Dwayne Johnson On 'Hercules' Workout, Depression & Never Giving Up

Dwayne Johnson Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson's physique lived up to his nickname (The Rock) before he headed into extreme training to create the body of Hercules for his latest film.

To bulk up even more to play the son of Zeus, Dwayne took on an incredibly intense workout regime and diet – which he documented for his 7 million Twitter followers, should they be inspired to work out with him – and Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson got the scoop on what his days entailed.

"I got up at 3 [in the morning]," Dwayne told Shaun at the "Hercules" junket, adding that reports of his wakeup time being 2 AM were "exaggerated." "It was a six to eight month process of training. So I got up around 3:30 every morning in Budapest and I would do cardio.

"I had a cardio machine that was inside of my hotel room, and I would just roll out of bed," he continued. "I'd have my unleaded, caffeine – and I'd hop on there and I'd do 35 minutes of that cardio."

Next on the actor's daily schedule was a breakfast consisting of "steak and egg whites and cream of wheat," then it was off to the gym for weights and muscle training.

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"I would go hit the gym and then I would go to set for 12 hours – it was a lot," he admitted. "[I did that] from day one to 95. That was my schedule… but, you know, when you want to make something epic, and it starts with that goal – that goal is epic and defining and cool, and hopefully you make a badass movie -- well then, the effort has to match that, right?"

While the 42-year-old star has taken on roles that demand a high level of physical training before, the actor said playing "Hercules" in the Brett Ratner-helmed movie has been the biggest challenge he's faced in his career.

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"It was the most grueling production I had ever done by far," he said. "It was the most grueling physical prep I had done for anything – by the way, that includes years of playing football, years of being inside a wrestling ring and years of acting."

Before he hit massive mainstream success, Dwayne was an athlete, playing football in the Canadian Football League. When he was cut from the CFL, he had a mere seven dollars in his pocket and was forced to move back into his parents' house.

"I literally said, 'How much money do I have?' I pulled it out – and it wasn't all paper money either – so it was about seven bucks, and at that time it was the worst time in my life," he recalled. "[I] fell into depression, had to overcome that…

"Depression sometimes, especially if we don't know what it is, it creeps up on us, it knocks us out. I mean, it can knock us out," he continued, noting that he's dealt with three bouts of depression. "And then once you start to realize what it is, then we all have a certain coping mechanism that we have to go through with depression, but in that case, when I had seven bucks in my pocket, I had to move back in with my parents. I had no money. I'm 24 years old, and I thought it was the worst time in my life. And at that time it was, but now I look back [and] it was also the most defining time in my life."

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Dwayne said the humbling experience taught him how to come back stronger and never give up.

"It rocked me to the core, and when you get knocked down that way – and all of us have been down before – when you get knocked down like that, when you come back up, you come back up stronger," he explained. "Hopefully you come back up a little smarter and then you start the next chapter."

Adding, "That next chapter for me was all right, I'm gonna get better, I'm gonna get through this, and I was really fortunate. "

See Dwayne as "Hercules" when the movie hits theaters on July 25.

-- Erin O'Sullivan

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