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Osmo Active is more effective than other sports drinks because it is developed based on leading, established, and published scientific research to maximize fluid absorption in the body. Unlike other sports drinks, Osmo is made with natural, organic ingredients. Most sports drinks are made to be a calorie-heavy, but this slows the rate of hydration. Instead, Osmo Active is optimized for hydration with sucrose, glucose, and sodium working to maximize your body’s fluid absorption. Our lower carbohydrate percentage, at 3.5% compared to the average 6-8%, ensures that you don’t get residual “slosh” in your stomach from delayed gastric emptying. Our goal is to educate athletes about “hydration in the bottle, food in the pocket.”
Check out out “Learn” page for videos and “Essential Knowledge” for more info.
The shortest answer to this question is that Osmo products are better because they work better; Osmo products were scientifically developed to enable athletes to feel and perform their best. They don’t cause common side effects of other sports drinks, including bloating, diarrhea, thirst, and cramping, among other issues.
Check out our “Learn” section on this website for more detailed information.
Yes. Optimizing hydration before and during exercise has a direct correlation to performance. Osmo takes the guesswork out of what you should be drinking. When your body is just 2% below it’s optimal water level, you can experience as much as an 11% reduction in maximum power.
In re-producible studies, athletes produced an average of 9% more power when consuming Osmo with solid calories when compared to a competitor’s drink and gels.
The most important factor in optimizing hydration is drinking the right thing to slow the effects of dehydration. Drinking plain water isn’t ideal because you need a small amount of sodium to help the water reach the fluid compartments of the body. Osmo Active Hydration’s specific ratio of glucose, sucrose, and electrolytes takes the guess work out of hydration.
The formulas for all Osmo products are based on published scientific research conducted by leading nutrition scientists, including Stacy Sims MSc, PhD, Exercise Physiologist-Nutrition Scientist, who created all of Osmo’s products. These findings have been published in leading scientific journals and have been reviewed and vetted by peers in the scientific community prior to publication. Osmo relies on this established, cutting-edge research to advance the performance of athletes in the fields of hydration and recovery.
This rigorous use of established science to design a sports nutrition product is rare; most products were developed by emulating others, or simply based on hunches.
We believe you will see a change in your performance the first time you use any Osmo product. There is no need to experience Osmo products over a long period of time to see how they change your performance, but you will certainly experience the benefit by the time you reach the bottom of the tub. Some may immediately notice that they no longer experience cramps on long rides or runs. Others, who normally exercise in a hypo-hydrated state, will see an improvement in their performance after using Osmo Active Hydration. Those who use Osmo Acute Recovery will find that they recover from exercise more quickly.
Individual body-water loss varies among athletes and according to intensity and weather conditions. Most people, under most conditions, should drink 20-25 ounces of Osmo Active Hydration per hour of exercise (roughly one small or large water bottle). Lighter athletes or athletes exercising in cool weather conditions may only require 16-18 ounces an hour. Larger athletes or athletes exercising under hot and humid conditions may require up to 30 ounces an hour.
Now for a more detailed explanation…
Baseline needs: Generally, if your urine first thing in the morning is relatively pale yellow, you are off to a good start. Throughout the day, eating watery fruits and veggies, drinking tea, water, low carbohydrate electrolyte drinks will help keep you hydrated. Afternoon fatigue is often due to low body water and a drop in core temperature, thus drinking a warm drink (tea, coffee) will help hydrate and bring up your core temperature.
Before training: in the 90 minutes leading up to your training session, you need to drink as much as comfortable (~2 cups) of low-carbohydrate fluid. This is a good place for using Osmo PreLoad and to sip on Osmo Active Hydration to maximize body fluid and sodium stores.
During training: Similar to baseline needs, what you drink during your ride depends on several factors: temperature, environment, time of day, intensity of training, and sex differences. It is important to go into a race or training situation hydrated; in a few minutes you can return from low blood sugar with a bit of food, but it takes several hours for your kidneys and hormones to re-align your fluid balance. We recommend drinking Osmo Active and basing your initial fluid needs on drinking to thirst. Bear in mind, this is not THE answer. You must start your session hydrated, then use thirst as a guide for the first 3-4 hours, but don’t become too thirsty.
If you are concerned that drinking to thirst is not optimal for you, the most recent scientific consortium guidelines recommend not exceeding 800ml/hour in temperate conditions, and not to exceed 900ml/hour for hotter and/or more intense rides. Remember this is based on generalized guidelines; the best way to tap into what you specifically need is to objectively measure your hydration status using the Pee Sticks.
