July 13, 2021 10 min read
Well known for his long NFL career with the New England Patriots and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tom Brady is a legend in his own right.
Beyond his stellar performance, which includes records for most games won, played, and started by a quarterback, Brady has also enjoyed a much longer career than most professional athletes in any major sport.
His unique lifestyle likely has much to do with his continued good health and comparatively short list of debilitating career injuries. Brady also pays careful attention to his diet, including the supplements he takes.
While it’s very instructive to study how professionals maintain their peak performance over long periods, it’s also important to note that most people have no reason to follow the exact same program as Tom Brady or any other athlete.
We just don’t face grueling long-term physical activity to the same degree as they do. However, everyday people can still learn a lot about what supplements they need to take to maintain a healthy balance within their bodies.
When it comes to Tom Brady, you’ll get a particularly unique view on fitness supplements. Read on to find out what Tom Brady takes to keep his body functioning at its peak performance and get some pointers for your own fitness and nutrition plans.
Anybody who can do what Brady does has to have a robust diet filled with nutrients to energize their muscles and help them recover after intense physical activity. That doesn’t mean every single pro athlete takes all the different supplements there are, but it does make it more likely that someone like Tom Brady would take some kind of supplement.
Tom Brady is a very unique character among quarterbacks and athletes in general. He stays fit with a combination of nutritional choices, hydration, cognitive health, and pliability, all of which are outlined in the TB12 Method, the name of both a book and Brady’s supplement and fitness company.
A few years ago, Brady was quoted as saying he had “really stepped outside the box” in the way he trains, eats, hydrates, and plays cognitive games, which he does on a “daily or weekly basis” to build up durability within his body and brain. He credited all these things with his ability to continue playing at his then-current age of 38.
The supplements Tom Brady takes are organic and plant-based.
They may not be the whey protein or BCAA supplements you were expecting, but they work in essentially the same way by adding much-needed nutrients to the daily diet for better bodily function.
Specifically, Tom Brady takes Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids, multivitamins, electrolytes, and protein shakes. He doesn’t talk much about supplements that boost your body’s ability to grow muscle mass like whey protein or creatine, but the protein shakes he drinks are the most likely source of these supplements.
Naturally, Brady claims that he sticks to TB12 electrolytes and other products from his own company. Whether this is completely true or just part of a marketing effort is up in the air and your thoughts on the matter depend on how cynical you are about number 12.
So Tom Brady claims his company has the protein powder and recovery supplements you need to stay in great physical shape throughout your life. Does that make it true?
Unfortunately, the science is still out or else directly repudiates some of the claims in Tom’s book. But most of what his company sells is organic, non-GMO, and based on plants you’ve likely heard of such as cherries as well as some others you probably haven’t such as rhodiola or ashwagandha.
If you go by the testimony, these products appear to work. Many people apparently see results quickly and are beside themselves with improvements in their body’s performance. While some benefits of the contents of some TB12 products are disputed, others aren’t.
Antioxidants, for example, are widely acknowledged to have numerous health benefits including reduced damage from free radicals, which could very well reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Even if it’s just a protein powder you’re taking, it will likely help improve your physical performance during a workout and muscle recovery afterward.
Brady is a rarity amongst wellness product peddlers because he doesn’t promise people that his products will single-handedly revolutionize their lives. He is very open about the fact that his nutrition and diet are the most important aspect of his fitness regime.
Alkalinity is a big concern for him. He stresses frequently that he stays away from vegetables in the nightshade family, including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant because they lead to inflammation. Although there is no definitive link between these nightshade plants and inflammation (and these plants have many health benefits), something Tom is doing is working.
While his supplemental stack is made up of plant-based nutrients, Tom Brady has previously stated that he is “by no means” a vegetarian. He does avoid gluten-heavy carbs stick to healthy whole grains and complex carbs like quinoa and avoids alcohol and sweets.
Famously, he prefers an avocado ice cream that’s flavored with cocoa powder, although he has also indicated that this habit may cease once he retires from pro football. Hydration also plays a huge role in his diet plan. In his book, Brady stated he drinks between 14 and 37 glasses of water a day.
While that range is a bit broad, it’s nonetheless clear that he’s extremely unlikely to be thirsty. Regarding animal-based and meat products, Tom Brady has repeatedly urged people to practice reliance on sources that are grass-fed, organic, and free-range.
It’s clear he has a deep concern with people eating food that’s as natural as possible. The product line proffered by the TB12 company appears to reflect this as well, offering supplements that are plant-based and natural, at least according to their own claims.
Alkaline diets like the one this famous NFL quarterback practices may have benefits as well. While your lungs and kidneys are primarily responsible for balancing your body’s acidity levels, a few researchers have found that there could be some health benefits to an alkaline diet, although not the ones frequently cited by adherents including Tom Brady.
For example, bone health could increase and muscle waste could be reduced. Memory and cardiovascular health could improve. Higher availability of magnesium and vitamin D may help the exocrine and apocrine systems.
However, these possible benefits may not be the direct result of the alkaline element of the diet - they could be related to the source of alkaline-friendly foods, which are primarily fruits and vegetables.
Whatever Brady says about his diet and the reasons behind his nutritional choices, it’s very clearly a healthy diet that won’t have negative repercussions for everyday people provided they make adjustments. We don’t all throw touchdowns, win the Super Bowl, or pass for over 300 yards in a single game and so probably need far less protein and calories than Tom Brady consumes.
It’s not hard to imagine yourself drinking 14 glasses of water when you’re hitting the gym hard, but during the rest of the day, it can be a real challenge to drink clean water instead of sugary and caffeine-riddled beverages.
