Rock'ing For 30 Days

One Man's Journey to Eat and Train Like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Month: February 2016 (page 1 of 4)

Day 28: Proper Rest Day, Little Sleep, and How Tall is The Rock Anyway?

Today was the final day of rest before the final stretch. I woke up at 8am, clocking a total of 8.5 hours of sleep which was good. I have definitely not gotten enough sleep during this challenge. Proper rest is a big part of building muscle, and my goal had been to hit about 7-8 hours of sleep a night. In reality, it’s been somewhere between 6-7 most nights.

When you’re waking up at 5am, being in bed between 9-10pm is hard to do, especially with a family, meals to prep, and food to eat. Thankfully on Sundays I get to recharge the batteries a bit.

The Rock Never Stops

Considering The Rock wakes up at 4am to train, I’m sure he doesn’t get enough sleep either. I can’t imagine him being in bed between 8-9pm every night, especially considering he is on a film set so often. In addition to “eating and training like The Rock for 30 days” I should add “and not getting enough sleep either.”

How The Rock Rests - Running in Pajama Pants.

How The Rock Rests – Running in Pajama Pants.

The Top of The Rock

Whenever an article is written about the story, they usually include The Rock’s height and weight. His height is usually the number shared from his wrestling days: 6′ 5″. Inevitably the comments section includes a height debate about how tall he really is. Apparently many people believe that the heights in the WWE are overstated to make everyone seem larger than life. The man himself has stated in the past that he is actually 6′ 4″.

I currently measure about 6′ 3″. I have never met The Rock and have no inside information, so I have no idea how tall he is. But over the weekend I was watching an episode of his HBO series “Ballers” and there is a scene when he was walking down a field at night with his co-star Omar Benson Miller. Miller is a big guy at 6′ 5.5″ and 300lbs. Below is a screenshot, along with The Rock standing next to him.

Omar Benson Miller vs Dwayne Johnson

Omar Benson Miller and Dwayne Johnson

You can see The Rock is a bit short, but not by much. So he may not be 6’5″, but he’s likely around 6’3″. While we may be close in height, but he weighs in at 260lbs, compared to my 207lbs. I can’t even image being 50lbs heavier, all pure muscle. That’s a big dude.

Daily Stats

A lazy Sunday with the same amount of food yet little activity. It was glorious.


Day 27: The Last Saturday, Extending the Challenge, and Post-Challenge Blog Posts

Today is the last Saturday of the 30 Day Challenge. It’s an odd feeling to be at my last weekend. I’m on autopilot on this point, and aside from the pain of preparing all the food, could probably go longer. The eating and training routine I’m doing is modeled after what The Rock did to prepare for his role in the movie Hercules, and he did this for 8 months. It was suggested by someone that I should try doing this for a whole year. While I’m confident I could go past 30 days, I can’t imagine doing this for 8 or 12 months. Not so much because it is tough, but because it’s a bit of a rut.

Saturday Breakfast: Cod, Eggs, and Oatmeal, all eaten at the gym.

Saturday Breakfast: Cod, Eggs, and Oatmeal, all eaten at the gym.

There is little spontaneity in my life right now. No going out for brunch with my family because it’s sunny out, or stopping to get sushi for dinner when we’re walking around the city. I haven’t met up with anyone for a drink all month, and life is interrupted every few hours to eat. Unless there was some concrete goal I was working towards, like getting in shape for a movie role (tweet at me Hollywood!), I don’t know that I’d be willing to make that tradeoff “just to do it.”

Rock’ing for 30 33 Days

I started this challenge on February 1. It’s a leap year, giving the month 29 days. Twenty-nine days doesn’t have the same ring to it as 30 days, so I set this challenge for 30 days, which means my final day should be this Tuesday, March 1. It feels odd to end it mid-week. It also seems weird to stop the weekly workouts after two, and not finish the Arms, Back, and Shoulder workouts.

So I’ve decided to extend the challenge slightly, to 33 days. My last day will be Friday, March 4. I will get my a full body’s worth of workouts in, and my first day off will be a Saturday. That seems more fitting.

What Happens to the Blog?

