Rock'ing For 30 Days

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

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Day 14: Valentine’s Day, Fishing, and My First TV Time

Ah, Valentine’s Day. When couples typically express their love for one another with chocolates, champagne, and romantic dinners.


My wife, of course, woke up to a box of delicious chocolates waiting for her. I, in return, received an adorable craft that my daughter and wife made, that I shall forever cherish. But there was no tasty treats for me this year. I faithfully stayed on the eating plan and didn’t waver. It’s worth noting that my wife has been quite thoughtful when it comes to not having anything to tempt me, and I suppose I’m technically the one to blame for bringing candy into the house. Even with an open box laying around today, I stayed strong.

An Arctic Expedition

The polar vortex continued here in New York City, with the temperature staying below zero for most of the day. Unfortunately, today called for food prepping, so I was forced to brave the elements to go shopping.

I walked several blocks to the fish market, to pick up 7lbs of my beloved cod. The walk along frozen sidewalks left my toes numb. I then visited the grocery store to get the remaining provisions before heading home to start cooking. I took my time, but within 2.5 hours or so I made 18 meals, or three days worth of food. The idea of not having to cook again until Wednesday night is glorious.

Honestly, the food preparation is the hardest part of this challenge. You’re tired and want to take it easy. You want to go to bed early every night so you’re well-rested when waking up at 5am. But every few days, you have a massive job of preparing 12-18 meals. It’s exhausting.

Baller-ific Like It’s All Terrific

Between the food prep, sleeping, and continuing to take care of my daughter and wife, I haven’t watched a minute of television in the last two weeks. Since I did my cooking throughout the day, I had a little downtime this evening as I ate my 10 egg-white omelet. What better show to watch then to start the HBO series “Ballers” starring a Mr. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

The first scene of the show is the Rock waking up and getting out of bed. As he does this, my wife says “I can’t believe you eat as much as that guy. He’s huge.” Neither can I.

How do I consume the same amount of food as this guy?!

How can I physically consume the same amount of food as this guy?!

If you liked Entourage (which I did), you would like this show. It’s basically Entourage with Athletes (Mark Wahlberg, the executive producer of Entourage, is attached to Ballers as well). The show is also conveniently 30 minutes long, which is about all the time I could spare while eating my eggs, followed by a protein shake and going to bed. Good times.

Daily Stats

Ah, rest day. Besides the walk to go shopping, very little activity.


Day 13: Mo’ Legs, Gym Jerks, and Mayor de Blasio Tries to Interrupt The Rock’ing Challenge

It has been an erratic winter here in New York City. It hit 70 degrees on Christmas day, and was extremely mild up until mid-January, when we had a historic snowstorm. It’s then been cold on and off. It has now gotten insanely cold. The temperature was forecasted to drop below 0° F.

The Mayor of New York Bill de Blasio shamelessly used this bitter cold as an excuse for what I can only assume to be an attempt to stop me from continuing the Rock’ing for 30 Days Challenge and issued a release telling New Yorkers to stay indoors.


Not to be stopped, I woke up at 6am and braved the cold to continue on with my workout routine as planned. My eyeballs might have ached on the walk there, but dare I say it was worth it.

Look at the gams on that one.

Yet another Leg Day has come and gone. I’m slowly beginning the accept the divine wisdom preached by the Church of Rock. Legs, by far the hardest workout, is also becoming one of my favorites. As your biggest set of muscles, you’re able to really hit them hard and heavy. I work up an intense sweat during legs, much more so than the other days.

While I don’t use any machines in my normal workout, the Rock uses a fair amount of them. They aren’t the best for building your balance and stabilizing muscles, but they are a safer way to lift heavy, which I am. And the upper portion of my leg continues to get bigger. I’m already looking forward to the next legs day on Tuesday.

Just One Plate?

As I constantly rant about, leg day includes a total of 625 calf raises. First I do 5 sets of 75 raises while standing with 25lb dumbbells in each hand. I then do seated calf raises with one 45lb plate for 5 sets of 50 reps each. It’s rough.

