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Supplements for people who are on the road and traveling a lot - not just for athletes! Part 2

Supplements für Menschen, die viel Unterwegs und auf Reisen sind – nicht nur für Sportler! Teil 2

In the first part of this article, we looked at the topic of supplements when traveling in general, as well as the supplements that are considered essential by the author for frequent travelers - and especially athletically active people who travel a lot. In this part of this article, we will take a look at other supplements that are not essential but can still prove beneficial in many situations.

The optional supplements

What is caffeine and why should you use it?

Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase anaerobic capacity and performance release. Excessive intake of caffeine can increase blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels. As frequent travelers, we often have to get up at 5am or earlier to catch a flight, spend 12 hours or more with a client, or endure long drives to our accommodation. Caffeine can help us stay awake, alert and productive during these long days.

How much caffeine should you use?

The dosage of caffeine depends heavily on your goals, the frequency of your planned caffeine intake and your physiological responses to caffeine. The values given below are only starting values that should be adjusted up and down depending on your needs:

  • People who are not used to caffeine - 100mg dose
  • Fat burning - 200mg dose
  • Strength enhancement - up to 500mg dose

It is recommended to avoid caffeine completely for a few weeks if you are too used to it or if you feel dependent on it.

Author's opinion - I take 200 to 300 mg of caffeine 30 minutes before training, but I have spent years trying to determine this dosage. When in doubt, start with a low dosage and slowly increase as needed.

What are adaptogens and why should I use them?

Adaptogens are plant extracts that can help improve the negative effects of stress and fatigue by improving concentration, performance and endurance. As frequent travelers, we are constantly faced with stressful environments and scenarios such as tight travel schedules, sleeping in unfamiliar places such as (uncomfortable) hotel beds, long and stressful client meetings and the like.

How much should you use?

When it comes to dosing adaptogens, you should start at the lower end of the dosage range and adjust the dose based on your reactions and the expected amount of stress and fatigue. With this information in mind, the following are typical dosage ranges of some popular adaptogens:

  • Rhodiola Rosea - 170 to 185 mg per day, which equates to a dosage of about 4.5 mg of the active ingredient salidroside- Ginseng (more specifically Panax Ginseng) - 1 to 2 of the raw root or 200 mg of a ginseng extract, which provides 4 to 7% of the ginsenosides considered active ingredients.
  • Tribulus Terrestris - 5 to 6 grams of root powder or 200 to 450mg of a Tribulus Terrestris extract, which provides 60% of the active ingredient saponin. - Bacopa Monnieri - 300 mg of Bacopa Monnieri extract which provides 55% of the active ingredient bacoside.
  • Indian Basil (Holy Basil) - 500mg leaf extract, twice daily
  • Ashwagandha - 1 to 2 grams of ashwagandha root or the equivalent amount of an extract three times daily, preferably with meals

Some people combine several adaptogens, as each of these products may have different effects on different people.

What are greens products and why should you use them?

Greens products is a collective term for a class of supplements that contain one or more of the following ingredients in dried, powdered form: Fruits, vegetables, adaptogens, and digestive aids such as probiotics and fiber. Greens products are usually offered in powder form, although there are also products in capsule form, where a serving is often in the range of up to 5 capsules. Depending on the product, Greens products can contain trace elements, fiber, significant amounts of vitamins and numerous phytonutrients.

When traveling, consuming fresh fruits and vegetables can be difficult and expensive, if not nearly impossible. Although nothing can replace high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables, Greens products provide a kind of nutritional "back-up" or emergency supply that you can easily take with you wherever you go.

How much should you use?

As the ingredients of Greens products vary greatly from product to product, I would follow the dosage recommendation on the label. Most products recommend one serving per day, but if you feel your diet is seriously lacking in healthy plant nutrients, I believe two servings are acceptable for healthy individuals. Please do not use Greens products - like any other supplements - as a substitute for regular consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. Greens products are an excellent support in situations where you do not have the opportunity to consume fresh fruit and vegetables and can also be a useful addition to a healthy diet. What are pre-workout products and why should you use them?

