Florida Students Study Tom Brady’s Controversial TB12 Fitness Program

on me On a podcast last year, Tom Brady, quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, explained the evolution of his fitness regimen, called the TB12 Style — excited that one day he and his body coach would go on tour, hold seminars, educate people, and bring The approach to secondary schools.

Ben Vader was listening.

Wieder served on the Board of Directors of the Pinellas Education Foundation, in this county outside Tampa. Brady was recently eaten The controversial fitness book, which outlines the NFL star’s approach to movement, muscle work, hydration, nutrition, and mental fitness. Vader met with local officials and pitched the TB12 Foundation, the charitable arm of the company founded by Brady and body coach Alex Guerrero, about adapting it to schools. “If anyone can revive this concept, it’s us,” he recalls thinking.

Now, in an effort for the first time in the country, 5,000 students on Florida’s west coast are learning principles that Brady praises as essential to muscle recovery, injury prevention and performance improvement. They picked up words like “flexibility,” and used foam rollers and vibrating pellets to unwind and evaluate each other as they lowered their bodies into squats and planks.

“The roller is my favourite, because it helps a lot,” said Antoine James, an eighth-grade student on the Pinellas Park Middle School volleyball team who plays soccer outside of school.

Supporters say the program in Pinellas County’s 94,000-student schools gets kids excited about fitness, and they believe the project will launch similar efforts in Florida schools and beyond. Already, dozens of other school districts have named Pinellas, which include Saint Petersburg and Clearwater, with questions asked. The project is 10 pilot schools, backed by more than $30,000 in equipment donated from the TB12 Foundation, which views the arrangement as a long-term partnership and will consider what a “full start-up” may require after the trial.

“We give children concepts they’ve never thought of and tools they’ve never used before,” said Stacey Beyer, CEO of The Foundation for Education. In Pinellas alone, she said, “There are a lot of schools waiting in the wings to get them.”

But the Brady system is not without its skeptics in the scientific community.

When he published his book in 2017 laying out his TB12 software, skeptics questioned the science behind some of his claims and the software’s apparent connection to product sales. TB12 now sells supplements, protein powder, shake balls, foam rollers, branded wraps, T-shirts and hats.

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Reviewers knocked Brady up for saying he no longer gets sunburned because he drinks a lot of water, a claim that has been widely dismissed. They also wondered if what works for an elite athlete might be good for amateurs.

The New York Times called Brady’s book “a short about science,” casting doubt on the concept of resilience and ignoring eggplant foods, including tomatoes, strawberries, eggplant and potatoes. “Mr. The review said Brady does not explain or justify these nutritional choices in this book.” “Therefore, we need to refer to the separate TB12 Nutrition Guide (available for $200 at tb12store.com).”

Brady has stood his ground for his TB12 amid criticism, saying he knows and shares his own experience. Brady’s representatives did not provide a comment this week.

Recently, Brady announced a new TB12 supplement called “Protect” – to support the immune system – two months into the pandemic, angering critics who accused him of exploiting fear of the coronavirus. The product’s marketing didn’t mention the pandemic, but the TB12sports Instagram account said, “It’s more important than ever that you give your body everything it needs to help support your immune system.”

Others also raised the questioning of Guerrero, his body coach and close friend, whom he met in 2004.

Guerrero has been investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly promoting an herbal supplement to prevent, treat, and treat cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. In a commercial cited by the FTC, Guerrero was selected as a physician. According to a 2005 settlement, Guerrero agreed not to make false or unsubstantiated claims about food, drugs, or supplements, and not to falsely present himself as a physician. He was fined $65,000 and agreed to other terms.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated Guerrero again years later for a drink called NeuroSafe, promoted as a way to help prevent and speed up recovery from a concussion. The FTC decided not to take enforcement action because sales were limited, marketing was halted and Guerrero agreed to return refunds to consumers, according to the FTC’s letter to Guerrero’s attorneys in 2012. TB12 representatives did not provide Guerrero’s comment on the FTC’s actions or respond to the reporter’s questions.

On a podcast last year, Brady was consistent about the method of fitness being built with Guerrero. “I have no doubt – zero That 20 years from now, every professional sports team, every college and university, and everyone will be talking about resilience and how it affects people’s performance. Over time.” “It is absolutely certain that this is the key to longevity for athletes — not just for athletes but for anyone who wants to lead an active life.” The challenge, he said, is educating people.

In many aspects, his program also has a lot in common with other wellness practices: movement, healthy food choices, high levels of hydration, sound sleep habits, and cognitive fitness. And Brady himself is an inspiration: a seven-time Super Bowl champion, still on the field—and winning mostly—at 45.

