3 Health Lessons to Learn From Tom Brady’s Lifestyle — and How They Can Apply to You
Written by Dr. Larry
At Super Bowl LII (that’s 52, for the non-Romans out there), this Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, Tom Brady becomes the oldest QB to start in a Super Bowl, at 40 years old. Relatively old or not, he’s not only the greatest ever but still at the top of his game today, even though he’s over the hill. Naturally, this leads us to ask: How does he do it? What does he eat? What’s in the water he drinks? How does he train? Is he using drugs or supplements? And can we bottle that up and sell it?
Yes, yes, you can. And they did.
After the September 2017 release of his book, The TB 12 Method: How to Achieve A Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance, the companion Facebook docuseries “Tom vs. Time” ever-so-timely debuted Dec. 25, 2017, some 10 days before the Superbowl. Not only can you see his meal plan, but you are guided over to his website www.tb12sports.com, where you can buy everything from Tom Brady Gatorade ($15 a bottle), to a TB12 yoga mat ($80) or a vibrating foam roller ($200).
There are three things I want you to think about when it comes to TB12, Tom’s book and his docuseries — the way I see it from my M.D. doctor eyes.
1. This is healthy lifestyle stuff and is a good thing.
Professional sports can be insane, intense, win-at-all cost mentality — doing anything to your body to perform in the short term, like performance-enhancing, body-destroying substances (steroids, growth hormone, etc.). Trash your body for the short-term glory.
Brady, on the other hand, is trying to do it the natural way, with diet and exercise and without the drugs. But he also includes the highest level of performance, with long-term viability — a combination that is often opposed, especially in the violent game of football. Good on him for that.
Big-picture-wise, I really respect that he values his body like that. I’ve seen plenty of former athletes with chronic pain and destroyed joints from their sports career, even a man who was basically bedbound in a wheelchair from hip arthritis from football. That’s not to mention the average guy who sacrifices his health (“do whatever it takes”) to work and care for his family. It’s the same mentality of not taking care of the body we have for the long term.
2. Tom has been branded; be aware of that.
Welcome to the world of branding. Brady’s at the top; why not? Jordan put his name on Nike shoes and birthed the most successful personal sports brand in history — I saw a whole wall of Jordans still at FootLocker last week.
TB12 takes this to a different level, with book, docuseries and website selling everything but Gisele posters (kinda wondered why those were left out, actually). The $200 for the vibrating foam roller actually made me laugh.
I go into further detail on his diet in another blog, but when he lists his TB12 protein powder, electrolyte mix and snacks throughout, it gets me a little nauseous, like I want to puke the TB12 nuts back up. Not subtle, bro. How healthy are these TB12 snacks? Sounds processed to me.
His brand has some pseudoscience baked in, as well. The idea that you need an “alkaline diet” to balance your acid base status is an insult to your kidneys and lungs, which do it fine on their own. “Pliability” — which Brady says is the softening and lengthening of the muscles, enabling him to play at peak performance and minimize injury — isn’t a medical term. Flexibility is, along with soft tissue work, like deep-tissue massage, or if you want to get academic, PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). It all may overlap with this “pliability” idea.
I actually agree with more focus on flexibility to prevent injury. He’s right; it probably gets under-emphasized in general — but this pliability thing just feels like fake news.
Anyway, this is the world today of monetization; I’m sure he’ll do well. I’m not sure you need to buy anything he’s selling, though. Certainly not at those inflated prices.
You can just eat healthy, exercise and work on your flexibility.
3. Apply what works for you to your specific life and goals.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but if you’re reading this, I’m going to guess you are not a professional quarterback. Sorry, big guy. It probably doesn’t make any sense for you to do exactly what TB does for your weekly softball game.
This isn’t to say some strength and conditioning won’t help you run down that long fly ball. It just means you need to read this book like you evaluate everything else in the media — in light of your personal goals. If your goals include weight loss, then eating fruits, veggies and lean protein, like Brady, can help, provided you have a slight calorie deficit (about 500 cal/day). If you want to build muscle, you’ll need more protein and carbs. If you’re an aspiring sumo wrestler… you get the point.
And for your functional or performance goals, same thing. What are you training for? A marathon diet and running plan should incorporate vegetables and protein but also more energy, less resistance training and certainly some flexibility and soft tissue work.
So, take what you think might work for you, and try it out. For me, at 39, I’ve had to incorporate more soft tissue work like stretching, foam roller and yoga — to go along with weights and cardio. Otherwise, my muscles get too sore and stiff. I might take a look at incorporating some resistance band work and more flexibility to my routine. Thanks, TB.
One of the greatest athletes of all time, I hope he continues to use his platform to inspire a healthy lifestyle and longevity. Solid nutrition and exercise, with flexibility work, can get you there. The TB12 Scooby snacks ,on the other hand — I’d only buy them if they came with a signed Gisele pic in the box.