A good way to gauge whether you’re properly hydrated is to examine the color of your urine FIRST THING IN THE MORNING and to monitor the level of your thirst before, during, and after you exercise. When gauging urine color, the rule is generally the clearer the better. Dark yellow urine is a telltale sign of dehydration. Pay attention to hydration in conjunction with exercise intensity, exercise duration and weather conditions so you may gauge your optimal rate of fluid consumption in different situations.
Osmo hydration products are specifically developed to optimize hydration. Two sugars are better than one, and the combination of glucose and sucrose in the proprietary ratio found in Osmo Active is shown to be the best for maximizing fluid absorption.
The rate of fluid absorption into the bloodstream is determined by two things: the combined rates of gastric emptying and intestinal absorption. These responses are directly influenced by the composition of the drink ingested. Studies have shown that glucose-only solutions slow the rate of gastric emptying; whereas maltodextrin promotes the most carbohydrate absorption, with low fluid absorption. So, with the goal of rapid gastric emptying and intestinal fluid absorption, we developed the ideal ratio of the best sugars to promote fluid absorption and subsequent plasma volume increase.
Check out the “Hydration is Power” section of the learn page for more in-depth information on the role of sodium, glucose, and sucrose in increasing the rate of fluid absorption.
We recommend starting with Osmo Active Hydration. This is the product we developed for use during exercise and it is a great way to experience the Osmo difference. This product maximizes fluid absorption, delaying power decline and fatigue and reducing “sloshing” in the stomach caused by typical sports drinks. Try Osmo Active during a workout or race, and you will quickly see an improvement in your performance.
While the participation of women in sports has increased significantly over the last several decades, research of women in sports has lagged behind that of men. Until very recently, most of the data collected in case studies regarding nutrition and training were conducted almost entirely on men. What’s good for men isn’t automatically what’s effective for women. For example, a woman’s hormone fluctuation over their 28-day cycle changes their body’s needs. Our products are designed specifically with the unique physiology of women in mind.
Primarily because women have been deemed “too difficult” to be included in research because of our hormone fluctuations, or the research that has been done occurs when the women are in the first 14 days of their cycle, when hormone levels are low and women’s responses are very close to men’s.
For starters, women have an altered energy metabolism during exercise which completely impacts how we recover. Our recovery window is smaller and we have a predisposition to become over trained if we do too much intensity at different parts of our cycle1,3.
During the menstrual cycle, we have two hormone phases: high and low. During the low hormone phase, our carbohydrate metabolism and recovery is the same and we are able to complete high intensity workouts4-7. However, during the high hormone phase, estrogen reduces the availability of carbohydrate and increases the amount of fat used for fuel; thus we have problems hitting higher intensities6-7. Elevated progesterone increases our core temperature by about 0.5’C8, increases total body sodium losses9-10, and increases muscle breakdown (and at the same time, reduces the body’s ability to synthesize muscle)11-13. If this wasn’t enough, the combination of elevated estrogen and progesterone drops our available plasma volume by about 8%; and with concurrent shifts in baseline thresholds, makes us more predisposed to hyponatremia8,14-16.
And newsflash: The recovery window for men and women is different, too. Women have 30 minutes for acute recovery (drinking a 3:1 ratio of carb to protein drink) and only 3 hours to eat a balanced meal for glycogen recovery1,2,5. Men have 2-18 hours and should use a 4:1 ratio of carb to protein recovery mix. That’s a HUGE difference.
Over the years, I’ve developed a few key things to use pre, during and post exercise to address these shifts in our physiology due to our hormones. What has evolved are three products:
Women’s PreLoad Hydration (with branched chain amino acids- to work with sodium to expand total body water, and to increase the amount of amino acids circulating to dampen the breakdown effects of progesterone).
Women’s Active Hydration has a different ratio of glucose:sucrose plus greater sodium per serving to offset the reduced plasma volume and the greater sodium losses.
Women’s Acute Recovery gives a big hit of protein (slow and fast release) to really work to shut down the breakdown effects of exercise and progesterone as well as increase the amount of circulating amino acids to promote muscle synthesis
TThere are several kinds of birth control pills (OCP), localized drugs such as the ring, and the IUD. OCPs are monophasic (steady level of estrogen and progestin across the three active weeks), biphasic (steady estrogen, increasing levels of progestin the second 2 weeks of active pills), and triphasic (increasing levels of estrogen and progestin across the three weeks of active pills), and the “mini-pill”- progestin only. The “ring” (NuvaRing) is a localized (unlike pills which are systemic), contraceptive option that releases estrogen and progestin during placement. An IUD is also localized with small doses of progestin released during placement.
