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The list of professional sportsmen who have turned their hand at acting is a surprisingly long one, there have been some successes (OJ Simpson is a surprising one), but on the whole, it is usually an unsuccessful venture.
Some of the greatest successes seem to come from two sports in particular, bodybuilding (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno) and professional wrestling.
Famous wrestlers who have become actors include Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant, John Cena, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Out of that list, Dwayne Johnson has had easily the most successful career.
But it’s not too surprising that a professional wrestler would be able to make the switch to acting, wrestling involves acting, showmanship, and lots of stunts. It’s basically a live-action movie.
Through his incredible wrestling and acting careers, Dwayne The Rock Johnson is one of the most famous celebrities in America. He is a surprisingly good comic actor, an excellent action star, and he has the body of a comic book hero.
The Rock is really into his fitness and has hundreds of videos and interviews where he showcases his intense training regime and his nutrition plan. But is that enough?
Many people who see his incredible physique will wonder is the Rock natural, or whether it has been attained as the result of steroid use.
Dwayne himself has stated (in an interview with Fortune) that he has used steroids in the past:
“Me and my buddies tried it back in the day when I was 18 or 19. Didn’t know what we were doing.”
However, this was claimed to be an isolated incident as in the same interview he stated that:
“Sure, you get a lot of people out there who will suspect, and say sh*t.”
“They want to negate the hard work you put in.”
In this article, we will examine the question “Does Dwayne ‘The Rock' Johnson use steroids?”.
Who is Dwayne The Rock Johnson?
Dwayne was born in California in 1972 and was the son of another professional wrestler, Rocky Johnson.
He briefly lived in New Zealand as a child, before moving back to the States and pursuing a Football career.
After graduating from the University of Miami, Dwayne decided to follow in his father’s (and grandfather’s) footsteps and become a professional wrestler.
He made his professional debut in 1997 and stayed in this career until 2003 where he took a year off.
From 2001 onwards, The Rock performed in a number of films, with the film roles becoming higher profile as he progressed.
By 2010 The Rock was leading man in a number of big-budget films, his career has taken off since then.
Today Dwayne the Rock Johnson is a well-known action and comedy movie star, who occasionally guest stars as a wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment.
The Rock also has a huge social media presence based around his physique. He regularly posts videos of his incredible workouts, and his healthy, high protein diet is often discussed due to the calories consumed.
The Rocks Training Routine
According to an article he did with Bodybuilding.com, the Rock’s day starts with a 3:30 am when he gets up and begins to stretch.
He then embarks on a 30-minute run. After that, he has breakfast before heading off to the gym. He says that he trains six days per week when filming, but when he’s not filming he can train twice per day!
The Rocks Diet
Dwayne says that he eats 5 meals per day, lots of protein, lots of fats, and lots of carbs. He has beef and oats for breakfast, then his day will consist of steak, chicken, fish, eggs, and protein powder (alongside fruit and veg and carb sources such as rice).
A Redditor decided to try to eat like the Rock and found out the calorie and macronutrient ratios involved.
He consumed 5390 calories, 533g of carbohydrates, 97g of fat, and 430g of protein.
What stands out is the insane amount of protein and carbohydrates that are consumed.
This is clearly required for muscle protein synthesis to help muscle fibres recover and rebuild.
What are Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that are designed to mimic the benefits of the sex steroid testosterone.
They are often used by athletes looking to gain an advantage over their rivals, they are also hugely popular with bodybuilders and fitness models, and allegedly action hero actors.
Steroids have also been linked to professional wrestling. You can probably see why a former athlete, who acts, and wrestles, may be linked to steroid accusations.
There are many benefits to taking steroids, increased strength, increased hypertrophy (muscle increasing in size), fat loss, and perhaps most importantly recovery from vigorous training.
Muscle protein synthesis is the process where protein is used to rebuild damaged muscle fibres. The more protein that you can consume, the more exercise you can recover from.
But for non-steroid taking men, there is a threshold. At one point eating any more protein will stop having an effect, because additional testosterone is required to perform protein synthesis.
That’s why, no matter how much food you eat, or exercise you perform, you will never be able to compete with someone on steroids.
A non-steroid user would not be able to recover from an intense training session as fast as someone who is on steroids. Meaning that they could only train 4 times per week instead of 6 (based on both performers being otherwise identical and training at the same intensity).
A steroid user would also be able to train for longer than an hour or train twice per day without suffering any ill effects. A regular person would not be able to train as much, and could even lose muscle as a result of overtraining.
Signs that someone takes steroids
The signs that someone is on steroids can be very subtle, or very overt depending on how much they are taking, and for how long.
A lot of steroid users do not look at all different to regular people, because they are either a) not training or eating enough to make a difference, or b) haven’t been using steroids for long enough.
On the other hand, anyone looking at a professional bodybuilder would be in no doubt that they were on steroids. Their physique would have changed from enhanced to unnatural.
Actors who train for movies tend to be somewhere in the middle. Not obviously on steroids, but with bodies that are almost impossible to achieve without help, this creates a grey area where we just can’t be sure either way.
There are some signs that we can look out for though. These aren’t the stereotypical signs that pop culture has led us to believe are inevitable when you take steroids.
The back acne, the shrunken testicles, the hair loss etc … Most of these can be avoided if you’re doing steroids properly, and the others are difficult to prove anyway.
The most obvious sign is an unrealistic transformation time. We’re not saying that Christian Bale took steroids to transform his body for Batman, but over a period of a few months he basically went from scrawny to muscle-bound superhero!