Today, as I was doing the standing raises, I took notice of the guy on the seated calf machine. He was in his 50’s and of an average build. He had four 45lb plates on the machine, and did 3 sets of 6-8 raises. I walked over to use the machine as he was finished and asked if he was done, which he affirmed he was. He asked how many plates I used as he graciously went to take his plates off. I told him one plate, at which point he mockingly said “just one plate.”

Yeah, just one plate, mofo. I already have 375 down, and another 250 to knock out. We’re all very impressed by your 24.

Don’t judge people at the gym, in any way. You have no context on what they’re doing or who they are. Evaluating people solely based on weight is misinformed, not to mention attaching so much importance to your weight alone is a recipe for injuries. And frankly, it’s just a jerk thing to do.

Daily Stats

The preset workout I used on the elliptical wasn’t as hard as yesterday. Going to go back to that one again. As it was pretty cold, I stayed home most of the day after my workout, and wasn’t wearing my Fibit, hence the inactivity.


Day 12: The Wrong Coffee, Superior Workout Apparel, and Strength in the Face of Children

I start every work day the same exact way. I get a large iced coffee, black, light ice, to drink at my desk. I’ve done this everyday for at least 5 years, and as it’s Rock-compliant, I’ve continued the habit throughout this challenge.

There is a Dunkin’ Donuts near my office where I have started going recently. The owner has gotten to know me, and recites the order to his employees before I even make it to the register. Today was no exception.

I arrived at work, took off my coat and got ready to start my day. I took my first sip, and tasted…sugar! I looked at the bottom of the cup, and sure enough, there were undissolved sugar crystals in the bottom. It wasn’t much, maybe one spoonful. And it didn’t greatly affect the taste of the coffee. I had just settled in, and wasn’t eager to go back outside in the 12 degree weather to walk several blocks to get a new one. I also wasn’t excited about skipping coffee altogether, as it’s part of my ritual. Seriously, would one spoonful of sugar be that big a deal?

Yes! Yes it would. Now was not the time to get lazy. I’m putting in all this effort, this seemed like a dumb shortcut to take. So I threw back on my mighty parka, and hoofed it back to DD to get a new coffee. I stormed into the place, yelled “This has sugar! The Rock doesn’t like sugar!” and threw it against the wall as hard as I could.

Oh wait, that’s not what I said. It was something more along the lines of “Excuse me, sir, there seems to have been a mixup.” Still, I proudly walked out with an unsweetened black coffee and the satisfaction of having made the right decision.

High Performance Fitness Gear

For someone who spends a lot of time at the gym, I have a pretty sorry set of workout clothes. I have exactly zero dri-fit shirts to speak of. I’m more of a “what free or old t-shirts do I own” gym-goer. Almost all of these shirts are cotton or blends, so there isn’t any fancy sweat-wicking action going on. Which means during these intense workouts, I need to change shirts in-between the cardio and weights, then put on a third for the walk home so I don’t stink up my coat. That’s a lot of laundry. It might be worth investing in some shirts I could wear throughout the entire workout. (And by investing, I of course mean buying the finest workout shirts that Target has to offer.)


The secret to a successful workout is proper apparel.
For example, I bought this shirt for $1 at an NBA sample sale in 2003.


That Cute Face Will Not Break Me

Yesterday I mentioned The Rock’s resiliency towards the temptation of candy. It reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from the TNT series he did titled”Wake Up Call.” In the show, he helped people struggling with different issues try and turn things around. One episode dealt with a troubled teenager, and at one point he brings her little sister out for ice cream to discuss how she’s being affected. Sitting in front of this huge ice cream sundae, it’s awkward how The Rock never touches it. At one point, the little girl even asks him to take a bite, and he tries to fake her out. Sorry little girl, even your smile can’t break The Rock’s iron willpower.

Daily Stats

After the success with using the Fat Burn workout mode, I checked the elliptical machine to find the hardest preset workout it had. There was one called “Get Fit” that got the heart-rate and calories burned way up, about 15% higher than the day before. Note my heartrate staying around 150 the entire session. A few days ago it was never breaking 135. I’m going to keep trying different presets to see how hard I can make things.



