Why I Dislike Tom Brady and Respect SoulCycle

I don’t like Tom Brady.  It’s not jealousy.  Ok, it’s not ENTIRELY jealousy.  It’s not because of his 5 superbowls.  It’s not because of his millions of dollars or the fact that he might secretly lead the life of a fancy dog.  I don’t like Tom Brady because he’s a microcosm of what’s wrong with my industry.

Tom Brady recently released the TB12 method: a behind the scenes peek at how the 40 year old quarterback keeps himself spry enough to play the toughest position in the most violent game in America.  A few things to note:

  • He claims he is so well-hydrated that “even with adequate exposure to the sun, I won’t get sunburned,” and he presumes that the muscles under his skin look like “beautiful tenderloins” instead of “shriveled jerky.

  • His guru who helped craft the TB12 Method, Alex Guerrero, was sued by the FTC for claiming that his products could cure cancer.  Not help victims of cancer, cure it.  

  • He sells TB12 elastic bands built with “surgical-grade dipped latex tubing” (not sure that’s a thing) for $250!!!!!  Rogue sells the same product $40!!!

I’m sure there will be plenty of Patriot fanboys/girls claiming my distaste comes from jealousy; and I assure, it’s not.  I would never question him in the realm of football.  That man has forgotten more than I’ll ever know.  But in this field, he’s either an idiot or charlatan.

My displeasure comes from dealing with this crap on every level every day in the fitness world.  I can think of only one other industry that’s more filled with charlatans, quacks and idiots (leave a comment below with your guess).  

Being honest in this industry is brutal.  No, just because you work your arms you will not lose fat on your arms.  No, just because you’re running more than you used to doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to lose weight faster.  It’s especially difficult when people really WANT to believe these things are true.  Pro Tip: Anyone who cites a singular study (particularly a “brand new” study) has a poor understanding of how science works.  And when it comes to the human body things are infinitely more complex than most people realize or one study can prove.

One of my great displeasures is how much deception seems an integral part of success in this world.  Just a few days ago a friend of mine was asked to do an official TRX photoshoot.  She has never done a day of TRX in her life.  She is a very good CrossFitter.  By no means elite but very solid.  The reason TRX wanted her to do the photoshoot was because they were having an extremely difficult time finding a female TRX trainer who could perform the tasks they wanted to shoot.  L-sits.  Holding the top of a pullup.  Things that are difficult for sure but things I would consider a moderate (not elite) level of difficulty in the world of CrossFit.

They wanted the appearance their product could get you to these accomplishments.  But when push came to shove they had to hire someone else to do it.  The tacit admission of fraud makes me laugh and angry all rolled into one.  “Look what our product can do for you!”  These photos imply.  Little do you know none of the people doing these things actually use it to accomplish these things.  Say nothing of the male model (also not a TRX advocate but a KB trainer) who also had a difficult time performing the things they wanted to pretend their product offered.

Before I get slammed again for being elitist, I’m not saying that CrossFit is better than TRX or Kettlebells.  I’m just disgusted at the blatant fraud involved in pretending that whatever product you sell or methodology you preach does things you know it cannot do.  

It’s the same with bodybuilders advertising supplements they don’t use and athletes selling shoes they don’t wear.  Even some Tour De France cyclists use non-sponsored brand bikes but just slap Trek or Specialize stickers on the frames to conform to team standards.  CrossFit HQ has made similar claims that I’ve disagreed with but best I can tell they’ve never hired an outside athlete to pretend their product can do something it can’t.  

On the flipside this is why I’ve always respected SoulCycle.  Best I can tell they do not make outrageous health claims about what they do.  Only that their service is hella fun and addictive (which is undeniably is).  Fitness seems almost like a by-product of their atmosphere and attitude (much like we try to promote) and for that I applaud them.

Stick to deflating footballs and re-inventing the NFL rulebook for your benefit, Tom Brady; or the FTC might come after you like they did your guru.

Justin Gilman