Tom Brady‘s workout regimen puts all other men to shame. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
So you’re worried about Tom Brady‘s age, are you? Concerned about his “window closing”? Starting to contemplate the end of his career and what happens to the Patriots once the final grain of sand hits the bottom of his hourglass? And the very thought that it might be over soon is profoundly depressing, I imagine. Well cheer up, bunky. If the Tom Brady’s Career End Blues have got you down, I refer you to this expansive, 10,000 word Sports Illustrated article about Brady’s intense, rigorous, detailed and borderline insane workout routine. Read this and you’ll come away convinced that while Brady is on the back nine of his career, there’s no reason he can’t tee it up at No. 1 and play 27 holes. Some of the highlights:
— Brady owns the TB12 fitness center in Patriots Place, run by his “Mr. Miyagi,” Alex Guerrero. “They say he knows the quarterback’s body better than Gisele Bundchen, Brady’s wife. “I do have my hands on him a little more than she does,”
— Brady has not missed any time since he started with Guerrero, about 10 years ago. He is 37 and in his 15th season, and he wants to play into his 40s. Like 45. Like 48. When teammates ask how long, he simply says, “Forever.”
— Brady is a quarterback whose daily schedule, both in and out of season, is mapped clearly into his 40s. Every day of it, micromanaged. Treatment. Workouts. Food. Recovery. Practice. Rest. And those schedules aren’t just for this week, this month, this season. They’re for three years.
— The in-season portion of his regimen is designed to run through Super Bowl Sunday; if New England’s campaign ends in a playoff loss … Brady completes every drill, every throw, anyway.
— Brady’s performance in the 2005 playoff loss in Denver explained at last: … in 2005, when a vicious hit to his left shin in Week 14 against the Bills left Brady unable to walk. He played the next week, against the Buccaneers, and suffered a sports hernia that left his testicles at least three times their normal size. He played four more games, including the playoffs, with a bad shin and awful swelling down below.
— When Rodney Harrison played with Brady, the safety showed up at 6:40 a.m. to lift weights. “Good afternoon,” Brady said to him. So the next day Harrison showed up at 6:30. “Good afternoon.” Then 6:20. Then 6:10. Then 6. “Good afternoon” each time, until Harrison finally said, “Screw you, Tom. I’m not coming in any earlier.”
— “Tom is pushing back the aging process,” says [his throwing coach Tom] House. ‘There’s no reason he can’t do at 45 what he did at 25.”
— “This guy is year-round,” says [his trainer Gunnar] Peterson. … “No wasted movement. No plays off. No days off. Everything is purposeful.”
— His “ice cream” is in fact “made from raw ingredients, mostly vegetables — he favors an avocado base with cacao mixed in to mimic chocolate.” The rest of his diet consists of 80 percent alkaline, 20 percent acidic. He eats raw nutrient bars and what his teammates call “that birdseed [expletive],” and he once had breakfast at Heath Evans‘ house where he surgically removed every last bit of sausage from his omelet.
— Then there’s the brain resiliency program. Brady underwent a battery of tests and a neuroscan a few years back, then had a program created to … more quickly process information between plays, read defenses and make adjustments. They assist with his memory. They increase his peripheral vision and how far he can see downfield.
— And the money shot: “Brady is faster and stronger than on the day he was drafted.”
There’s much more detail and a several terrific anecdotes in the piece, but this gives you the upshot of it. Tom Brady is an obsessive, driven workaholic, wholly dedicated to making himself better, sharper and more conditioned in order to play football indefinitely. And even with all the money, the fame, the rings, the supermodel wife, he’s living a life of Spartan self-denial in order to not only stay on top of his game, but to actually improve. And the rest of us mortal men ought to hold our manhoods cheap while reading this.
I’ve been asked fairly regularly what I’ll do when Tom Brady retires. And I’ve typically given the same answer: I can’t think about it. Thinking about the end of his Patriots career is like thinking about your own death or the end of the universe. It’s impossible to contemplate so I take the mature, rational approach of pretending it’ll never happen. That’s how I deal with it. Until now I thought I was just in denial. Now I realize I’ve been right all along. Tom Brady will play forever.
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