I’m not sure what to do with the blog over the long-term. Immediately following the challenge, there are a bunch of posts I want to write really dive into specific topics from the month. Every day I’m trying to keep the daily log going, which doesn’t leave me much time to write more detailed posts on certain subjects.

So in the weeks following the challenge, there will be a post every few days covering the lessons I learned doing this, what I would do better next time, and what everyone should adopt from The Rock’s plans.

Daily Stats

In what was becoming a daily occurrence, I kept forgetting to turn on my Fitbit at the start of my workout. I remembered to start it before both phases today, but forgot to turn it off immediately following my weight training.

My Fitbit has been with me every step of the way on this challenge, and yet it doesn’t really care. It has no idea what I’m doing. It doesn’t remind me to start it, or better, start it itself. It doesn’t tell me to enjoy rest day. It’s totally passive, and it’s sort of annoying. “Smart devices” can be pretty dumb.


Day 26: Motivating Constraints, Shrugs, and Everyone Should Prep Food

Two days ago, my wife and daughter went to visit a family friend for a few days, and will be returning tomorrow. So I’ve been on my own, and let me tell you, things have been pretty crazy around here. Going to bed earlier, eating in silence, staying at the gym longer than usual. It’s been a real party!

One thing I have noticed is a waver in my discipline. When I wake up at 5am, I don’t have to creep around the dark apartment. I can turn on the lights and make as much noise as I want while preparing oatmeal and getting ready to leave. Being more comfortable has led to me taking longer to walk out the door though. Then as I go through my workout routine, I find myself taking longer rests and having an overall slower pace, as I’m not rushing to get home before my daughter wakes up. The same things happens when I get home, shower, and eat my next meal. I’m taking my time.

Having my family around forces the discipline. To get everything done and spend time with my girls, I have to stay on schedule. When things are more relaxed, so am I. We often think of constraints as reasons we can’t get things done, but they can also be the forcing mechanism that keeps things moving forward.

I miss them, and can’t wait until they’re home.

“Do You Like Doing Shoulder Shrugs?” -Shrugs Shoulders-

The exercises I’m doing tend to fall into one of three categories: the ones I love, the ones I hate (in a good way) because they’re hard, and the ones I am just sort of ‘meh’ about. They don’t feel extremely effective, and while I am physically pushing myself doing them, they are just sort of blah.

Shoulder Shrugs fall into that last category. They have such a short range of motion and feel awkward. I do them diligently, but don’t love them. Whenever I feel my enthusiasm drifting, I just imagine The Rock yelling at me to FOCUS!

A video posted by therock (@therock) on

Value of Food Prepping

Eating like this for the last 26 days, I’ve really come to appreciate the benefit of prepping all my food in advance. By spending a little over an hour cooking, I don’t have to worry about making food for 3 days. I don’t have to decide what I want to eat at each meal, since it’s already prepared. And there is no temptation to make poor eating choices, since I made the decision about what to eat days before I was hungry.

WWE Wrestler Triple H shows his 3 day food prep. I feel you, bro.

WWE Wrestler Triple-H shows his 3 day food prep. I feel you, bro.

After this challenge, I will definitely be making more food in advance. Considering I won’t have to prepare 16 meals at a time, it will seem like a piece of cake!

Daily Stats

My battle to keep the cardio intensity up continues on. This was one of the most intense settings I’ve used so far, and never cracked 150BPM.



Day 25: Looking Like The Rock, Worldwide Emails, and Cod Expertise

I decided to do this 30 Day Challenge as a test of my own dedication and work ethic. The Rock famously wakes up at 4am and does these workouts before most people get out of bed, then has a full day of being the highest-grossing actor in the world. I wanted to see if I could find that level of discipline.

I didn’t do this for the physical effects. I have no desire to be huge like The Rock. Even if I did, 30 days of eating and training isn’t going to get you there. This is more like a training for a triathlon. The motivation is the challenge, getting in shape is a benefit.

As I was looking for a photo of The Rock for a blog post, I stumbled on this photo.

Presented with no source or explanation.

Found on Google and presented here with no source or explanation.