Day 11: Just a Hairless Ape, Sweet Potatoes, and No Candy Since 1989?!

Today was Back day. Working out my back is something I take seriously, because I’ve had terrible posture my entire life. You know that well-known image “Ascent of Man” showing the monkey evolving into a man? My natural stance is pretty much the second guy from the left. Walking upright, but hunched over.


So whenever I work out my back, I feel like I’m actively tackling one of my worst physical features. I’m putting in the work to take better care of myself and setting up my body to age gracefully. Bad posture is awful, and causes your entire body to deteriorate quickly as you get older. Ever since I’ve gotten in shape, my wife comments that I look taller, no doubt due to me not running around like I escaped from the zoo.

Sweet, Sweet Second Breakfast

After my eggs/cod/oatmeal buffet at the gym, my next meal is the one I have post-workout: sweet potatoes, cod, and mixed vegetables. I actually find myself looking forward to it all morning. That sweet potato is the only sweet thing I get to eat all month. I’m not a big sugar guy to begin with, but I definitely like having something sweet to enjoy every now and then.

I’ve made them two ways so far: mashed and cooked in the microwave. (Remember, I’m optimizing for cooking as efficiently as possible, not necessarily taste). Either way, you can’t go wrong with a sweet potato. Eight minutes in the microwave is almost as delicious as roasted in the oven. They are one of the few bright spots in this meal plan.

Silverback Without a Sweet Tooth

Just as I was spending the morning dreaming about enjoying something sweet, The Rock dropped a crazy fact on his Instagram today.

no-candyApparently he hasn’t had a piece of candy since 1989. That’s astonishing. What’s crazier is that he has a daughter that was born in 2001. Which means countless Halloweens, Valentine’s Days, and Easters have gone by, all without her dad having a piece of candy. That’s an insane level of commitment and frankly, not sure one I personally would want to follow.

A whole life without another Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? I shudder at the thought.

Daily Stats

I have terrible discipline around turning off my Fitbit tracking after the elliptical but before I sit down to eat. I’m so focused on my chow that I forget to stop it, and usually don’t until I start my weights, which is why almost every day you can see the dip for 15-20 at the end. Have to get better about that.


Day 10: Rough Hands, Loose Jeans, and The Greatest Purchase Ever Made

My paws are pretty beat up from this challenge. Granted, it’s winter here in New York City and my hands have a tendency to get a bit chapped every year anyway, but all this heavy lifting is taking its toll. And these are hands I already apply hand cream to several times a day and before I go to sleep. I have tried to workout with gloves before, but found they felt awkward, so that’s out. Not sure there is a solution here, as this seems to be a permanent condition of The Rock as well. Just the price you pay for being like Dwayne Johnson I guess.

Not Rock big, but approaching Rock rough.

Not Rock big, but approaching Rock rough.


I was about to type the word “wardrobe” to describe my clothes, but that isn’t quite reflective of my daily attire. I wear a pair of blue jeans and a black t-shirt almost every single day of my life. I’m also one of those “find a brand you like and buy a ton of them” kind of people. So almost all of my clothes fit exactly the same.

Now those clothes are starting to fit differently. The shoulders and arms of my t-shirts are starting to fit snugger than they did 10 days ago. My jeans are also hanging differently. They’re getting looser around my waist and hips, and a little bit tighter around the top portion of my legs. Looks like the two-times-a-week Leg Days are starting to show their effects.

Which makes me think. When Bruce Banner becomes the Incredible Hulk, all of his clothes tear off except for his jeans, which only shred below the knee. I guess the Hulk skips his lunges and leg presses on Leg Day.


So long, Stink-phones

As I ranted about last week, the bluetooth headphones I bought for this challenge have been driving me crazy. I finally got a new pair and used them for the first time today. They were absolutely glorious. Super light, fit great, and sound amazing. Made the whole workout much more enjoyable.

