Physiology and Nutrition: Why Not Gels, Part 2

biol-3-1-3It seems I hit a nerve with my last post on “Why No Gels”.  There is a nuance to be highlighted with regards to performance nutrition: the separation of fatigue due to a drop in blood volume and fatigue due to a lack of carbohydrate.  This Part 2 will focus on the basic physiology to give insight on Part 1 (as well as some solutions!)

Open any exercise physiology textbook and the first factor of fatigue is a drop in blood volume, with the second factor of fatigue decreased carbohydrate availability. Why? Simplistically, you can rectify low circulating carbohydrate pretty effectively by eating something and feeling the effects within minutes. A drop in blood volume is more complex, and it takes hours to rectify (as it involves the kidney regulatory hormones aldosterone and arginine vasopressin).

Blood volume is the red cells and plasma in circulation. When discussing exercise and fluid shifts, the term “plasma volume” is often used, as this refers to the watery component of blood. With the onset of exercise, there is a shift of blood flow to supply the working muscles and to the skin, to divert the increased heat produced (from muscular contraction). With the increased demand for blood to the muscles and skin, there is hypoperfusion of other organs, including hypoperfusion of the GI system.

As exercise continues and plasma volume is lost through sweating, breathing, and gastrointestinal water usage, available circulating blood diminishes (there is less overall water in the blood, thus it is “thicker”).  An endurance athlete will feel the drop in blood volume as “muscle fatigue”. As the viscosity of blood increases, the competition between the skin and muscles becomes fiercer; with the skin winning over muscle perfusion.  Heat is a large threat to the body, the actual window of survival core temperature perturbation is quite narrow: 37-39.5°C (98.6-103.1ºF – Athletes often push themselves to a core temperature of 40°C before true adverse effects of heat stress are seen.). As heat storage of the body increases and more blood is shunted to the skin, there is less blood for muscle metabolism- nature’s purpose: shut down the threat. By this, I mean, less blood for muscle metabolism means fewer contractions, thus less heat produced (the temperate of the muscle itself contributes to fatigue as well by denaturing the contractile proteins). This is muscle fatigue – a drop in power. In a traditional mentality, this is when an athlete will typically reach for a gel or other quick hit of carbohydrate, thinking they are low in carbohydrate; but it is water deficit of the blood that forces the fatigue.

What impact does the drop in blood volume have on nutrient uptake? Plenty. The intestine is the primary organ for absorption of fluids, nutrients, and electrolytes.  During prolonged exercise that increases core temperature, blood flow to the GI may be reduced by up to 80% to provide sufficient blood to the working muscles and skin. As core temperature approaches 39ºC, the intestinal temperature may be as high as 41ºC, leading to cell damage. In addition, the shunting of blood away from the intestines, hypoperfusion causes ischemia, leading to oxidative damage; both mechanisms compromise the integrity of the intestinal tract: from large-action motility to the small-action of epithelial cell tight junction permeability.  The disruption to the tight junction proteins results in an increased release of luminal endotoxins (a.k.a bacteria) into the blood stream. These endotoxins increase systemic immune response (inflammation), oxidation, and perpetuates gastrointestinal dysfunction.

As an endurance athlete, you should be concerned with how to mitigate this drop in blood volume and reduced blood flow to the GI system; what you eat and drink plays a critical part on your overall performance (a.k.a. delay fatigue and maintain power) due to the effects on fluid dynamics.

Main factors which affect fluid absorption include:  the composition of what you are drinking: (osmolality, carbohydrate choices, sodium content); gastric emptying (how fast a solution exits the stomach and enters the small intestines); hypo- vs hyper-osmotic changes in the intestinal lumen; and co-transport mechanisms.