The Rock has had an incredible physique for decades, and there aren’t too many photos of him pre-fame. So it’s quite hard to say that he took steroids.
He obviously has amazing genetics and has dedicated decades to training hard, and eating well. That’s not to say that he is not taking steroids though.
Other signs seem to point to steroid use. People on steroids can train harder, recover faster, and need to eat more than regular lifters.
The Rock absolutely does all of those things. He also doesn’t seem to sleep much.
Bad sleep can lower testosterone in men, and can really affect recovery from exercise, libido, mood, and muscle growth. Taking anabolic steroids would help to rebalance this though.
Other Performance Enhancers that could be used instead
Steroids are not the only performance enhancer that someone could take to grow muscle.
There is also HGH or Human Growth Hormone, a drug that offers similar benefits to testosterone.
There’s also insulin, which increases muscle cell volume (makes them bigger). Clenbuterol, which works as a seriously strong fat burner, and many others.
Usually, these drugs are taken alongside steroids, but they can also be taken on their own.
Reasons why The Rock may not be on steroids
One of the biggest reasons why The Rock may not be on steroids is the fact that he has been training for such a long time.
We’re talking 20 years plus of training at the highest level.
Comparing his physique to professional athletes is a fairer test than comparing him to regular people.
The Rock comes from a family of wrestlers. His father was a wrestler, his grandfather was a wrestler, most of his uncles were also wrestlers.
Half of his family is Polynesian, this culture has nurtured some of the strongest and most powerful athletes on the planet. Just look at the Polynesian rugby league and rugby union teams.
The Rock can afford to eat 5000+ calories a day of high-quality protein, fats, and carbohydrates. This is beyond most bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts.
He can afford to spend $50 per day on groceries, and can also afford to have chefs cook his meals for him (though he may not need their help).
Having the best physique in the world is Dwayne Johnson’s bread and butter. He has made a living out of being strong, toned, and powerful. He has access to the best coaches, the best nutritionists, the best supplements, equipment, and foods.
If you could devote 80% of your life to looking incredible, you might be surprised at the results.
Reasons why The Rock may be on steroids
The Rock’s training routine is insane, he trains 6 days per week, another way to look at that is that he only has 52 days off each year!
Sometimes he trains twice per day, this is something that is borderline impossible to achieve with regular levels of testosterone.
While the Rock has always been toned and muscular, the increase in size over the last 5 years has been truly exceptional.
Whether he has taken steroids or not, the difference is impressive. But, considering a non-assisted lifter who has been training for as long as the Rock has could expect to gain less than 1-2lb of muscle PER YEAR, the amount of muscle he has packed on is a bit of a red flag.
If a non-assisted lifter trained twice per day for six days in a row they would burn out ridiculously fast. Don’t believe it? Try for yourself.
Your muscles need time to recover, time for protein synthesis to repair and rebuild those damaged muscle fibres.
If you aren’t giving yourself enough time to recover then you will stop growing. You could even start to lose muscle.
Building muscle and burning fat
For experienced lifters, the ability to gain muscle and burn fat at the same time is basically impossible.
To build muscle you need to be eating enough calories to create a surplus, the extra energy is used to create bigger, stronger muscle fibres.
To burn fat you need to create a calorie deficit, consuming fewer calories than you are burning, then the stored energy is used to maintain your metabolism.
Only someone on steroids could build muscle while constantly staying shredded year-round.
Conclusion – Does Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson use steroids?
It’s always difficult to point the finger at someone for taking steroids. You have no proof until they get caught with steroids in their possession.
When Sylvester Stallone was caught with performance enhancers in his baggage, we could definitively say that he had been using them. But until Dwayne Johnson is caught in a similar situation (if that ever occurs) we can only speculate.
Is his physique achievable without steroids? Possibly. Would steroids make it a lot easier to achieve? Absolutely. Does that mean that he is on steroids? We just can’t say. But whether he is or he is not, does it really matter? He’s not hurting anyone.
He has still had to work harder than anyone else to achieve his physique and his career.
Whatever you think about professional wrestling, it is not a true athletic competition where taking performance enhancers can affect the result.
The roles he plays in films need him to have a comic book physique, and does anyone care how he achieves it?
If you’re thinking that him taking steroids is the only thing separating him from a regular person’s physique then you’re mad.
He trains longer, harder, and at a higher intensity than almost anyone on earth. He’s consistently worked harder than anyone for two decades and has earned everything that he has achieved.
If you want to see what steroids can do without the level of work he puts in, just go down to your gym. You’ll see loads of guys taking the exact same thing that he (allegedly) takes, and looking average as hell.
How to Gain Muscle and Strength without Steroids?
To gain muscle and strength without steroids you need to take some advice from The Rocks training and nutrition.
It is more complicated than simply training intensely and eating loads, but this would be a good start.
You also need to look at supplementation. While not as effective as steroids there are legal alternatives that can offer numerous benefits.
For example, Crazy Bulk offers a range of “legal steroids” such as D-Bal, a safe and legal alternative to the popular but now-banned anabolic steroid Dianabol.
D-Bal is made from proven ingredients, such as numerous BCAAs, Whey Protein Concentrate and Tribulus Terrestris.
When combined these ingredients can help to increase nitrogen retention, which will lead to an increase in protein synthesis.
Other benefits on offer include:
- Strength and muscle gains
- More endurance
- More nitrogen retained
- Extra blood flow thanks to the additional oxygen sent to muscles
If you are in any doubt about whether D-Bal works as claimed, you only need to visit the Crazy Bulk website. There are numerous testimonials available to prove them.