Osmo Launches New Approach to Cycling Nutrition
Organic drink mixes supplement cyclists from pre-ride to pre-bed
. Instead of fueling with a combination of solids, liquids, and gels during endurance sports, the company believes that athletes should get hydration from liquids in their bottles, and nutrition from food in their pockets.
Sports scientist Stacy Sims, who recently left her research positions at Stanford University, and longtime Specialized product manager Ben Capron founded the company. The pair used Sims’s research on endurance athletes to develop their new range of drink mixes
Osmo, which launched earlier this month, initially brought out four products: a pre-workout mix, one for use during exercise, a recovery mix, and a pre-bedtime mix designed to aid sleep. Here’s a quick rundown of each:
PreLoad ($24.99/10 servings)
There are a number of drinks intended to be consumed before sports, but PreLoad is the only one we know of that’s designed not around nutrition, but hydration. A standard 16-ounce serving has 3,000mg of sodium. Yes, 3,000mg. In hot weather, athletes can lose up to 1,380mg of sodium per liter of sweat (with sweat rates ranging from .5L to 2.5L per hour).
Osmo says PreLoad helps to increase total body water and, in turn, plasma volume. Much as you’d carbo-load before an event to top off your glycogen stores, drinking PreLoad the night before and 90 minutes before your event starts helps to ensure you’re properly hydrated at the start.
In brief testing, our crew has mixed feelings about PreLoad’s taste. One didn’t mind the taste if PreLoad was cold. But another tester compared it unfavorably to seawater; it’s hard to disguise that much sodium. But we did notice that we woke up more hydrated after using it.
Active Hydration ($24.99/20 servings)
The core of the Osmo line, this drink has a modest amount of calories (70 per 16-ounce serving). It continues to deliver mix of electrolytes: 350mg of sodium, 95mg of potassium, and some calcium as well.
Active Hydration’s key is the carbohydrate mix and the osmolality (a chemical unit for measuring concentration) of the drink when mixed. Conventional sports drinks, explains Capron, simply are too concentrated for your body to properly absorb, especially during exercise.
“Gatorade has a higher osmolality (concentration) than blood,” he says. “So when you drink it, you actually pull body water into your gut to lower the osmolality before it can be absorbed.” One result is that Active Hydration has a very light taste that’s not overly sweet or syrupy.
Acute Recovery ($39.99/10 servings)
It’s essential to get some kind of recovery drink within 30 or so minutes of hard exercise. A modest amount of carbohydrate is helpful, but getting protein is the most important thing. Acute Recovery relies on 30g per serving of whey and casein protein, which helps signal the body to switch from a catabolic state to a recovery and rebuilding. You also get a significant shot of electrolytes.
Osmo Nutrition, a new player in a crowded product segment, is setting out to challenge long-held beliefs about