OCPS invoke 6-8 times the estrogen and progesterone levels that a naturally cycling woman has. Thus all the negative effects of estrogen and progesterone are elevated. Moreover the “low hormone” week aka sugar pill week is actually NOT low hormone as the body rebounds to estrogen levels similar to the first trimester of pregnancy. The progestin only aspects of the Ring and an IUD are not as impactful as they are more localized doses of progestin, but this introduced hormone still affects muscle integrity and recovery.
There is very limited research on post menopausal athletes but there is quite a bit on the changes of body composition and muscle integrity with the menopause and the transition into menopause.
What we DO know:
A few key points to remember when the hormone flux is taken away (aka menopause)-
1) Blood vessels are less compliant (meaning blood pressure changes are slower);
2) There is less core temperature flux tolerance (meaning you can’t handle hot very well);
3) You sweat later in activity and vasodilate longer (i.e. your body tries to get rid of heat by sending more blood to the skin instead of relying on sweating to cool you off for a longer period of time);
4) There is greater sensitivity to carbohydrate (more blood sugar swings and less need for carbohydrate overall);
5) The body uses protein less effectively (meaning that the type and quality of protein you eat and when you eat it becomes very important for building lean mass and holding onto it);
6) Less power production (thus train for power, not for endurance, on the bike and in the gym).
Although we discuss the way the women’s products help with the menstrual cycle issues, similar issues still exist post-cycle. One key thing to keep in mind is muscle function and the quality of the muscle (aka integrity). Without maintaining muscle integrity, you can’t hit intensities, you can’t produce power, and you gain body fat (in particular around the abdominal region).
Solutions/How the OSMO Women’s products can help:
There is still a focus on hydration to maintain blood circulation, especially with the increased initial reliance on vasodilation and the lack of heat tolerance. The women’s active hydration is formulated to increase glucose availability at the small intestines to really work with the glucose co-transportation of fluid; less stress means less cortisol (aka the belly fat hormone). Preload will also help with the blood circulation and thermoregulation aspects with regards to hyper-hydration but the key ingredient in the women’s preload for you is the branched chain amino acids- this helps reduce cortisol and adrenaline release (less body fat stimulus, less muscle breakdown stimulus) as well as do all the things I’ve stated for the cycling woman- reduces central nervous system fatigue, increases circulating amino acids for a jump start to recovery.
Then recovery! This is the most important aspect of all in a post-menopause/peri menopause woman. Trying to maintain muscle integrity and really adapt depends on dropping stress hormones and really “bathing” the broken muscle fiber in essential amino acids. You do not want soy at all. (soy may help stop cortisol, but it does nothing to help with muscle synthesis and maintaining the quality of the muscle). The whey+casein and glutamine in the women’s acute recovery is key for the amino acid profiling for muscle synthesis and repair, and the glutamine is key for immunity as well as glucose metabolism.
Okay, now sleep! Hot flashes are more than a nuisance, they interfere with sleep, the key time for repair and recovery. What really helps with the hot flashes in several of athletes we work with (both menopausal and stage racing) is 15g whey with 400-600mg valerian. We suggest 1/2 dose of Women’s Acute with 2x400mg Valerian tablets. This helps with overnight total body reparation, keeping cortisol low (to keep the stimulus for belly fat low), helps maintain a lower core temperature so the signaling of a hot flash is reduced.
Our goal is to help all women train, recover, and perform at their potential; I hope this helps shed a bit of light on how our bodies change when the hormones stop cycling.
This phrase is a key part the Osmo Nutrition project and the specific blueprint for developing Osmo Active Hydration. What we mean is that an athlete should not rely on liquid calories for their fuel source. Calories should be eaten and one should drink for hydration.
The fitness/athletic/performance industry has a reference framework that liquid calories are the best way to hydrate and fuel for a race. However, by relying on solid food for energy and liquids for hydration, both blood sugar and hydration can be optimized and uncomfortable side effects like bloating, sloshing and GI distress can be avoided.
What kinds of “real food” do you suggest that I consume with your products?
