#TeamOsmo Runs Boston

Friday April 18th, 2014

Hey Osmo Fans!

As you know the Boston Marathon is next Monday, April 21st. Some of our athletes will be there racing but for those of you who are not – we want to join forces with you and run for Boston! We are teaming up with the Boston Marathon World Run and will be logging miles along with you to support Boston and all of the athletes racing there this year. Join #TeamOsmo and let’s see how many miles we can log together. And bonus – whoever logs the most miles on Monday with #TeamOsmo will receive a special delivery of Osmo products next week!

Get Started in 3 Easy Steps:

1.  SIGN UP. Go to BostonMarathonWorldRun.org and sign up. Signing up with your Facebook account is easy. Or you can sign up via email.

2.  JOIN #TeamOsmo. When you log in, you’ll land on the groups page. Search for #TeamOsmo (including the hashtag) and click JOIN.

3.  PLEDGE A GOAL. Enter the number of miles you plan to complete and log on April 21st.

That’s it! Once you’re registered, download the free Boston Marathon World Run app for iPhone or Android. The app allows you to track your walk or run, check in on how we’re doing toward meeting our goal, and share on social networks!

And if you don’t use one of the apps still be sure to check in with us on Facebook Twitter or Instagram and let us know how your run goes and include #TeamOsmo in your post.

Happy Running,
Team Osmo

Keeping Your GI Running Happy

Tuesday April 15th, 2014

Running – gastrointestinal problems, and what to do about them

by Stacy Sims

I recently gave a talk to a room full of runners, some experienced marathoners, others just starting to get into the race scene with a couple of 5 or 10km runs.

The one thing that they all had in common, GI issues. Regardless of planning or what they’ve heard (celery the night before?!!!), they still couldn’t get over the fear and real occurrence of gastrointestinal disturbances.

Let’s have a closer look. Different types of upper and lower GI symptoms occur in ~45-50% of runners. The symptoms may be related to more than one causal factor. The physiology is complex, so the fuel (carbohydrate choices primarily) and fluid you put into your system may compound the problem(s).

The Physiology: When exercise is intense or when dehydration causes hypovolemia (decreased blood volume), exercise induces changes in blood flow by the virtue of shunting blood from the gut to the working muscles. This blood shunt effectively causes a bit of hypoxia to the GI tract and increases neural activity of the submucosa of the gut (the connective tissue). This change to the GI tract increases the secretion of certain hormones and decreases absorption through the intestinal cells. This combination induces diarrhea, intestinal cramping, delayed gastric emptying (extra pressure in the stomach-“slosh” factor), and some bleeding of the stomach and colon may result (which is why some individuals experience blood in the urine and stool).  The common use of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, aspirin) aggravate the bleeding and interferes with fluid balance at the level of the kidneys (perpetuating the dehydration issue). 

Exercise, in particular running (with its impact forces), promotes a reduction in the GI muscle tone and motility, leading to reflux from the stomach or loose stools escaping from the colon. None of this is pleasant, for sure.

Both upper and lower GI symptoms are affected by exercise intensity, recency of meals, specific food intake during exercise, and ingestion of acidic drinks (coffee, orange juice). Anxiety tends to induce lower GI symptoms and of additional interest, there tends to be a sex difference in symptoms as well.  Women have a 5:1 increased risk of diarrhea, intestinal cramping, and side aches as compared to men; men tend to have greater risks of vomiting and nausea. Most of this increased lower GI symptom risk is attributed to the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone, with a greater incidence of lower GI issues during the 5-7 days preceding menstruation (aka the high hormone phase of the menstrual cycle).

So… What do I do?

The pre-race meal

Your food choices, timing of meals and hydration status can dramatically improve or worsen GI symptoms you experience during exercise.

One of the most common mistakes athletes make on race day is to gauge the size of their pre-race meal on the distance of the event. This faulty reasoning can lead to a host of GI problems as excess amounts of food will tax the body, demanding blood flow to the stomach while muscles in the periphery are screaming for fuel.  If you know you have GI issues, it might be best practice to  fuel up the day and night before, and topping up with a lighter pre-race/pre-exercise meal. This morning meal needs to have time to work it’s way through your system, so looking at a light breakfast that doesn’t have dairy (lactose intolerance), fructose (hard to digest and in general, few people cannot absorb more than 25 grams of fructose, even at rest, without experiencing some GI symptoms such as gas, bloating and possibly diarrhea), is low in fat and has moderate protein.