Tom Brady doesn’t offer much advice for drinking more water throughout the day, although it is something he stresses adamantly in his book and basically anywhere else he doles out health tips. One important tip is to drink a glass of water straight away when you wake up in the morning.
Brady has also pointed out that he doesn’t drink water with meals. There is some evidence that drinking water after a meal helps with digestion, but drinking while eating can give a false sense of fullness before your body has actually taken in enough food to get the nutrients it needs.
Now that we have some idea what Number 12 takes to supplement his diet, we can take a look at how he stays in shape to win games.
Obviously, quarterbacks don’t need to pile on muscle mass and additional bodyweight the way linemen do, and Tom Brady isn’t focused on getting ripped like many bodybuilders are - he needs functional strength and protection against injuries. By his own account, Brady focuses much more on what he refers to as muscle pliability. He says this pliability has to do with muscles being soft and elongated, better able to absorb shock and sudden changes in direction.
Like many things related to his fitness and nutrition routine, this concept of muscle pliability has drawn some ire from others, particularly because it appears to have originated as a concept with his controversial business partner Alex Guerrero.
But much like the alkaline diet, it has caused Brady to ritualistically rely on things that are proven to have great health and fitness benefits. In this case, it happens that he practices working out with resistance bands rather than heavy barbells and strength training that would likely have a much harsher impact on his muscles and joints.
According to the TB12 Sport website, Tom Brady practices a HIIT workout routine with the following exercises included:
As you can see, he relies on the resistance band for the majority of these exercises. On the TB12 website, the demonstration videos all feature banded versions of the moves, even the deadlift.
Warm-ups and cooldowns are also important for this workout routine. He prepares with foam rollers (which his company is happy to sell you) and cools down with them as well.
Let’s face it: Brady will go down as a legend and clearly knows how to keep his mind and body in great shape for football, but that doesn’t mean he or his products are the gospel on fitness.
You can get the same benefits without the large price tag by simply eating well and using supplements that give your body the protein and amino acids it needs to maintain muscle and recover from hard workouts.
Choosing the right supplement depends on your fitness goals. Almost everyone could likely do with a protein boost, but the amount should match the frequency and intensity of your workouts. Pre-workout supplements and those meant to be consumed for a fast jolt in the middle of an exercise routine are both great ways to give your muscles the energy they need to push through the workout, but not everyone needs such a boost.
For instance, if you’re just trying to maintain your physique with banded workouts and some light cardio, there’s no reason for you to overdo it with supplements. But you can still benefit from supplements like our Pre formula for additional focus during your exercises.
Weight loss can also be expedited with the right supplements. Protein helps curb appetite in many cases and any one of the energy-boosters already mentioned will give your body the fuel it needs to work out longer without the additional calories that come from carbs and other food sources like sugar.
T-boosters and supplements for recovery and an improved immune system can also help your body improve its performance inside and outside the gym. You should be aiming for holistic health like Tom Brady advocates for even if you aren’t relying on his specific products to get there.
If you want to try out the anti-inflammatory aspects of Tom Brady’s supplement stack and diet plan, some natural sources can help. Curcumin, a yellow spice used in many Southeast Asian dishes, is a great anti-inflammatory agent. Fish oils that are rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids are also useful for this purpose.
Ginger, vitamin-D, and green tea extract are some of the easiest anti-inflammatory agents for most people to find and add to their supplement routine or their normal diet. Garlic and vitamin C also help and have a few more health benefits of their own.
Even if the science behind the alkaline diet or anti-inflammatory benefits that Tom Brady seems to care about so much maybe a bit on the unfinished side, the methods used to reap these benefits are still healthy for other reasons.
The most important factor for average people who want to emulate the health regimen of this legendary football player is to adjust the levels down for their own body type, health needs, and fitness level.
The cheat day is a huge mood and morale boost for people who are on strict diets while working toward weight loss or fitness goals. Tom Brady avoids cheat days in his diet entirely, but do we have to as well?
The critical thing to remember about cheat days when you’re dieting is that you should be adding cheat elements to your existing meals rather than going all-out with alcohol and processed food. A really bad cheat day could undo a week or more of an otherwise healthy diet and fitness plan.
Tom Brady has this to say about sugar in our present-day society:
“I try not to eat as much sugar, but it’s so hard in our American diet to do that… It’s hard to completely avoid.”
If an NFL legend like Tom Brady finds it difficult to avoid sugar, you can bet everyday people with significantly fewer resources have a really hard time avoiding it too.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make every effort to buy whole foods and healthy supplements that will be a boost to your health and fitness goals rather than ruining or actively sabotaging them. But you should also take the realistic view - most people aren’t facing high-stakes football matches and earning a huge paycheck for staying in top athletic condition.
It’s all about staying healthy so you can enjoy your life, not turning yourself into a carbon copy of Tom Brady. He sticks to lean protein, plant-based foods, fruits, vegetables, and natural supplements.
Following suit in this regard is a great idea and will very likely help you on the way to achieving your health and fitness goals. Just make sure you have realistic expectations about what the results of your pursuits will look like at the end and along the way.
Tom Brady has managed to stay in top shape well past the age when most other NFL players have to retire. He has had fewer injuries and maintained top-tier performance levels, both of which he credits to his diet and fitness plan.
The supplements he uses are easy to find. They’re primarily plant-based and free of processed ingredients. If you want to supplement like Tom Brady, you need protein, multivitamins, and electrolytes.
Even if you aren’t planning on throwing a touchdown in the next Super Bowl, you can learn a lot from Brady’s diet and his holistic approach to health and fitness. Try out some of the tips in this guide during your training and you’re sure to notice the difference.