Several additional articles can cover composition and gastric emptying; in this one, I want to focus on the osmotic changes in the intestinal lumen and co-transport mechanisms. From my initial post “Why Not Gels” I discussed the impact of fructose and maltodextrin on the osmotic changes in the intestinal lumen:

The second factor is the carbohydrate matrix of the gel. Research does show that the combination of two sugars is much faster than one for promoting carbohydrate absorption. When fructose and glucose are ingested in combination (either as fructose plus glucose, or as sucrose) the mean oxidized amount of the mixed sugars is ~66%, as opposed to fructose at 29% (women) to 45% (men) and glucose at 58%.  But the actual absorption rate of the sugars is the contention here: glucose is absorbed from the intestine into the plasma via more than one active glucose co-transporter protein; reducing the contact time with the gut lumen. Fructose, however, is less efficient and slower to be absorbed due to less active transport mechanisms; leading to increased contact time with the gut lumen. Why is contact time significant?  With incomplete and slow absorption, fructose produces a hyperosmolar environment in the intestines. What this means is that there is more solute than water, causing an increased pressure, signaling fluid to be drawn into the intestines, producing the known feelings of bloating, gas, diarrhea, and general GI discomfort.

Maltodextrin, a polysaccharide with the building blocks of glucose, is used in gels instead of straight glucose for several reasons. The primary rationale that maltodextrin does not affect osmolality as significantly as glucose, fructose or dextrose. Because maltodextrin is a long chain of glucose molecules, it doesn’t add as much to the number of solutes in a solution, thus a solution (gel or sports drink) can contain quite a bit of maltodextrin and still have a faster gastric emptying rate. From a carbohydrate availability standpoint, this is appealing as resultant glucose molecules are absorbed through the several glucose co-transporter proteins.  Here is the caveat: because maltodextrin is a long chain of several glucose molecules, it is not completely hydrolyzed in the stomach; but continues in the small intestines where most of the hydrolysis takes place. In the small intestines, these multi-chain glucose molecules create the same hyperosmolar environment in the intestines as fructose.” (addendum: In the Rebuttal posted on Monday, there was a discussion of the science quoted for this particular statement. In ” Gisolfi, C, Lambert G, and Summers, R. Intestinal fluid absorption during exercise: role of sport drink osmolality and  [Na]. Med.  Sci.  Sports  Exerc. ,  Vol.  33,  No.  6,  2001,  pp.  907–915.” the authors specifically state “Although this beverage was hypotonic, which would promote the osmotic absorption of water,  the  hydrolysis  of  maltodextrin  elevated  luminal osmolality and slowed this process.” Moreover, it is critical to remember that there are two key sections for water and carbohydrate absorption in the intestines: the upper 25cm called the duodenum [the highly permeable segment responsible for bringing the chyme of the stomach to isotoncity] and the jejunum, the area of the small intestines most studied for carbohydrate and fluid absorption. In this article I am discussing the jejunum, where the effect of osmolality, sodium content, and type of carbohydrate has specific influence on water absorption rates.)

The sodium-glucose co-transport mechanism is critical for FLUID and glucose absorption across the cell membranes. Glucose is absorbed by the small intestine using an active process. Initially, the glucose and fluid exits the intestinal lumen via the sodium-glucose cotransporter protein, and is facilitated through an additional protein “gate”: GLUT-2.  With the glucose, water and sodium also enter the blood; contributing to blood volume.

How does this affect you, the endurance athlete, in more practical terms? I’ll reiterate that to delay fatigue, you should implement nutritional strategies to promote blood volume maintenance. Why? Because with the reduction of blood volume, you effectively reduce your muscular power potential. In your nutrition strategy, you should look to avoid nutritional products which pull water OUT OF the blood, as this perpetuates the drop in blood volume.

If, by physiological logic, gels and other fructose-maltodextrin solutions, pull water out of circulation, then what should you eat to 1) reduce the impact on blood volume and 2) address your blood sugar needs (aka carbohydrate intake)? Real food.  Yes, you can eat and ride. Your performance will improve with the separation of hydration from fueling. Suggestions/strategies: For a mountain biker, reading the course and doing things like eating AFTER the feed zone (get through the craziness first), then know where the base of a technical climb is- have a salted potato bite or a protein bite or energy chew or even a glucose tablet right there for a boost before the intensity; on the descent, drink some fluid; switchy single track? Same thing- know the course, plan your eating strategies according to the course profile, not time on the clock. You’re aiming for 3-4 FOOD calories per kg of body weight per hour (not a massive amount of calories – roughly 217 to 291 calories for a 160lb person). What about roadies? It’s slightly easier for you as the technical aspects are a wee bit less than the switchy singletrack of a mountain bike race. Try sandwich bites, “salty balls”, energy chews, and in the last hour of a ride or race when all that matters is keeping blood sugar UP for pace, use glucose tablets (they start to be absorbed in the mouth).

