Tom Brady's Body Coach, TB12 Co-Founder Shares Secrets to Prepping Him for His 22nd NFL Season

Alex Guerrero co-founded TB12 with Tom Brady back in 2013, and now also works with Rob Gronkowski

tom Brady Alex
Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero. Photo: TB12

Want to perform at Tom Brady's level? Better start guzzling water — up to 25 cups of it a day.

It's just one of many healthy choices that have led the 44-year-old into his 22nd season in the NFL. And, as Brady recently said, he thinks he could keep playing football until age 50.

Part of that is thanks to Alex Guerrero, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback's longtime body coach and co-founder of TB12, which the duo developed in 2013 after eight years of working together.

"I remember one day in 2012, we were sitting in Tom's living room during a break in their offseason training and we reflected on the impact our work together had made on his ability to improve his performance," Guerrero reflects to PEOPLE now. "I asked myself: 'If what we're doing works for you why wouldn't it work for everyone?' And so, the TB12 brand was born."

TB12's "holistic" approach is one that Brady's teammate Rob Gronkowski also now follows, and is geared around optimizing, "pain management, performance, and recovery, with a focus on nutrition, hydration, and movement."

Says Guerrero, "We are hoping to change the game for health and wellness globally and help people live their lives to the fullest and do what they love for as long as possible."

Now, as the Buccaneers prepare for their next game against the Los Angeles Rams this weekend, Guerrero is sharing the secrets to Brady's prolonged career and Gronkowski's return from retirement.

Can you walk through the training timeline for transitioning from offseason to preseason? What big changes do you make and how slowly do you bring things back in for the players?

For "offseason," we recommend movement any way you can fit it in year-round to keep muscles working and building. We also believe that the recovery process is multi-faceted — it includes rest, hydration, diet, and pre- and post-workout pliability. Overall, the body and brain need re-centering, rest, and recovery in order to perform their best

And for the season, many players, including Tom, are training with resistance bands in a functional way and carry on this exercise throughout the year. Tom trains throughout the year to specifically prepare for in-season performance. At TB12, we encourage everyone to train at the pace of their own sport or activity – on or offseason, rather than for maximum speed and strength during one-time use or play. Resistance bands are a great place to start to improve your functional strength and conditioning.

Rob Gronkowski and Alex Guerrero
Rob Gronkowski and Alex Guerrero. TB12

What's been the biggest challenge in getting Tom and Rob ready after the offseason?

The challenge everyone faces with fitness, nutrition, and following an overall healthy regimen is the commitment to daily practice. Tom practices the TB12 method year-round to stay balanced with nutrition, hydration, movement, rest, and mental fitness. His longevity truly demonstrates his commitment to the holistic approach to the TB12 method.

Staying positive and determined when things don't go as planned, so you can maintain those healthy daily habits, is a critical component of Tom's legendary mental toughness and pillar of TB12. In Tom's book, The TB12 Method, Tom shared how important thoughts, emotions, and attitudes are when working to achieve peak performance — especially when facing a challenge or adversity. The idea of practicing daily habits is exactly what TB12 and the TB12 Method make easier for all to follow.

How does your training, and wellness approach differ from Tom to Rob?

There is not a big difference. For Tom, we focus on pliability and his functional movement in the context of his direct performance as a quarterback, versus Rob's functional movement as a tight end. The principles stay the same, the TB12 Method remains constant.

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What new dietary things are you trying with Tom this season?

We are not doing anything new during the season or offseason. Again, Tom sticks to his daily habits all year.

It is very important that there are no restrictions when it comes to an athlete's diet. If an athlete is craving pizza, they should have a slice of pizza. Their diet, however, should include lots of fruit, vegetables, fish, and recovery fluids. One of the keys to enhancing overall health and performance is hydration. For example, Tom drinks anywhere between 12 to 25 glasses of water per day.

Our recommendation at TB12 is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day for optimum performance. If you want to maximize your ability to perform and recover, you need to make hydration a habit and fully commit to it.

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As the seasons change, and we approach food-heavy holidays, any advice on how to enjoy yourself while staying healthy?

Cognitive wellness, maintaining a positive mindset, and getting enough quality sleep are all critical for both athletic performance and overall wellness. Implementing holistic approaches to health and well-being optimizes both physical and mental performance, aids in recovery, on and off of the field, and can be applied to anyone.

This interview had been edited for length and clarity.

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