Health and Wellness

What NFL star Tom Brady eats and drinks before a big game

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on during a preseason game.
Maddie Meyer | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Tom Brady is doing something right.

While the average NFL career for a quarterback is about three years, and 12 years for a Pro-Bowl nominated player, Brady is starting his 20th season as quarterback for the New England at 42 years old (making him the third-oldest player in the NFL). He's lead the team to six Super Bowl wins so far.

Brady says his strict health and wellness regime has been key to his longevity and success.

"I absolutely know 100% that it works," Brady told Men's Health in August of the program trainer Alex Guerrero has had him on since 2006.

Here's Brady's game-day routine, according to a blog post on the website of his company, TB12 Sports.

Brady wakes up at 6 a.m.

Brady says he typically starts game day at 6 a.m., and the first thing he does is load up on electrolytes and nutrients.

"I wake up and drink 20 ounces of water with electrolytes," Brady says in a post published Sunday.

After that, he drinks his first shake, a high-fat, high-protein smoothie that has bananas, blueberries, nuts, seeds and plant-based protein.

He then lets his food digest for about two hours before he starts his daily 40-minute training session. During Brady's workouts, he doesn't use any weights, only resistance bands.

Guerrero previously told Men's Journal that Brady doesn't use weights because the focus is on speed, agility and core stability, and heavy weights create short, tear-prone muscle fibers built for quick bursts.

"You can't do weighted squats one day and then the next expect to be fast and nimble in the other direction," Guerrero said.

Mid-way through his workout, Brady will stop to drink more water with electrolytes. Brady says he aims to drink at least one-half of his body weight in ounces of water daily (he weighs about 225 pounds, so about 112 ounces).

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He downs four or five protein shakes a day

At around 11:00 a.m, Brady wraps up his workout and immediately has his next shake, a recovery drink made from a scoop of plant-based protein powder and almond milk.

Then around noon, Brady has lunch, which consists of 80% vegetables, because vegetables are high in nutrients, fiber and enzymes — all critical for athletes to fuel their bodies.

The other 20% of Brady's meal consists of animal-based protein, like fish. Brady says that while he's not a vegan or a vegetarian, he doesn't eat that much meat, especially before a game.

"If anything, I subscribe to balance," he says.

For the rest of the day, Brady will snack on things like almonds, cashews and energy squares from his company TB12 Sports, which are made with superfoods like cacao and goji berries. He'll also have two to three more protein shakes, he says.

He focuses on recovery

On game-day, dinner is packed with plant-based foods. Sometimes he will also have a steaming cup of bone broth, he says. (Some research has linked bone broth, which is animal collagen, to faster healing of soft-tissue injuries and digestive health in athletes, while other research debunks those claims.)

Following the game, Brady always has a recovery shake.

As for supplements, Brady says he always takes a multivitamin because no one's diet is "perfect" and you never know what you may have missed.

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