I challenge you to the hydration-power test: Use pee sticks and monitor your hydration. On days that you actually stay within a urine specific gravity (USg) of 1.015-1.025 you will find your power decline is less and your recovery is better. Where to get pee sticks? Amazon of course (Rapid Response with USg).

Final Words:  I am a physiologist and nutrition scientist with a long professional research and sporting career; with a side project of a functional hydration company. The products of this company stem from my years an athlete suffering from dehydration and fueling issues (as well as my teammates), and the athletes and coaches I help with regards to environmental exercise physiology and nutrition; the advantage that I have had and still have, is that while I was suffering and trying to figure out what was going on, I had the availability to go to the lab to do the research on physiology of fluid balance, nutrition and heat stress during exercise.  The articles I am writing for BikeRumor are to present the science of physiology, not to promote or “bash” any particular product; hence the recommended reading (below) and direction to the literature and lack of any product push.


Dr Stacy Sims cofounder of OSMO and Bikerumor contributorStacy Sims, MSc, PhD, served as an exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist at Stanford University specializing in recovery and nutritional adaptations for health, body composition, and maximizing performance. During the past decade she has worked as an environmental physiologist and nutrition specialist for top professional cyclists and triathletes, ultra-endurance athletes, the Garmin/Slipstream Pro Cycling Team, USA Cycling Olympic Team (BMX and women’s track cycling), Team Tibco, Flying Lizard Motorsports, and Team Leopard-Trek, among others. She competes as a Cat 1 road cyclist and elite XTerra triathlete and is co-founder of OSMO Nutrition.


Recommended Reading:

  1. Mundel T. Exercise Heat Stress and Metabolism. Thermoregulation and Human Performance. Physiological and Biological Aspects. Med Sport Sci. 2008; 53:121-129.
  2. Zuhl M, Schneider S, Lanphere K, Conn C et al. Exercise Regulation of intestinal tight junction proteins. Br J Sports Med, 2014; 48:98-986.
  3. Van Wijck K, Lenaerts K, Grootjan J et al. Physiology and pathophysiology of splanchnic hypoperfusion and intestinal injury during exercise: strategies for evaluation and prevention; Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2012; 303:G155-G168.
  4.  Gisolfi, C, Lambert G, and Summers, R. Intestinal fluid absorption during exercise: role of sport drink osmolality and  [Na]. Med.  Sci.  Sports  Exerc. ,  Vol.  33,  No.  6,  2001,  pp.  907–915
  5. Sims, ST, L vanVliet, JD Cotter, and NJ Rehrer. “Sodium loading aids fluid balance and reduces physiological strain of trained men exercising in the heat.”  Medicine and Sciences in Sports and Exercise, 39 (1), 123-130, 2007.
  6.  Sims, ST, NJ Rehrer, ML Bell, and JD Cotter. “Pre-exercise sodium loading aids fluid balance and endurance for women exercising in the heat”, Journal of Applied Physiology, 103, 534-541, 2007.

Comments

Colin - 06/06/14 - 1:06pm

You know what, you’re wrong cuz a friend’s, cousin’s, brother’s, BEST friend who works for a company who has based their brand off of gels, says so.

Actually, my anecdotal evidence in my own nutrition regimen seems to support what is being said here. I have shifted to using pretty much using solid carbs and have noticed a huge decrease in the frequency I need to intake food. I have noticed, also, that I don’t have a huge drop off in energy levels if I go just a bit too long without eating.

Eyal - 06/06/14 - 1:23pm

Osmo Nutrition makes great products. Unfortunately, a couple of months ago I’ve discovered that I have Celiac and no longer can drink the stuff!

