Featured Nutrition Reviews

Osmo Active Hydration

Osmo Active HydrationOsmo Active Hydration, available in both orange and blackberry flavour, comes packed in jersey pocket friendly 20g sachets ready to blend in the bottle. Created by endurance athlete, exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Stacy Sims Osmo Active Hydration is intended for use during exercise to actively increase fluid absorption and replace key electrolytes which would otherwise result in an overall loss of performance on the bike.


So what’s in the pack? Unlike most sports hydration and nutrition products Osmo seems a little coy on the subject; obviously the ingredients are listed (sucrose, so basically sugar, being number one), but it throws in ‘OsmoAct Beverage Base Blend’ to appear a little more arcane – although this then is a blend of sucrose (more sugar or the sugar already listed?), D-glucose (sugar again), sodium citrate, potassium citrate, magnesium citrate and calcium citrate. Osmo Active Hydration also includes a range of vitamins including C, B2 and B12.


Mixed with 500ml of water (and taking a little shaking to mix) Osmo does prove rather sweet – hardly surprising when 17g of the packs 20g weight is sugar – but the flavours are fairly refreshing with no artificial aftertaste. On test they seemed to help hydrate well and went down easily enough – the levels of ‘salts’ look well balanced for the job in hand and the convenience of the small tubular packaging was appreciated.


Osmo Active Hydration is a perfectly decent product, let down a little by both the branding and information (or lack thereof) on the website. Not sure they are doing themselves any favours by noting that Stacy Sims ‘assisted Lance Armstrong in researching thermoregulation in 2010’ either…


A further oddity is that both the blackberry and orange flavours are listed on the Osmo website as being specifically ‘for men’, whilst women get their own mango flavoured variety which are formulated to help ‘avoid premenstrual-related performance decline…’ Fair enough (and seemingly scientifically valid), but we’re sure there’s room for the ‘regular’ formula in most women’s kit bags too.


If you’d rather regulate your hydration strategy with zero calories then something like H2ProHydrate or ZipVit’s ZV0 Electrolyte Drink will serve you better – but if you want a (very quick release) sugar surge thrown in – or want to avoid ‘avoid premenstrual-related performance decline’ – then Osmo Active Hydration clearly ticks the right boxes.


24 sachets of either blackberry or orange Osmo Active Hydration retail at £34.80 (as do the women-specific mango flavour) or all three versions are available in cheaper, but perhaps less convenient, tubs of 400g for £15.99. More confusion again here as the 400g tubs are advertised as being 40 servings, yet a serving is listed as being 20g – so isn’t that just 10 servings?


Further details and online purchase of Osmo Active Hydration at

Featured Features

33Shake Chia Energy Gels

33Shake Chia Energy GelsOnce in a while a product comes along that really does things differently and 33Shake Chia Energy Gels certainly tick that box.


From the same company that produce the excellent All in One Shakes, see our review of those here, the Chia Energy Gels look to be a whole new way of fuelling your ride. For a start they are a dry mix, weighing in at just 21g of ingredients (under 30g all-in with the packaging) to which you add your own liquid. There are several clear advantages to this: firstly the slight weight-saving on a long ride if you opt to fill them with water from the bottom (marginal gain!) but more significantly it makes them versatile. Want more carbs? Add fruit juice. An electrolyte hit? Top up with coconut water. A caffeine boost? Stick in a shot of espresso…


To prepare for use you undo the resealable spout, blow to slightly inflate the pack, and then fill with your chosen liquid. Give it ten minutes and the gel is good to go and if you want to prep them in advance they can be kept for up to 24hours once opened and hydrated. Of course it’s a slightly tricky job to hydrate the 33Shake Chia Energy Gels from a bidon, but it’s more than manageable and no more inconvenient that getting covered in sticky ‘traditional’ gels when trying to open them (also there’s nothing sticky about these…)


So, what’s in the 33Shake Chia Energy Gels? Well there’s coconut palm sugar, Himalayan pink salt and organic Madagascan vanilla – which give them just the subtlest of flavour – but at their heart, in case the name hadn’t already given it away, are chia seeds that deliver an exceptionally smooth (no jags and crashes) source of energy, here helping serve up 90kcal, 11.2g of carbs (6g of which sugars), 4g of fat (0.4g saturates) and 5g of fibre. It’s a heady mix, perfectly judged for the bike.