How did I find them? I googled “best headphones for working out” and found a conversation on reddit that mentioned this pair. So thank you reddit user MayhemMonkey for your solid recommendation.

Daily Stats

The quick summary: I’ve been pushing myself harder during cardio, and you can see the difference in a higher heart rate throughout.


Day 9: Bundling Up, Audio Books, And Why I Married My Wife

Dark mornings will forever remind me of two things: that first time you have to wake up early for the first day of school after a long summer break, and heading to the airport. For huge parts of my life, that would be the only thing that would get me out of bed early.

I’ve gotten used to waking up in the dark. It’s leaving the house in the cold that still gets me. Putting on shorts, a t-shirt, then warm-up pants, a hoodie, then a parka and gloves every morning is tiring. I should have waited until the summer to do this, then I could have just skipped to the gym in shorts, not a care in the world. Oh well.

The only thing more serious than this workout is my parka.

The only thing more serious than this workout is my parka.

Whisper in My Ear for Awhile

These workouts are so long, I’ve been finishing two or more podcasts each day. I decided to start going through my Amazon wishlist and buying the audiobook for each. I should be able to get through an average book in about 3 days. In the spirit of continued self improvement, the first one I chose was is The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.

I’ve listened to interviews with Ryan previously, so I had known the overall premise of the book. It’s about stoicism, and more broadly, how you choose to deal with the challenges and obstacles that arise in life. I’ve made it a third of the way through already, and I’m enjoying it so far. Mr. Holiday has a pleasant voice to listen to as you push through more than 600 calf raises (feel free to add that to the book jacket, Ryan).

The Genius of My Wife

Every night my wife watches me gulp down my casein protein shake. Short lesson: Milk has two main proteins, casein and whey. Casein is much more abundant in milk, and is digested slowly, making it ideal for taking right before bed. Casein is fairly thick when mixed with water, and gets thicker the longer it sits. So I usually add water, shake it up, then drink the frothy concoction in a few big gulps. It has no flavoring or additives, so it tastes like thick, foamy whole milk.

My wife wanted a taste, which I was happy to provide. Her immediate reaction was that I should add cinnamon, which would make it taste sort of like horchata (a popular Latin milky drink typically made with rice, vanilla, and cinnamon). I added some right away, and she was right! It made the shake much more delicious. Cinnamon also has it’s own health benefits, so from now on, this is how I’ll have my shake. My wife is brilliant. Call the Nobel Prize people!

Daily Stats

It may have been the loss of sleep, but I  forgot to set my Fitbit at the start of each section today. This meant I had to manually enter the workout times. All the information is accurate, but we lose the pretty dashboard graphic I usually display. I’ve also been told the stats are the “boring part of the blog” so I’m sure you’re all really broken up about it.


Day 8: Back on the Wagon, Eating Fast, and Tummy Troubles

After what felt like a lazy weekend, today was the official start of Rock Week #2. It was Chest Day, and actually found myself moving weight up from last week. There was definitely some noticeable increase in strength, especially on the incline barbell press (for some reason). Overall, it was a good workout.

I have lost all awkwardness around eating in the gym. Each morning I happily sit in the lobby, headphones on, munching on my oatmeal and smelly-ass fish. It makes me wonder why I felt weird in the first place. I remember author Tim Ferris once mentioned:

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

Not that I’m equating being fine with eating at the gym with the secret to living a successful life, but it’s good to get better at being uncomfortable. There are definitely a few moments around this whole challenge that have made me feel awkward. Honestly, even telling people I’m doing this felt a bit uncomfortable at first. But that was sort of the point. This whole challenge is about getting me out of my comfort zone. It’s working, and I’m glad I decided to do it.

PSA: Don't drop weights on your water bottle.

PSA: Don’t drop weights on your water bottle.

Eating like a NASCAR pitstop

I eat three meals while I’m working. Stopping every two hours can be disruptive, not to mention the time it takes to actually eat. In an effort to stay productive, I’ve been eating at my desk while “working.” But in reality, this is dragging out the meal while I’m not getting much done. So today I tried actually stopping to eat while doing no work. I either listen to a podcast or read a longer article.

