Ever heard of the TB 12 diet?
It’s a diet made famous by NFL player Tom Brady. In fact, it’s also routinely called the “Tom Brady diet”.
There’s a reason it’s famous. I mean, he’s 40 and still playing at his best. Surely there must be something unique about what he does.
In Brady’s book, The TB 12 Method, the Patriots quarterback outlined what an average day of eating and working out is like in his shoes. Or cleats.
I’m in the middle of a fitness shake-up, so I thought I’d try it and see what happens.
So below I’ll explain what the intense diet involves, and reveal what my results were from each facet.
Prepare to be surprised!
Here is how the Tom Brady diet begins the day. Brady says he usually wakes up around 6 a.m and immediately drinks 20 ounces of water with electrolytes.
Brady’s a big advocate for staying hydrated, to an almost ridiculous extreme. He says he drinks 12 to 25 glasses of water a day, with his self-branded TB12 electrolytes added.
Yes, he’s promoting dietary products along with his book. Surprised?
After his 20-ounce glass of water, he then makes a smoothie containing “blueberries, bananas, seeds, and nuts”.
According to Brady, it is “nutrient dense, high in fat, high in protein, and high in calories.”
He then works out at 8am.
During his workout, Brady says he drinks more water, with electrolytes.
Once he’s finished his workout, Brady devours a protein shake with one scoop of his self-branded protein powder. With more electrolytes, of course.
And he always makes sure to have the shake within 20 minutes of finishing his workout.
“Wait any longer and your body will begin seeking its own protein sources and start tearing down muscle you’ve just been building up.”
What I found
This part of the day worked well for me. I usually wake up at 6 am anyway. Having 24 ounces of water was easy to do, and it felt great.
8 hours is a long time to go without water, so it was an awesome way to immediately rehydrate the body. I also made sure to put some ice in the water, which boosted my alertness and low energy levels.
The smoothie tasted awesome! I’m allergic to nuts, so I had to bypass them, but besides that, it felt energizing and made my stomach surprisingly full.
Making sure to have water with electrolytes kept my energy up and I was firing for most of the workout (a 5 KM run with a 30 minute weight session).
What does the Tom Brady diet entail at lunchtime? Around noon, Brady has lunch, which is “often a piece of fish, but always with lots of vegetables.”
Brady says he sticks to 4 principles when it comes to food.
First, never eat protein with carbohydrates like bread or potatoes.
The second is that combing protein or carbs with vegetables is great for digestion. Brady says he follows a mostly “alkaline diet”, which means to limit “acidifying” foods like white rice and bread to only 20 percent of his diet. The other 80 percent should be made of alkalizing foods, like sweet potatoes.
Brady is a big advocate for snacking and he says that if needs to snack between 2-5 PM, he’ll have fruit (banana or apple) or a protein shake, with electrolytes.
His third principle is that eating fruit with other food is bad for digestion, and his fourth is that you shouldn’t have water while eating as it interferes with digestion.
What I found
I was pretty hungry when 12 pm arrived as I had only had a smoothie and protein drink for the day. I made sure to have some form of meat (like chicken, pork or fish) with a heap of vegetables.
It felt like a healthy meal and I usually had a protein shake (or bar) in the afternoon. Definitely a lot healthier than what I would usually eat.
I also made sure to have at least a few glasses of water with electrolytes throughout the afternoon. Plenty of bathroom stops, but my energy levels remained pretty stable. Usually I’m prone to afternoon slumps, but not while I was on this diet.
The Tom Brady diet at dinner. Brady usually has dinner around 6 p.m.
According to Brady: “Dinner is another nutrient-dense meal that includes a lot of vegetables.”
He doesn’t go into detail of what that exactly involves.
Brady says he doesn’t drink alcohol, or have dessert either, but he does usually have a “protein shake”.
However, the book includes a recipe for his famous avocado ice cream. Unfortunately I didn’t give that a try, but it could be a nice handy addition to the diet if you feel it’s bit boring.
What I found
This was, again, pretty easy. I simply ate what I had for lunch – meat and vegetables. A nice well-rounded meal.
I found that it wasn’t enough food for me on the first few days, so I upped it to several pieces of meat and a big load of vegetables.
Every single night I had a protein shake, which was great. Protein shakes are really filling, so I didn’t feel hungry at all throughout the night.
Here are my results
The Tom Brady diet works because it’s a well-rounded diet. Brady, himself, says that “it’s always about balance”.
I felt energized in the morning, thanks to the smoothie and protein shake, and as long as I made sure I had enough meat and vegetables for lunch and dinner, I was never really felt hungry.
The excessive amount of water also felt like I was getting rid of toxins out of my body and I was never in danger of being dehydrated.
However, I am currently living in a humid and hot climate, so perhaps that’s why it worked so well for me.
In the process of one week, I managed to shed 1 kg and I feel like I’m getting stronger in the gym thanks to the huge amount of protein intake.
Be warned, though. Those protein shakes really make you fart. That didn’t bother me but it did bother my girlfriend.
These results could also be thanks to the fact that my diet was pretty awful before trying this. But it works in maintaining my energy levels, helping me lose weight, and building my muscle, so I’m going to keep going with it!