Dirt Rider - - Pro Secrets Training - Story By Mark Kariya • Photos Courtesy of Mon­ster En­ergy Honda And Ricky Brabec

Do­ing any­thing phys­i­cal at alti­tude is way tougher than at sea level be­cause of lower oxy­gen lev­els. With that in mind, con­sider the plight of rid­ers at the 2017 Dakar Rally who faced six days of rac­ing in the An­des, of­ten above 10,000 feet. Know­ing this, Amer­i­can Dakar hope Ricky Brabec con­sulted with Dr. Johnathan Ed­wards to bet­ter pre­pare him­self for the rally.

Be­sides be­ing a com­pet­i­tive cy­clist and mo­tocrosser, Doc Ed­wards has been a team doc­tor at the Tour de France as well as for the KTM fac­tory rally team. The steps he had Brabec fol­low are ap­pli­ca­ble to any­one who wants to get ready for low-oxy­gen en­vi­ron­ments.

“There were sev­eral things that went into pre­par­ing Ricky for the alti­tude. The first thing was to make sure Ricky had a good car­dio base train­ing pro­gram. Set­ting up a hy­poxic gen­er­a­tor and an alti­tude tent was the next

thing. This is an in­ter­est­ing story be­cause Ricky couldn’t af­ford the typ­i­cal hy­poxic gen­er­a­tor and tent for $5,000, so I showed him how to make one him­self.” The con­struc­tion uses PVC pipe and vinyl; the tent fully en­closes the bed, and while not ab­so­lutely air-tight, this al­lows the hy­poxic gen­er­a­tor

to drop oxy­gen lev­els sig­nif­i­cantly.

“While he was in the alti­tude tent, I had to re­as­sure him a lot. I re­ceived a lot of texts ask­ing if it was okay to have his oxy­gen lev­els so low at night. I also

helped him with the tim­ing of how long to stay in the tent. If some­one does it for too long, they can ac­tu­ally de-train and be­come fa­tigued. “The fi­nal thing I helped Ricky with was how to nat­u­rally op­ti­mize his iron

lev­els and his weight. Through eat­ing liver, tak­ing cer­tain vi­ta­mins, cut­ting carbs, and learn­ing to eat a whole-food diet, he was able to cut the weight

nec­es­sary and his iron lev­els were spot on. It’s all about op­ti­miza­tion. For

Ricky’s weight, our goal was [for him] to lose 10 pounds, though we didn’t quite reach that. He went to Dakar be­tween 205 to 210 pounds. And my main goal for iron is to med­i­cally op­ti­mize his blood iron lev­els as well as his fer­ritin

lev­els. Fer­ritin is the pro­tein that car­ries iron in the blood. The goal for fer­ritin is above 125 on the lab tests, and we achieved that.”

And Brabec’s take on all of this? “I’m kind of still on that same pro­gram [ex­cept for sleep­ing in the alti­tude tent, which should only be used as a tune-up and not con­stantly],” he points out. “I feel good; my en­ergy is through the

roof, and I’m not re­ally ever tired even though I’m al­ways wide-open.” WANT MORE Fol­low Ricky on In­sta­gram @rick­y­brabec.

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