I was selected via to be one of OSMO’s testers for the past five weeks. I was in my final few weeks training for Ironman Wisconsin. Weather conditions in central Ohio were hot and humid throughout the testing – averaging temps in the 80-90 degree mark. Humidity was always high (love Midwest summers).
I was excited to try OSMO because I have a sensitive stomach and HATE super sweet drinks. My ‘go to’ recipe for nutrition in an Ironman is a mix of maltodextrin and PowerBar Perform on the bike then shift to straight gels on the bike. My biggest concern starting OSMO was eating solid foods on the bike as my ‘energy’ source and then using OSMO as my hydration supplement.
Training Leading Into Madison
On my endurance runs and transition runs (in the hot humid weather) I took a bottle of OSMO with me along with my running backpack. The only way I can explain how I felt was that I felt the heat of the sun and humidity on my skin – but I did not feel it within my body. Most of the time in the heat I feel completely overwhelmed by the temperature. As silly as it sounds, it was like the OSMO just kept the heat of the day at my skin – and did not overheat my body from the inside out. My heart rate was much lower than it typically was in the heat – no HR spike after 20 minutes in the heat.
On the bike, I would take around 4 bottles depending upon the length of the ride. OSMO has a philosophy of nutrition in the pocket, hydration in the bottle. It was a nice change to eat solid foods on the training rides. I ended up working with Dr. Stacy Sims (the brains behind OSMO) to nail down my nutrition before I headed to Madison.
When I was done working out I would immediately drink an Acute Recovery drink which I actually have come to REALLY like. I use skim milk and a tiny bit of chocolate. Sometimes I will use almond milk. It tastes good and it seems to stave off that super hunger that follows a long ride and transition run. I like that the ingredients were simple too.
Race Day Experience
Madison was not hot this year. I drank about a bottle an hour of OSMO which seemed to be enough. There was a point where I didn’t want to eat anything on the bike anymore- about mile 80, but I forced myself to keep taking in calories. No cramping or any other issues. On the run I took a water bottle filled with OSMO with me and made a concentrate in my gel flask so I could refill it during the race. I was fine on the run eating Clif Shot Blocks (gels were not recommended by OSMO) but eventually stopped taking in calories because my stomach started to feel a bit off. Long story short, I went to broth, cola + water, and whatever else I could stomach at about mile 14. By mile 22 I had some serious stomach issues and needed an immediate bathroom.
Race Day Follow Up
The stomach issues I had on race day weren’t anything I had experienced during training. I talked to Dr. Stacy Sims who had helped guide me nutrition wise and we re-evaluated what I had taken in. I took in too many carbohydrates and we believe that is why I had the stomach issues that I experienced. OSMO never gave me stomach issues in training. I do think it probably was what I consumed outside of the OSMO. Had I had more time with OSMO and shifting my nutrition plan, I think it would have been a tad bit different. Either way I KNOW my performance in the heat/training was definitely better.
Stacy was SO helpful working with me to outline my nutrition plan for Madison. She also explained the science to me in a practical way (why Malto + OSMO is not ideal and why eating calories will actually prevent stomach issues). The whole OSMO team was ready and willing to respond to any questions I had quickly. In a world where we all expect instant feedback and answers, OSMO delivers for sure.
Things I Did Not Necessarily Love
I am not a fan of having to carry nutrition when I run. I just hate it. It was daunting trying to figure out how to carry the OSMO with me during my race. I eventually settled on a water bottle that I just shoved in the back of my sports bra. It seemed to work fine – just a pain in the butt logistically. I also was not keen on the solid food thing (at first). I like the simplicity of a concentrated mix that I can just force myself to drink. That way I don’t have to worry about chewing, calorie count, or have to worry about potentially getting a tummy ache. I realize the science behind OSMO requires it to be consumed in the correct osmolity so I never tried it concentrated. I also didn’t like ‘pooping out’ (lol). I mean who does.
Overall I enjoyed OSMO Active Hydration’s taste. Nothing too sweet. The blackberry and orange were perfectly flavored. I felt like I wanted to drink it during training. On my runs it went down easily. I LOVED the Acute Recovery. That was awesome. Tasted great and felt like my hunger pangs went away immediately after my big training days. I will keep using OSMO to see if I can’t figure out this nutrition thing in my upcoming season because I did feel a BIG difference in the heat. I’ll keep you guys posted on how it ends up.
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