In February, 39-year-old quarterback Tom Brady won his 5th Super Bowl in a breathtaking third quarter comeback. In the process, the New England Patriots superstar racked up a record fourth win as MVP along with the most passing yards and completions of any quarterback in Super Bowl history. Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.
At an age when other professional players are hanging up their cleats, Tom Brady plans on staying in the game for another six or seven years and setting even more records. He’s not dreaming, either.
You see, he’s what many would describe as a health nut. His lifestyle reflects a commitment to mental, physical, and spiritual health that may be the key to ensuring himself a long life , both on and off the field.
For instance, Brady and his super model wife, Giselle (of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue fame), religiously follow an 80/20 diet, meaning 80% of their diet is highly alkaline foods ranging from vegetables to whole grains. His dietary choices are high in phytonutrients that provide full-spectrum nutrition and antioxidants that fight inflammation.
A typical menu for Brady, who rises very early, might include:
- A breakfast smoothie made with almond milk, a scoop of protein, seeds, nuts and a banana.
- This would be followed by a mid-morning protein bar and a lunch comprised of sliced chicken breast in a salad with whole grains and legumes.
- Then another afternoon smoothie.
- And a light dinner of quinoa and greens.
- Dietary no-no’s include sugar, white flour, dairy, MSG, coffee or caffeinated beverages, and alcohol.
Good eating habits are just the start. Brady’s daily schedule is thoroughly planned and reflects his commitment to staying in peak shape for his playing career. With his trainer, he has worked out a program of short- and long-term fitness goals.
He might devote a full year to building his muscle mass with circuits that include wide dumbbell squats and bicep curls, crunches, lunges, and mountain climbers. The following year could be devoted to maintaining muscle pliability with regular yoga sessions, increased use of resistance bands, and flexibility-focused resistance drills.
He stays away from lifting heavy weights, which shorten and stiffen the muscles, especially in his throwing arm. Instead, he focuses on flexibility, which elongates the muscles, allowing him to throw pass after pass without stiffness or pain. And speaking of his throwing arm, every morning and before and after practices, Tom’s personal trainer massages his right arm along with the connecting muscles and tissues.
Mental conditioning is also part of the game, and to that end, Brady regularly consults with a neuropsychologist who has helped him develop a brain-strengthening program. The brain workouts improve his memory as well as his speed of information processing including the ability to make quick offensive adjustments on the field. The brain program even boosts his peripheral and long-range vision.
And on top of all that, the brain strengthening program will protect his brain in the event of a concussion. Another brain conditioning tool that Brady uses is a program called BrainHQ, with 29 online exercises that adapt in difficulty to meet your optimum level and provide a workout to improve attention, brain speed, memory, people skills, navigation, and intelligence.
He believes the physical health of his brain is important as well. To identify his areas of neurological weakness, he’s undergone brain scans and then followed them up with targeted mental exercises to overcome any deficiencies and keep his brain at peak cognitive functioning.
You might not think this level of discipline could coexist with a Zen-like spirituality, but in Brady’s case, the combination works. He practices yoga regularly for its physical and mental benefits and is a believer in transcendental meditation. Of Tom’s total health regimen, his good friend and trainer says, “Our method relates to being physically fit, emotionally stable and spiritually nourished.”
When accepting this year’s Super Bowl MVP award, Tom Brady admitted to reporters that, back when he was 25, he could not expect to hold up so well because his arm and body were “hurting all the time.” But luckily for him, dedication to his profession and a determination to be the best he could be gave rise to a total lifestyle commitment that allows him to bounce back, even after a brutal day on the football field.
Now he says, “at age 39, my arm never hurts and my body never hurts. Even after I get banged up, I know how to take care of it and jump on it right away, so that I can feel good for a Wednesday practice.” Not bad for a guy knocking on the door of middle age…
Whether you’re a Patriots fan or not, in terms of longevity, Tom Brady is an inspiration to all of us, both on and off the field.