Reimer: 'The TB12 Method' is full of nonsense –– and lots of weird Tom Brady pictures

Alex Reimer
September 21, 2017 - 11:47 am

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The essence of Tom Brady’s “TB12 Method” is captured in the section about hydration. In it, Brady preaches the importance of drinking one-half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. While stressing the importance of drinking fluids is hardly revolutionary, Brady’s recommendation seems a bit extreme, especially once he starts lecturing the reader about the evils of tap water (too many impurities)! 

But you must take his word for it, because there’s no other source. There isn’t a single independent medical or nutritional expert quoted in the entire 305-page book. The closest thing to an outside perspective are the anonymous testimonials at the end, which feature alleged customers gushing over Brady’s unctuous business partner –– I’m sorry, “body engineer” –– Alex Guerrero. 

“Alex is quite amazing,” one of them reads. “I feel like I have a new life without pain. All I can say is, Alex is amazing and brilliant at finding these solutions, and has made a huge difference to me.”

In "The TB12 Method,” Guerrero is first introduced as a California native who “studied traditional Chinese medicine in college.” There’s no mention of the fact his degree comes from the now-defunct Samra University of Oriental Medicine. Guerrero’s snake-oil past –– pitchman for a fraudulent cancer cure, creator of phony concussion recovery beverage –– are whitewashed from the record as well.

That’s to be expected, of course. But the omissions immediately signal the book isn’t coming from an honest place. The TB12 Method either states the obvious –– eat vegetables and get eight hours of sleep –– or presents information that’s easily debunked. 

There are lots of weird pictures of Brady in modelesque poses, though. Those are amusing to look at.

Much of the book’s first section is devoted to the importance of muscle pliability, which Brady says is achieved by “rhythmically contracting and relaxing your muscles in a lengthened, softened state.” The goal is to connect the brain and body, which is known as “neural priming.” When that happens, the body begins to “associate muscle function and movement with long, soft, primed muscle contractions.” 

Got it?

Stuart Phillips, a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and an expert in muscle physiology, told the New York Times the concept is inane. “When folks do little or nothing, as, for instance, during bed rest, then their muscles get very soft,” he explains.

Brady and Guerrero don’t present any clinical trials that support their hypothesis. But there is an amateur-looking chart that outlines “natural pliability by age,” which shows our pliability percentage decreasing from 100 percent at one year old to below 20 percent at 60. The footnote says the graph is “not representative of any individual involved, but indicative of natural pliability trends.”

Brady’s outstanding durability speaks for itself. At 40 years old, he’s perhaps the most reliable quarterback in football, not missing a single game due to injury since he blew out his ACL in 2008. That’s when he became a full-time Guerrero devotee. Brady says he was able to resume running six months after his ACL tear, even though doctors predicted it could take him one year. 

Throughout the “TB12 Method,” it’s apparent Brady is on a crusade to overturn the sports medical establishment, which he says bathes itself in conventional wisdom and refuses to innovate. “We’ve all read the definition of insanity –– doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Brady writes. “Well, sports training is the apotheosis of that. Way too often, we get trapped in the same old routines.”

Before meeting Guerrero in 2004, Brady says he dealt with chronic pain. But then ex-Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest introduced them, and Brady claims he hasn’t experienced any shoulder or elbow problems since. That’s an incredible statement, considering Brady has been playing quarterback for the last 13 years. Plus, he’s been listed on the injury report with “right shoulder issues” 116 times in his career, even though he was usually categorized as “probable.”

Brady rejects the notion that injury is an inevitable part of athletics, much like crazed billionaire Peter Thiel thinks death is a fightable disease. Thiel’s plan to cheat death includes injecting himself with young people’s blood, which is just as scientifically legitimate as Brady’s adherence to the “Acid Alkaline Diet.” His foods are 80 percent alkaline and 20 percent acidic, which he says maintains balance through his metabolic system. 

The theory is based off the work of Robert O. Young, who’s authored a number of books called the "pH Miracle." In them, he recommends abstaining from acidic foods, such as sugar, red meat, dairy, and basically everything we eat, because they inject too much acidity into the body. 

Young is currently serving a three-year prison sentence in California for practicing medicine without a license, by the way.

Last month, clinical dietitian Lauren Mayer explained to me why the “Acid Alkaline Diet” is silly. “Food's cannot change the pH (a measure of acidity) of your body,” she said in an email. “Ultimately, once food hits your stomach, it's all acidic at that point. This scientific fact aside: the foods that are promoted on the ‘acid-alkaline’ diet just so happen to be whole grains, vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. These foods are healthier options anyways, but not due to any acid vs alkaline reasoning.”

Nutrition is a substantial part of the TB12 Method, because Brady and Guerrero take a holistic approach to training. That includes playing official TB12 brain games, such as the Target Tracker, which instructs users to track several objects that are moving on the screen, even when  additional objects are introduced. They sound similar to games once marketed by the company Lumosity, which was forced to pay $2 million in fines after the Federal Trade Commission determined its products didn’t do anything.

More than anything else, the glorified coffee table book serves as a brochure for the TB12 brand. Pages 80-203 include nothing but photographs of models wearing TB12 clothing doing pliability workouts on TB12 equipment. The vibrating foam rollers are sold online for the cool price of $200

As of Thursday morning, the “TB12 Method” is the No. 2 best-selling book on Amazon. The cult of TB12 is stronger than ever, assuming Brady continues to stay healthy and play at an exceptional level. His performance is the only proof he has, and considering the book's success, it's all he appears to need right now. 

Alex gives his review on Tom Brady's new book. 09-21-17

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