Review: OSMO Nutrition

For some, sports drinks will appear to be a homogeneous product. Yes, there are different brands and flavours, but don’t they all do the same thing? Supply our body with electrolytes and sugar to keep it going?

The short answer is no. Within the sports drinks market there is huge variety; different sugars, different electrolytes, different compositions and of course different flavours. The universal fact I suppose is that most contain some kind of sugar, though that’s a weak unifying fact at best.

However, OSMO Nutrition breaks even that strand of similarity. The new nutrition ethos behind this brand is that sugar should not come from your drink; drinks should be for hydration and sugar should come from solids. It’s an interesting take on nutrition, and I was keen to test it out…

PreLoad Hydration Powder


The first component of the OSMO Nutrition range is the PreLoad Hydration Powder. This works on the theory that your performance is so drastically marred by de-hydration, that it is vital to ensure you are well hydrated before you even begin your race or workout.

The PreLoad Hydration powder therefore contains a vital mix of electrolytes that are needed to get your body into a fully hydrated state. Dependent on your body weight, you mix up the powder with water to the specified concentration, and drink it the evening before your event and then a second solution 30 minutes prior to starting.

Does it work? It’s super hard to test nutrition products without a lab environment, there are so many other factors in your diet that affect how well products work, making it difficult to isolate particular contributors to performance.  However, the OSMO Nutrition PreLoad does have a noticeable effect on how you feel and perform during exercise, especially on hotter days...

The first thing that I noticed was that I needed to drink less during a warm three hour ride. That might seem predictable, given that I had drunk 600ml of water more than usual before I started exercise; however normally if I drink a lot before I ride I end up needing to stop to pee more often, and still drink the same amount. That didn't happen with the PreLoad; rather I simply drank less during exercise, but felt constantly well hydrated. I don't really understand the science behind this, but it basically seems to come down to the fact that your thermal regulation works more effectively, so you reduce the amount you need to drink.

In trying to understand the science behind it, I found this neat video. In short though, in hot conditions, the PreLoad does seem to have a noticeable effect on how well hydrated you feel and subsequently on how well you perform.



Active Hydration Powder


Next up on the test cycle was the OSMO Active Hydration Powder; the 'during sport' hydration mix. This product relies on established hydration science; providing your body with the optimum mix of electrolytes required to avoid cramping and keep functioning at its best. The difference is that unlike most sports drinks, which also contain a wide mix of sugars to "fuel" your body, this powder contains only a minimal amount.

Why? The theory is that taking on too much fluid in a bid to fuel your body, leads to "sloshing" in your stomach as well as digestive problems (you'll know what I mean if you've ever used energy gels and energy drink as your main sustenance for a long day on the bike). OSMO therefore proposes that you hydrate with water, but fuel with solids, such as energy bars and other solid snacks like jelly babies.

This is an interesting approach, and it certainly is kinder on the stomach. I felt just as strong as I normally do in terms of energy and performance, but without the after effects of some energy drinks.

Therefore, I would recommend OSMO Active Hydration if you find yourself with a dodgy stomach after many hours in the saddle, or if you prefer to eat solid foods rather than gels and liquid sugar.

To explain the science behind the OSMO Active Hydration, here's another video:





Acute Recovery Powder

As we all know the final and vital part of any sports nutrition regime is recovery. OSMO have got that base covered as well. 

The OSMO Acute Recovery brings more science to recovery than normal though. The mix of whey isolate and casein provides a longer release of protein for recovery, giving a sustained benefit. The inclusion of a small dose of caffeine provides a faster conversion to the 'Recovery State'. The correct amount of carbohydrate then ensures there is enough energy to recover, without overdoing the sugar intake at this recovery stage.

I recommend mixing the vanilla flavour with almond milk (or dairy milk) as suggested on the pack, it gives it a far nicer texture and makes it more palatable. Most importantly however, it does seem to provide an effective recovery tool, and leaves you feeling ready for the next day of training.

A bit more science behind the Acute Recovery mix:


In summary, OSMO has taken sports nutrition to a whole new playground. Elite athletes such as Peter Sagan, Team Saxo-Tinkoff and several Ironman triathletes have been using this technology for several years; it provides a effective way to hydrate, stay hydrated, fuel and re-fuel your body, without having some of the side effects that other sports nutrition products have. Well worth a look if you want to test out this potentially ground-breaking science.

OSMO Nutrition is available from Wiggle Bike Shop (Link)


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