If you are a football fan, odds are you have a strong opinion about New England Patriots starting quarterback Tom Brady. Many Jets fans and Colts fans hate Brady, citing the infamous incidents of “spygate” and “deflategate.” Other fan bases share this hatred for similar or different reasons. If you are from New England, Brady is most likely your hero, your G.O.A.T. or your favorite athlete of all time. Regardless of where you come from or what team you root for, some small part of you must be a little curious as to how Brady continues to succeed despite his advanced football age. At the old age of 40, Brady holds the record for the most Super Bowl wins (five), the most Super Bowl appearances (seven) and the most division titles (14). He is currently playing in his 18th season with aspirations to play well into his 40s. If he accomplishes this, he will top the current record holder for oldest quarterback to play in the NFL, Steve Deberg, who played until the age of 44. Quarterback and kicker George Blanda technically holds the record for longest NFL career, although he spent a large portion of his career as a kicker. Brady could potentially top both players to clinch the record.
In his book, “The TB12 Method,” Brady shares the training and eating regimen that allows him to maintain his peak performance. He debunks many training methods in the athletic sphere and recommends his regimen to athletes and people of all levels and ages. Many rumors surrounding Brady’s neurotic methods are also confirmed or denied. Does Brady eat strawberries or other nightshades? No. Does he sleep in bioceramic pajamas that release far infrared rays? Yes. Is Tom Brady as neurotic and disciplined as people say he is? Absolutely.
Here are 12 things you need to know about the TB12 Method developed by Brady and body coach and former teammate Alex Guerrero.
The TB12 Method is centered on muscle pliability, which is something that is not included in most performance training routines. As defined by Brady, “pliable muscles are long, soft, and capable of full muscle pump function.” The TB12 Method focuses on “prehab” instead of “rehab,” so injury prevention is of the upmost importance: keeping muscles long and soft increases blood and lymph circulation, preventing injury. When muscles are more dense and hard, the majority of heavylifting is transferred to bones and joints which causes injury. Brady endorses pliability training, which is deep-force muscle work combined with contracting and relaxing the muscles. If your muscles are trained to be loose and stretched, you are much less likely to suffer an injury upon impact. Many athletes — especially at the professional level — cannot compete the full length of their season because of injury. If athletes are constantly struggling with injuries, how are they supposed to maintain peak performance? According to Brady, without pliability, it is not possible to have a level of performance that endures over time.
- Holistic and Integrative Training
This one is simpler and less news-breaking. Brady outlines these 12 methods and claims they must be practiced in conjunction to be effective. Is this a marketing ploy? Maybe. Brady also emphasizes the importance of detail: every single aspect from your sleepwear to how much water you drink must be analyzed and optimized for the needs of your body.
- Balance and Moderation in All Things
Again, this is a concept many are already aware of. Balance and moderation are important in everything you do, especially eating and athletic training.
- Conditioning for Endurance and Vitality
The TB12 Method is not just for optimizing athletic performance, but also overall energy and health. If applied properly, this method could increase your overall quality of life.
- No-Load Strength Training
Here is where it gets interesting: Brady doesn’t lift weights. Ninety percent of his training is with resistance bands. One of the greatest quarterbacks, statistically, of all time, doesn’t lift weights. Brady disagrees with many standard practices in athletic training. The typical model that athletes train with is strength and conditioning. Strength training involves weight lifting with machines, free weights and body weight. The lifting changes and increases in volume and intensity, while rest periods between repetitions decrease. Conditioning involves aerobic exercise and movements that imitate real-life motions with the purpose of elevating heart rate and breaking a sweat. Brady cites a common misconception in the athletic sphere: that when athletes get injured, it is because they are not strong enough. After rehab, they continue on with the strength and conditioning model, once again leaving out pliability and continuing to damage their bodies. This is a vicious cycle that leads to the further unbalancing of muscles and more and more injuries.
- Promote Anti-Inflammatory Responses in the Body
Brady stresses avoiding inflammation of the mind, body and spirit. Muscle dehydration decreases muscle pliability, as inflamed muscles are less able to lengthen and soften. Dehydration, inadequate nutrition and inadequate recovery contribute to inflammation or stiff muscles.
- Promote Oxygen-Rich Blood Flow
Younger athletes naturally have muscle pliability. It decreases as they grow older, and older athletes must work harder to maintain it. According to Brady, cell oxygenation is a key component to maintaining pliability and decreasing inflammation. How does he do this? With his pajamas. No, really. Brady and the TB12 Method team have developed a line of functional bioceramic sleepwear. Bioceramic is a material created by heating up a combination of 20 different ceramics and mineral oxides to three degrees. The material is then inserted into the sleepwear. Far infrared rays from the vibration frequency of the bioceramics penetrate the skin 1.5 inches. The infrared rays then stimulate the bones, muscles and tendons to increase cell oxygenation and muscle repair while decreasing inflammation and pain.
- Proper Hydration
The TB12 Method also talks about the importance of hydration, something all athletes are aware of. Everyone in the athletic sphere knows how important it is to drink water. A nuance in the TB12 Method, however, is when to drink or not to drink water. The method has analyzed all aspects of digestion as well, and it claims that drinking water and eating meals simultaneously is not good for optimal digestion. The recommended procedure is to drink water exactly half an hour before eating a meal and an hour afterwards. If eating and drinking simultaneously cannot be avoided, Brady suggests only drinking minimal amounts during the meal.
- Healthy Nutrition
Again, the TB12 Method goes over more well-known nutritional practices such as eating as local as you can, eating vegetables and avoiding refined carbohydrates, dairy, salt, caffeine and alcohol. The method also has some nutritional caveats. Brady does not eat nightshades for undisclosed reasons. Nightshades are darker plants or foods including mushrooms, eggplant, potatoes and bell peppers. The method also emphasizes a balance between alkaline or anti-inflammatory foods and acidic or inflammatory foods. These foods balance pH in the body, and the ratio between these foods should be 80/20 alkaline to acidic. This aids digestion by neutralizing acids in the body. Many vegetables are alkaline while many fruits, nuts and some fish and meats are acidic.
This principle of the TB12 Method talks about supplementing your diet with proteins and vitamins. He promotes his line of TB12 protein powders, probiotics and electrolytes.
- Brain Exercises
This principle stresses the importance of neuroplasticity and mindset. The brain must be trained as much as the muscles and body. Brady is an advocate of mental toughness, positive mindset and meditation. Meditation is important and a great way to center the mind and body.
- Brain Rest, Recentering, and Recovery
Recovery is the final principle of the TB12 Method, where sleep and diet are emphasized again. Brady has a rigid sleep schedule, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. In addition to his fancy pajamas, Brady sleeps with the room temperature at exactly 65 degrees Fahrenheit to promote recovery.
The book also contains photos and explanations of pliability exercises, and an extensive collection of recipes. While “The TB12 Method” was written in a vernacular, conversational style with some blatant promotion of other related TB12 products, the actual method itself holds a considerable amount of useful information about overall health and performance.