PF Quick Hits: Tom Brady's Secrets to Football (And Fitness) Longevity
Plus, #ShyGirlWorkouts and an upper body routine for when you're in a hurry.
American football season kicked off this week, and one of the big stories was Tom Brady’s off-the-field drama, followed closely thereafter by his on-the-field performance against my local NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Family drama aside, Brady (45) is now the oldest NFL quarterback to ever start a game. Regardless of whether or not you like American football, or what you think about Tom Brady (he tends to be a polarizing figure among football fans), it’s pretty amazing that he continues to maintain his fitness level enough to play professionally.
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Brady’s fitness and recovery methods have received a lot of press in recent years, but I’d never really paid much attention. After watching him dominate the Cowboys, however, I decided to do some investigating. Luckily, Tom himself made it easy for me when I saw this gem land in my Facebook feed:
Wait, Tom Brady has his own website? And he’s selling electrolytes? I had to know more.
Brady’s Secrets Revealed
Turns out, Tom isn’t hiding his secrets to football longevity. They are right there on his website! All kidding aside, after scanning a few blog posts, I came up with three fitness-related takeaways from Tom’s amazing capitalist enterprise, TB12.
1. Tom has a pretty cool “flexitarian” diet.
This mean’s he’s a “flexible” vegetarian…a.k.a., he eats a small amount of protein that’s not from plants. As someone who has often considered going vegan or vegetarian, this diet appeals to me.
His diet is about 80 percent plant based, and he eats something like a small piece of fish for lunch. He starts every day with a smoothie, and finishes with a cup of bone broth. And of course, don’t forget his TB12 Electrolytes, which he clearly drinks after his morning beach run. Honestly, a few of his smoothie recipes sound amazing.
Side note: bone broth sounds like a pain to prepare. Maybe Tom will sell me some!
2. Tom is a fan of “pliability” and resistance band training.
Brady loves foam rolling and deep tissue massage, which contributes to something his company has termed “pliability.” From his blog:
Pliability describes the state in which your muscles are long, resilient, and move without restriction, enabling them to absorb and dispenses forces. Unlike short and dense muscles, pliable muscles allow you to perform and train at your best while avoiding injury. Pliability primes your muscles for efficient performance, so you can train better, recover faster, and prevent injury regardless of your activity level.
So keep foam rolling before and after your workouts, although I’m not sure I’d want to pay $160 for Tom’s “TB12 vibrating pliability roller.”
Brady transitioned from Olympic-style lifting to resistance bands many years ago, as well. Brady has a whole workout system designed around resistance bands, featuring several compound movements. Maybe I can feature this one as a “Workout of the Week” soon.
3. Tom Maintains A Positive Mindset
A positive mindset can be an amazing thing. Regarding mental toughness, Tom’s blog says:
When you wake up, consciously choose a positive outlook for the day ahead. If you believe in yourself, it leads others to believe in you…
As you go through your day, it’s essential to know the difference between the things you can control and the things you can’t. If an event that’s out of your control doesn’t go your way, try to avoid sliding into anger and frustration, which are emotions that are firmly within your control. Choose to remain positive.
Understanding what is in and out of your control is a powerful principle. It’s made a big difference in my life, and helped me reduce stress and stay calm under fire, so this was something that resonated with me.
#ShyGirlWorkouts on TikTok Help Take Anxiety Out of the Gym
Who hasn’t felt self conscious or awkward in a gym setting? Especially if it’s a new environment. It always took me a while to psych myself up to go into a new gym. According to HuffPost, this phenomenon is quite common:
Gym anxiety is real and common, whether you experience it or not. Statistically, at least 50% of Americans find working out in front of others nerve-wracking — but as you know, the gym is also hard to avoid because it has so many weights, fitness classes, and machines that many of us can’t afford (or fit into our homes).
A new trend on TikTok focuses on helping people with gym anxiety. A quick search of #ShyGirlWorkouts turns up tons of ideas for simple workouts, many of which can be done with a couple of dumbbells in a quiet corner of the gym.
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Workout of the Week: A Lighting-Fast Upper Body Workout
This week, I thought I’d feature an upper-body workout for those days when you’re running short on time but still want to get something in. Instead of reviewing someone else’s workout, I’m sharing my own.
I actually created this workout yesterday. My goal was to be done in twenty minutes or less. Since I’m still in a walking boot for my broken fibula, I’m only doing upper body strength workouts right now. Of course, it’s easy to create a full body workout in this style, as well.
The key to getting in a good strength workout in twenty minutes or less is limiting your rest and using supersets. A superset is when you do two exercises back to back, with no rest (or as little rest as realistically possible). Here’s my workout from yesterday, which I completed in less than 16 minutes, with an average heart rate of 143, meaning I got a good cardio boost from the workout in addition to the strength benefits:
Superset A: Pullups (6 reps), Dumbbell Bench Press (6 reps) [3 sets]
Superset B: Arnold Press (6 reps), Hanging Knee Raises (10 reps) [3 sets]
This may not look like much, but it’s actually 12 sets of work. With minimal rest, you should feel challenged at the end of the workout. For the presses, I used weights that were more challenging (ex. 45 pound dumbbells for bench press and 25 pounds for the Arnold Presses). For the knee raises, I used ab straps that hang from my weight rack. If you don’t have these you could always substitute another exercise, like ab wheel rollouts, or simply hang from the bar.
If you’re not familiar with the Arnold Press, here’s quick instructional video. These are great for a quick upper body workout, because they work several muscles: your shoulders, arms and chest!
Practically Fit Podcast: Coming Soon
Jennifer and I are hard at work at creating our first drop of podcast episodes. We hope to launch before the end of the month, and I’ll have more details as we finalize our release date.
The goal of the podcast is to provide real, helpful tips on fitness topics for people over 40. We want to have honest conversations about health and fitness issues that emereg as we age. Like, just why am I getting this beer gut?
We’ll share our own stories combined with research on the subjects we choose to tackle, and hopefully get to engage with some of our Substack readers and listeners down the road. We hope you’ll subscribe.