An example may include a high protein cereal such as Kashi GoLean with vanilla almond milk, and slice or two of low fiber bread (only pre exercise!!) with a bit of nutbutter and a sprinkle of salt.  Best to avoid the breakfast smoothie; although delic, it is full of fiber, dairy, and protein (best to have this after your session!).

Best carbohydrate fuel during exercise

The goal in choosing the right food for a race day is primarily to provide fuel for the muscles without causing GI symptoms. As a rule, these types of food should have a blend of simple sugars to speed the delivery of the sugar from the stomach, through the intestinal wall, and into the blood stream. Be a label reader. With the competition stiff on the sports nutrition market shelves, more and more companies are moving towards “all natural” aka dried fruit, evaporated cane sugar and/or agave nectar. Cane sugar is fine, as it is sucrose. Products that contain fructose should be avoided as fructose is not rapidly absorbed through the GI tract, but has to go to the liver to be metabolized. A big amount of fructose in the intestines is associated with a reverse water flux- effectively dehydrating the body’s water stores and “flooding” the intestines, contributing to diarrhea.

What products should I avoid and which ones should I try?

Most gels are made of maltodextrin, fructose and most have additives like protein or fatty acids. The issue with gels is that they are a concentrated carbohydrate in a compromised gut (reduced blood flow), with the gel ingestion, there is a change in the osmotic pressure; means water has to come from within the system to “dilute” the carbohydrate for absorption.  (see blog: maltodextrin and fructose)

What about blocs, chomps or jelly beans?

These products are generally not made of maltodextrin and fructose, so that solves one problem. Secondly, chewing small bits of carbohydrate ends up slowing the distribution of the load on the digestive system and allows for better absorption than swallowing a big bolus of gel.

What about sucralose and other sugar substitutes?

Increasingly common in sports drinks and engineered nutrition is the addition of sucralose, stevia, and/or sugar alcohols to maintain a sweet taste but reducing overall carbohydrate concentration.

The issue with these sugar substitutes is the effect on GI physiology as these compounds are not very well absorbed and can increase the osmotic load within the GI tract, become a source of energy to fuel rapid bacterial fermentation,  and reduce  gastrointestinal motility and alter bacterial flora.


One trick to try is to eat a few peppermint Tums (calcium carbonate) about 20 min before heading out the door. In an intensity session (e.g. track intervals, race), have some additional tums handy will help slow down any GI issues. The calcium works with neuromuscular contraction and muscle metabolism, the carbonate helps to “coat” the intestinal cells, reducing endotoxin release and the ensuing symptoms, and the peppermint is well used homeopathic remedy for GI disturbances.

 Final words…

To minimize GI issues, you should think about what you are eating the day/night before  and try to minimize high fiber and high fat foods.  Before heading out for your run, (be it a race, a track session, or a steady-state), if you are susceptible to GI issues, you’ll want to avoid dairy, high fiber, fructose, and high fat foods. Chew on a few peppermint tums and drink OSMO Active. During your run,  pay attention to your nutrition and hydration plan- try a hydration strategy that doesn’t let fluid sit in your stomach, and try not to over eat (you can come back from low blood sugar, but it takes hours to come back from dehydration). And please, leave the anti-inflammatory drugs in the cabinet for real injuries!

Most of all, everyone is individual, so you’ll have to tweak your fluid and food intake to find your gold standard, but keep in mind the nuances described above, and your GI symptoms should quickly dissipate.


2 Comments » | Posted in Nutrition, Running, Training by Osmo Nutrition

Chris Carmichael gets OSMO’d

Friday April 4th, 2014

OSMO is proud to be working with Chris Carmichael and supporting the hydration needs of his athletes at his camps. We recently checked in with him….

You’ve been coaching and doing your camps for many years now and have probably tried just about every nutrition/hydration product out there. How did you find OSMO and why did you want to work with them?

I started working with Stacy Sims a few years ago and she worked with CTS on some R&D projects related to her research on thermal stress and hydration. At the time OSMO was in its infancy but it was clear that it had great science behind it. And more recently, once I tried the product I was impressed. It works exceptionally well for me and we’ve had great success with the products at training camps.

Of all their products which is your favorite and why?

I like the Active Hydration in Blackberry best, because it works very well and seems to be very gentle on an athlete’s GI system. I’ve had the opportunity to use it in very hot environments, meaning I was consuming a lot of fluids, and not only did my legs feel good but my stomach felt great all day.

What is the biggest piece of advice with regard to nutrition/hydration that you give to the athletes that you work with?