This was immensely helpful. I ate each of my meals in less than 10 minutes each. Getting to around 30 minutes of eating time (along with heating up my food, etc) is more than acceptable. This seems so counter to how you’re supposed to approach eating in general. But this diet is more akin to fuel. As long as it feels OK to eat like this, I’ll continue to do it.

¿Dónde está el baño?

Considering the amount of food I’m packing away, I thought my stomach would have had more issues. When I tell people about this challenge, it’s actually one of the first things everyone asks about. (“Are you in the bathroom, like, all day?”) But everything has been surprisingly normal. Until today.

I don’t know if maybe some of the fish I ate was a bit spoiled, or if this was the result of eating the same meals yesterday but not burning through it with a workout, but my stomach wasn’t happy. Not that I had any pains or that my stomach hurt. But without going into great detail, one word sums it up: frequent. No es bueno.

Things got better towards the evening, so I don’t think it will be ongoing. I suppose we’ll have to wait until next Monday to see if it’s the rest day issue. Sounds fun.

Daily Stats

According to my heart rate throughout the week, it seems I’m already adapting to the cardio, so I decided to try one of the programs on the elliptical. I did one called “Fat Burn” thinking it would mix things up a bit. I checked my Fitbit, and it turns out that it did get me into the Fat Burn Zone for longer than I’ve been there previously (an extra 14 minutes). It felt easier overall, but those machine people seem to know what they’re doing.


Reflecting on Completing the Week One of the Rock’ing For 30 Days Challenge

Seven days. I managed to eat and train like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for an entire week.

I’m proud of that. This isn’t easy, especially when you’re fitting this sort of program into your normal life. I still work normal hours and I still maintain all of our family time together. And in addition to the eating and training, I’m shopping for and preparing 7 meals a day, plus still making meals for my wife and daughter. Being able to juggle all of this with only the occasional hiccup so far is motivating and inspires a confidence that I can always push myself to do more, and not make excuses for why I can’t get something done.

Not quite there. Yet.

Not quite there. Yet.

Where I Did Fail

There is one piece of this challenge I failed at so far. I want to blog this experience every day. I didn’t manage to write up any blog posts over the weekend, and instead got them done on Monday morning. That stinks. I want to do it every day. I just need to be more disciplined about making the time on the weekend. However, The Rock doesn’t blog every day, so I won’t consider it a failure of the challenge itself.

By the Numbers

I wanted to share some of the crazy numbers behind this week:

The Training
388 minutes of Weight Training (6.4 hours)

300 minutes of Elliptical Cardio (5 hours)
2408 Total Reps (including 1250 Calf Raises)

The Eating
16.1lbs of Cod
84 Eggs (70 egg whites)
36,155 Total Calories

~70lbs Total of Food

Physical Results

I’m shocked when I actually look at those numbers. It’s a tough workout, and an even tougher eating plan. So far I’ve gained about 1.6lbs. That’s nothing to compared to the amount of food I’m eating.

The physical changes are starting to be noticeable. I’m getting leaner and bigger at the same time. It’s especially apparent in my chest, shoulders, and quads. I’m not really a “post shirtless selfies on the Internet” kind of guy, but at some point I’ll likely share some before and after shots of some kind (tasteful, of course).

Alright Week Two, let’s start this thing.


Day 7: No Gym, My Parents Visit, and SoberBowl 50!

Today was the first rest day. I went to bed last night around 11:15pm, and woke up this morning at 8:30am. My body felt great when I woke up, and definitely appreciated all the rest.

The downside of waking up later was that I still needed to eat my 7 meals for the day. I had my first meal at the time I’m usually eating meal 2, so I was basically trying to play catchup all day.

The Folks Come to Town

My parents came to visit today. It was great seeing them, and felt good to have some normalcy to what has been an odd week. Of course, I had to continue eating every 2 hours, something my father thought was hilarious. There were definitely a lot of cod jokes to go around.

