NFL's medical culture not for Brady
With guidance from his guru, Tom Brady tries to be better through self-awareness (he meditates), rest and repair (he sleeps in special "athlete recovery sleepwear") and nutrition (he won't eat dairy, caffeine, white sugar or white flour).
For most of the year, Brady is a vegan. In the cold winter months, he adds some lean meat to his diet. A typical day's menu this time of year might include a breakfast smoothie—made with almond milk, a scoop of protein, seeds, nuts and a banana—a midmorning homemade protein bar, sliced up chicken breast on a salad with whole grains and legumes for lunch, a second smoothie as a snack and a dinner of quinoa with greens.
Unlike 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who had trouble maintaining his weight when he went vegan, Brady has had no problem maintaining lean mass. Guerrero says for the past several years, Brady has weighed 228 at the start of the season and dropped two to three pounds by the end. His body fat holds steady at about 10 percent.
Brady's workout regimen also is nontraditional for a football player. About 90 percent of his training is with resistance bands, and much of it is high-rep. In the offseason, he trains with Guerrero six days a week, sometimes twice a day. During the season, it's three times a day.
"It's unbelievable to see the consistency, how level-minded he stays and how he manages to raise the bar every year," Edelman says. "I don't think I've ever seen anyone like him—no one even close."
At the beginning of each season, the Patriots run their players through a battery of strength, speed and agility testing similar to combine drills. The purpose is to measure how the players are declining. But the damndest thing is happening with Brady. In each of the past three years, he improved his test scores in every category, according to Guerrero.
"It seems he's actually gotten stronger and faster as he's gotten older," Guerrero says.
Brady laughs it off. "I don't really correlate those numbers to being a better QB, but coaches and scouts like those things."
Brady does allow, though, that "in every way" he feels better at 39 than he did at 29.
"Really in my recovery and how my body feels each week," he says. "I basically always want to feel 100 percent for every practice and game. I know that is not always possible, but that is my goal. For the most part, I achieve that unless I sustain a big injury in the game. Then I have to work hard to be able to be ready for the game on Sunday.
"You can only work as hard as your ability to recover. I am confident in my process, and I feel there is not another 39-year old in the world that can recover faster than me. I have been blessed to learn the right methods, through my nutrition, hydration, pliability and proper rest. It's really not that hard if you do the right thing."
Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.
Here's how Tom Brady does it