Stacy actually distilled a message I’d been telling athletes for years into a much simpler explanation. Your nutrition program can’t work unless you’re properly hydrated. If your hydration strategy is off, it will negatively impact your ability to process calories and get that energy to working muscles. And since you can come back from an energy crisis quickly, but coming back from a hydration crisis a much longer process, I advise athletes to prioritize hydration and then focus on caloric replenishment.

OSMO is a fairly new product line so I’m assuming some people may ask you about it – what is the first thing you tell them?

The first thing I tell people is that they need to try it. And not just once. A sample of a sports nutrition product only tells you that you like the taste. To determine if the product works you have to use it consistently for a few days to a few weeks. That’s part of the reason we use OSMO at our training camps, so athletes get to experience how well it works, not just how good it tastes.

If you could invent a new OSMO flavor what would it be and why?

I’d probably stick with something tried and true – and try to make it better. A chocolate or espresso/caramel version of acute recovery would be something I’d look forward to.

To learn more about Chris Carmichael and his training programs and camps, be sure to visit: trainright.com

No Comments » | Posted in Hydration, OSMO Athletes, Training by Osmo Nutrition

OSMO is proud to support and sponsor an incredible group of athletes and we want to share a little bit about them throughout the year. We checked in with OSMO athlete Haley Chura recently to wish her well on her upcoming race, Ironman Los Cabos and asked her to share some thoughts about OSMO and her race…. Read More

Tales of victory always focus on the athletes – how they swam so hard, biked so well and then endured endless pain to cross the finish line first. Well, have you ever thought about it from Osmo’s perspective? This pro triathlete we sponsor, Emma-Kate Lidbury, boy! She did NOT leave us alone this weekend. Wanna know what she did, how much she used us and abused us, took us on this three-hour road trip to Palm Springs and threw us in some 16oz water bottles for her two-hour race? Oh, what’s that you say? You do want to hear all about it? Well, that’s good then, because below you’ll find out exactly what Eccles did to us this weekend…

Love, Osmo’s three finest products…

Active Hydration, Acute Recovery & Pre Load

Friday Night:

We find ourselves taken from our usual cool, dark storage spot and thrust into a big black holdall, suddenly surrounded by far too much Spandex and other unfamiliar objects we can only imagine play some lesser role in a triathlon race. Bike shoes, a run visor – what does she need with all this stuff? She’s got us – isn’t that all that counts?

As usual, she hits Acute Recovery for a scoop right before bed and mixes him with water. She guzzles him down in one. Whoah! It’s gonna be a big weekend for us at this rate…

Saturday Morning:

The car is being packed and so far it looks like she’s got a Felt bike, a wetsuit, her Rudy Project helmet and far too much other guff. She’s lined up lots of water and is throwing Active H into every other bottle. This girl is smart! You reckon she’s had Stacy Sims on the phone? So far I’ve seen her drink two 24 oz bottles of Active H and it’s not even 11am. Hydration stations!

Saturday Afternoon:

Oh boy, I don’t like this part – the part where she goes out riding and we get thrown in these bottle cages. It’s so much safer back home in the store cupboard. At least it was only a short ride this afternoon. Looked to me like she did an hour’s spin, getting her legs all prepped to race tomorrow morning at the Desert Triathlon. Palm Springs looks like an interesting kinda place though. Well, what do we know? No one ever expects sports drinks to talk – not unless there’s something really freaky going on…

Saturday Night:

So it looks like she did a swim after that ride and gulped down some more Acute Recovery right after. She loves us! At the mo, she has her feet up watching Breaking Bad with her pajamas on and is guzzling down a 24 oz bottle of Pre Load Hydration. Make no bones about it – this girl is getting ready to RACE!

Sunday Morning, 4.30am:

Smells like the coffee machine is on…Luckily for us we’ve been chilling all night in the hotel fridge. Not too shabby in here. Shame there’s not more time to get stuck into this mini bar, though. We digress – did we mention it’s race day today!

Our girl is up, she’s had her oats and almond butter for brekkie and she’s sipping on a 16 oz bottle of Active H and has another Pre Load lined up. Good girl!


BOOM! The race is underway. Our girl is racing the Olympic distance event here at Desert Tri and looks to be going well. She’s got a couple of 16oz Active H’s on the bike (she’ll never need all that – this is Olympic distance!) and we saw her chewing her Bonkbreaker pre swim start. Smart work.


Finish line, YES! Our girl has won. Eccles takes the overall female win in a time of 1:57 and it looks like she’s beaten all but a handful of the guys too. Remember: women are not small men – they’re faster! Just joking, sorry guys…

Looks like she’s done a brief warm down and, ooh, what have we here, she’s coming back to us for more Acute Recovery. This girl must have Stacy on speed dial. She’s getting in her protein ASAP post-race. We like it!

