I hardly was able to overcome my nerves and say an awkward “Hi” to the female celebrity in front of me as I held the door open for her. I played it about as cool as anyone could when bumping into someone they never imagined meeting. I walked out of my training room a little while later to see her mid-workout, crushing an ab circuit that made the shoulder band exercises I had just suffered through look like nothing.

No big deal, it was just another day at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center.

 

THE TB12 ENVIRONMENT

That was only my second time ever training at the facility. The actual workouts aside, the environment of TB12 is a very unique one. In my year-plus of training at the the Center, I have encountered athletes of just about every age, level, and sport. It fascinates me to watch people from all walks of life come together at TB12, united by a desire to each achieve their own version of sustained peak performance. Just last week, I watched a Patriots wide receiver work out alongside a teenage girl rehabbing what seemed to be an ACL injury on the anti-gravity treadmill. I’ve also seen a 10-year-old boy training for soccer and a 70-year-old man doing exercises to strengthen his golf swing. There’s something really empowering about seeing people fully committing themselves to self-improvement regardless of their circumstances in life, and I love being able to experience that every time I come to the Center.

The Body Coaches are the driving force behind that TB12 culture. Most clients stick with the same Body Coach each time they come into the facility, and that creates a solid connection between client and Body Coach. I have been training with my Body Coach, Matt, since my first session at TB12 over a year and a half ago. We’ve developed a strong bond over that time thanks to the hundreds of hours of workouts and muscle pliability body work we’ve done together.

 

THE BODY COACH BOND

I’ve never worked with a coach or trainer who understands me as an athlete the way that Matt does. He had no idea what team handball was when I started training with him, but he was so committed to helping me improve that he got into it and started watching games and highlights online. I used to come into all of our sessions with new, handball-specific exercises I wanted to try out. Now we’re at the point where Matt understands the game of handball so well that he comes up with a new handball drill for me to try out at our sessions every week. His passion for helping me succeed motivates me to put everything I have into getting better every day, from my workouts at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center to my nutrition habits and my commitment to training outside the Center as well.

I owe my recent success with the TB12 Method to Matt, because he has constantly pushed me to improve. He helped me develop a solid at-home training regimen to compliment what we do at the facility. Without that, I never would have made most of the physical progress that I have over the last year. Any time I have an injury or a general workout question, I text or call Matt so we can work through whatever it is that I need help with. He’s always more than willing to make time to help me out. When I had my first session last year, I thought the “Body Coach” title was a little odd, since I was used to “trainer.” Now I know why he’s called a “Body Coach” — he lives up to exactly what the title suggests. Instead of just telling me which exercises to do, he plays a much more holistic role in all aspects of my training. I go to him for advice about my eating habits all the time, and I honestly could not have made the dieting adjustments that I have without the tips and guidance that Matt provided.

One of my favorite aspects of the TB12 experience is the conversations that Matt and I have each week during my sessions. While I perform various light body work movements, we’ll talk about everything from my handball games that week to the prior Sunday’s game to more personal things like family life and school. The conversations continued to improve with each session as we get to know each other better. Much like with other TB12 clients, my relationship with my Body Coach has made me feel far more comfortable at the facility and generally made it easier for me to live out the TB12 Method as much as possible.

 

TB12 FAMILY

I have hinted at it a little bit previously, but I think another one of my favorite things about the dynamic at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center is the fact that, yes, Patriots players really do train there. During the season, there are players constantly coming in throughout the day, using whatever free time they have to get treatment or go through another workout. It’s something I’ve grown accustomed to over the last year, but working out next to the guys you cheer for every Sunday is definitely an awesome, surreal feeling.

I have been around the TB12 Sports Therapy Center enough to get to a point where I really don’t get starstruck around the players anymore — with a few major exceptions. Just recently, I was one of only a handful of people left in the facility, and I decided to end my week with a good workout. I was doing a circuit of resistance band handball shots into the net when I heard a therapy room door slide open to my left. I didn’t really think much of it until I heard a familiar voice yell out “No way! Is that handball? That’s awesome!”

GRONK!!!

One of the Body Coaches told him that I was training for the Olympic Handball team, which Gronk loved. I took a quick break from my workout to introduce myself and told Gronk that if he ever wanted to be an Olympian, he could give up football and be one of the best handball players in the world in no time. That got a good laugh out of him and we continued to work out side by side for another twenty minutes or so before he went back in for treatment. No surprise here, but the guy is an absolute beast, and it was fascinating to watch how he handled some of the same exercises that I regularly go through.

We both ended up leaving the facility around the same time, and Gronk said goodbye and told me to have a great weekend before heading out to his car. For that half hour, we were just two elite athletes chasing our own peak performance. The only difference is that two days later, I was sitting on my couch with a Gronkowski jersey on watching him catch six passes for 115 yards and a touchdown on national TV.

 

The Athletes’ Journal will provide you with a first-person narrative on the TB12 Method, covering pliability exercises, workouts, hydration, nutrition, cognitive exercises, and rest. Our first TB12 Athlete, Drew, has been training at the TB12 Sports Therapy Center and living the Method for over a year as he pursues his goal of playing Olympic Team Handball. This is his second Athletes’ Journal, be on the lookout for more!

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