(14 min read) Book Review
The TB12 Method
Ok, I’ve been waiting for this book to drop for a long time.
Tom Brady, even with the burden of being the greatest all time QB, multiple super bowl wins, having a hot wife and pretty much winning at life still manages to get younger and more fit each year. The struggle.
I’m not really the hater kind of guy. I can’t see how this guy is so polarizing. He’s like Trump… you either love him or hate him. C’mon guys. Cool your jets. Someone like Tom Brady comes around maybe once a generation and if you fail to see the significance of what he does day in and day out you’re a moron. You don’t have to cheer for his team or even like his style but the man offers you a ton to learn from. He’s the Jack Lalanne of our generation (if you don’t know jack) and he’s hear to make us all think and
Tom Brady gets younger and stronger each year and doesn’t do it with conventional wisdom. He eats, sleeps and trains different than you or I.
His trainer , Alex Guerrero is a guy I’ve known about and respected for years in the personal training world. I have told my wife for years I wanted to travel to Massachusetts just to see what this guy is all about. Obviously, his personality and system is different from the set standard and baby, do I love different.
Now they’ve teamed up and dropped the book TB12 and now I can never go see what they’re up to -because I’ll look like every nerdy wannabee groupie doctor/trainer guy in the industry.
So here’s my take.
First and foremost, it is a METHOD book. The title even states this. TB12 Method. How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance. I wanted this book because of my curiosity with THE METHOD. Understand that.
The read is not exceptionally funny nor entertaining as it’s not written as a memoir for the super sports fan wanting to get to know Tom Brady better. However, throughout the book, he does have aspects of his upbringing that I found interesting as I think at this point we all just assume he’s the king Midas of everything. Maybe you’ve forgotten he didn’t have any of this handed to him and because you’ve never met him you don’t realize just how much effort and time consumption he puts into this. Tom is an actual person and is real and has a thought process. He is EXTREMELY motivated and possesses world class determination like only a handful people I’ve ever met, and probably more than them.
There’s good info in the book. There’s new applications in the methodology. I’m playing with the methods and have been for a few months now and there is something to it. It is written by Tom himself and I genuinely like the guy. Too often in the world, we take snippets…pictures, memes, gifs and video cuts and think we know celebrities. We don’t. I still don’t him personally and still don’t after reading the book.
TB12 is a the method behind the system. Those of you who attend seminars, you’ll get it. There has to be a system (a product, a method) to the seminar or its just some guy talking. I think you get a different feel with a book because, in print, there’s time. The book allows you to dive into the “whys” behind the stories and rumors about the man.
The “whys” include what you hear vs. the facts. They are important to setting up the system as a whole. Its more than just 3x 10 of bench press twice a week and far from it in application.
What I hear…
“Tom Brady has a super-strict diet and never eats anything bad”
He does have a strict diet because he places an enormous amount of value onto how his body feels and performs each day. He’s listened to his body and over decades has fine tuned what works for him and what doesn’t. Whatever you’ve heard of his vegan monk-like existence etc is bunk and he’ll sit down for a desert or cheeseburger or beverage from time to time, just not 3 days in a row or a six pack – its not worth it to him, he feels it negatively affect him and it doesn’t make him better.
Professionally, as a sports based chiropractor, I’m ok with you saying, “oh man, a hangover on Saturday is no biggie once and a while” and in your life that may be true.
But this guy gets paid huge amounts of money and has signed a contract that promised his ability and skill being compensated for Kraft’s money and he takes pride in that. Add to it his incredible appetite to win, excel and beat younger kids at his craft and it’s the price he isn’t willing to pay for a cheap buzz or glutenous gut ache in the morning.
“Tom Brady doesn’t work out”
Exactly the opposite – he works out a ton, nearly daily – no daily. He’s incredibly methodical about his approach but works out differently than football wisdom classically allows.
He has an idea about being “over-muscular” for the joint system. This is something that really resonated with me as a chiropractor (I sort of see joints as a big deal) and as a former meathead college football player. It’s a hard pill to swallow however as I’ve been deeply ingrained in the stereotypical athletes’ body my whole life. TB12 workout system really has impacted my world at a lot of levels and adopting some of his preferred workouts has really helped me take the next step..slash that, the better step in my life.
Their main tool is not barbells and weights- it is bands. He’s huge into resistance bands and uses them very unconventionally. I like it. I’m not sold it’s the only way but one take from the TB12 book is that this is insight into THEIR system. Nobody’s saying it’s the ONLY way. He uses for the most part body weight with resistance bands and motions specific for improvement in his sport.
Here’s my take – Tom Brady basically gets healthier and stronger and faster every year and will continue to. He’s not the most jacked and beefed up football player to ever come out of the NFL however. I’ve worked on those guy – they’re monsters man!