I have no idea where this photo came from, or when it was taken. Google tells me he got his tribal tattoo around 2003, so it would be before that. But this seems a bit more inline with what I think would be a good goal for a normal, desk-dwelling dad such as myself. So maybe when people ask “are you trying to look like The Rock?” my answer will be “yes, but at some unspecified time in the early 2000s”. (If anyone knows when or where this image is from, tweet at me).

The Challenge Heard ‘Round the World

Two days ago AskMen wrote up an article about the challenge, which was then syndicated on Business Insider. It absolutely exploded in popularity. Yesterday alone this website hit a record of 32,000 views, and the traffic came from all around the world.

It was exciting and motivating to get tweets and emails of encouragement from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Brazil, and many others. There should be no doubt that The Rock is loved around the world.

So Why Cod?

The most common questions I get are about the cod. It’s definitely the craziest piece of this challenge that jumps out at people. Interestingly, I also get a lot of questions about good alternatives for cod. Either for price, availability, or sustainability reasons, cod can be hard to get. This does make me question why people are asking. Are they just planning to add some to their diet based on this? Or are some people planning to try this eating and training challenge themselves? If anyone is serious about giving it a go, get in touch.

To answer the question of why cod, it’s because cod has a high protein to calorie ratio, and has low levels of fat. If you’re looking for an alternative, just google “Cod nutrition” and look at the nutritional information. Then google another fish you’re considering, and see how it compares. Most white fish, like pollack or whiting, are fairly close and make good alternatives.

Daily Stats

I forgot to start my Fitbit during weights again, finally setting it about 20-30 minutes in. Need to stop doing that.


Day 24: Parental Snacking, A Special Cod Treat and Hand Relief

It’s rare to have an extended period of time where you are eating exactly the same thing every day and each bite is measured and accounted for. Obviously I am eating a lot of food each day (10lbs worth!). But that’s also all I’m eating. I haven’t had one bite of anything else besides those meals. No snacks, no booze, no soda. Nothing.

When you struggle with your weight, as I have most of my life (I was one lean toddler!), one issue is usually not being fully aware of everything you actually eat. A bite here and snack there adds up in a way you often don’t realize. I’ve noticed this a lot being a parent. When I make food for my daughter, I often grab a few bites along the way. Washing berries? Eat a few. She didn’t finish a sandwich? I’ll eat it, it’s only a few bites. She wants a cookie? Great, I’ll have one too.

As I’ve been doing this challenge, I realize how often I stop myself from eating a bit of whatever I’m preparing for her. I wonder if this is part of the reason I haven’t gained weight. While I’m eating more meals, I’ve also cut everything else out and increased my activity. Maybe I’ve been consuming more calories than I realized. After this, I’ll definitely be more aware of my mindless eating and don’t plan to return to that bad habit.

We Going to Red Lobster? Nah, it’s Coming to Us.

In my endless quest to find acceptable spices for my cod, I perused the spice shelf at the grocery store the other day. I had my eye on a Lemon Pepper version of Old Bay seasoning, but it turned out to have sugar. Then I noticed a familiar logo: Red Lobster Signature Seafood Seasoning.

This constitutes "treating myself" this month.

This constitutes “treating myself” this month.

I looked at the ingredient list, and it was generally just salt and spices. Granted it had a touch of an ‘anti-caking agent’ but it seemed like a worthy trade-off to mix things up. It’s delicious, and definitely made the fish more flavorful. I also bought paprika, as I guess if I go with some salt, paprika, and garlic, I’ll get fairly close to the same taste without the additive. I’ll report back once I try that.

Some Relief For My Beat Up Hands

Since the first week, this challenge has been rough on my hands. For starters, it’s winter here in New York City and my hands have a tendency to get chapped anyway. But hitting the gym and lifting heavy 6 days a week is definitely taking it’s toll. This past weekend, my wife had done some shopping before she met up with my daughter and me in the park. I remarked about my chapped hands, and she offered me some of the lotion she had just purchased. It worked amazingly well, much better than the Nivea I’ve been using.

Can you smell what the Rock is putting on his rough hands?

Can you smell what the Rock is putting on his rough hands?