Congrats Eccles – way to start the 2014 season in style! We look forward to assisting you with your training and racing throughout the year. Next up: Ironman 70.3 Texas on April 6. We’d better get ready to fly…

Your three amigos,

Active Hydration, Acute Recovery & Pre Load


No Comments » | Posted in At The Races, Hydration, OSMO Athletes by Osmo Nutrition

What’s in your drink?

Saturday February 8th, 2014

Picking up a container of sports drink mix or electrolyte tablets and do you wonder what it is that you are actually putting into your body? Electrolytes.. sure, but what compound? citrate? chloride? chelate? What about carbohydrates and sweeteners? Maltodextrin? Fructose? Xylitol? Stevia? Sucralose? And anti-caking or flow agents? Sodium benzoate? polyethylene glycol? Flavors: Natural and artificial? (what does “natural” mean anyway……..?) Read More

No Comments » | Posted in Training by Osmo Nutrition

Emma-Kate Lidbury, aka “Eccles” is a 6-time Ironman 70.3 champion and newly “Osmo’d” for 2014. The British-born and raised triathlete made a big move across the pond and now resides in southern California. We caught up with Eccles, who’s deep into training to defend her IM 70.3 Texas title in April. Read More

No Comments » | Posted in Training by Lisa H

The days are getting shorter, the nights are cooler…. It’s time! “Cross time! The combination of short duration- high intensity racing and the beer-run recovery can be a bit of a challenge to create stellar performances weekend to weekend; but you can implement a few secret weapons to help on race day. Read More

No Comments » | Posted in Training by Osmo Nutrition

PreLoad: What’s it all about?

Friday July 19th, 2013

“Hyperhydrator?” “Buffer?” Just what exactly does PreLoad do?

PreLoad is a special application product for intense efforts, ultra-endurance events or exercise in hot conditions. PreLoad increases plasma volume and sodium stores. It also contains aerobic and anaerobic buffers. Many call it the “secret weapon.” It’s a “triple threat” so to speak. Read More

1 Comment » | Posted in Cool Stuff, Hydration, Training by Stacy Sims

The ease of liquid calories is apparent in Triathlon racing. I did it, but again, found it did nothing but make me sloshy, bloated, cramping, and caused the Ironman “shuffle” regardless of my distance. Which is why I started playing around back in the late 1990′s with my own nutrition. The evolution is what you see now, OSMO for hydration with food for fuel.

Now, so many triathletes of all abilities ask me how to fuel and hydrate, since they too are tired of the expected bloat and subsequent post-race unpleasant gassy/bloat discomfort (as are their partners!). I tend to work one-on-one with people, but instead of holding the info close to my chest, I thought I’d share the general schematic of how Osmo can work in a triathlon scene.

I hope the following details will help clarify a few things for you!

First, Osmo is not a calorie source per se. Yes it does have ~70 calories per 16oz., but the sugars in it are functional- i.e., the glucose and sucrose help in intestinal physiology to maximized fluid uptake. Traditional sports drinks and liquid nutrition (Gatorade, Perform, Cytomax, Infinit, Hammer) do not. The concentration of carbohydrates and makeup (glucose, maltodextrin and fructose) of these products allow for maximum carbohydrate absorption with a bit of fluid absorption. Moreover, the fructose can cause a reverse of water flux in the intestines. What I mean by this is that a large titration of fructose into the intestines at once can cause an increase in the osmotic pressure- the response of the body to reduce this pressure is to dump water into the higher concentration/pressure area- this will then allow diluted fructose mix to go through the hepatic vein into the liver where it is then processed– this is why people expect sloshing and bloating in a triathlon- they believe it is a typical aspect of  racing. Not so!! (See the previous post: Sugar(s): What about Maltodextrin and Fructose?)

The BARS are okay as a convenient fuel source for sure (real food is much better), but NEVER GELS! Energy chews are okay as well, but wait until the run to start these.

Ideally, I’d LOVE to have OSMO on course for everyone, but… to make the most of a less than ideal situation, here is what I have my athletes do for an Ironman; for Olympic to 70.3, the schematic is the same, just no special needs!

At T1:

You’ve just been swimming for ~an hour and glycogen levels will be a bit low, as will your body water. 2 goals at T1: solid food and hydrating before jumping on the bike. At the transition, have a bottle of Osmo Active that has been frozen overnight (if a hot race). Swig a few gulps, grab your solid food (bar, protein bites, sandwich) to eat the first ~5km of the ride- as you get up to pace. This will front load you for the second half of the bike.

