After watching Hercules, Dwayne Johnson wanted you to walk away with only one notion in your mind: that you just saw the biggest, meanest, baddest and, most importantly, most definitive version of Hercules ever to hit the big screen.
Most of Hollywood’s action stars would have a harder time playing an ancient Greek demigod in real life than it would be for the mythical son of Zeus to do all 12 of his jobs at once. Even for Johnson, who already weighs 260 pounds and is 6 feet 5 inches tall, it would be no easy task.
But he’d spent most of his life in the gym training to be a pro football player, a world-famous pro wrestler, and one of Hollywood’s highest-grossing movie stars of all time, so he had all the tools he needed to get through it.
Here, in his own words, Johnson shares how he trained for the role and explains why nutrition is the most important part of getting big:
Dwayne Johnson’s Herculean effort
To see the role of “Hercules”, Dwayne Johnson increased his training a lot. For six months, he trained six days a week and rested one day. Johnson would start each morning with a 50-minute cardio session. Then, depending on the day, he would work on a different body part. His legs were the only muscle group that received more than one workout per week.
Johnson would start training quite early, around 4 in the morning. While filming, he worked out and lifted before going to the set. He worked out about six days a week, and even when he wasn’t filming, he got up between 3 and 5 in the morning. just to practice.
Dwayne Johnson loved working out when the sun came up because it allowed him to “put on his headphones and get off the crazy treadmill that is everyone’s life”. He is 100 percent focused when he has his headphones on and listens to music. There is no wasted time or effort when it comes to Johnson and his weights.
He would train for about 90 minutes, or maybe an hour and 45 minutes. While other actors may slack off with their exercise schedules once they have a movie in the can, Johnson is among the minority who would hit the gym year-round.
“Working out anchors my day,” he says. “For me, exercise is my meditation, my yoga, hiking, cycling, therapy all in one. I love it. It makes me feel good.”
Dwayne Johnson will be the first to tell you that his hard workouts have helped him get physically to where he needs to be. But he also has a very strict diet before and while filming.
Still, he felt he had to step up his game for “Hercules.” So Johnson and his nutrition team created the ’12 Labor’ diet, which is high in protein, carbohydrates and fats, to ensure he was in the best shape of his life.
In general, Johnson eats six or seven times a day. He tries to have enough protein so that they can help with muscle growth. His diet is generally rich in protein, good carbohydrates and vegetables. Nutrition is quite important; its role cannot be emphasized enough in building the body.
For “Hercules,” Johnson underwent a 22-week diet. He would eat a bunch of egg whites, filet mignon, chicken, fish, oatmeal, broccoli, asparagus, baked potato, cream of rice, salad, and complex carbohydrates—all measured and weighed.
Johnson’s “Hercules” training and diet was all about hard work, discipline and balance. He had carbohydrates with every meal, so there was always a balance between proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Part of his daily regimen was taking supplements such as glucosamine, a variety of multivitamins, glutamine, branched chain amino acids and chondroitin. He also took a protein shake every day after training.
Dwayne Johnson trained for six months to get ready for the role of Hercules, which would have been challenging for even the most dedicated athletes and bodybuilders. The same was true for Johnson, who followed his grueling routine for the role and pulled it off admirably.
Whether his training and diet are sustainable for someone seeking long-term fitness is another matter entirely. If you want to get fit, you can definitely get inspiration for meals and workout ideas, but following Dwayne Johnson’s long-term plan wouldn’t be advisable.