Carol’s Daughter is a line of skincare products popular with women of color. This particular lotion is scented with”Sugared Strawberry, Island Mango, Egyptian Musk.” That description doesn’t even accurately convey how sweet this lotion smells. But it works so well. I’m going to look for another shea lotion. Not from Carol’s Daughter though, because I’m not sure “Almond Cookie” is much of an improvement. In the meantime, I’ll be the guy at the gym with the smooth, strawberry-scented hands.

Daily Stats

Cracked 4,000 daily calories for my 7-day average. I also turned on the tracking for the Weights a little late, maybe 15 minutes into the lifting, so it’s showing a bit short.



Day 23: The Rock Responds, Walking to Meetings, and Food Prep Improvements

Late last week, I posted the details about the Rock’ing Challenge on reddit, and the post was pretty popular. That led AskMenUK to write up a story about it, summarizing the lengthy discussions that took place in the reddit comments.

When they tweeted about the story, The Rock took notice and shared this with his 9 million followers:


Where’s the faith, Rock? And to question me on a Leg Day no less! Even 4400 calf raises later, doubt remains? Granted I only possess two of those 4 requirements (I excel at cussin’), but then again, I am only doing this for a month.

Of course, he did end it with the 100 emoji, which I’ll take as his full support for my journey. Thanks, Rock.

The Importance of Meetings

I had a meeting in Times Square this morning. That involved an extra mile of walking, 20 minutes (roundtrip, so 40 minutes total) of standing on the subway, then walking to and back from the meeting. All of this adds up to another 400-500 calories burned, so I had a big day again when it came to calories burned.

Cracking 4,000 calories every day is a good goal. My schedule is so tight that there isn’t much activity I can add just for the sake of hitting that goal if it’s looking like I won’t make it, but maybe I’ll try adding in some small things, like not using the elevator in my building, and see the kind of difference it makes.

Maybe The Rock is right, maybe 14 hours of standing on set is key.

Assembly Line Efficiency

I’m getting much better at the food prep. It’s a fairly well-oiled machine at this point. Instead of a focused hour to do it all, I space it out throughout the evening. As my family and I eat dinner, then I give my daughter a bath and put her to bed, there is constantly some rice being made or potatoes in the microwave. Then I do all the portioning in one shot. Each prep is now a full three days worth of food. I still stop at the fish market every two days for my beloved cod (three day old fish sounds terrible), but it’s become much easier to manage overall.

Let the daily portioning of the cod begin!

Let the daily portioning of the cod begin!

Daily Stats

My 7-day average for calories burned is awfully close to cracking 4,000 a day. I bet tomorrow it bumps past it.



Day 22: Three Weeks Done, Chest Day, and Weight Changes

I’ve officially made it past the three week mark. As has become a tradition each week, I thought I would share some quick stats of what the last 21 days has looked like:

The Training
969 minutes of Weight Training (16.15 hours)
900 minutes of Elliptical Cardio (15 hours)
7224 Total Reps (including 3750 Calf Raises)

The Eating
48.3lbs of Cod
252 Eggs (210 egg whites)
108,465 Total Calories
~210lbs Total of Food

Those numbers both shock and horrify me. Especially the amounts of eggs. I have a fairly meat and egg heavy diet to begin with and have always had excellent blood work. But it would have been great to do ‘before and after’ blood tests, to see what difference it would have made. It’s nothing I’m worried about, but it would have been cool to have some data behind it.

Get Your Bench On

It’s Monday, also known as International Chest Day (everyone likes to do chest on Monday’s and apparently The Rock is no exception). I haven’t done workouts that focus just on my chest since my 20’s, so it’s fun to do this for a change.

Everyone, including The Rock, does Chest on Monday.

Everyone, including The Rock, does Chest on Monday.

The last exercise is what’s called a superset where you do two different moves each set. This one involves doing 15 cable crossovers, then as many dips as you can, for 3 sets total. The dips killed me. I had nothing left by the time I got to them. I was all shaky like when I started doing them for the first time two years ago. Overall, it was a good workout, and I left feeling exhausted yet strong.

