If I sleep like Tom Brady, will I be like Tom Brady?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been one of those people who has a really great body.
I’m always lifting a ton of weights, and looking really fantastic in bathing suits, and strangers are always stopping me on the street to ask if I’ve ever considered doing any shirtless modeling. (No one’s ever asked me that, like, directly — but it’s one of those things where you can definitely tell they’re thinking it.)
As great as my body is, however, I’m always on the lookout for ways to make it even better. Which is why, when I heard last week that Tom Brady had released a new line of specialty sleepwear — pajamas designed to help the body recover faster — I knew I had to try it.
These were no ordinary pajamas. The Athlete Recovery Sleepwear powered by TB12 uses, to quote an Under Armour press release, “special bioceramic particles” that “absorb infrared wavelengths emitted by the body” and reflect back radiation, a process the company promises will, among other things, reduce inflammation and regulate cell metabolism.
Heck, the way Brady was talking at a recent press conference, the pajamas even deserve some credit for his MVP-caliber season in 2016, at the age of 39.
If they could do all that for a guy like Brady — who, no offense, is pretty old and doesn’t even have that great of a body — imagine, I thought, what they could do for me.
So last Friday, I headed to the Under Armour store on Boylston Street and, for the very reasonable price of $144.98, picked up one Tom Brady pajama top and one pair of Tom Brady pajama bottoms.
Even though the idea of special pajamas that use infrared waves to speed recovery and improve “overall athlete performance” sounded perfectly reasonable and legitimate to me — and definitely not like a bunch of junk-science and mumbo-jumbo — I figured it would probably be a good idea to do a little more research, just to be sure.
Infrared clothing, it turns out, has been around for years, though it’s never managed to gain much mainstream traction. As Michael Hamblin, principal investigator at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, explained, it works like this: Heat emitted from the body is absorbed into special bioceramic particles located in a clothing pattern, and then sent back to the body in the form of Far Infrared, a form of electromagnetic radiation.
Not everyone, though, seemed sold on the pajamas. Douglas Comeau, medical director of sports medicine at Boston University’s Ryan Center and Boston Medical Center, had taken the time to read through some of the promotional material. And while, yes, he explained, it’s possible that someone might feel better after wearing these pajamas, any noticeable effects could likely be attributed to something like a placebo effect.
“It’s like the Jedi mind trick, if you will,” he said.
At the end of the day, though, who was I going to trust? A medical expert who’s probably never even thrown an NFL touchdown? Or Tom Brady, a guy who’s thrown about 10 million touchdowns and who — with the minor exceptions of once endorsing a drink that claimed to prevent concussions, working with a “body coach” who lied about being a doctor, and that whole Deflategate thing — has never once been associated with anything remotely controversial?
I even tried to call Brady about his pajamas, but for some reason, his agent, Don Yee, wouldn’t put him on the phone.
That night, at home, I unpacked my new pajamas and, after flipping through some of the accompanying literature, wriggled into them. Then I did what I always do before bed: brushed my teeth, did my nightly push-up, and got under the covers, thinking about how great and athletic I was going to feel the next day.
I must have drifted off pretty quick, because next thing I knew, it was morning.
Doing an initial evaluation, I didn’t notice any immediate physiological changes; like most mornings, I was still pretty tired, and a little scratchy and yawny. I figured the infrared technology was probably still just doing its thing, and I vowed to keep close tabs on things as the day progressed.
But as the hours passed, I didn’t feel all that different. Not at the doughnut shop. Or on my morning walk. And while I did kick butt at my Saturday-morning video games, I always kick butt at video games, because I put it on the easiest setting.
After a couple more uneventful hours, I started to feel dejected, and by midmorning — still lacking any noticeable boost — I found myself confronting an obvious, and uncomfortable, possibility: Maybe my body was already so good that it was immune to the effects of the pajamas.
One thing about me, though, is that I’m a guy who absolutely never gives up on something unless it gets too hard, and so I decided to try one last thing: a pickup basketball game at BU’s student rec center. If the pajamas didn’t work their magic there, I reasoned, they probably never would.
So I hopped a train to BU, laced up my sneakers, and, well . . . I’m still trying to comprehend what happened over the course of the next hour.
Maybe it was just coincidence that, from the moment I took the court, everything seemed to go my way. Maybe it was just chance that my off-the-ball screens were as fundamentally sound as they’d ever been, that my inbound passes were crisp as a new dollar.
Maybe that block I almost made late in the game, with the score close and the outcome teetering in the balance, was just the result of good old-fashioned hustle.
Or maybe it wasn’t coincidence at all.