The texture – not a strong point with any energy gel – is slightly gelatinous but easily swallowed and because you are the master of your own destiny when it comes to hydrating them they can be made thicker or thinner to taste. Okay, so you’ll spend a couple of miles picking chia seeds out of your teeth with your tongue, but it gives you something to do between gels. Perhaps 33Shake should use it as a selling point?


In addition to helping power the ride the gels also include 1.1mg iron and 17.6mg and 103mg of sodium and potassium respectively – helping to replace salts lost through sweating and adding to your hydration strategy – plus 1.1mg of calcium. Because the Chia Energy Gels are fresh, handmade and natural with no preservatives (basically ‘real’ food) their shelf life is shorter than more conventional gels, generally 10-12 weeks, but each gel is marked appropriately.


There’s no doubting that 33Shake do things differently, but not just for the sake of it. We’ve been hugely impressed by the ‘clean’ and sustained energy from these gels.


33Shake Chia Energy Gels retail at £1.99 each, dropping to £1.89 per gel when you buy them as an Event Pack (10 gels), or just £1.79 per gel when you buy an Endurance Pack of 30 gels.


Further details and online purchase of 33Shake Chia Energy Gels at and you can get social with them on Facebook and Twitter too.


Four-time World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington champions 33Shake and you can read on our sister-site TriGear what she has to say about training and racing here and nutritional and mental preparation here.

Featured Nutrition Reviews


CocopureCoconut water is an excellent and natural isotonic drink and Cocopure from gonutrition sets out to deliver all of the goodness in a more convenient form than slicing the top off a coconut and sticking in a straw.


Shipped in a 250g quantity – enough for 35 servings – Cocopure contains 100% powdered coconut water that is rich in electrolytes, the ‘body salts’ sweated away during exercise. Because the levels of electrolytes, particularly potassium and sodium, are approximately in proportion to those of the body Cocopure is naturally isotonic meaning it quickly (but not too rapidly) rehydrates the body. Coconut water – and therefore Cocopure – also contains natural calcium and vitamin C along with a health amount of sugars (around 2.6g per serving) to help refuel post-ride.


7g of Cocopure needs to be added to 100ml of water to optimum delivery although we personally found a little extra water, closer to 120ml, provided a slightly less intense and more palatable flavour. The taste is certainly authentic – as you would expect from 100% coconut water powder – and although it mixes thoroughly, it does have a tendency to settle if left in the bottle too long.


A single serving of Cocopure delivers 10% RDA of potassium and 30mg of sodium, which (at a conversion of x 2.5) equates to 75mg of salt of the recommended daily 6g. Of course adding a little more or less water will transform the drink from isotonic to either hypotonic or hypertonic depending on your requirements.


If you want to add some additional fruit sugars post-workout we found that Cocopure mixed well at a 50:50 ration with natural pineapple juice for a recovery drink that tasted good enough to stick a cocktail umbrella in.


Cocopure might seems a step further away from ‘authentic’ products like market leader Vita Coco, but it still delivers a 100% pure product just with a dash more convenience. Our only real criticism is that the 250g quantity ships in an enormous (and enormously wasteful) pack easily big enough to accommodate a kilo that slightly undermines the ‘take anywhere’ credentials.


Cocopure retails at £16.99 for a 250g pack or £28.99 for 500g, and represents good value at 41-49p per 100ml serving. By way of comparison Vita Coco is approximately 50p per 100ml (depending on the quantity in which you buy it) whilst alternatives like UFC Refresh can be had for as little as 24p per 100ml. But did we mention that Cocopure comes with added convenience?


