I was thrilled when my editor told me Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had made an alarm clock. I picked out a spot for it on my nightstand and started browsing eBay for the title belt and folding chair accessories I needed.
Unfortunately, The Rock Clock isn't a free-standing statue to be set on a bedside table. Rather, it’s a free app made for iOS and Android devices. Since The Rock didn't become The Rock by procrastinating, there’s no snooze button to be found. There is, however, a space for you to enter goals (The Rock is an accomplished goal setter. In 2015, he promised to “laugh hard, love powerfully, global domination and cuss less.") and activate morning alarms. It also features a "Rock Time" setting, which syncs the alarm with his schedule. Sometimes that means waking up as early as 4:15 a.m.
I decided to live my life on Rock Time for a week just to see what that would mean. The preset goals (gain five pounds of muscle, lose ten pounds of nonmuscle) didn’t seem entirely doable in my time frame. I was more interested in why someone would want to wake up at ungodly hours to lift heavy things. Does waking up that early have some kind of magic that gives The Rock his famous strength? Would it make me able to arch my eyebrow heroically? Of course not. But it would give me a dose of his discipline.
Day 1: 4:15 a.m.
Dreaming. I’m back in 10th grade, my geometry teacher is handing out the final exam. I haven’t studied at all. I hear...a strumming sound? The Rock is sitting at the desk next to me, playing an acoustic guitar: “Good morning sunshine, yeah that’s what The Rock said. Open your eyes up, get your candy ass outta bed.”
Turns out the default alarm sound is The Rock in full kumbaya mode. It works, I’m awake. The Rock rescued me from a literal nightmare. Now that I’m up, what to do with all the extra time? Dwayne Johnston set this insane wakeup time so he can do his full workout, an hour of cardio and an hour and a half of weights. Working out seems like a good place to start. I do seven pushups and fall asleep on the floor. I don’t wake up again until 8:30 and am late for work.
Day 2: 4:45 a.m.
The night before, I switched the the alarm sound to “classic.” It’s just Dwayne yelling “BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP”. It works really well.
Yesterday I decided that if I can’t work out like The Rock, I’m going to eat like The Rock. Well, breakfast like him at least. The Rock eats seven times a day, downing 10 pounds of food and a respectable 5,000 calories. When he was bulking up (is that even possible?) for “Hercules,” he began his morning with a 10-ounce steak, 4 egg whites and a bowl of oatmeal. I could only find an 8-ounce steak at the store — I hope it’ll be enough food.
Although it contains almost twice my daily recommended dose of protein, the son of Zeus’s breakfast isn’t exactly satisfying. Johnson’s sworn enemy is sugar (he hasn’t eaten candy since 1 989), so that means no maple syrup in the oatmeal. Regardless, I’m eating steak and watching the sunrise. Thanks, Dwayne!
Day 3: 6:00 a.m.
The Rock, in his infinite mercy, let me sleep in today. To show my gratitude, I watch “Fast Five” all the way through while eating the steak I couldn’t finish from yesterday. It’s a pretty good time, but I start to question what exactly I’m doing here. I’m always tired and I spilled steak juice all over my pillow. Do I really want two more days of this? As Rock’s character said to Vin Diesel in “Fast Five”, “Your mistake is thinking you have a goddamn choice, boy!”
Day 4: 4:45 a.m.
Back to the grind. Today’s inspiration is “HARD WORK NEVER STOPS. NEITHER SHOULD YOUR DREAMS.” Mixed messages from a guy who’s literally been stopping my dreams for four days straight.
I figure it’s time to do something Dwayne would actually support, and go for a run. I can barely keep my eyes open, but the sun’s coming up, birds are singing, and no one’s out except me. Well, almost no one. As I turn the corner I spy the fattest rat I’ve ever seen, sitting on its haunches and eating what appears to be an Oreo. Me too, rat, me too.
Day 5: 2:00 p.m.
I open the app the night before and see 2 p.m. staring back at me. Surely there’s been some mistake. How could a 10-time WWE World Champion wake up at the candyass deadbeat time of 2:00 p.m.? No matter. The Rock is my guide to greatness, and I must obey.
To make it work, I start watching “The Mummy Returns” a t 2:00 AM, selected for its length and sleep-deterring loud noises. Like all true Rock hipsters, I prefer his earlier work. To be honest, the movie’s not great, but at least I got to see this extra strength nightmare fuel.
Probably because I’ve been waking up on Kelly Ripa time for four days, sleeping until 2 turns out to be a total piece of cake. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP. Today’s message isn’t from The Rock at all — it’s his “Central Intelligence” co-star Kevin Hart who shouts something about “getting the eye boogies out.” I didn’t sign up for this.
Waking up after noon? Getting yelled at by the guy from “Soul Plane”? My original plan was to wake up with the Rock Clock for five days, but Dwayne and I needed an extra day to end on the right foot.
Day 6: 5:00 a.m.
This is more like it. I wake up to a picture of The Rock flexing under the motto THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR HARD WORK. He knows I went the extra mile today. I go for another run. No rats this time. I get home and make an omelette. Three eggs only, with yolks. Maybe this is something I could get used to? After almost a week, I’m beginning to smell what The Rock is cooking.