Teachers in Pinellas County worked all summer to review the curriculum for the two courses now blended with TB12—a PE course requiring one semester for eighth graders and a state-required PE semester for a full year for high school students Ashley Grimes, a Pinellas County teacher who led that review . TB12 is training trained teachers who have been teaching the new curriculum, which does not make the contested health claims. The school system did not pay for TB12’s equipment or efforts.

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At Pinellas Park Prep, Joshua Stroman, 13, loved what he was learning. He defined flexibility as a “way to flexibility” and something that “softens your muscles.” He said he thought it would “help my knee not get worse,” which is important in the football match. He wants to play in the NFL.

An important element of the curriculum, Grimes said, is that students set goals and assess their progress. “It’s exciting because we’re moving physical education where it needs to go, to more student ownership and student orientation,” she said.

And the Brady connection goes a long way: “Kids are automatically more interested,” teacher Tiffany Williams said.

Mike Vantegrasi, of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), said TB12 has positive features, including Brady’s attractiveness, accessibility to resistance bands, and its focus on movement quality, core and balance. But the method is not based on research, he said, and appears to ignore or severely limit traditional weight training. “I worry that there are things that are not rooted in science being taught in schools,” he said.

But some argue that getting children involved in physical activity, health and wellness is paramount. The discussion of the science behind TB12 is far less relevant, said Malaki McHugh, MD, director of research at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Sports Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “If it’s more attractive to potential participants and doesn’t do any harm, that’s a great starting point,” McHugh said. “I suspect that children will be more inclined to do the exercise program set up by Tom Brady than to attend an exercise class with Mr. or Mrs. Smith.”

Motivating students is “essential at the eighth grade or high school level,” said Michelle Grenier, a University of New Hampshire professor emeritus who has trained physical education teachers for more than 20 years. But she and others wondered how Terminal 12 could serve the diverse classrooms in public schools. Grenier said many students don’t call themselves athletes.

“She hopes the program will make it clear that this is a program for everyone,” she said.

Pinellas educators involved in the rollout of TB12 said it was geared towards all abilities. Alison Swank said she tells the students that even if they don’t exercise, they can apply the program’s principles to everyday life — carrying heavy backpacks and climbing stairs and bleachers.

Reimagined PE classes are designed using TB12 materials as a guiding principle while still adhering to government education standards. Grimes, who led the curriculum change, said the revisions include more student ownership of learning and link flexibility with traditional units of sports including soccer and basketball. He is the district supervisor for health and PE

The TB12 content has been incorporated into learning about nutrition, hydration, functional strength and conditioning, mental fitness, rest and recovery, she said. When it comes to nutrition, seasons may address that wheat bread is healthier than white, or that sweet potatoes are more nutritious than white potatoes. “At no time during the process do we dictate to the students,” Grimes said. We don’t say, ‘You can’t eat tomatoes. “”

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As for Brady’s strict eating plan, it’s not being forced on anyone, said Brian Hart, master body trainer with TB12. (When Brady’s book was published, he had The diet includes fresh organic fruits and vegetables; wild fish protein smoothies; hormone-free meat; And whole grains. Snacks included TB12 protein bars, hummus and guacamole. Sometimes he would have a cup of bone broth with dinner and a limited amount of alcohol, dairy, gluten, white sugar, white flour, and processed sweets. He’s been a fan of avocado ice cream—no dairy.) “We’re going to direct people toward the food groups and types of food that will be good for them, and then what we know will increase inflammation or decrease performance,” Hart said.

Lisa Burgess, the foundation’s CEO, said there are no plans to expand outside of Pinellas at this time.

But TB12 is a for-profit company—it sells vibrating foam rollers for $160 each—and some question the implications if they become integrated into school systems.

“I think it’s a fair question, to look at optics and consider that this is an individual’s brand and that they are associated with a for-profit company,” said Paul Wright, professor of kinesiology and physical education at Northern Illinois University. and chair of the Research Council of the Health and Physical Educators Association (SHAPE America).

McHugh said his only doubts would be if TB12’s primary motivation was “to create revenue streams for the company, rather than getting kids more involved in physical education.” Those involved said the effort was not about profit.

“I know that’s not why they’re doing this,” said Vader, a member of the Education Foundation’s board of directors. “Could there be some kids who could become paying customers? Sure.” But Brady has often said that he wishes he had known the TB12 method when he was young, and so he wants to introduce it to others.

At TB12, Hart, the main body coach, said that’s what he said The exit from the partnership is “the overall success of the students in their health and wellness. These kids are learning about and benefiting from our method, and that’s all we want.”

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