The TB12 Method: Inside Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero's fitness philosophy of hydration, pliability, and avocado ice cream

Tom Brady, at 40 years old, is about to start in his eighth Super Bowl and his third in four years.

Despite playing 18 years in the NFL, Brady, who could win another MVP this season, hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

Brady credits his longevity to his regimented lifestyle. In recent years, Brady has shed light on his diet, exercise and recovery habits, and overall lifestyle in the form of a book, “The TB12 Method,” a cook book, apparel, and documentary.

But how exactly does Brady employ the TB12 method to get results in his day-to-day life?

Learn more about one of the strictest lifestyles in sports below.


At 40, Tom Brady is the oldest starting quarterback in the NFL, and still one of the best.

Tim Bradbury/Getty

In an 18-season career, he has won five Super Bowl rings and has been named to 13 Pro Bowls, including the past nine editions.

Michael J. Ivins/Getty

But staying at the top of your game for nearly 20 years isn’t easy — in fact, Brady is a bit of a fanatic when it comes to his physical fitness.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty

He is meticulous about his workout routine…

Read more: Tom Brady skips a common football workout on the day after a game to help his body recover


…and even more meticulous about what goes into his body.


Now, football fans can learn all of Brady’s fitness secrets in his new book, titled “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance.” Published in September, the book is filled with tips and recipes ranging from the conventional to the truly bizarre.

As a pro football player, I define sustained peak performance in ways that are unique to what I do in my job and the way I want to live my life off the field, as well. You don’t need to be an elite athlete (or for that matter, an athlete at all) to apply the methods in this book to your life. The most important thing is to try out one principle at a time. Hold yourself to your own standards for what you want to achieve, and remember that the TB12 Method is built less on perfection than it is on progress and on forming positive daily habits. In that way, this regimen will start to stick and make a big difference in your health, wellbeing, energy, vitality—and your own peak performance. I’m beyond excited for all of you to get the chance to read the book and try it out for yourself next month! @tb12sports

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on


The TB12 Method is built on 12 different principles, from balance and moderation to promoting anti-inflammatory responses in the body.

Mike McGinnis/Getty

Source: TB12 Sports


But the most important concept may be the first one on the list: pliability. Brady calls it “the missing leg of performance training.”

Elsa/Getty

Source: TB12 Sports


According to Brady, conventional weight training leaves muscles short and dense due to the constant contractions. He believes that long, soft muscles lead to peak performance.

Justin Edmonds/Getty

Read more:
Tom Brady explains his biggest secret to playing football at an age when everyone else retires


He sells a number of items purported to increase muscle pliability, including a foam roller and a “vibrating sphere.”

Screenshot/TB12

Source: TB12 Sports


And Brady works hard for maximum pliability. His incredibly regimented daily routine has garnered attention in recent years, with numerous other players attempting to emulate it.

Maddie Meyer/Getty

Source: Boston Globe


In a new documentary series, “Tom vs. Time,” Brady gave a behind-the-scenes look at the intense massages he gets with Guerrero to keep his muscles long and soft.

Read more: Tom Brady’s Facebook documentary gave an inside look at the bizarre massages he says help him keep playing at age 40


That includes Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots’ popular tight end.

Tim Bradbury/Getty

Read more:
Tom Brady has Rob Gronkowski on a food and alcohol diet and is even cooking him daily meals


Kirk Cousins is another player who likes to micromanage his health, fastidiously recording his hormone levels and even sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber.

Read more:
Kirk Cousins sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber, is obsessed with managing every detail of his life, and it may even outdo Tom Brady


Brady doesn’t do any of that, but he does go to bed early (while wearing special recovery pajamas, of course), often arriving in the weight room by the crack of dawn. Former teammate Rodney Harrison once joined Brady at the gym at 6 a.m., only to be greeted by a sarcastic “Good afternoon.”

Read more:
Tom Brady Does Brain Exercises So He Can Go To Sleep At 9 PM And Wake Up Without An Alarm


But as hard as Brady works out, it’s his diet that really throws people for a loop. With a litany of strict rules regarding what and when he can eat, he’s the NFL’s resident ascetic.


For example, Brady’s diet includes a ton of fresh vegetables — but only certain ones. While carrots and dandelion greens are staples, he avoids nightshades, a group of veggies that includes tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, and eggplants.

