Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop has a piece out today about the steps older athletes are taking to stay in playing shape. A good chunk of it deals with Tom Brady and his fitness guru, Alex Guerrero. Within that chunk Bishop submits his entry for Most Embarrassing Parenthetical Of The Year:
This season marks Year 13 for Brady and Guerrero, a pair who spend more time together than most married couples, swearing to remain faithful in health and in better health. They opened their TB12 Sports Therapy Center up the hill from Gillette Stadium in 2013 and started selling products last year, peddling lemon protein bars made with Himalayan pink salt, resistance bands built with “surgical-grade dipped latex tubing” and athlete recovery sleepwear that fits “next-to-skin without the squeeze.” (Guerrero’s work has drawn controversy: In ’03, for instance, the FTC sanctioned him for marketing a beverage he claimed cured cancer. Brady himself, however, has consistently backed Guerrero and his methodology.)
Bishop uses that parenthetical to zoom right past the thing everyone knows is true—that Guerrero is a literal snake-oil salesman who has gotten into deep shit for trying to hawk miracle beverages that allegedly cure cancer and concussions, and has twice been sued for fraud—so that he can get to his desired conclusion, which appears to be: Tom Brady is old but he stays in shape by eating lemon protein bars and Himalayan pink salt and I am somehow the biggest mark on planet Earth.
It is in fact remarkable that Tom Brady has managed to stay in shape and playing at a high level as he’s aged, but if you think that his relationship with a ridiculous fraud who sells “recovery sleepwear” has anything to do with that accomplishment, you are either incredibly naive or willfully stupid.
It’s not like we haven’t been here before. Picture me wriggling my eyebrows as I point you to this paragraph from a 1997 issue of the San Diego Union-Tribune about former Padres third baseman Ken Caminiti:
Caminiti’s diet is so calibrated that members of the Padres cafeteria staff work overtime to satisfy the soft-spoken Blackwell, who is monitoring the player throughout this camp.
“I’d blow up like a pig if he didn’t help me,” Caminiti joked. “I have to watch my diet. I think my diet has made a big difference the last few years.”
Blackwell said Caminiti’s eating plan is equal parts protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Though a diet that contains 33 percent fat would seem ludicrous for a professional athlete, Caminiti, quoting Blackwell, says, “You’ve got to eat fat to burn fat.”
Fat, in this case, comes not from Big Macs and French fries but macadamia nuts and olive oil.
Caminiti also consumes engineered foods produced by Blackwell’s Houston-based firm, Extreme Nutrition.
Another noted slugger, Babe Ruth, who, if the legend is to be believed, lived on steaks and booze, wouldn’t know what to think of this stuff: meal replacements and protein concentrates.
Caminiti stores about 12 bottles in his goody bag. He described n-acetyl cysteine as something that “helps you recover” and bromelain as a “natural anti-inflammatory.”
Next, Caminiti produced something called milk thistle. “It massages your liver,” he said.
This is not to say that there aren’t legitimately interesting reasons—beyond that Brady works out and eats right and has enjoyed playing behind a solid offensive line that keeps him upright—why he’s been able to stay so healthy. But if those reasons exist, they surely have as little do to with Guerrero and resistance bands made from “surgical-grade dipped latex tubing” as milk thistle had to do with Ken Caminiti’s big muscles.