Tom Brady diet: Explaining the TB12 method and how QB used eating restrictions for lengthy career

When it comes to the diet of professional athletes, one stands out above the rest — the TB12 method. 

Tom Brady’s playing days might be over, but that does not mean his strict diet and lifestyle regimen went away with it. The former Patriots and Buccaneers star quarterback is known for living an extremely healthy life dating back to his active days in the NFL. It’s part of the reason why he was able to suit up until the age of 45, spending 23 seasons in the league. 

The seven-time Super Bowl champion continues to live by the TB12 method, which he has transformed over the years into a lifestyle brand. It’s certainly not for everyone, as there are some over-the-top restrictions put in place, but that’s the price you have to pay to reach peak athletic form like Brady did for all those years. 

Just because a player follows the Brady method doesn’t mean they will transform into the greatest football player of all time. There are plenty of other facets of Brady’s training that factored into the success on the field. 

However, his diet and lifestyle changes can be picked up by anyone, football lover or not. Here is a closer look at Brady’s diet and what TB12 is. 

MORE: Who’s roasting Tom Brady? Bill Belichick, Kevin Hart among celebrities taking shots at QB 

What is Tom Brady’s diet?

Brady’s diet may seem extreme, but to him, he said he sees no other way to go about consuming nutrients. 

“The regimen I follow is a mix of Eastern and Western philosophies,” Brady said in a 2021 interview with Men’s Health. “Some of these principles have been around for thousands of years. My nutritional regimen may seem restrictive to some people, but to me it feels unnatural to eat any other way.”

A major component of Brady’s diet is liquids. The first thing he does after getting out of bed at 6 a.m. is drink a 20-ounce glass of water infused with electrolytes, according to Men’s Health.

Up next is another drink, this time a bit heavier. He goes with a smoothie that usually contains blueberries, bananas, nuts, and seeds. Brady has more electrolyte-infused water during his morning workout, which starts at 8 a.m., before following up the exercise with another smoothie.

Throughout the course of a day, the former QB drinks between 12 and 25 glasses of water, he said in 2017

Now, let’s get to the food. Brady’s diet focuses on a lot of fruits and vegetables and other high-protein items. He first started by “alkalizing,” meaning he would eat foods that decrease inflammation in the body. That led to a diet filled very heavily with vegetables and fish, but toward the end of his career, he began to alter it, even if it was only slightly. 

In 2021, Men’s Health laid out a typical Brady food day:

  • Pre-workout: Berry-and-banana smoothie
  • Breakfast: Avocado and eggs
  • Lunch: Salad with nuts and fish
  • Snack: Hummus, guacamole, or mixed nuts
  • Dinner: Roasted vegetables and chicken

That diet differed when Sunday rolled around during his playing days. On game day, Brady kept it simple, having one of his typical pre-workout smoothies. However, he would follow that up with an almond butter and jelly sandwich. 

Just how strict does Brady stick to his diet? While a majority of the time, the future Hall of Famer does not deviate from his plan, as he puts it, “we’re humans.” That means that yes, even Brady has a cheat meal every now and then. 

This is what Brady said about cheating on his diet, per Men’s Health:

“If I’m craving bacon, I have a piece,” Brady said. “Same with pizza. You should never restrict what you really want. We’re humans, here for one life. What’s changed as I’ve gotten older is now if I want pizza, I want the best pizza. I don’t eat a slice that tastes like s— and then wonder, ‘Why am I eating s— pizza?’”

What is TB12?

TB12 is the official brand of Tom Brady, inspired by his unique lifestyle method to reach his top level of athletic performance. 

It was founded “on the belief that everyone can benefit from a smarter, more holistic approach to health and wellness. Tom’s functional strength & conditioning principles, innovative recovery practices, and commitment to preventing and addressing injuries are the basis for everything TB12 does,” according to the TB12 website

The name is pretty self-explanatory. It is derived from Brady’s initials — TB — and his uniform number in the NFL, No. 12.

TB12 sells all kinds of workout equipment and diet supplements to help others follow the lifestyle. Brady also wrote a book on his regimen titled: “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance.”

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