Hobbanero - 06/06/14 - 1:54pm

She had me at “epithelial cell tight junction permeability”. Nice to see the science sort of dumbed down so I can understand it (okay, I had to read it twice). My personal experience using Osmo and real food in races has been great…..your mileage may vary.

groghunter - 06/06/14 - 1:57pm

All things considered, I’d rather eat a bagel with maple almond butter than a gel. So that’s what I’m gonna do.

Roy - 06/06/14 - 1:59pm

I really like longer races, 2.5 + hours and over the years tried everything from solid food and water to all liquid sport drinks including gels and blocks. I never got comfortable with gels and blocks, always seemed to clog up the flow of liquid that would follow. I am not talking long rides, but races and the harder breathing and whatever else was going on in the gut would not absorb the gel and blocks. Over a year ago I started using Carbo Rocket and Half Evil and mix them in different ratios depending on heat of day and length of event. The 333 (half evil) has amino acids in it so I am not as sore the next day after pounding a few hours of the stuff and I never feel ‘backed up’. There are now hundreds of dollars worth of gels and blocks in the cabinet going old.

Andrew - 06/06/14 - 2:35pm

As an endurance newbie I would pile Tang into one of my bottles as a ‘cheap’ sugar hit. Tang is pretty much 100% fructose. I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined that bibs could be removed so quickly, that riding gear could be stripped in the blink of an eye, and that maple leaves make fairly decent emergency T.P. Dear OSMO shut up and take my money.

Salty balls - 06/06/14 - 2:49pm

You recommend salty balls?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnNYXgV7L-c

Scott - 06/06/14 - 3:03pm

Over the last 10 years I have made 2 fuel related changes that have had significant a significant impact on my performance, primarily in 2+ hour events. (Crits should always be fueled by lots of caffeine, period.) The first was moving from Gatorade to Gu Brew/Gu 2 O. The second was moving from gels to real food. Huge improvements.

Colin - 06/06/14 - 3:24pm

@ Scott

You can’t just use caffeine, that’s daft. You have to pair it with lots of BRAWNDO. Or just an IV of nitro methane for crits.

Andrew - 06/06/14 - 3:32pm

You don’t pair BRAWNDO with caffeine. BRAWNDO already has everything the body needs.

Matt - 06/06/14 - 3:37pm

All I am going to say is I personally have used gels with good results in 12 and 24 hour mountain bike races. And I have had my ass handed to me by guys who were literally only eating McDonalds cheeseburgers.

It’s about being fit, knowing what your body will respond to, not pooping your pants or throwing up, and staying happy on the bike.

I think there’s some opportunity for lots of nutritional supplements (especially drinks like Tailwind, which is the new hot thing) to be good, and it’s silly to knock something.

Mike Mathewson - 06/06/14 - 4:05pm

Full disclosure once again, I am the President of Crank Sports, a company that manufactures both energy gels and hydration drinks. I am obviously biased, but I honestly believe that energy gels (not just our brand) are one of the best forms of energy supplementation for endurance athletes and they are not detrimental at all. You just have to use them properly.

Three observations on this article:

1) “A drop in blood volume is more complex, and it takes hours to rectify”

This may be true but you are saying that using gels will cause significant dehydration and a drop in blood volume that will take hours to rectify, this is just not the case. Any water that is used to absorb the gel is transported along with the gel back into the cellular system when it is absorbed. The fluid doesn’t disappear and is not somehow magically “used up” by the gel. Water/fluid is simply the transport vehicle that allows the gel to enter the cellular system. And, if you are consuming proper amounts of water with your gels as recommended this is a complete non-issue.

