Football is a collision sport designed to wear out the body and mind.
By the end of a season the injury rate is around 100 percent.1
However, even if you don’t follow the sport, you may have noticed that there’s a well-known 39-year-old player who seems almost impervious to the aging effects of football – Tom Brady, the quarterback of the champion New England Patriots.
Soon to be 40 years old – an age at which most pro quarterbacks are hobbling around or already retired after a string of crippling injuries – Brady has retained his preternatural good looks and athletic build while seeming to be almost magically resistant to the pains and aches that bring down aging athletes.
His secret is not some advanced drug regimen cooked up by a hush-hush lab. It’s a lifestyle incorporating diet and exercises that some call “bizarre.”2
But if you’re into natural health and have kept abreast of the latest insights into healthy living, everything he does is just plain commonsense. He does many of the same things alternative health gurus recommend for anyone who wants to resist the ravages of time (and blitzing linebackers).
First off, Brady follows what is basically a modified version of a Paleo diet that emphasizes fresh vegetables and organic meats.
According to Allen Campbell, the chef who prepares his food (C’mon, Brady’s a millionaire star athlete; you didn’t think he cooked his own food, did you?), the diet:3
- Avoids GMO foods and contains locally grown, organic vegetables. (Vegetables are 80% of the diet.)
- Eliminates white sugar, sweetened drinks, gluten and MSG (monsodium glutamate).
- Avoids nightshade vegetables like peppers, eggplants and tomatoes that he considers inflammatory.
- Includes quinoa, brown rice, beans and millet.
- Incorporates protein sources like grass-fed organic steak, occasionally duck and chicken as well as wild salmon.
- Very rarely includes fruits. Junk food is almost completely forbidden except for a rare indulgence.
- Excludes coffee and other sources of caffeine, mushrooms and dairy.
The only oil Brady uses for cooking is coconut oil, although he uses organic virgin olive oil on the vegetables as a dressing.
Surprising Workout for a Pro Football Player
When it comes to his workouts, Brady’s approach is different than most football players. You probably won’t find him in the weight room.
While other NFL athletes focus on continually working to build muscle, Brady, who takes his cues from body coach Alex Guerrero, mostly focuses on what the two of them call “pliability” – a mixture of strength, flexibility, elasticity and “sponginess.” Brady and Guerrero say this quality helps prevent injuries and speeds recovery when he does get hurt.
So instead of pumping iron, Brady mostly uses resistance bands, calisthenic-type moves and stretches to stay strong and flexible.4
Results That Speak For Themselves
While some experts are skeptical of the measures Brady uses to stay competitive in a sport that features bruisers in their twenties who mow people down, Brady’s results speak volumes about the benefits of his lifestyle.
He’s led his team to five Superbowl victories and is being called by many the greatest quarterback who’s ever lived.
But Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins writes, “Brady’s far more revolutionary act has been to seize control of his own body from a league that specializes in ruining men with Mesozoic training methods and corrupt medical practices rife with painkiller abuses and MRSA infections.”
As he told The New York Times at the end of a season three years ago, “I just know that I’m sitting here at age 37 and I feel perfect at the end of 16 games. My arm doesn’t hurt, my legs don’t hurt. My teammates, they’re hurting.”5
Brady’s father says he wants to play until he’s 70. While that’s unrealistic, nobody knows how long he can keep playing.
If you want to stay on top of your game, using Brady’s techniques could keep you going longer and better, too.