Cocopure is available to buy online at

Featured Nutrition Reviews

33Shake Endurance Shakes

33Shake33Shake are really talking up a storm – we’ve heard about ‘revolutions’ in sports nutrition so many times over the years that there’s now something of an immunity to the rhetoric; but given the incredible press that 33Shake are generating perhaps this is a brand that really mean what they say.


As relative newcomers to the market and describing themselves the ‘sports nutrition underground’ their stance is certainly combative with claims that the sports ‘no-trition industry’ simply: ‘Take a ton of cheap manmade sugars, blend with a negligible amount of the cheapest active product at the lowest concentrations possible, then pack with whatever junk additives and preservatives are needed to keep costs down and shelf life up…’ Fighting talk, so what do 33Shake do differently?


Pretty much everything it would seem. By spending money only where it matters – so in part allowing good word of mouth to spread the word – 33Shake are able to spend 17,000% more than industry norms on ingredients. Depending where your priorities lay this is noticeable in two key areas: the quality of what you’re putting into your body is second-to-none and the taste is exceptional.


The flavour across all three varieties of the Endurance Shake (Original, Mocha, Cacao) is strong – not overpowering – but certainly robust with layers of flavour coming through like little, alternating ripples. This is a homemade taste – absolutely what the makers were going for – that makes you appreciate the quality and realise how artificial so many inferior products are by comparison.


The 55g sachets can be mixed to taste with a recommended 200ml of either milk, water or coconut milk by blending for a full minute to help break down the naturally chunky mix. We tested all three methods but found that milk (actually soya milk) worked best, with water our least favourite and coconut milk, whilst adding plenty of benefit in its own right, dominating the flavour rather too much.


In terms of nutrition, as that’s really where things stand or fall, 33Shake delivers impressively. The headline figures show (per 100g) 521Kcal of energy, 11g protein, 38g of carb – of which 14g are sugars – 27g of fat (9g of which are saturates) and 13g of fibre. We say here ‘headline figures’ because to really understand the benefits – and substantial differences to other products – the 33Shake website really deserves to be explored in full.


The 33Shake Endurance Shake isn’t cheap at £6.99 a go, but when you consider exactly what you’re getting for your money it stacks up well in our opinion. And ask yourself this: what price am I willing to pay for the nutrition I fuel my sport with?


The 33Shake All-in-one Endurance Shakes are also available in a ten x shake Value Pack bringing the per-shake price down to £6.49 and a 30 x shake Lifestyle Pack (£5.99 per shake). Further details and online purchase as

Featured Nutrition Reviews

Elivar Hydrate Plus

Elivar Hydrate PlusWhen Elivar launched it offered a complete three-part system for pre-, during and post-run energy with its Prepare, Endure and Recover products all aimed at athletes over 35. Now that system becomes four-part with the introduction of Elivar Hydrate Plus.


The 25g sachets mix with 400ml of water to make an electrolyte drink with combined energy delivery of 97kcal per serving. The powder mixes quickly and the resulting drink doesn’t clump or clog sports bottles but is somewhat gritty in texture and tended to settle if left too long in the bottle. The flavour is nominally orange but really a bit generic ‘fruit’, not unpleasant, and no better, no worse than most electrolyte drinks and with no bitter aftertaste.


The electrolyte delivery is predominantly sodium and potassium (Sodium Chloride, Monopotassium Phosphate), no magnesium, and the energy is delivered via the somewhat unusual isomaltulose, a natural constituent of honey and sugar cane, that is intended for sustained energy release.


Whilst the original Elivar range found its niche by catering for the over-35s with additional fortifications, the Elivar Hydrate Plus, despite the branding, really offers nothing specific for the age group and is suitable for anyone looking to combine their electrolyte replacement with a dash of energy.


So, certainly not as ground-breaking in concept as the original Elivar Prepare, Endure and Recover products, but a solid enough addition to the hydration market.


Elivar Hydrate Plus retails at £12.99 for a box of 12 sachets. Further details and online purchase at


Read the Cyclo review of the original Elivar products here.

