This past weekend, Tom Brady made his 10th Super Bowl appearance and broke history by getting his seventh Super Bowl win, cementing himself as one of the greatest athletes in American sports history. At 43 years old, the NFL quarterback is officially the oldest NFL player to play in a Super Bowl.
While some athletes may look to retire after such a historic win, it’s clear that Brady isn’t stopping any time soon. Now, while we admire his dedication to the game, the real question is how the former New England Patriot has managed to have a career spanning over 20 years. How did he stay in such incredible shape that he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win?
Just what are his health and fitness secrets?
Tom Brady’s Health Secrets At 43
He eats a plant-based diet
The Tom Brady Diet (TB12 Method) is a diet developed by Brady with an emphasis on whole-foods, and it’s often credited as one of the reasons behinds Brady’s long NFL career.
Now, while you may not be looking to enjoy a long American football career, research has found that an intake of plant protein was associated with a lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality. In layman’s terms, increasing your intake of plants and vegetables can reduce your risk of early death and death from heart disease (1).
The diet, which is better explained in Brady’s book, The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance, consists of 80% plant-based foods and 20% animal protein. Brady is incredibly dedicated to a plant-based diet, so much so that even his favorite ice cream is plant-based as it’s made from avocado with a little cacao mixed in, so it tastes like chocolate (try the recipe here).
He drinks (a lot of) water
Hydration is key to the healthy functioning of the body and nobody understands this more than Brady, who allegedly consumes between 12 and 25 glasses of water a day, often rich in electrolytes.
Now while we understand the need to stay hydrated, you should probably try not to reach his goal of 25 glasses of water a day. Tom Brady is a professional athlete that spends the majority of his life on the field, so it’s understandable that he consumes so much liquid.
There’s such a thing as drinking too much water and doing so can place strain on your kidneys, which can then increase the risk for hyponatremia, which is a dangerous disease that can result in coma and death.
It’s best to stick to at least 15 cups of water a day for men, and 12 cups for women.
He sips on bone broth
Bone broth is a meal that’s made by simmering the bones and connective tissues of animals. It’s a highly nutritious drink that’s regularly used in soups and stews. However, in recent years, it’s gained popularity as a health drink due to its benefits.
According to research, bone broth can help to improve both joint health and digestion (2)
He avoids inflammatory foods
“Some younger players don’t give too much thought to nutrition. They think they can eat anything they want, and their bodies will burn off the damage. The problem is that by eating inflammatory foods, they’re eating things that create inflammation on top of the weight lifting they’ve done on top of the football game they just played on Sunday,” explained Brady.
“That’s an inflammation response times three. As I said, if I know my body will experience inflammation every Sunday during the season, the last thing I want to do is stack on more inflammation on top of it – not if I want to feel great every time I take the field.”
Inflammatory foods include anything high in sugar and trans fats such as processed foods. Red meat and alcohol can also trigger inflammatory responses in the body.
He doesn’t eat close to bedtime
Brady revealed that he tries to avoid eating anything at least three hours before going to bed.
“The last thing I eat at night is dinner—and if I ever eat dessert, I try to do it after lunch, so the excess sugar won’t keep me up at night.”
He works out his brain
His body isn’t the only thing that Brady works out.
In his book, Brady revealed that he spends around 15 minutes every day engaging in online brain exercises. He revealed that the exercises help him stay sharp on and off the field. Additionally, he occasionally goes for neuroscans so that he can better understand the way his brain processes information.
He loves to sleep
Before his first Super Bowl in 2002, Brady took a nap in the locker room. He only woke up 12 minutes before he was due on the field.
“I’ve enjoyed learning more in the past few years about the impact that proper sleep and recovery can have on performance,” Brady says. “[I’ve] tailored my sleep routine to ensure that the environment I’m sleeping in and what I’m wearing when I’m sleeping are working together to maximize the impact of those recovery hours.”
Brady is not exaggerating when he talks about tailoring his sleep routine. He’s invested in a mattress with a layer of diamond memory foam, he sets the bedroom thermostat to between 60 and 65 degrees, and he puts away all digital devices at least 30 minutes before bed.
Now while you don’t have to buy a mattress with diamond memory foam, here’s how you can set up your bedroom for a night of quality sleep.
What about his workout regime?
For his fitness health, Tom Brady looks to his personal trainer and friend Alex Guerrero.
He has a massage
According to Guerrero, he gives Brady a four-minute massage about 20 minutes before and after his workouts.
The pre-workout massage is intended to help prepare Brady’s brain and body for impact. The post-workout massage is meant to increase his blood flow and speed up Brady’s muscle recovery time.
Yes, you probably don’t have a masseuse on hand to rub your muscles before exercising. However, you can try to rub and gently press on your muscles. This will help warm them up. Doing the same after your workout will help to relax them and prevent sore muscles.
He uses resistance bands
When it comes to his workout routine, Brady’s weapon of choice is resistance bands. Resistance bands help him to improve his speed, agility, and core stability. Weights, on the other hand, increase the risk for tear-prone muscle fibers.
Naghshi S., Sadeghi O., Willett W., Esmaillzadeh A. (2020). Dietary intake of total, animal, and plant proteins and risk of all cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies BMJ; 370 :m2412