When I was done, I had the thought: I only have one Chest Day left. It’s crazy to think this challenge is almost done. While I’ll be happy to return a certain sense of normalcy in my life, it’s been a great experience. Having 2-3 hours every morning to yourself to focus on your workout, listen to podcasts and think about your life and direction has been amazing (every parent will especially understand the “time to yourself” part).

My Weight So Far

When I did the reddit post, no one believed I wasn’t gaining any significant weight. On the surface, I find it hard to believe as well. I weighed myself again today. I was 208lbs. Technically I was 206lbs on the very first day of this challenge, but for me, 2lbs of variance is common and happens almost every week. For most of this challenge I’ve been holding steady at 207lbs. The last time I weighed myself was last Monday, when I was also 208lbs. I suspect that extra pound comes from rest day. I’ll try again in 2 days, and I suspect I’ll be back to 207lbs.

The most boring chart this month.

The most boring chart this month.

Daily Stats

I messed up the Fitbit dashboard so the fancy graphic for the Weights section is missing, but the activity is captured on my Fitbit profile page.


Day 21: Breakfast of Champions, Dining Al Fresco, and Two Monster Walks

Ah, Sunday. It’s rest day, the only day I don’t have to wake up early to hit the gym. I slept until almost 9am this morning, giving me about 9.5 hours of sleep. My body clearly needed the rest, as I felt great (this is becoming a common feeling on Sundays). Of course, when you’re waking up at a time by which you’ve usually already eaten two meals, there is definitely catching up to do, and you’re running behind all day. I’m actually considering waking up early next Sunday, eating, then going back to bed just so I can stay on schedule.

Sunday Brunch: Two Bowls of Mush.

Sunday Brunch: Two Bowls of Mush.

Power Lunching in Central Park

As it was, once again, beautifully warm for late-February, the three of us decided to go to the Central Park Zoo. Located three miles from our apartment and with no other plans, we decided to take our time and walk there. I wasn’t sure how long we’d be out of the house, so I brought my next two meals with me. I threw them in the bag along with an ice pack, mentally preparing myself to eat them cold throughout the day. The chicken, fish, and vegetables weren’t bad, but cold white rice is by no means a treat. It’s hard, dry, and generally unpleasant.

Some cold chicken and rice in the Central Park Conservatory Garden.

Some cold chicken and rice in the Central Park Conservatory Garden.

It was so nice out, my daughter fell asleep in the stroller for over two hours. We never made it to the park, but had a great walk, even better conversation, and terrible meals (for me at least) to show for it.

Taking the Rest Out of Rest Day

The trip to the Central Park Zoo and back gave me two big walks today. This was my most active Sunday thus far, burning almost 900 calories more than I did a week ago. When you look at the stats below, you can see each walk consumed about 400 calories each, so that makes sense.

While the warmer weather is making it easier to be more active, I am glad I decided to do this challenge during the winter. Having to eat these meals while you’re out in the world is a challenge. And during the summer, our family would have probably ended a day like this by eating outside at a local restaurant. Not being able to do that due to this meal plan seems like a bad tradeoff.

Daily Stats

This is the first Sunday where there are exercise graphs on the bottom. Those two walks seemed substantial enough to include. You can even see a pitstop we took at a playground to let my daughter run around during the first walk!


Day 20: Late Employees, Fish Market Awkwardness, and Most Calories Burned So Far

On Saturdays, my wife has started attending a 10:30am yoga class, meaning I need to be home by 10:10am at the latest. Considering my gym opens at 7am on the weekend AND it’s Leg Day (the longest workout), I decided to arrive at the gym several minutes before it opened to ensure I had as much time as possible.

Which of course meant that the employee who opens the gym was late by almost 20 minutes. Standing outside the gym like a jerk wasn’t a great way to start a workout that I then needed to rush through. I was also then late coming home, which left my wife to have to rush out the door. Stupid New York Sports Club.

More Fish, Please.

As I do every two days, I made my run to the fish market this evening to stock up on more cod. While I eat more than 2lbs a day, that’s post-cooked weight, so I’m usually purchasing about 6lbs every two days. I guess curiosity finally got the better of the owner of the place, and he asked me “Is this your dinner? You’re here almost every day.” Instead of getting into the whole explanation of what I’m doing, I just said “Yes, I eat a lot of fish.” I imagine him looking at his sales reports next month, and not understanding why his sales of cod has plummeted.

