals over 5,000 calories and 10 pounds of food a day, so he typically chows down on six ounces each of the chicken and yams and a cup each of the asparagus and grits for his second meal.
Meal #3 – Late-Morning
Johnson also relies heavily on fish to get the nutrients he needs, so meal three is a great opportunity to add some cod to your day’s menu. If you’re still keeping up with his caloric intake, you’ll want to prepare eight ounces of cod, two cups of rice, a cup of veggies, and a tablespoon of fish oil. Don’t forget another 24 ounce serving of water!
Meal #4 – Early-Afternoon
You’ve already had eggs, chicken, and fish, so switch it up in meal four with some red meat. Johnson may chow down on an eight ounce steak, 12 ounce baked potato, and spinach salad while drinking another 24 ounces of water at this point in the day. Don’t overdo it if you’re new to the plan—Sean Evans of Complex threw up after meal four when he tried to eat like The Rock for a day, so don’t be too proud to adjust the serving sizes to meet your needs.
Meal #5 – Late-Afternoon
You may need some inspiration to stick to your meal plan at this point, so check out this advice from Johnson himself: “It’s about getting enough protein to aid lean muscle growth, and everything is very precisely measured depending on what targets I’m looking to hit for that day. Lots of protein, good carbs, and veggies. Nutrition is so important; it can’t be stressed enough.” The star’s fifth meal may include six ounces of pork tenderloin, a cup of barley, six ounces of sweet potato, a cup of peas, and another 24 ounces of water.
Meal #6 – Early-Evening
For meal six, it’s time for another serving of cod. The actor typically eats ten ounces of cod, two more cups of rice, and a salad for his next-to-last meal of the day. You have another workout coming bright and early in the morning, so now’s the time to fuel your body for the day ahead.
Meal #7 – Mid-Evening
You’ll end your day much like it began, with more high-protein and low-fat egg whites. Johnson wraps things up with 10 more scrambled egg whites, three more servings of rice or wheat cream, another cup of oatmeal, and a final 24 ounces of water. Even if you did have to cut the serving sizes to better serve your body’s needs, pat yourself on the back. Seven meals in one day takes serious dedication, so you definitely have what it takes to chase gains like The Rock.
Foods To Avoid
When looking to build muscle, the quality of your food is every bit as important as the quantity. In one interview, Johnson shared, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to bulk up for a film. The wrong way is to eat as much garbage as you can for weeks on end, which actors have the tendency of doing. It’s unhealthy and puts an incredible amount of stress on your body, joints, tendons, and digestive system. The right way is to bulk up with good, complex cabs and protein/fat sources.”
How To Train Like The Rock
Dwayne Johnson may be big, but he’s also lean. To keep body fat low, follow his lead by training six days a week, starting every training day with 30-50 minutes of cardio. The elliptical cross trainer is perfect for staying in shape while on the road, and it’s easier on your joints. After cardio, grab some breakfast before hitting the weights to focus on your muscle group of choice for the day: legs, chest, back, shoulders, arms, or core.
Training Day #1 – Leg Day
You know that muscle head in your gym who only seems to do bicep curls in front of the mirror? He could learn a thing or two from The Rock. The ultra-fit actor never neglects leg day, and neither should you. Incorporate dumbbells, cables, barbells, and machines for a varied workout. Aim for three to four sets of 10-20 reps of barbell walking lunges, leg press, leg extensions, barbell squats, Romanian deadlifts, seated leg curls, and thigh abductors.
Training Day #2 – Chest Day
You’ll want to give your lower legs a break after yesterday’s leg session, so switch your focus to chest today. Johnson favors pyramid structured sets, which means you’ll move from high reps of lighter weights to lower reps at a heavier weight. Start with a weight you can do for 12 reps, then go heavier for 10 reps, and even heavier for 8 reps. Dumbbell and barbell bench press, flat bench cable flies, dumbbell and barbell incline press, and cable crossovers will allow you to get a well-rounded workout to target those muscles.
Training Day #3 – Back Day
After you’ve hit your daily hour of cardio and enjoyed a healthy breakfast, it’s time to focus on those back muscles for training day number three. Start with four or five sets of lat pull downs. Alternate between wide grip and close grip to keep your muscles guessing, and decrease the reps as you up the load each set. Finish out back day with one arm seated rows and back extensions.
Training Day #4 – Core Day
Although Johnson doesn’t stray far from his weightlifting routine, he does make subtle tweaks to accommodate his upcoming movie roles. When discussing his role in San Andreas, he explained, “That role required a lot of core strength, so I did a lot of rope work and some water-based and bodyweight work.” For core day, begin with three sets of 25 reps of double crunches, bicycle crunches, and reverse crunches, and add in some of that rope work and water-based exercise to get The Rock’s rock-hard abs (pun intended).
Training Day #5 – Arm Day
On arm day, make sure you don’t cheat your workout by compensating with other muscle groups. When hitting exercises like tricep push-downs, barbell bicep curls, cable tricep extensions, preacher machine curls, and alternating dumbbell hammer curls, remember this advice from Johnson’s trainer, George Farah: “Only use your arm when you’re doing the workout. You see a lot of guys that take the cable and start using their body. Keep your back straight and up.” Excellent form is key for a good muscle pump on arm day.
Training Day #6 – Shoulders Day
Finish out your training week with one more hour on the elliptical before hitting your shoulders. Start with three supersets of dumbbell lateral raises and dumbbell front raises. Move to the machines for some seated military presses and rear delt cable raises. Finish your day and week with some hammer strength shrugs and the four way neck machine. Congratulations! You’ve hit every muscle group this week and, with a little consistency, you’ll have the body of an action hero in no time.
Exercises To Avoid
A bodybuilding routine is centered around organized sets of increasing, decreasing, or consistent reps. It’s crucial that you keep moving, so avoid weights or reps that are so high that you have to rest longer than a couple of minutes between sets. Johnson told one reporter, “My workout is constantly changing and adapting, but for the most part, I do 4 sets of 12 reps with a 60-90-second rest. I don’t play around in the gym. I always aim to be the hardest worker, and I make sure I clang and I bang to the best of my ability.”
Putting in the work to look like a bodybuilding, pro wrestling, action movie star is no joke, so you’ll need serious dedication to eat and train like The Rock. Once you do it, you’ll see serious gains in your health and your life. Dwayne Johnson told one interviewer, “I treat training like a metaphor for life—the dedication, the determination, the desire, the work ethic, the successes and the failures—I take them all into life.”