Pre-workout products contain one or more ingredients that are taken before training to increase power release, muscle strength, muscle endurance and muscle resistance to fatigue. Many manufacturers offer ready-made products, but some exercisers prefer to create their own formula from a combination of different ingredients.

As frequent travelers, we need to make a conscious and significant effort to make time to take care of our health and our bodies. It's far too easy to sleep until the last possible minute, or go to happy hour after work instead of working out. Pre-workout products can give you an extra boost of energy to get you out of bed in the morning, or to help you push through a training session after a 12 hour day at a client.

There are a few things to consider with pre-workout formulas:

  • Caffeine/stimulant content: if you're working out just before bedtime, it might make sense to use a caffeine and stimulant-free pre-workout product. Taking caffeine or stimulants in the last few hours before bedtime could cause you problems falling asleep and reduce your sleep quality.
  • Creatine content - If you are already taking creatine in powder or capsule form, then you may not need the creatine contained in many pre-workout products. If you are using a pre-workout formula that contains creatine, then you may want to consider reducing your creatine intake from other sources accordingly.

What are digestive support products and why should you use them?

For frequent travelers, adequate hydration - i.e. fluid consumption - and sufficient amounts of fiber are not always enough to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Supplements to aid digestion can help support the absorption of nutrients from food in the stomach and intestines, minimize bloating and a bloated feeling, and regulate the elimination of waste products from the body.

Often, greens products and digestive support products are combined into one product to make it more convenient and cost-effective for the user. However, the disadvantage of such combination products is that specific ingredients cannot be dosed individually and additional supplements must be purchased.

How much should you use?

Typical dosages of popular supplements to support digestion are as follows:

  • Fiber powders (such as psyllium) - using these supplements increases the volume of food pulp and feces in the digestive tract. Typical dosages are 5 grams with meals and adequate amounts of liquid, one to three times daily.
  • Probiotics - follow the recommended dosage on the label and start with one full dose per day. Increase or decrease the dosage depending on your personal response. Many probiotic products contain the following healthy probiotic bacteria: Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium brevis and Bifidobacterium longum.
  • Digestive enzymes: follow the recommended dosage on the label and start with one full dose per day. Increase or decrease the dosage depending on your personal reaction. Products of this type usually contain one or more of the following digestive enzymes: papain, bromelain, amylase (for breaking down carbohydrates into individual glucose molecules), lipase (for breaking down fats into fatty acids), lactase (for breaking down lactose), pancreatin (for breaking down complex proteins into short peptides and amino acids), cellulase (for breaking down fiber)
  • Ginger - Ginger is used to speed up digestion. The average dosage is 1 to 3 grams of ginger extract per day, 240 ml of ginger ale made from ginger root or 4 cups of ginger tea steeped for 5 to 10 minutes with ½ teaspoon of grated ginger per cup.
  • Betaine Hydrochloride (HCl) - Betaine HCl is used to increase the acidity of the stomach. The typical starting dosage is 650 mg per protein-containing meal and can be adjusted up and down depending on how your stomach feels. Some people take three 650 mg tablets per meal. Pepsin appears to work synergistically with betaine HCl.

What are branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and why should you use them?

The branched-chain amino acids - BCAAs for short - consist of the three amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. Adequate BCAA intake will promote and accelerate muscle growth and repair over time and can reduce post-workout muscle soreness. With BCAAs, the law of diminishing returns comes into play when you use BCAAs in addition to a daily protein intake above 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Pure BCAA products contain no additional carbohydrates or fats, but due to the isolation process, they are typically more expensive than the same amount of total protein in the form of protein powder.

Author's opinion - as a frequent traveler with limited luggage space, I would recommend supplementing with a complete protein source such as a protein powder before investing money in BCAAs.

How much should you use?

The following guidelines are just a starting point and can be adjusted based on your daily protein consumption and budget:

  • Leucine - 2 to 10 grams per serving
  • Isoleucine - 48 to 72 mg per kilogram of body weight
  • Valine - 20 mg per kilogram of body weight


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