Sean Gallup/Getty

Read more:
Tom Brady’s diet is so strict that it excludes an entire group of vegetables


And those aren’t the only foods Brady refuses to eat. White sugar, white flour, and dairy are nowhere to be found in his kitchen. He “rarely” drinks alcohol, and he’s never even tried coffee.

Read more:
Tom Brady says he doesn’t just avoid coffee – he’s never tried it in his life


He’s not big on dessert either — for him, avocado ice cream is a special treat.

Read more:
Tom Brady’s diet is so strict that he eats avocado-based ice cream as a treat


Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, and his children are also adherents to the strict diet. The kids almost always eat the same meals as their parents.

Read more:
Tom Brady’s kids have a diet that is almost as strict as his


Staying hydrated is another bedrock of the TB12 Method. Brady says he drinks between 12 and 25 glasses of water a day, or up to 2.5 gallons.

Read more:
Tom Brady drinks up to 2.5 gallons of water a day as part of his incredibly strict diet


He also adds electrolytes to everything he drinks. He even sells his own electrolyte solution.

Screenshot/TB12

Source: TB12 Sports


He has some odd ideas about the benefits of staying hydrated. While Brady suffered frequent sunburns as a “fair-skinned Irish boy” growing up in California, he says he doesn’t get them anymore because of all the water he drinks. “I always hydrate afterward, too, to keep my skin from peeling,” he wrote.

Source: Sports Illustrated


But many experts reject the water-as-sunscreen life hack. Jodi Stookey, an Oakland-based hydration epidemiologist, said she had “a small chuckle” when she read the passage, while David Leffell, a dermatologist at Yale University, called it “ridiculous.”

Source: The Daily Beast


Others have questioned the strictness of Brady’s diet, which he purports to be 20% acidifying foods and 80% alkalizing foods. “What you eat doesn’t affect blood pH,” said the exercise physiologist Stacy Sims.

Source: The Guardian


Because of the sunburn claim and others like it, many have serious doubts about The TB12 Method as a whole. A New York Times headline said the book was “hefty but short on science.”

Maddie Meyer/Getty

Source: The New York Times


It has led to some negative publicity for Alex Guerrero, Brady’s longtime personal fitness guru and co-collaborator.

Elsa/Getty

Guerrero has a checkered past. In the early 2000s, posing as a doctor, he developed a nutritional supplement known as “Supreme Greens,” which he said could cure ailments like AIDS and cancer. Eventually, the Federal Trade Commission found the product to be ineffective and barred Guerrero, who holds only a master’s degree, from ever again referring to himself as a doctor.

@1975Patriots/Twitter

Source: Boston Magazine


But even with Guerrero’s checked history, Brady sought his help, and he has put on a historic display of consistency and longevity. The quarterback said the training is “huge, huge reason why I’m still playing.”

Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Source: Boston Globe


Brady and Guerrero even opened a gym together. The TB12 Sports Therapy Center is located in Foxborough, less than a mile away from Gillette Stadium.

@TB12sports/Twitter

Source: USA Today


Not everyone is so enamoured of Guerrero, though. Bill Belichick, apparently fed up with the TB12 principles, reportedly revoked Guerrero’s access to both the Patriots sideline and team charters earlier this season.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Source: Boston Globe


Guerrero has also reportedly been barred from treating Brady’s teammates in the Patriots locker room, a once common practice.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Source: Boston Globe


Brady wasn’t pleased about being asked about the rift between two of his biggest mentors. When asked to comment at a recent press conference, he became visibly irritated and refused to acknowledge the reports of discord.

See more:
Tom Brady got defensive when asked about rift between his health guru and Bill Belichick


Brady may be unwavering in his commitment to his health, but he knows that his lifestyle may not be for everyone. “It’s unique to each individual. It’s a very customised program for each person because everybody’s body type is different,” Guerrero said of the TB12 Method.

Dustin Bradford/Getty

Source: USA Today


Belichick certainly isn’t an adherent. “We see Tom every day,” he said when asked if he would purchase the TB12 Method. “I don’t really feel like we need to read a book.”

Jim Rogash/Getty

Read more:
Bill Belichick had a great response to whether he plans on buying Tom Brady’s new book


But as long as he keeps winning them championships, no one in the Patriots organisation is going to stop the two-time MVP from training how he wants. Echoing the method’s tagline, Brady is the epitome of sustained peak performance.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty

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