At Art’s Cyclery we see a lot of nutrition products. Countless manufacturers contact us in hopes of selling the latest and greatest powder or bar guaranteed to increase speed, endurance and strength. Of those, we deem about twenty-five percent worth trying, and it’s rare that we actually decide to add a new brand to our nutrition selection. When we do, it’s usually a case of “This is so good, we have no choice but to carry it!” Osmo Nutrition products are the most recent example of this; a brand we couldn’t say no to after testing their product.
We’ve been using the Osmo Active Hydration Mix for several months, and are fully behind their philosophy of “Food in the pocket, hydration in the bottle.” This catchy phrase is at the heart of Osmo’s approach to sports nutrition. Osmo (from osmolality—the measure of soluble materials in a solution) has done extensive research showing water uptake, and thus athletic performance, is optimized when a precise profile of sugar and electrolytes is part of, and when fuel in the form of carbohydrates is not part of your performance drink. Essentially, adding carbs to your water bottle makes the liquid too “thick,” and water is unable to be absorbed efficiently, resulting in discomfort, bloating, dehydration, and, ultimately, bonking. Osmo’s scientifically reserached mix of sugars and electrolytes creates a liquid solution that allows your body to quickly absorb water and electrolytes—leaving nothing behind in your gut—which regulates your core body temperature and keeps your muscles working at their maximum potential. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Skratch Labs adheres to the same doctrine, one that we predict many more nutrition brands will be exploring and adopting.
While we’re sure you believe the science behind Osmo Active Hydration, we know the real question is “How does it work on the bike?” The answer? Just as it’s supposed to. First, Osmo Active Hydration tastes great, especially Blackberry, and the Orange flavor is a close second. The only downside to the fantastic taste is the potential to drink an entire bottle before you break a sweat. Powdered organic fruit gives the drink mix a juicy, fresh taste, without being overly sweet, ensuring you won’t have any problems finishing a bottle. Osmo also mixes easily and thoroughly, but we recommend adding water to the mix, and not the other way around.
Performance-wise, we felt that Osmo Active Hydration lives up to its claims. Hot weather, high-effort rides embarked on with dread and despair turned out to be not so bad, with much less of the listless, pedaling-in-quicksand sensation such conditions often bring. We actually drank less when we had a bottle of Active Hydration, which we attribute to more effective water uptake keeping us hydrated better than with water alone. Fatigue was also less of an issue when using Active Hydration, especially noticeable on hotter ambient temperature rides. While we weren’t recording internal body temperature, as previously mentioned, rides in hot weather didn’t seem as punishing as they should have. Keeping a fuel source separate from hydration makes tracking calorie intake a little easier also. Instead of remembering which bottle to sip from and when, simply eating a bar every so often greatly reduces any gastro-intestinal issues arising from an overloaded gut.
Osmo Active Nutrition lives up to the hype, which is not surprising considering the amount of research and review that went into its creation. Active Hydration should absolutely be mixed in your water bottle on hot days or for intense effort rides. Your stomach, your legs, and your race results will thank you.