Real food is just that—stuff your grandma can pronounce and identify! We like to recommend starting with solid foods and working your way to semisolid options. By this we mean, start by eating something like salted potato cubes, sandwich bites, pretzels, lowfat muffins, and/or mini cookie bites. If you need to have “engineered nutrition,” we suggest protein-oriented bars, such as Clif MOJO, uncoated Luna, or MacroBar. Semisolid foods are your favorite childhood gummy-type candy, such as jelly beans, Swedish Fish or Mike and Ike. They may not be “real food” per se, but they are mighty tasty.
Real food is just that—stuff your grandma can pronounce and identify! We like to recommend starting with solid foods and working your way to semisolid options. By this we mean, start by eating something like salted potato cubes, sandwich bites, pretzels, lowfat muffins, and/or mini cookie bites. If you need to have “engineered nutrition,” we suggest protein-oriented bars, such as Clif MOJO, uncoated Luna, or MacroBar. Semisolid foods are your favorite childhood gummy-type candy, such as jelly beans, Swedish Fish or Mike and Ike. They may not be “real food” per se, but they are mighty tasty. Below is a schematic of fluid and good intake recommendations for up to 6 hours of riding.
No. Gels are not a good thing to consume during exercise because they are a concentrated carbohydrate that goes into a dehydrated gut.
When you eat a gel, you change the osmotic pressure in your digestive track, which in turn stimulates the body to shift fluid out of the plasma and other spaces to dilute the gel in order for it to be absorbed. This is a process that slows the rate of fluid transfer into the body leading to dehydration.
A follow up to the gel question is usually, “What about chomps, blocs, and jelly beans?” Blocs, chomps, and jelly beans are all okay because they solid and are consumed at a slower rate than gel. They also deliver a smaller amount of carbohydrate per bite so you get a continuous input and a smaller dose of carbohydrate than when you swallow a gel.
Osmo PreLoad Hydration is best used the night and morning before hot-weather efforts or intense workout conditions.
Osmo PreLoad Hydration is a specific pre-exercise hyper hydrator and buffer. It has been formulated with two different sodium compounds, citrate and bicarbonate, to do two things: expand your plasma volume (the watery part of your blood that is essential for thermoregulation) and provide buffer agents to the anaerobic and aerobic metabolic pathways. It is beneficial to use Osmo PreLoad Hydration before hot races or training, as well as before high-intensity events such as time trials, track events, cyclo-cross races, criteriums or circuit races, and sprint-distance triathlons.
Preload. It is a sodium PLUS fluid load. It is not about replacing sodium but about the fact that the combination of sodium WITH water works in the body together to expand plasma volume. The different compounds of sodium- bicarbonate and citrate- are additional benefits; where the buffering component comes into play. Remember, Preload is an ergogenic aid. In this vein, it should be trialed in training first.
How to start using Preload? First, start small. The night before dose is more for the buffering effects as the hyper-hydration effect is transient. In other words, the body is really good at regulating fluid compartments, thus the plasma volume expansion you experience with Preload lasts a few hours. Remember: hyper-hydration is beneficial for slowing the rate of plasma volume loss, it doesn’t stop it. The morning of dose is more for the hyper-hydration aspect with some buffering component.
Start by using one dose. If it is for high intensity, try the night before. If it is for long and/or hot sessions, use it before you head out. Ideally, finish the Preload 30 min before you go. Drink it cold; this helps mask some of the saltiness if that bothers you.
If you find one dose a bit to strong, back it down and use 1/2 strength. If you are fine with one dose, then trial two.
Because it is a transient sodium+fluid load, it is fine to use for stage racing (one dose in the morning before racing is enough for consecutive days).
A reiteration here: If you have any history or current diagnoses of kidney or blood pressure disorders, DO NOT USE. It is a sodium+fluid load, thus expands blood volume (slightly increases blood pressure) and because the kidneys filter fluid and sodium, your kidneys need to be healthy too!
After-exercise recovery is a key part of getting stronger and more efficient; however, introducing antioxidants right after exercise has been shown to inhibit adaptation.
One critical step in exercise stress is the oxidation process. The body has its own feedback system for overcoming oxidation within the muscle cells. If we introduce antioxidants close to the conclusion of exercise, however, we inhibit this feedback system and significantly reduce the adaptations that athletes train for. Basically, when you ingest antioxidants close to the conclusion of exercise, your muscle cells (specifically mitochondria) don’t change or adapt as much in response to the exercise stress.