Last week, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady released his first book—The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Peak Performance. In case you missed it from last Tuesday, we went over ten of the best recipes from Brady’s previously-released TB12 Nutrition Manual. But The TB12 Method goes deeper than the Nutrition Manual (which does have 89 recipes, with more to come), and it gives insight, perspective, and reasoning into the mindset and methods of the greatest quarterback of all time.
After The TB12 Method arrived on Tuesday, it took a week to finish—reading a little bit each day. The 320-page book (which was a lot bigger than expected) is extremely well-written, and it’s almost like you’re just reading a transcript of Brady talking. (And there is also an audio book, but I read the book.)
The TB12 Method starts with an introduction and is then broken into ten chapters:
1. WHAT I USED TO BELIEVE
2. WHAT I BELIEVE NOW
3. 12 PRINCIPLES OF TB12
4. PLIABILITY: A DEEPER DIVE
5. TRAINING AND METHODS
9. BRAIN TRAINING, REST, AND RECOVERY
I’m not going to get into much at all of what is in each chapter, because I believe everyone should buy the book and see for themselves—and because Brady can explain his method, which was crafted by Brady and long-time friend and body coach Alex Guerrero, a lot better than I can. But we’ll go over a few things in the book explaining how to achieve your own peak performance.
Brady starts with an autobiography of sorts, including some of what made him into the person he is today—like treating every single practice like a game, because he had no choice if he wanted to see the field. If you watched “The Brady 6”, you’ll recognize some of what he talks about in the first chapter, but it’s still very much worth reading even if you watched that.
The now-40-year-old quarterback also went in depth about how sore he was early in his career. Like many athletes, he was stuck in a cycle that included working out/practicing, being sore, resting—and never really recovering. Thanks to his meeting Alex Guerrero, Brady has felt great ever since. And he continues to get better and better as he gets older, and at the center of it all is pliability.
Pliability is described in the book, on multiple occasions, as lengthening and softening the muscles. Brady and the TB12 team believe pliability is the missing leg of traditional training, which includes what most athletes (and many ordinary people looking to be healthy or fit) do today: strength and conditioning.
Because of pliability, Brady is able to absorb blow from defenders, heal from injuries quicker (his story about recovering from his ACL tear is remarkable), still get stronger and more athletic, and just feel a lot better overall. For anyone that’s watched Brady over the last few years, it’s hard not to take his word for it. I know whenever me, my dad, and my brother watch Brady play, we just marvel at how he still throws lasers. It’s difficult to just chalk up someone getting better as they age to just being lucky. Brady works at it every single day, with pliability as his main weapon.
Brady makes clear the best way to achieve pliability is with a certified TB12 body coach, but he does go over self pliability and partner pliability. There are pictures—as there are throughout the book—that show how some of the methods are to be done. And to help enhance pliability, a vibrating foam roller and vibrating sphere (which are available from Brady’s TB12 Store) are highly recommended. For workouts, it’s the same way—great examples that show exactly how the workouts should be done.
While weight lifting and running are part of the traditional workout method, Brady recommends using different types of resistance bands to workout. It might sound like it wouldn’t get the job done, but Brady insists resistance bands work and still increase muscle mass. Again, it’s hard to argue against his results. (And the workouts are definitely not too hard, so don’t worry about that.)
The TB12 Method would not be complete without hydration and nutrition. Brady makes a full commitment so that he can be the best player he can be, but he also notes that anyone that follows these tips on hydration and nutrition will have much greater vitality. I don’t want to give it away (just know Brady recommends drinking a lot of water, with electrolytes, and eating a plant-based, seasonal diet), but Brady also recommends taking certain nutritional supplements—something I wish would’ve been in the TB12 Nutritional Manual, but it’s good he went deeper into the diet for his book.
Brady also says he knows it won’t be easy to make a switch from a diet that might include a lot of unhealthy food, but that by taking it day by day, it’ll become like second nature. And while shopping for healthier organic food might cost more, it’s nothing compared to the potential cost of healthcare bills down the line.
Brain training, rest, and recovery are also huge parts of Brady’s method, and TB12 is at the forefront of those areas. For brain training, they’ve partnered with Brain HQ, and the brain training doesn’t take much time to do. They’re basically games that you play and try to get better at, and you can do it from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
For rest, Brady makes recommendations to make it easier to sleep, but I’ll just say he goes to bed at 9:00 PM and wakes up at 6:00 AM. I’m curious how he works it out when he has primetime games that sometimes don’t get done until midnight, but maybe we’ll get the answer to that some day. And Brady even has sleepwear, which he partnered with Under Armour to launch last year. He calls it a hyperbaric chamber of sorts, which I thought was a great description, and he comically jokes he’s even gaining an advantage on his competitors when he’s sleeping. The Recovery Sleepwear obviously isn’t cheap at up to $100 for certain items, but it’s probably worth the investment as long as it lasts.
And then finally, there’s the conclusion. It’s basically a pep talk from Brady that alone makes the book worth the purchase. I don’t want to give it away because I think people should read it for themselves, but he stresses that we are not victims and that we can make choices to dictate how our lives play out.
After reading the book, it’s clear the TB12 Method is not just for athletes. It’s for anyone that wants to be as healthy as possible. As Brady points out, we are only given one body, after all. Some are saying The TB12 Method is just a money grab to drive people toward the TB12 Sports Therapy Center in Foxborough, but I don’t think that’s the case at all.
One, Brady seems like a truly genuine person. He’s not just going to make up stuff to make more money—which he has a lot of already.
Two, based off the book, they don’t have much trouble getting clients to go to TB12 and it sounds like they’re booked up most of the time. (And there is a testimonial section, which is pretty amazing and makes it sound like they are near-miracle workers at TB12.)
And three, Brady is evidence of his method working. At 40 years old, he’s still playing the best he’s ever played, he says he feels as good as ever, and he just looks young.
Brady also obviously cares about others living a healthy and fulfilled life to achieve their own peak performance, if they want to. In the book, he talks about hoping for a change in how things are advertised and sold while warning about the huge companies that are worried about their profits. The future Hall of Fame quarterback could’ve just kept his secrets to himself, but he’s sharing them with anyone that’s willing to listen. He recommends just trying his method for 30 days, then eventually if you keep doing it, the TB12 Method will become a part of your life like it is his.
You can try to say it’s just good genes that make Brady play so good and look so young, but he fact of the matter is not many people are willing to put in the kind of work he puts in. People would rather believe some mythical trait is why Brady is great rather than accept just works extremely hard. And his book gives great knowledge and insight into it all.
The TB12 Method is a must-read for any athlete, and really anyone in general that wants to be healthier. It’s ambitious of Brady and his team to want to push their method to everyone and make sure people know pliability could be what’s missing, but they’re probably right. I look forward to seeing the method grow and spread as new TB12 Centers open around the country.
Overall, it’s going to take a lot of time to achieve all of the TB12 Method. Brady says doing everything is the best way to get all that you can out of it, but he does also say doing what you can is better than doing nothing. It’s at least worth trying the TB12 Method. I know I’m going to start with what I can do with the time I have, and hopefully at some point I’ll be able to get to where the entire method becomes my new normal.
The TB12 Method is the new sports and lifestyle bible, and it gets five stars.