2) “you can rectify low circulating carbohydrate pretty effectively by eating something and feeling the effects within minutes”

The problem is that there is a limit to how much carbohydrate (calories/energy) you can uptake over an extended period of time. If you are using straight simple sugar carbs then it caps out somewhere around 150 calories per hour. If you are using complex carbs you can get approximately double that (300 cal/hr). Endurance athletes can easily burn through 500 – 1,000 calories per hour (depending on many variables including body size, intensity, wind, elevation, equipment, etc.). If you’re properly carbo loaded you will have approximately 2,000 calories of glycogen stored in your muscle and liver, not nearly enough to do a Century or an Ironman. Maximizing energy uptake becomes a major factor in determining how well you will perform, and this is the reason that most energy gels and sports drinks use maltodextrin and other long-chain complex carbohydrates. Saying that you can just “eat something and feel the effects within minutes” is far too simplistic and does not apply to endurance athletes that are competing for hours.

3) The vast amount of athlete feedback does not support the problems that you have described regarding energy gels.

Most people that you talk to will tell you that after taking a gel they feel an INCREASE in energy, a boost, or that it allows them to continue at the same pace without fading. By your hypothesis they should be reporting the complete opposite. If consuming a gel causes noticeable dehydration, a drop in blood volume and subsequent fatigue, then where are all the athletes reporting that they feel fatigued every time they use a gel? I’ve never heard this. I ride with a power meter as do many of my friends, and I’ve never seen a drop in power following the consumption of a gel. For fun I Googled “energy gel fatigue” and could not find a single person with this complaint – just the opposite. During my 12 years in the gel industry the majority of people that I’ve talked to about problems with gels have been related to improper usage (you need to drink water).

Furthermore, when an athlete feels the energy from the gel (as they report they do) it is sign that the gel has been absorbed, and and therefor any fluid that was required in the absorption process is right there in the cellular system with it – no dehydration or on-going blood volume drop associated with the gel.

Gels may not be for everyone, but for lots of people that actually do what they are designed to do: provide a quick and convenient source of energy.

Loki - 06/06/14 - 4:24pm

This series of articles is some of the most engaging writing on Bike rumor. Kudos to the various authors and to Bikerumor for interesting and topical information and debate. Sure beats the hell out of Specialized bashing and the “latest industry standard” press release!

Jon - 06/06/14 - 4:29pm

Science!!! References!!! thanks for not dumbing things down too much.

Matt McNamara - 06/06/14 - 4:32pm

thanks Stacy – I’m sure the debate will continue long after this post, as it should. My only hope is that ‘experts’ and lay-people take a bit of time to learn how to critically read a scientific journal. It’s not easy and requires a depth that may not be worth the effort for most…but when we post anecdotal solutions as scienctific fact, or more simply mis-interpret the science that we are reading it does a disservice to all. Similarly, and this applies to Stacy and all other ‘researchers’ or ‘experts’ one tends to become myopic over time (myself included I’m sure). Lastly, can you quantify the amount of dehydration caused/impacted by gel intake?

Many thanks,
Matt

Scotty - 06/06/14 - 4:45pm

Ok, so all these nutrition articles are a great read but written by people who lack the ability to ‘dumb it down’. I’m not the smartest guy in the world and even when my wife reads them and translates the info (she’s an MD) I still don’t fully understand.

I’ve tried a few things on my longer rides and asked my riding buddies what they do, tried their stuff and here’s what I’ve come to. Do what works for you. Are gels perfect nope. Are solid foods perfect nope. Everyone’s different.

I do think that the one thing we can all agree to is that a quality beer does make the perfect post ride recovery.

Osmo - 06/06/14 - 5:55pm

Hi Eyal – Regarding celiac, our products do not contain gluten, however they are not certified gluten free, because the facility that blends them handles wheat occasionally. The facility is extremely careful to segregate all products though.

One of our employees has Celiac disease and uses the Osmo products every day without any ill effects. Hope this helps.

Padrote - 06/06/14 - 6:07pm

You ain’t eatin no bagel during a 3 hour XC race. Don’t tell me stories of you did either, because it’s impractical.

grog - 06/06/14 - 7:19pm

@Padrote

seems like lots of guys have actually had no problem wolfing down those Feed Zone Portables” rice cakes, but no, my bagel is for my mid ride break.

grog - 06/06/14 - 7:20pm

whoops, meant rice balls, not rice cakes.

Nick - 06/06/14 - 7:32pm

@ Mike Mathewson

sources are needed to be part of this argument.

