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The Science Behind 'The Rock's' Cheat Meals

Stacks of Hawaiian pizzas. Cookies the size of manhole covers. Enough sushi to nudge your mercury levels into the danger zone. Unless you’re looking to lose a foot, none of this should be incorporated into your diet with any regularity. But when you’re Dwayne “The Rock ” Johnson and you need to fuel your body for peak performance, the rules of nutrition don’t apply.

When speaking with Dave Rienzi, The Rock’s trainer, we learned the monstrous cheat meals that Johnson regularly posts on Instagram aren’t just brief mental reprieves from an overwhelming schedule, rigorous diet, and punishing workout routine—they’re actually vital to what makes The Rock…well, The Rock.

“Cheat meals play an important role in DJ’s process.” Rienzi told us. “The cheat meals each week help to restore his body physically and mentally. The boost in calories spike his metabolism so he’s burning more calories while getting leaner.”

It’s hard to argue with Rienzi’s results. For Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Johnson and Rienzi decided to push the boundaries of The Rock's already-titanic physique even further in the hopes of building a “Hobbs 2.0.” This resulted in what Rienzi described as a lot of “fine-tuning” with Johnson's nutrition, where things would be adjusted on the fly depending on the scenes they were filming. And when The Rock needed to “carb up” for some of the more rigorous filming days, Rienzi would “assign” him to eat an entire pizza. Must be tough.

But just because The Rock does it, doesn’t mean you should. He burns an unreal amount of calories and has a world-class trainer to help push him along.

So while we don’t suggest building yourself a turkey sub the size of a boogie board too often, splurging a bit every week or so isn’t the worst thing for your body. Just do it on a much smaller scale. Also, if you’re going to cheat, stay away from the empty, sugary calories, and instead load up on more functional options like high-protein pasta or chicken cheesesteak pizza.

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