Dwayne Johnson is preparing to enter, or rather storm off, into the DC Universe this summer in his role as Black Adam. Given his massive presence both on screen and in the world at large, it seems bizarre that this will be his first proper role in a comic book movie. According to the actor, he was patiently waiting in the wings for this role. Now he’s ready to turn the genre on its head.
“The training we did for this film was the most grueling thing I’ve ever done in my life,” says Johnson, whose goal was to surpass the bodies drawn by illustrators and rightly so to fans of the lesser-known character do. “I promise you this: The hierarchy of power in the DC Universe will change.”
To get the most out of his workouts amid a crazy schedule, Johnson teamed up with strength and conditioning coach Dave Rienzi to expand their already extensive program. Fueled by his personal energy drink ZOA, the workouts were the toughest of his career. ZOA Energy is the fastest growing energy drink brand in the country; today the company announced two new flavors to its growing portfolio of healthy beverages: White Peach and Tropical Punch.
men’s magazine spoke to the larger-than-life personality about his morning routine, the lessons learned at the gym, and why audiences should brace themselves to be shocked Black Adam.
men’s magazine: When was the physical preparation for Black Adam begin and what goals have you set yourself?
Dwayne Johnson: I started training for Black Adam when I came out of the womb. I think I was born to play this character. But to be honest, this project has been with me for 10 years now. The process started when we started to set up the material and really develop it into what it is today. After the launch date was agreed upon by our Seven Bucks production company, the rest of my team, Warner Bros. Studio and DC Comics, I began building an extensive training program with my trainer Dave Rienzi. I wanted to arrive here in the best shape of my career.
How was this training experience unique from what you have done in the past?
I’ve been a lucky son of a bitch over the years preparing for some really big competitions and games. That really started my college football career at the University of Miami. We were national champions and had the pleasure of fighting for the national title on two other occasions. It only got more intense from there, especially when I started my professional wrestling career. Got the green light for Black Adam was a unique opportunity to raise the bar even higher.
In this work with Dave, we wanted to bring a whole new philosophy and methodology to the way I exert myself in the gym. There is a lot of fine tuning in our joint training. Even when we’re not together, I keep sending him photos so he knows exactly where we stand when it comes to results. If necessary, we are making adjustments at the moment. He not only cares about the aesthetics, but also about my energy and how I feel.
As is Black Adam different from what we’ve seen in comic book projects so far?
Superheroes live by a code of ethics and a line of integrity. But with Black Adam, depending on how you look at him, he has the ability to be a hero, an antihero, and a villain. One of the things that drew me to Black Adam is his heritage. He started enslaved. Anytime you have a character or human being who has been unfairly held down by others, it means so much more when they start to rise. Black Adam rises with a big frigging chip on his shoulder – and an edge. As we all know, in the traditional DC Universe, if you do anything wrong, Superman and Batman will try to bring you to justice. If you harm Black Adam, you will die. It’s that simple. I believe this character will bring a unique advantage to the superhero genre. We will turn preconceived notions on their head.
Many people look up to these superheroes. Who did you find motivation and inspiration from?
I went to the gym with my father. When I was five years old, he let me watch him train. I lifted my first weight when I was 12. After that, he took me out onto the wrestling mats and just beat the shit out of me. Back when I went to the gym with my old man, I dated some of the biggest, baddest guys in the world. These include my dad, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Tony Atlas, The Road Warriors. These guys came to the gym and put this motherfucker out. They didn’t care who was around or what was going on around them. Her focus was so intense. So training and hard training is in my blood. It’s in my DNA.
Looking in from the outside, it seems like you have limitless energy.
I appreciate that, but I can assure you that I definitely don’t. I have a lot of energy and I try my best to distribute it as best as possible. I believe that time is our greatest asset and resource – and I’ve learned over the years to use my time as wisely as possible, as well as my energy yield. I have to make sure what I’m doing is worth it in the end and helps keep my focus. It’s about balance. I know people hear that word all the time, but it really is true. You have to find the balance in your life. Everything needs energy. Our work, personal life, personal growth, relationships, education, mindfulness, mental wellbeing, mental health, physical fitness, and everything else. It can be exhausting, but I also try to save a bit for some other gear that other people don’t have. Sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth gear. I always have the next gear ready when it’s needed.
In order to release so much energy, you need the right fuel. How often do you eat and what is your nutritional strategy?
I eat between six and seven meals a day and try my best to balance them as much as possible with protein, carbs, good fats – and the occasional sugar at the right times of the day. Depending on my schedule—and my short- and long-term goals for the week, month, and year—it can be challenging. When I’m shooting a big movie, there’s a lot of dietary monitoring in addition to the responsibilities to my family. We work very closely with the chefs in our ecosystem as well as our holistic practitioners who work with us on supplements and vitamins. Over the years we have refined our processes and our team. Everything is very clean all week long. And when I say we, I mean me and my strength and conditioning coach, Dave Rienzi.
How do cheat meals play into your plan?
I understand my cheat days have become pretty legendary. These meals are reserved for Sunday only. I really enjoy them – and enjoy having that kind of fun with my food.
Can you give us a little insight into your morning routine?
I try to get up before the sun comes up. I get fully dressed right away, and that means shoes too. i go downstairs I will open every taste ZOA I feel like having this morning and pouring it over ice. I open the computer and do some work that requires my immediate attention, then train on an empty stomach – which has kept my metabolism nice and toned. This is how it all starts. If I told you everything I do on any given day before noon, I would take up the whole magazine.
Any personal training tips for the rest of us?
When you go to the gym to work out, you only need to work out for yourself. Don’t train for someone else. Don’t train to impress someone. Don’t throw a lot of weight on the bar. Don’t let ego enter the equation. train for you They’re against you in there. I’ve never cared about who’s around me in the gym. That has always served me well. Focus and get on with it.
Do you have favorite ways to relax after a hard workout?
I can tell you that my favorite tools of recovery are good love and tequila – preferably my own teremana.
What were the biggest adversities you had to overcome with training and mental wellbeing?
To be honest, I’m still overcoming mental adversity. This never ends. I’ve suffered a number of injuries over the years that have been difficult to overcome, but I’m fortunate in that I’ve never injured myself in the gym. I was raised to train hard and train smart. But that didn’t protect me when I was on the field or in the wrestling ring. I’ve had five knee surgeries, a torn Achilles tendon. I had to be sewn back together. The tip of my quad was ripped off my pelvis. A whole lot of shit happened to me. The other major adversity was just fatigue, which can affect us all. I know it gets me, and sometimes the last thing you want to do is go to the gym. But if you are able to push yourself and overcome that fatigue, then you can find greatness.
They have a long history with Microsoft and the Xbox. Do you have plans to bring video game characters to the big screen?
I’ve always been a big one Driving me crazy Fan. I can’t tell you exactly what game we’re making, but this year there will be an announcement. We’re going to bring one of the biggest, hardest games to the screen – one I’ve played for years. I’m really looking forward to bringing it to fans around the world. Of course we’re going to please our gamer friends – but we really just want to make a great movie.
Subscribe to YouTube for access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews and more!