I think you should take a look a further look at the complex system described by stacy because your argument in paragraph one is sorta silly and makes you look like you dont understand the complex science.

ps
LOVE THE SCIENCE!!! KEEP IT COMING!!!

Matthew - 06/06/14 - 9:09pm

Beer.

Justin! - 06/06/14 - 10:07pm

I like longer races, more like 3+ weeks, and I’ll tell ya what, the best performance food I’ve ever had were: cookies. The last batch I bought was 50 for $5. 2nd place on that last race! Take it from me, man: cookies all the way. You got your fat, your sugar, your carbs. They crumble down into… crumbles and fit in those back pockets on your jersey. I think they’re called, “cookie pockets”.

Also don’t tell anyone, but you can get rid of GI discomfort by working on it, just like anything. Try cookies to start.

Jonathan - 06/06/14 - 11:05pm

So-
If you have a gel, then water use for blood volume (and therefore performance) is lessened.
But -
If you eat solid food, chewing it into a gel like state, then magically, water is not used for digestion of this “solid” food now, right?

No offense, but as an experienced ultra distance athletic coach (for over 30 years), what might “work” for one rider (not cause intestinal distress) may make another throw up or get the runs.
My advice to you all, talk to your friends and experiment with what fuels you through to the end with the results you want – lab work is WAY different from real world events.

And yes, most definitely sometimes cookies. The state the mind is in has everything to do with your successful event, not just the physiological aspect.

anonymous - 06/07/14 - 12:18am

@Scotty
“MD”

Like most MDs doing science, they get paid to use complex sounding words to make arguments in support of whoever is paying them. What of course is most irritating is when they purposefully make gross errors in their arguments (on a logic level, not a science level) and try to cover it up with big science words. You can pretty much assume anything that isn’t even published in a peer reviewed medical journal is mumbo jumbo trying to scam you out of money. Stuff in a peer reviewed journal is stuff that may be trying to scam you out of money, but likely has some basis in reality.

Mindless - 06/07/14 - 12:20am

Blah, blah.

Gels work just fine. This is pseudo science to promote a competing product. Why do you think it is pseudo science? Because millions of users of gels are a resounding experimental proof that it works fine.

Gu and sufficient water, and some electrolyte tablets. No problems whatsoever. No dehydration, no nothing. Science is the experiment.

Pete - 06/07/14 - 12:21am

@Mike Mathewson
It’s hard to take your points seriously when a.) you have a conflict of interest and b.) you don’t have a PhD in physiology/nutrition

Mindless - 06/07/14 - 12:23am

@anonymous: Precisely.

Mindless - 06/07/14 - 12:25am

P.S. Osmo drinks taste terrible. No amount of sciency sounding promotion can change that.
P.P.S. I got a Ph.D. too, you can’t impress me with big words.

Pete - 06/07/14 - 12:28am

@mindless
Cite your publications.

k - 06/07/14 - 1:17am

This stuff KILLS a hangover, I know that much.

henry - 06/07/14 - 4:14am

@Mike
I agree with you, except “Any water that is used to absorb the gel is transported along with the gel back into the cellular system when it is absorbed”. I believe water is broken down to H and OH in breaking long polysaccharide chains, they become part of the sugar molecules rather than recovered. However, drinking enough water addresses this issue.

Mike Mathewson - 06/07/14 - 12:07pm

@henry
Thanks, excellent point! One water molecule is indeed required to break each glucose bond. The good news is that this is more than accounted for by the water contained in the gel. I can’t speak to the specific water content of other gels, but with our product 20% of the water contained in the gel is sufficient to break the all of the glucose bonds. The remaining 80% is available for hydration. Our gel does have a higher water content than most gels (just to make it easier to get down), but it’s probably safe to assume that all energy gels have more than enough water to break the glucose bonds.

