Dwayne Johnson — whose action-epic Hercules opens later this month — is not a regular human being. Sure, he’s an exceptionally fit 41-year-old adult male, with nary a gram of fat on his 260-pound 6-foot-5-inch frame. But let’s call a bicep a bicep, shall we? No rational person (except the guy who played the Mountain on Game of Thrones) can ever look at the Johnson and think, That gigantic physical specimen blocking out the sun…he’s just like me.
Johnson has taken some time away from throwing locomotives at the moon to post the details of the “12 Labors Diet” — named, of course, after the dozen tasks Hercules was compelled to perform — he used to prepare for the role as the strongest man alive.
Got your knife and fork ready? Here are the broad strokes.
• Seven meals a day
• First up: a 10-ounce filet served with 4 egg whites and 5 ounces of oatmeal or cream of wheat.
• Meals 2 through 6 are variations of the following: 8 ounces of chicken or halibut, with white rice or baked potato, and broccoli, asparagus, or salad.
• The big finale is 30 grams of casein protein and 10 egg whites, scrambled with onions, peppers and mushrooms.
In an article posted on the website Bodybuilding.com, Johnson said he followed the diet “full on” for 22 weeks.
“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,” Johnson says. “Lots of protein, good carbs, and veggies. Nutrition is so important, it can’t be stressed enough.”
"It was all about hard work, discipline, and balance," he explains. "I had carbs with every meal, so there was always a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Then part of my daily regime was my glucosamine and then also a multitude of multivitamins. Then I had glutamine, branched-chain amino acids, chondroitin, and one protein shake a day, which I drank after training."
But steak and oatmeal? Appearing on ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie, Johnson said, “All you gotta do is cut up and mix it in.” He sees food as fuel, explaining that as six-year-old, his pro-wrestler dad told him: “I eat to nourish the body, not to please the tongue.”
Of course — and we hope this is obvious — just eating all that food won’t make you look like Johnson. You’ve also got to (sigh) lift weights. So. Many. Weights. To play the son of Zeus, Johnson embarked on a half-year training regimen (six days on, one day off) that typically began at 4 A.M. — even while filming.
This isn’t the first time Johnson has ingested extreme amounts of protein for a role. Speaking to USA Today about his diet for 2013’s Pain and Gain, he said, “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 carbs and protein/fat sources.”
For any brave/foolish souls contemplating such a diet: Be sure to first consult with your doctor and/or nutritionist. And perhaps a psychologist.
Hercules will open in theaters on July 25
Photos: Paramount; Dwayne Johnson/Instagram