Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the actor, producer and professional wrestler of WWE fame, made a surprise appearance at Maui Powerhouse Gym in Kīhei on May 23.
At around 8:30 p.m, the renowned Hollywood superstar slipped into the gym discreetly, and fully focused on his upcoming intense workout, witnesses said.
He arrived sporting his trademark headphones and a sleeveless tank top, and headed straight for the Smith Machine.
“It was clear that he meant business from the moment he stepped foot inside,” according to owner Peter Shenkin who described the atmosphere as charged. “Johnson’s unwavering dedication and commitment to his craft were palpable as he effortlessly lifted heavy weights. Johnson’s physical prowess is world-famous and he lived up to his reputation on this night.”
“He walked in and he walked into the corner of the weight room and then he just banged out a couple hundred push-ups to get his pump going,” said long-time gym member, Philip Ancog, who was present for The Rock’s workout.
The intensity didn’t stop there. Johnson moved on to conquer a variety of dumbbell exercises, opting for an astounding 90 pounds for his chest flies.
“[The Rock] made it look so easy and effortless, he was putting on a show,” said Group Fitness Director, Nickole Ciszak.
He did a burnout set on every machine, especially on the Smith Machine, according to Camryn Cole, Front Desk Manager. “It was really cool in general but the part that I admired was that he was a focused guy, still smiling at the members and making jokes, and then focused and burning out.”
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Johnson took his workout to the next level with the “peck deck machine.”
Gym owners say the comprehensive range of equipment available in the gym’s back room, had Johnson moving from one machine to another, as he executed “precision and power,” pulling off flawless one-arm flys in the process.
“He was so focused. I was honestly speechless. I didn’t know what to say,” said gym member Anthony-Dillon Sarmiento. “I called my mom and I didn’t know what to tell her. ‘You’re never going to guess who was just working out at the gym!,’” he said with a laugh.
Amidst his intense training session, Johnson made a lasting impact on the local gym-goers. Member Zane Augustiro who was wearing a pair of Project Rock Under Armour-branded sneakers, caught the attention of “The Rock” himself, who approached Augustiro and asked if they could take pictures together on his own phone.
Johnson shared a post on Instagram Saturday featuring a short video clip of him with Augustiro. He wrote: “[It’s] good to be home… Had to stop my workout to show love and appreciation to my guy here rocking my @projectrock BSRs at the @mauipowerhousegym.”
The Rock described the energy as electric and the vibe as “extremely respectful.” “No one took their phones out while I was training… everyone was just down to put in the hard… work.” The post garnered more than 800,000 likes by Sunday morning.
Johnson has been in the islands for various projects. On April 3, he announced that Disney’s Live Action adaption of Moana is in the works. In May, ReelNewsHawaii reported that “Red One” (MEA), which wrapped filming in Atlanta earlier this year, was scheduled to start filming a pickup scene on Oʻahu starring The Rock.
Owner, Peter Shenkin said Johnson left behind a lasting impression. “He came over and fist-bumped me. He said, ‘I got a great pump, you’ve got a great gym here.’ I just about passed out in the middle of the weight room,” said Shenkin. “He said that he could really feel the vibe in here, which was unusual for when he’s on the road. He told us how [our gym] is a special place and that few places are like what we have here, and that [the owners and the community] should be proud of our gym. Honestly, it gave me chicken skin to hear that come out of his mouth, like from the world’s most famous gym rat himself.”
Fellow owner Logan Peitscher said, “It’s enormously validating for our community and what we do here. We have several thousand people who swear by this place and make it an everyday part of their lives. When The Rock comes in and leaves here happy, dripping in sweat, telling us that this is a truly special place, it’s a big moment.”
Owners say the Maui Powerhouse Gym is a place where “anyone can pursue their fitness goals surrounded by like-minded individuals and fueled by unwavering dedication.” According to owners, the visit by Johnson “served as a testament to the exceptional community and trusted space that the gym provides for its members.”
The facility features several memberships, including a three month offer for $150, and six months for $275. The gym also offers 18 and under memberships at two months for $90, or three months for $120.
Located in Kīhei, and soon in Lahaina, Maui Powerhouse Gym is open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight. Maui Powerhouse Gym also operates The Studio Maui, which is a high-tech boutique cycle and fitness studio for all ages. Learn more at www.LiftWithAloha.com.
*Maui Now’s Wendy Osher contributed to this report.