With his dazzling Hollywood smile and superstar physique, you could be forgiven for thinking Dwayne Johnson was born to walk the red carpet, all the while carrying the weight of being cinema’s go-to action hero. In truth, The Rock struggled through considerable challenges in his youth: bullying, depression, the realization that his pro football career was never going to happen, and the end of his wildly successful wrestling career.
The way the 50-year-old has conquered the big screen belies all of those struggles. Across The Fast and The Furious, Baywatch, Jumanji and more, so much of 6ft 5” Johnson’s appeal is in his powerful, purposeful demeanor. That makes staying strong – physically and mentally – and injury-free all the more important.
RSNG asked The Rock for seven ways in which The Rock he achieves this...
1. The Water Boy
While protein, dairy and greens are at the heart of empowering the body with the energy to perform, Johnson says nothing is achievable without proper hydration. When the star took ownership of bottled water company Voss in 2019, he revealed he consumes a colossal 15 liters of the stuff every day.
“Zero fat, zero sodium, zero carbs, 100% hydration,” he says. “There is nothing like water and the thing that kicks for me is it’s an instant boost, both to the body and the mind.
“I can’t go to the gym without being fully hydrated, and I will have regular toilet breaks throughout any workout. If you’re not doing that, you’re not hydrated enough.
“Being hydrated reduces injury risk, not just physically, but in the way it makes sure you are switched on and alert to where you are, how you are pushing your body. Water gives me balance and perspective.”
What I’ve come back from is evidence enough for me to say that you can always move on – you can always turn away from adversity
2. Channel Rock-Solid Optimism
Johnson has been open and honest in referencing the setbacks that have befallen him over the years. On each occasion – and sometimes not immediately – he has drawn upon his reserves of optimism and positivity to drive him forward into embracing the next challenge.
“When my pro football career went, after a period of feeling sorry for myself I decided that I was going to look at life in the most positive and optimistic way possible,” he says. “On top of that, I was going to try to help other people feel they could accomplish their dreams too, because what I’ve come back from is evidence enough for me to say that you can always move on; you can always turn away from adversity.”
3. Be Patient And Use Visualization
For someone built in the extremities of form and power, it’s interesting to note that The Rock uses visualization techniques when it comes to plotting a path through a workout.
“It sounds so simple, but build yourself up from a sensible level,” he begins. “I always think of my sessions like I am uncoiling a spring. At first I am tightly coiled and I need to respect my body in that way, gradually pushing further and further into stretches and lifts.
“As I build into my workout I visualize the coil becoming looser until, by the end, it fully extends into almost a straight line and I can power my way through the later stages of what I am doing.”
4. Step Into The Gym With Confidence
The Rock was bullied in junior high school and suffered with low self-esteem for many years. Because of this he has always made a point of instilling intense self-belief in his children. “When you empower others, you empower yourself,” he says. “I did that years ago when I turned away from the bullies and got my life going; but at times when you give that positivity to others it reinforces it inside yourself.
“So you need to believe that you are good enough and that you can accomplish what you set your mind to do. You've also got to learn how to block out all the noise and all the things that distract you from your dreams and ambitions.
“You've got to listen to that little voice inside you that tells you that you can realize your dreams.”
Repetition doesn’t shock my body – it keeps me strong and it steers me away from the commotion of doing too many different things
5. Get Into A Routine
Regularity is a central aim for The Rock, whether he’s at home on his farm in Charlottesville, Virginia, or away on a film or TV project.
“I really enjoy exercising – it's part of my daily lifestyle. It's not necessarily about being very muscular all the time, I just like having that structure to my day.
“It doesn’t matter where I am – when I get up in the morning, I have this need to get active whether it's doing cardio, or yoga, or Pilates, or jogging, or meditating. I anchor my day around those activities and it gives me this incredible feeling of energy. And the more balanced I am, the sexier I feel!
“Mostly, this form of repetition doesn’t shock my body. It keeps me strong and it steers me away from the commotion of doing too many different things, as that’s how I’ve picked up big injuries in the past.”
6. Take A (Short) Break
We’re all human, and even The Rock has days where energy levels drop. That’s when he relies on stepping back, both to recharge his batteries, and to use the opportunity to reflect and recognise how far he has come.
“Have a break – use the time to retune yourself mentally, and put the physical stuff to one side. Success in the gym is in the mind anyway, so train that as hard as you do your body.
“At the same time don’t take too much time away – remember, self-discipline is a big part of it. There will be a lot of days where you don't feel like going to the gym, when you can’t face lifting weights, or doing cardio or going jogging, but that's exactly when you will get the most out of it. Mostly, you need to have that discipline.
“So stay hungry and ambitious. I'm as hungry today for success and accomplishing great things as I've ever been… maybe more so because I've already had a lot of success and I want to keep that momentum and go beyond what I’ve already accomplished. I want to keep raising the bar, even if that means taking a break first.”
7. Work Towards A Goal
The Rock respects the idea of aiming at a certain goal. “Not only is having a clear goal about pushing to achieve something, it’s also about knowing when to stop. In the past, I’ve become injured because I’ve not had an end point – you just keep on going and going until your body cracks, and that’s bad.
“So know what your target is – short-term and long-term.”
WHAT NEXT? Read the RSNG interview with another Hollywood strongman, Dave Bautista, here…
Photos: Shutterstock, MovieStillsDB