When I got home and started the task of portioning out the fish into containers for each meal, I realized that every time I buy my cod, they put a stack of napkins and two forks into the bag. These guys are thinking that I’m eating 3lbs of plain steamed fish for dinner every night, which seems ridiculous until I realize it’s not that much different from what’s actually happening.


Burn in Hell, Calories

Yesterday I burned more calories than I had on any other day all month. Today I beat that number, setting fire to a total of 4646 calories. There were three main reasons for this. The first was that I upped the intensity of my cardio the same way I did yesterday. The second was that it was Leg Day, which is a monster. But perhaps most importantly, I brought my daughter to the playground.

It was unseasonably warm in New York today, at one point hitting 61°F. So my daughter and I headed to the park. We played at the playground for awhile, then ran around the lawn chasing birds and squirrels. By not sitting at a desk all day or being homebound by the cold, I was much more active than I’ve typically been this month. Even without huge workouts at the gym, it shows the importance of just getting up and moving.

It also made me realize that The Rock probably doesn’t have a calorie surplus on this plan. He’s much bigger than I am, his workouts involve much more weight, and for the remainder of the day he’s likely on his feet. When I can see a warm Saturday reach 4600+ calories burned, you can easily imagine him burning more than 5300/cal a day.

Daily Stats

In the calories chart, you can clearly see my workout, my trip to the park, then my walk at 7pm to the fish market. Even if you’re not working out like The Rock, stay active. It makes a huge difference.


Day 19: Business Meetings, Daily Goals, and Thermodynamics is a Lie

For the most part, my professional life doesn’t require many offsite meetings. I’m working on a few tech startup projects, and most days I’m sitting in front of my computer. I have two business partners I work with typically but during this month, I have been working out a co-working space closer to my apartment (not because of this challenge, it was just good timing).

However, today my two partners and I had things to discuss, so I planned to spend my day at their office in Midtown Manhattan. This meant I needed to bring all of my meals with me. So I showed up for the day, sacks of lunches in tow.

We spent the entire day in conference rooms. Every two hours or so, I had to excuse myself to go heat up my food and wolf it down. Nothing like stinking up someone else’s office with cod in the microwave for a change.

It was a bit awkward and jarring to the flow of the day overall. I wonder if this is what The Rock’s days look like. He’s shooting a movie, and every two hours, inbetween takes he’s shoveling in food. It’s a good thing I don’t have a job in, say, Sales, where I needed to visit customers all day and was forced to eat my cold food in the car. That seems…unpleasant.

Hitting Daily Goals, Still at the Gym

I’ve been faithfully monitoring all of my workouts with my Fitbit. It’s impossible to know how exactly how accurate it is, but for the heart rate at least, it does match up with the grip monitors on the elliptical, which is encouraging. Before this challenge, I had a daily goal of taking 10,000 steps. Now I’m hitting that goal most days while I’m still at the gym in the morning.

No amount of Rock'ing will change my petite wrists.

No amount of Rock’ing will change my petite lady wrists.

Challenging The Laws of Thermodynamics

The good thing about being on this eating plan is I know exactly what I’m putting in my body. When combined with the exertion information from my Fitbit, I’m getting a fairly good measurement on “calories in, calories out.” According to that data, I’m running at a surplus of between 1,000-1500 calories a day. I have yet to gain any weight, which is odd. I have never been a believer that losing and gaining weight is solely a function of calories, and that it is highly dependent on the foods you choose to eat. This challenge is supporting that view so far. If I were eating the same amount of calories at McDonald’s, I’m sure I’d be getting fat. Coincidentally, Morgan Spurlock ate almost the exact same number of calories every day while filming Supersize Me. Of course, he wasn’t working out during that time either.

We’ll see what happens during the rest of this challenge, but I predict I won’t gain any significant weight.

Daily Stats

I gave up on the preset workouts on the Elliptical and just cranked up the intensity. And it worked. I burned more calories today than I have on any other day of the challenge (almost 4,400) and that was mostly driven by the intense cardio.


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