The Rock Used This '12 Labors' Diet to Build Muscle Quickly for Hercules

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson comes in many forms—the Men’s Health cover institution is a philanthropist, a tequila maker, a father of three, ex-professional football player-turned-serial weightlifter, wrestler and a cheat day destroyer. At one point, he was also Hercules— the Greek hero and god at the forefront of 2014’s release of the same name, directed by Brett Ratner.

The film, while polarizing with critics, gained attention and press in other areas. Namely, The Rock’s enormous, battle-hardened physique that was worthy of Olympus itself. It was the result of a challenging task—to realistically portray an ancient Greek demigod — that was approached with a hardcore workout (more on that later) and a daunting shift in caloric intake.

Cue Dwayne Johnson’s ’12 Labors’ diet: an absolute behemoth of an eating plan that saw the six-foot-five Hercules star, consuming seven meals a day across a 22-week plan. “For ‘Hercules,’ I went for the demigod look: big and mean. When you’re playing a character like the son of Zeus, you only get one shot,” said Johnson.

“The intensity of the training was definitely up, as was the volume of training. I really wanted to make it the definitive version of Hercules. We wanted to make it darker in tone and we based it off Steve Moore and Admira Wijaya’s ‘Hercules: The Thracian Wars’ graphic novel, which is pretty dark.”

To help fuel this extreme workout program—which was almost half a year long—Johnson needed calories. Lots of them. In a Tweet from 2014, captioned: “our training is key, but diet is crucial”, the Rock shared the precise details of his immense meal plan. They were as follows.

“It was all about hard work, discipline, and balance. I had carbs with every meal, so there was always a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats,” The Rock explained. To help put this nutritional payload to work, Johnson dedicated an equally impressive amount of time into training.

“I start working out pretty early, around 4 a.m. When I’m filming, I do cardio and I lift before going to set. I train about six days a week, and even when I’m not filming I get up between 3 and 5 a.m. just to train. I love training when the sun is coming up because it allows me to put on my headphones and step off the crazy treadmill that is everyone’s life. I have my headphones on and I’m listening to my music, and I’m 100 percent focused. There’s no wasted time or effort when it comes to me and the weights,” he explained.

“I work out for about 90 minutes, or maybe an hour and 45 minutes. When I hit the gym, I’m coming! I train hard, I come to kick ass – clanging and banging. With something like “Hercules,” I was in costume and make-up for a few hours before shooting, so I’d have to get in the workout early.” According to, Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules chest workout looked a little like this:

Plus, his arms and abs session looks just as hardcore:

From: Men’s Health UK

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