Start with frozen bottles on your bike (they will be semi solid by the time you exit the swim) of OSMO Active. Single serves in your pocket to dump into ice water from the aid stations (ideal) OR use their Perform chased with a bit of water. The catch up on electrolytes for this dilution method is to have secret stashes in the special needs bags (sodium +fluid load in SpNeeds and at T2).

Special Needs bag bike turnaround:  In this bag, it would be ideal to have 2 of the insulated bottles which have been frozen overnight, and if possible, the outside wrapped in foil as well (Trying to get as much insulation as possible for a hot race!) In one bottle- ½ strength Osmo PreLoad mix (for sodium+fluid load), the other Osmo Active.  Also have a salty real sandwich- i.e. marmite or olive tapenade between white bread OR jam sprinkled with salt on white bread.

In your pockets, you should always have tums—take tums every 30-40km on the return–> you want the extra calcium to help prevent any cramping AND I have yet to meet a 70.3 to Ironman competitor who hasn’t felt a bit queasy in the first 3-5 miles of the run—shifting of blood and all of a sudden the pounding on the gut and leg muscles can cause this- the goal is to minimize this, and Tums is key.

at T2:

To prep for the run, it would be ideal to have another salty sandwich at T2 if possible. This can be sea salted focaccia bread (like dinner rolls, but then you don’t have to worry about smushed sandwich or any refrigeration factors) or soft pretzel bites- grab it, couple of bites, stash in pocket or ditch it. Tums in your pocket. Glucose Tablets in your pocket.  Icy sodium+fluid load—1/4 strength PreLoad with ½ strength Osmo Active frozen in an insulated bottle–>swig it and bring it with you for the first 2-3 miles of the run.

Race Prep and Race Day:

During Taper Weeks (2-3 weeks)- stick to your usual recovery food after every training session- even though you are doing low volume with a bit of intensity, stick to the 30 min protein and 2 hour glycogen window. THEN 2-3 hours post session, hit it again with another 20-25 g protein.

During these weeks, “top up” on the essential-to-racing electrolytes:  per day: 100mg magnesium, 200mg calcium; 200mg potassium, 800mg sodium. You can also consider using Trace Mineral Research tablets or Endure. (Nope, I don’t have any affiliation with them, but this is something very useful leading up to IM distance racing!).




Pre-Race: Have your normal race breakfast.

10 ml per kg Osmo PreLoad finishing ~20 min before race start. Water as you want.



Bike- first 1/2

(Fluid- 0.18-0.2 oz per pound per hour)

Fluid- OSMO Active is the first choice. Ad hoc is electrolyte drink on the course- if you are able, dilute a bit on course by chasing with water or 2/3 course drink with 1/3 water into speedfill. Water is fine for pouring over your forearms and head. Food: for this sector, solid food; 3.5-4 calories per hour.


Special Needs:

See above. Food- stay away from dried fruit and fruit heavy foods; the fructose will kill you as will the fiber, when it comes to the run.


Bike: second 1/2

Same fluid and calorie need, if you need to switch to chews, try to hold off until last hour of bike.

Caffeine additive to try: green tea extract in your bottle of Active.

Electrolyte tablets- shouldn’t need them, but if you need to have a cushion, use the Trace Mineral Research tablets.







See notes on T2.


Run- First 1/2

Fluid needs: 0.18-0.2 oz per pound per hour ; Calories: 3-3.5 calories per kg per hour (yes a bit lower than the bike- here you want to minimize stuff in your stomach, and on the last 1/3 of the run, the idea is to keep blood sugar up via quick hits of sugar- glucose tablets, jelly beans, chews..)

Drink the Osmo from the bottle you have with you.  Tums- 2-4 tablets every hour. 

On course: Course drink  and Water for fluid- ½ and ½.

Food: on course- bites of pretzels, in pocket: honeystinger waffles,  or salted jam sandwich bites, or protein bites; Hold off on chews until second ½ of run if possible. If not, then alternate pretzel bites with chews or sports beans.


Special Needs

Grab another bottle of OSMO Active with 1 tablespoon PreLoad mixed in—electrolyte and fluid load!!! Also, if needed, grab additional food.


Run- Second 1/2

Fluid the same as first half.

Food: you can move to chews, sports beans then last 10-12 km, 1 glucose tablet every 5-7 min.

If needed- Trace mineral research tablet- 2 per hour

Tums- 2-4 per hour.

Caffeine use: Coke is fine;  You can also consider adding green tea extract to the bottles you carry and pick up;

Avoid caffeine tablets!!

14 Comments » | Posted in Hydration, Nutrition, Training by Stacy Sims