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Superbowl Sunday and doing what's right for you

It's Superbowl weekend!

Great. With one sentence, I have just alienated most of you readers from this blog. I could have started with the 6 Nations and Ireland beating England. 

Actually, at the time of typing this week's newsletter, the rugby has not started yet. It's Saturday afternoon and I'm currently in a cafe with a kid jumping up on the window ledge behind me as I try to cram all my work into this afternoon and have tomorrow off for the Superbowl. 

And if Ireland has lost to England, I've really done a poor job in starting this blog. 

I've jinxed it, haven't I?

Like John Cleese not mentioning the war, it's very hard for me to get through this weekend without mentioning the Superbowl (although if my 49ers were in it, there would be no chance in doing anything productive this weekend... or on Monday!).

I've mentioned before in this newsletter that there's no one diet that helps everyone. While I'm an advocate of cutting down on carbs for weight loss before slowly reintroducing them, I do believe this system is not for everyone. People in my classes have benefitted from losing weight thanks to Slimming World and Weight Watchers. Whether I agree with their nutrition philosophies or not is irrelevant. Do they work? Do people feel more active and healthier on them? Are they sustainable long term? They are the main questions for me. The science behind the diets does not always match the success the diets can have.

Because people can achieve their success and health and fitness goals in some mind baffling fashion. 

Let's take Tom Brady, for example. 

Who is he, you ask? He's the quarterback for the New England Patriots, who are playing in Sunday night's big game. 

Stick with me on this. By the end, I promise we will tie this into nutrition and you'll have some talking points when you deal with the hungover work colleague on Monday morning that wants to talk about the game (and with all the Superbowl parties in Dublin, there's bound to be one).

There are a ton of different diets out there. Tom Brady's diet, however, seems to be one of the most insane. 

If you were to follow his diet, you wouldn't be allowed to have:

- White Sugar
- Pasta
- Flour
- Gluten
- Trans and saturated fats
- Dairy
- Processed foods
- Sugar
- Coffee (or any caffeine) 
- Cook with anything other than coconut oil
- Tomatoes 
- Yes, Tomatoes. And also potatoes, peppers, mushrooms and other nightshade vegetables because he reckons they cause inflammation
- And, of course, alcohol.

Some of this seems reasonable. But when you take a closer look at what he does eat and, more particularly why, then it gets a little more interesting and confusing. 

So what does he eat?

Well, 80% of his diet consists of vegetables. He eats only organic foods as well as brown rice and beans. The other 20%? Lean meats. Organic, grass-fed steak, duck and chicken. 

tom brady tb12 method vegetables health low carb

80% of his diet has to be alkaline foods (broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes etc) as his nutritionist believes acidic foods can lead to cancer and that if he has inflammation after a game of football, then acidic food will only delay the recovery process.

"Some younger players don’t give too much thought to nutrition. They think they can eat anything they want, and their bodies will burn off the damage. The problem is that by eating inflammatory foods, they’re eating things that create inflammation on top of the weight lifting they’ve done on top of the football game they just played on Sunday. That’s an inflammation response times three. As I said, if I know my body will experience inflammation every Sunday during the season, the last thing I want to do is stack on more inflammation on top of it — not if I want to feel great every time I take the field."  - Tom Brady

Without even talking too much about his other beliefs about the body such as muscle pliability (the belief that soft muscles will absorb blows in a game as opposed to building muscle), there is very little to any scientific research to back up any of his claims. 

There is no evidence that acidic foods like strawberries, oranges, beef and salmon increase cancer risks. Alkaline and acid-based diets have no correlation with increased risk of cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research

A quick search online for 'Tom Brady diet' and you will find a ton of articles bashing the diet and bashing its credibility (of course New York has to go all out on a rival Boston sports start).

Here's the thing. Despite all the bashing and despite the fact that I would never even consider recommending his book on nutrition and fitness, the TB12 Method, you can not ignore the fact that this is somehow working for him. He hasn't missed a game since tearing his ACL in 2008.  

And he is 41 years old.

He is about to compete in his record-setting 9th Superbowl and shows no signs of stopping. Most quarterbacks are retired or have vastly declined in ability at his age. And if my prediction for the game is right, he wins another Superbowl trophy and MVP award in the process on Sunday night (have Patriots winning 28-20 - hope I'm wrong).  

Brady credits the longevity of his career, his fame and fortune to a philosophy on fitness and science that has no scientific basis at all. Yet, he's defying Father Time and competing in his third straight Superbowl. It's very hard to question his diet and attitude to training no matter how irrational it may seem. It's definitely not sustainable for most people. It doesn't make too much sense. However, it works for him. 

Oh, and his wife also follows the diet as well. She actually got him on the diet. And who is she? Supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

tom brady gisele bundchen tb12 method fat loss diet nutrition

Social media is full of noise from fitness "experts" claiming their way is the only way. You need to find a way for you and your lifestyle. 

For example, there are studies that will show that High-Intensity Training having far greater results for weight loss in comparison to jogging. Yet a lot of people would associate cardio (and running) with fat loss. We know people who have lost weight based on running alone. You can't tell them that the science says it's wrong when it has worked for them. If you enjoy running, it suits your lifestyle, you feel better for it and it works for you? Then that's your answer. 

I realise, for some of you, I could have summed up the point of this newsletter in the last paragraph alone. But at least you'll have a few nuggets of information for work on Monday morning when people talk about that '6 hour game' with no action and ad breaks every few minutes. Because no one will be talking about the Halftime Show this year

Hope you all have had a great weekend. I promise no football talk in this blog until September where I once again get my hopes up that the 49ers will win it all (less probability than Italy winning the 6 Nations). 

And if you are staying up for the Superbowl, Monday is still a Monday. No excuse to miss a session and not start the week STRONG!