"Wait, you're telling me you don't even want a bite of cookie?"

“Wait, you’re telling me you don’t even want one bite of this cookie?”

I also had a big test of my willpower and resolve. We decided to take a walk around the neighborhood, and at one point stopped for some treats at famed Harlem bakery Make My Cake (one of my favorite places in the world). My mother bought a bunch of different cookies, and we got a table to sit around and enjoy them. Of course, there were no cookies for me, even though they looked and smelled delicious. My daughter was even describing them to me as she ate them (“Cookie. Chocolate. Mmmmm.”) With all the food I eat, I’m never hungry, but there is nothing very sweet on this diet. It was tempting, but I left having had no bites.

That walk did interrupt when I should have been eating. Between waking up late, and missing the meal while walking, I was way behind. I basically ate every 90 minutes or so for the rest of the day. Without a huge workout to fuel, it definitely felt like way too much food.

The Big Game

I should have started this whole challenge a week later! While I’m not a huge sports fan, I do love eating wings, pizza, and tasty beers. But this year there was to be none of that.

Thankfully our neighbors were having a party, so my wife and daughter went over there to get their snack on. I stayed home, prepping food for the week and watching the game. This is probably the first SuperBowl Sunday in recent memory where I didn’t have a beer. The closest I got to Superbowl snacking was putting some Frank’s Red Hot on my 10 egg-white omelet. Close enough.

Not the best SuperBowl food spread I've had.

Not the best SuperBowl food spread I’ve had.

Daily Stats

As it was rest day, and I tend not to wear my Fitbit in the house, there isn’t much activity. But it does show the walk to get cookies. It’s a good reminder that even when you aren’t working out like The Rock, it’s important to get moving every day.


Day 6: Sleeping In, Weekend Legs, and Being Inconsiderate

A life-long night owl, I managed to build a habit of waking up by 6 a.m. prior to starting this 30-day challenge. However, getting up at 5 a.m. every day all week has been rough. Today, since the gym opens at 7 a.m. on Saturdays, I decided to ‘sleep in’ until 6 a.m. And it felt glorious. I never thought I would get to a point where six felt late, or where walking to the gym after the sun has risen would make me feel like a slacker, but here we are.

Legs Day #2

As mentioned on Tuesday, The Rock loves Leg Day. So much so that he does it twice a week, including Saturday where he can take his time. Tuesday Me would slap me for saying this, but I get it now. After spending the week thinking about what your day has in store throughout the workout and trying to finish by certain time, it was nice to take my time, increase some of the rest periods a bit, and lift as heavy as possible. With this diet taking care of muscle repair and not leaving me sore, I enjoyed pushing myself.

This was actually the first time I had visited my gym on the weekend, after going there for almost three years. It was surprising to see that Saturday morning still had a lot of the same regulars I see throughout the week. Everyone got a later start, but they were in there nonetheless. It was nice to see that level of commitment.

Oh, You Had a Yoga Class?

There is definitely a lot of talk about this whole endeavor within our house. While I’m showered and dressed before my wife and daughter are awake, it’s hard to miss Dad cooking and eating all the time. The constant discussion has inspired my wife to get back into some of her routines that got disrupted when we became parents, starting with attending a yoga class every Saturday morning. Since this was a new thing, it completely slipped my mind. So I arrived home around 10:20 a.m., talking about how nice it was to take my time at the gym, at which point my wife reminded me her class started at 10:30 a.m. and she’d be missing it.

I’m a jerk. I need to be make sure I don’t become so singularly-focused on this challenge that I do this kind of thing again. The Rock is married and has a new baby. I like to think that even with being a rich movie star, he’s watching the clock on Saturday mornings to make sure he’s back in time to play with his daughter and let his wife go to yoga.

Daily Stats

Hey look, I died at 10:30 a.m. It turns out that when I got home and showered, I never put my Fitbit back on for the rest of the day. So we missed all the valuable data of how many calories I burned while I cleaned the apartment. Oh well.


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