Rob Gronkowski, in an effort to extend his NFL career, spent this past offseason working on a new training program.
To do that, he turned to two people who know a thing or two about a long NFL career – Tom Brady and his fitness guru, Alex Guerrero.
In addition to resistance bands to strengthen Gronk’s core, and deep-tissue massages to help with blood flow, Gronk incorporated elements of Brady’s strict diet, according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald.
One of the key elements for the famous party boy was an alcohol diet that lets you keep drinking, but with a big catch.
We tried the plan, and it worked. But it was also a lot harder than we ever imagined.
Here’s how it works:
Guerrero runs Brady’s “TB12 Sports Therapy Center at Patriot Place” and the pair are behind Brady’s new book, “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance,” a book that is being described “the athletes’ bible.”
While Gronk incorporated elements of Brady’s strict diet, he was not quite to Brady’s level. So no avocado ice cream yet.
Source: Boston Herald
One twist to the regimen was that Brady does not drink alcohol, so they had to come up with a plan that would allow Gronk to keep drinking.
The alcohol diet is simple: For every alcoholic beverage, you have to drink at least three glasses of water “to make up for cheating, to offset the ramifications.”
Source: Boston Herald
We decided to give the alcohol diet a shot over the course of a recent weekend. To make it more challenging, we did it over a football weekend when there is typically more social drinking happening.
First we had to establish some rules. While a glass of water is typically defined as 8 ounces, it wasn’t clear if Guerrero wanted each glass to be the same size as, say, a typical can of beer (12 ounces), or even a pint of beer (16 ounces). When multiplying by three over the course of a couple of days, that makes a big difference.
We have a SodaStream in our house that uses 33-ounce bottles. This seemed like a nice compromise between 24 ounces (3 glasses at 8 ounces each) and 36 ounces (3 glasses at 12 ounces each), while erring on the side of more. I simply drank one of these filled with water for every alcoholic beverage.
The only other rule was just “no fudging” on the alcohol. No oversized glasses of wine and no beer over 12 ounces. However, we figured things like IPAs, with higher alcohol content, and glasses of whisky, which are generally sipped over a longer period, were fair game.
The idea was to try to simulate a typical Gronk party weekend. I’m obviously not as big as Gronk (6-6, 265), but I am a healthy 6-2, 210 pounds and a former athlete. I already tend to drink a lot of water. I also have my Irish and Texas roots seemingly working in my favour, and often get chided by my friends for my high level of alcohol tolerance. This should be easy … It wasn’t.
On the first night, I decided to start off with Lagunitas IPA. I figured if I was going to have fewer drinks than a typical party weekend night while hanging out with some friends, I should up the alcohol content a tad. Lagunitas’ IPA has an alcohol content of 6.2%, compared to 4% to 5% for most beers.
After the first bottle of beer I made my first mistake and chugged the first bottle of water. Subconsciously, I think the water simply felt like an obstacle that needed to be overcome. The sooner it was out of the way, the sooner I could get back to the important stuff.
One beer in, and I already had to go to the bathroom. It was a good thing I tried this at home the first night. It would have been embarrassing running back and forth to the bathroom all night.
I quickly realised that this wasn’t just about staying hydrated and diluting the bad stuff. It also made me want less alcohol and even less food.
I started drinking at 5 on Friday night. At 6:30 we ate pizza, and I could barely get down the second slice. By 7, I was already feeling bloated. I was just two beers into the diet.
By the third beer — and glasses 7, 8, and 9 of water — I already dreaded the idea of any more alcohol. But WWGD? He would keep pushing.
After just three hours, I had already been to the bathroom three times. I had also decided (a little too late) that IPAs are a little too heavy for this. Then again, it was probably better than my second choice, Guinness Extra Stout. So I switched to a wheat ale, Yellow Armadillo from Thirsty Planet brewery.
By 9, four hours after starting my “Gronk Binge,” I had four beers and the equivalent of a dozen 11-ounce glasses of water. That was 16 drinks in four hours, and I felt awful. I was tempted to Google “how much water is too much water?” This might be healthier, and I might drink less alcohol and I might even eat less food, but I definitely felt worse than a typical night with a handful of drinks.
By 9:30 it was time to cut off the beer. I felt like I approached this the same way Gronk would, overconfident and with reckless abandon — “I’m not going to be defeated by WATER!” — so I switched to something I can sip and with a caffeine hit since I am now feeling sluggish: Bulleit whiskey and coke. Also, dessert was out of the question.
By 10:45, I had made it through 1.5 whiskey-cokes, and I was done. On a typical night out drinking with friends I would have had at least another hour, and maybe two, in me. Final tally from Day 1: 4 beers, 1.5 whiskey-cokes, the equivalent 15 11-ounce glasses of water, and I lost count of the number of trips to the bathroom.
Day 2: I tried the diet again, on Saturday night. Even though there was a full slate of afternoon football games, I was still scarred from the night before and was not tempted to do any afternoon drinking.
The first mistake I made in Day 2 was starting with another IPA. I thought I could pace myself better. I did not. And sure enough, I once again chugged the first bottle of water.
I was completely thrown off. While I thought I would learn from the mistakes of Day 1, instead my body just had no desire to drink anything. I quickly switched to whiskey-cokes. It didn’t help.
I found myself drinking the alcoholic drinks much slower as I tried to stall the next bottle of water, and the water itself became increasingly difficult to drink in large quantities. I just never fully comprehended ahead of time just how much water I would have to drink.
Final tally from Day 2: 1 beer, 2 whiskey-cokes, and the equivalent 9 11-ounce glasses of water. Definitely fewer than I would have had on a typical football Saturday.
While I feel like Tom Brady and his fitness guru have “defeated” me, the goal now is to stick with this. Not only do I drink less on a typical drinking night, but I eat less, I consume more water, and I am simply more conscious of what is going into my body. All in all, that’s a good thing.
Now check out how Tom Brady lives his life off the field.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.