Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes Face off in Super Bowl LV of Fit QBs

Super Bowl LV is more than a showdown of two of the league’s most dangerous quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. It’s also a showdown of the game’s most fitness-obsessed signal-callers.

And that obsession with fitness just may have something to do with how Brady and Mahomes got here — and how they both hope to stay on top. On Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, they’ll face off in a unique duel of playing styles that are driven by equally unique training styles.

Neither quarterback looks the part: You’re more likely to see both Brady and Mahomes holding a six-pack than sporting one. But both train far harder than you realize, and their workouts have direct ramifications for their (very different) playing styles.

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On one side, there’s Brady, the Tampa Bay Bucs’ ageless signal-caller, and a quarterback who long ago embraced fitness. Sure, when he left the University of Michigan in 2000 (yes, way back then), he was hardly a physical specimen. But in the last decade he’s become (or infamous, depending on who you ask) for what the mainstream media perceives as his unique fitness and nutrition idiosyncrasies.

He has a catchphrase (the nebulous term “pliability”) and a controversial guru in Alex Guerrero, and he’s turned it all into a fitness brand, the TB12 Method. At times, it seems strange, but it’s also rooted in more sound fitness than the Twitter takes and quick-hitting “news” stories realize.

He foam rolls (shocker!), and he powers his workouts with resistance bands. And sure, the bands can seem a bit strange: Then you realize that their variable force curve often challenges your muscles to generate velocity and power, two characteristics every football player values. His training has helped him carve a strong and stable core that transfers lower-body power into every throw. And while Brady is far from a scrambling threat, he’s adept at making swift micromoves in the pocket.

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Whatever Brady’s doing (and eating), the data says it’s working. He’s about to play in his 10th (yes, 10th) Super Bowl, and he threw for 40 touchdowns this season, the second-highest total of his storied career. He’s widely considered one of sports’ true GOATs.

Mahomes, the Chiefs’ ascendant star, is equally committed to fitness, even if he doesn’t have a “Method” named after him. In three seasons as a starter, he’s already advanced to a pair of Super Bowls, and he’s one of the league’s most unique run-pass threats, capable of taking off for long runs (remember last year’s AFC title game TD against the Titans?), or unleashing all-angles throws while on the run.

A versatile fitness regimen built upon all-around athleticism aids that. Mahomes often trains like a sprinter, working on big-toe strength with sled pushes and attacking speed drills like get-up sprints, and he lifts weights explosively. He’s committed to this fitness regimen, too, training with consistency and regularity.

Much like Brady’s training, Mahomes’ style works. He’s off to a torrid start in his career, and he’s bounced back from injuries at a swift pace. Can he beat Brady on Sunday though?

That remains to be seen.

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