The battle for your bottle is well and truly underway. We have the original players, from Gatorade to GU. This group consists of the brands that really paved the way in the hydration field - the Acccelerades, Hammers, Cytomaxs, to name but a few… These guys mix electrolytes with energy, combining hydration with calories. This thinking is being challenged by a new guard, companies that believe food, engineered or traditional, should provide energy and your bottle should be reserved for hydration. The tablet companies, NUUN and ZYM along with Allen Lim and his new Skratch brand have embraced this approach. While there are many differences among these companies the broad strokes are the same, the first group combine energy with hydration, the second want to keep it separate, each group believes their approach will result in better performance.
To this second group a serious new player has joined the fray, OSMO Nutrition. The name Stacy Sims may be familiar to some readers, she is OSMO’s Chief Research Officer and a PhD specializing in recovery, nutritional adaptation for health, body composition and performance. Dr. Sims has spent the last six years at Stanford as an exercise physiologist and sports nutritionist. She has worked with Lance Armstrong, Andy Schleck, Olympians, ultra swimmers and a slew of other high profile endurance athletes. The OSMO brand is based on the peer-reviewed research of Dr. Sims. For those of us familiar with the debate over global warming, we know what peer reviewed means. It is simply science that has been verified by other experts in the field, not products brewed up and sold base on the anecdotal evidence of athletes.
OSMO launched last week and announced four products, all aimed at hydration and recovery, but only one is aimed at your bottle. OSMO is really a hydration system, not simply a drink mix. There is a detailed routine to the product’s use and to truly get the most out of them they should be used together. OSMO begins with Preload, a hyper-hydrator, designed to be taken prior to exercise. Then comes Active, their low calorie ‘on bike’ mix. Following that comes Acute, your immediate post-ride recovery drink, which of course has calories and nutrients designed to start the recovery process. Finally OSMO offers Goodnight Recovery, a drink designed to promote deep recovery while you sleep, and help you get to sleep as well.
Each of these drinks and the method of use is designed to keep your body water at an optimum level for performance. According to OSMO if you are down 2% in body water you lose a whopping 11% in peak power output. The scary thing about this stat for cyclists is that at 2% you are only beginning to feel thirsty. Get really thirsty and your body water is lower and your power suffers even more. Starting rides properly hydrated may mean an end to those mystery bad days, when despite solid training and good rest you just don’t seem to be going well.
To ensure OSMO Active gets out of your stomach and to your cells as fast as possible it has been designed to have an osmolality lower than blood. That means it is actively pulled into your cells and, of course, where the brand’s name comes from. How’d the get it so low? By excluding all the calories and sugars in drinks that provide energy along with hydration.
OSMO uses nothing but top quality, organic ingredients. Think of them as the Whole Foods of the drink mix market. Of course, this also means you will pay Whole Foods prices. Both Pre-Load and Active are $25 each, that’s good for 10 and 20 servings respectively. Acute and Goodnight Recovery are $40 each, for 10 and 8 servings respectively. Some simple math reveals that a day of one serving of each product will cost $12.75. That is premium hydration. Look for a full review of OSMO, from flavors to effectiveness, soon.
To learn more about OSMO and the science behind it, head to osmonutrition.com
. The information is compelling, inspiring and incredibly educational. Dr. Stacy Sims and OSMO are out to end hydration as normal. They have a unique angle, a unique marketing ploy - science, real, hard, peer-reviewed science.