Jeb - 06/07/14 - 1:58pm

Oh yes, Gels are the devils work, you will immediately suck after eating one. You will never see a Tour De France winner eating a gel……….oh wait. http://cdn.velonews.competitor.com/files/2013/07/froome-eats1.jpg

jonathan - 06/07/14 - 9:02pm

I have to add, I think Osmo stuff tastes pretty decent if you try a flavor you might have liked usually, I hadn’t tried it until recently because all the reviews I had read said that it doesn’t taste good.
I tried the “cold” version of pineapple, orange, and lemon.
The orange and lemon were a lighter taste.
The pineapple was more like real pineapple juice, kind of thick and sugary sweet.
I didn’t like the rasberry, and I didn’t try the “hot” versions of the mixes.

Richard Wharton - 06/07/14 - 9:22pm

Let me tell you a story…

In June of 2010, at a 74-mile bike rally in North Texas, I went through 5 bottles of THE WRONG STUFF, with a surface temperature of about 108F, and ended up with a severe heat stroke that left me unconscious, almost striking oncoming traffic, and a liter of fluids in my system, plus the whole cold-bed treatment. It left me with some loss of eyesight in my right eye, and it pretty much ruined the rest of my summer.

In October of 2010, I met Stacy at the USA Cycling Coaches’ Summit, and 3 hours of lecture time later, I was convinced. She knows her stuff, the science is sound, and she’s unwilling to compromise formula for flavor.

Fast forward to June 2011, and using her formula (She was with SDM, but we knew how to handle concentrations appropriately), and I pulled TWO previous state champions from higher categories in to the finish of the 74-miler. Temps and winds were roughly the same. It was like this all summer long, and I knew I’d found my formula. At 71-73 Kilos, I was consuming about 2 bottles/hr. This necessitated a Camelback, but routine 100k’s in the 2:30-2:40 range convinced me. Later, I earned my ’2′, and won a 12-hour State TT following Stacy’s food and hydration strategy.

Finally, I’ve been using her wizwand strategy to convince my clients to try the Osmo, following the formula and strategy – basically, drink more, more often. Honestly, the reports and results are near-universal. Everyone’s riding faster, riding longer, and not dealing with that wasted feeling afterward. To each his own, but my money’s on OSMO, for men and women.

Oh yeah – I pay for every box, tub, and stick I get, use, give away, and resell.

Crash - 06/08/14 - 12:34am

I can honestly say that I feel better and have consistently had better performances using Osmo products and eating more whole foods.

Taste is so personal – even tho some said they don’t like it, I happen to love the flavors.. not overly sweet or thick on the tongue like most other hydration products on the market. I really appreciate that even after 4+ hours into my training or event, I’m not dreading having to drink. Never felt that way with frosting-thick gels.

Bitti1 - 06/08/14 - 6:47am

The author goes into such great detail about why gels pull water from the blood, but then blithely says to just eat food( or some unknown salty bites or other …). Won’t these food products also require water ?

Michael - 06/08/14 - 10:10am

Thanks again Stacy for sharing your years of research and work with us!

Bitti1 - 06/08/14 - 2:27pm

The answer of course is yes they do require water. But wait, real food at times is either too much bother, hard to carry, cumbersome, messy etc. if only there was a neatly packaged, fast, clean and easy to swallow way to kwickly eat some calories with my water …… Oh wait, there is.

Psi Squared - 06/08/14 - 4:56pm

Bitti1, you’re misinterpreting what the author has said.

Brian - 06/10/14 - 7:14pm

I use an energy drink that I came up with myself which has four types of carbs, triglycerides, and protein. Took some experimenting to get it right, but I am able to do an 8 hour ride. I seperate the water from the energy portion. I find that listening to what the body needs makes all the difference. More water initially, and then more energy drink later in the ride. When the weather is cold I don’t need as much water, and when the weather is hot I need more water. Recovery time for me is geneally about 1 day. So even though I don’t use any gel, or sport nutrition I have something that works really well for me. There is a fine line between too much carb, and too watered down for optimum performance. Too much carb means compromised digestive system, and too much water means electrolyte flush (blood volume), and fatigue. Anyway the human body runs off triglycerides, carbohydrates, and protein, and other vitamins and minerals. All have to be replenished. Of course solid food is always the best with water seperate.

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