He also is remarkably resistant to injury where as some beefed up monsters (say JJ Watt or Gronkowski) haven’t made it through a full season for a while. NOTE: TB12 doesn’t mention names – This is me giving you a well-known visual. I love both of those players and it kills me to see them go down.
Additional caveat here – Injuries happen, this is a violent sort and I’ve played it and I’ve worked with the guys at a level above me. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do.
Getting back to over muscular though – What if all that extra muscle, despite common sense saying will make you a better athlete, in fact makes it harder for your joints to handle a load and in football especially, at impact – where the joint is taken out of its normal physiology? As a healthcare professional, I’d say this statement is worth a serious look.
Recall the scrutiny and hype the Patriots are going though as Gronk leaves the traditional strength training for TB12 method and stirs up conventional wisdom. What happens if he comes back looking leaner and ‘less jacked’ but stays injury resistant?
TB12 point – let’s say the most elite receiver on the team averages an insane 9-10 catches a game – changes a league that guy does. Now – this freak of nature gets hurt after game six with a fantasy busting 60 catches for the 6 games! Pretty good, but those stats are also for the year.
What if the revamped, injury resistant elite athlete catches 8 passes for the season and continues to perform at the highest level, perhaps even improving as the season progresses due to experience and efficiency…that’s 128 receptions Holmes! Now multiply that by 5 years because G is healthy and plays for ever – not just a three year stint(average NFL stats) It’s called math, averages, analytics and its worth a serious look. To Brady, its worth a perfected diet and unconventional workout system.
“Tom Brady uses some freaky top secret muscle rehabilitation plan.”
It’s definitely under wraps a bit and not many videos out there from Guerrero himself. It’s a little secret. Is is freaky? hardly.
Its called pliability. PLIABILITY is the word and it is used about 4000 times in the book and at times makes the read nearly unbearable. There is something to it however, so use your mental thesaurus and plow through it.
Let’s be fair here though. I want to remind you the TB12 system is just that. It’s a system. You can buy the tools, supplements and techniques and in any system you have to have a sort of patented or coined approach. This is to differentiate you from the similar systems and those copycats out there ready to pounce and steal. Pliability is Guerrero’s term. He didn’t invent it, but he made it HIS. Brady is just doing his part to separate Guerrero from the imitators and competitors. It industry standard and necessary. “Pliability” just got to the point it was tough to read. It’s just a different more dynamic form of muscle release and mobility.
Look, I know a lot of you have never been to my clinic, but one thing that sets it apart is we use a TON of muscle work. Releases, mobility, tools, tricks. It is necessary if you want to function correctly. 100% necessary. This pliability…it’s a good technique.
I’d be a liar and cheat if I told you I know how to do TB12 method and Guerrero’s form of pliability. The term in the course of the book made me bored but the reality is that if a client of mine, asks me in the clinic, “Hey doc, that’s something new…Not sure you’ve done that to me – what is it?” How can I answer? – “Here Luke, Read this article I wrote as a review to the book TB12?”…”Read this 275 page book?”
Much easier to just say, “Pliability training” or if you’re me, perhaps a little wordy…”It’s something new I got from the TB12 book, I think it’s similar to their ‘pliability training’ but I haven’t got out there to learn it officially yet…do you like it?” and then see how it works and if they respond well.
Researching, I saw a lot of videos of guys claiming they do it and they are liars and cheats. I am not certified in it but would like to be. There is an issue with celebrity certification however.
They are celebrity and hence, have a big name attached to it. People want it to work.
Example: I like and use Rock tape, the Graston tools, IAS and other systems clinically – Everyone in the sports world does or should. Olympic athletes, NFL and NBA all use it with success.
75% or more of people do it wrong and it still works – there is a huge placebo effect with using a named and famous product and I’m ok with that.
Certification mean you took a class. You’re no expert. If I put the letters of all the certifications I have after my name on my business card it would look like an alphabet.
Certification is FAR from expert.
That being said. I have tried applying the principals as they are spelled out in the clinic and have had really good results. Superior to what I was doing prior so even if I’m not doing it precisely their way, Tom did a good job explaining the mechanisms and movement in a way I could understand and apply. Physiologically – all the stuff in the book made sense and was true. There was no magical belief system nor “faith” in Guerrero, the trainer and his innate knowledge or having being handed his system from another dimension. He’s just damn good.
So my take? 5 stars – exactly what a method book should be – Straight up, a fantastic lack of BS, pictures, tools and explained well enough anyone can understand it. The science and application that I like as a clinician, was there with a fantastic lack of intimidating medical sounding words.
The book is a collection of their trademarked and copywritten system, the whys and hows with information on how to get more involved in his brand which includes lifestyle, workout, nutritional and application techniques.