Diet MythbustingFood Science

How Many Calories Does The Rock Eat? The Rock Diet

The internet is a vast expanse of questions.  Pulling up answers for about 3.5 billion questions per day, Google has seen it all, from the unloved questions to the most burning queries, not the least of which being the pressing question, “How many calories does The Rock eat?”  A Hollywood behemoth, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is not just a real-life muscle monster. Beginning his career in World Wrestling Entertainment (more commonly known as WWE), the six foot five, 260 pound giant is not only a Hollywood star loved for his roles in “The Fast and the Furious” and other on-screen gems, but a star admired as a role model as well.  Known for his off-screen persona as much as on, Dwayne Johnson is looked up to for his well-known penchant for hard work and his famous fitness regimen, leading many to wonder about his dietary habits too. How many calories per day does The Rock eat? The internet has an answer.

The Short Answer

More than a normal human being – or maybe a human being, period.  While gearing up for his role as the eternal hero Hercules, The Rock’s diet has been extensively storied.  And while we understand that during this time he was preparing for a physically intensive role, there’s not much difference between Hercules-Rock and normal-Rock.  Suffice to say, we can assume there’s not too much deviation in his diet from the pre-Hercules era, and that’s even without taking his Instagram account (with its photos of mountains of food) into consideration.  So, how many calories then? Let’s start with the piles – or rather, pounds – of food first. The Rock eats about ten pounds of food per day. At the time of Hercules, the protein end of his diet was rather fish-heavy, and included what would have been a cumulative total of more than one-third of a ton of cod.  And that’s not all.  

Starting about five am, The Rock consumes the first of his daily seven meals.  This includes not only a ten-ounce cod filet, but two eggs and two cups of oatmeal (granted, keep in mind this is a sample diet from 2015).  The rest of the meals throughout the day contain similar ratios of protein, fats, and carbs, consisting largely of more eggs, steak, chicken, vegetables, potatoes and such.  A meal plan from the time showed the daily totals for part of his diet at 36 ounces of cod, six cups of white rice, four cups of vegetables, two salads and one dozen eggs – along with other carbs and meat, and a couple healthy doses of amino acids and protein powder.  So, how do the calories stack up? According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average American man in his forties (The Rock as of January 2020 is 47) eats about 2,700 calories in a day.  How many does Johnson eat? On his Hercules diet, 5,165.

What will happen to me if I eat 5,165 calories?

Unless you’re working out like The Rock, or are The Rock, you’ll probably gain a whole lot of weight.  The reason Dwayne Johnson can eat so many calories – healthily – in a day is because he is also in the gym six days a week for two and half hours each day.  It’s not a surprise – one doesn’t need to be informed that The Rock lifts a lot of weights if you happen to have seen a picture of him. That said, the science behind it goes back to the concept of working a caloric surplus or deficit depending on your body’s needs.  For bodybuilders, excess calories are necessary to build new muscle. Additionally, the resting metabolism of muscle is higher than that of fat – so even simply maintaining massive amounts of existing muscle is more calorically intensive than with a lower muscle mass ratio.  Needless to say, The Rock is not only a bodybuilder, but he is also not your average bodybuilder. Maintaining and building over 250 pounds of mostly muscle mass requires a lot of calorie intake – much more than the average person. Meanwhile, for the average person who wants to lose weight – The Rock’s diet (caloric-total-wise) is definitely not the way to go.

Things to Consider

In case you’re wondering how many calories you should be eating, the USDA has a handy calculator for figuring out just that.  Building muscle, such as The Rock does, generally requires a caloric surplus. Losing weight, meanwhile, usually requires a caloric deficit – meaning you intake fewer calories than you burn.  So your ideal calories (not The Rock’s) will depend on your body, your lifestyle and your goals.  Additionally, there’s an important point to make about Mr. Johnson’s diet.  While he intakes lots and lots (and lots and lots) of calories, the food he eats is made up of lean meats, whole foods, lots of vegetables and almost no junk.  Likewise, regardless of the fact that he’s aiming for a caloric surplus, the meals are still balanced between protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Eating even a normal amount of calories in pure junk food per day would likely result in malnutrition at best and other (potentially serious) health problems at worst.  Food is the fuel for your body – and quality matters whether you eat 5,000 or 2,000 calories a day. 

The Thing You Don’t Want to Know

While we may not be able to relate to The Rock when it comes to his daily intake (or fitness routine), we can definitely identify with the idea of a cheat day.  This is the part where everything we just discussed goes out the window, because that’s the idea of a cheat day. That said, it seems somewhat unfair to consider that – if you consider what his average is – the day he lets himself go is no less of an astoundment.  Add to that the fact that cheat day foods are usually higher in calories, and The Rock’s Insta-cookie-piles alongside his rather healthy but – again – huge portions of sushi are a sight to behold.  Beyond his other epic photos of piles of pancakes and boxes of pizza, the internet is also buzzing about The Rock’s 15,000 calorie cheat days. Cheat days can be a healthy way to let out cravings without busting your whole diet, but again, doing caloric totals Rock-style is not recommended.  

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a behemoth, and he eats like one.  For those of us who are still human, we’re probably going to be coming in with lower caloric totals.  The Rock’s accomplishments, however, in fitness and health may be enviable goals worth allowing to inspire us to our best work as well – especially when you consider how many cookies he’s able to eat on his cheat day.  

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