Featured Features

Hydration Apps

Adequate hydration can be key to training and racing, but remains surprisingly easy to get wrong with even mild dehydration quickly contributing to a drop-off in performance.  Whilst truly techie solutions such as those being developed by BluFit with their ‘smart’ water bottle, which can communicate and sync to a dedicated app, are still in the pipeline (no pun intended) there are already a number of less complicated solutions for smartphones available. Cyclo filled up a bidon and fired up the phone to put some of the best to the test.



Developed by Sport Physiologist Stephen Fritzdorf, who has worked with the Danish Olympic Team since 2008, Quench is a deceptively simple iPhone app, which allows the user to relatively quickly gauge their hydration requirements. To use Quench you have to weigh yourself (preferably naked) before your training session and input this information along with the amount of water you have in your drinks bottle. Post workout you simply repeat the process and the app tells you four key pieces of information: your hydration status (under-, perfectly- or over-hydrated), how much fluid you need to take on immediately, how much needs to be taken on over the next four hours, and how much would be ideal next time – basically so that you can learn from your mistakes. The interface is clean and crisp and the one thing it aims to do, it does perfectly and without fuss or clutter. Quench, which is free, is available for iPhone only at



A really well designed and frankly quite pretty hydration app, iDrated is basically a log system to record how much you are drinking – and when – with options to prompt you when it feels you are falling below the ideal requirements. It requires relatively little set-up, just the inputting of basic data such as age, weight and ‘exercise level’, before going to work as a sort of water-based diary. The interface and gesture controls are notable with nothing overly complicated to get in the way of reminding you to drink the correct amount at regular intervals and there’s an option to review your hydration status from the last two months – although really techie number-crunches would probably like a liker back-calendar. iDrated is iPhone only and sells at £0.69 – available at


HydrationTemple Wellness and Fitness

As the more expansive app name suggests Temple Wellness and Fitness goes beyond simply measuring hydration and allows the tracking of exercise and fuel intake too. Set-up takes only a few seconds but there’s plenty of customisation to be done should you wish – for example it’s possible to redefine a ‘small meal’ as whatever calorific value you see fit or change fluid measurements from ounces to litres; for a fee of 69p you can also pick a different graphic ‘theme’ for the app. Once set-up Temple is basically a diary entry system for whatever you get up to in terms of exercise, food and drink – tap and swipe to tell it what you are doing, eating or drinking and it logs everything and displays all the results in neat tables and graphics. Although there is a ‘reminders’ feature to nag you if you fail to eat, drink or move regularly enough (or make entries to say you have). Temple really works on the principle that if you can remember to log things in an app it will work as a self-motivating reminder to stay hydrated and fuelled too. Temple Wellness and Fitness is iPhone only, free and available at



As simple as the spot-on name suggests, Hydrate is a log (water log?) for Android which is quick and clean to set up and just as simple to use. Enter a daily target for drinking fluids (with a choice of US or metric units) and then it’s just a case of simply logging what you have when with a tap of the app. Working along similar – though simpler – lines to Temple, Hydrate encourages you to remember to drink right just by the fact that you are remembering to log your activity. Historical data may not be as beautifully presented as in other apps, but it’s perfectly functional and uncluttered so revisiting training sessions and seeing if results tally to adequate hydration couldn’t be easier. Hydrate is available free for Android at


Featured Nutrition Reviews

GU Electrolyte Brew

GU Electrolyte BrewGU launched the world’s first energy gel all the way back in 1991 and for many athletes its outstanding credentials and impressive range of flavours – Jet Blackberry, Lemon Sunblime, Vanilla Bean to name but a few – keep it at the number one spot. And when it comes to sustained hydration during training or racing the equally impressive GU Brew is also worth your attention.


Three of the four available flavours (raspberry, orange, lemon/lime) may seem a little conservative compared to the GU Energy Gel range, but Blueberry Pomegranate adds an unusual twist and all four do a good job of cutting through the slightly salty taste that blights many electrolytes. The flavours are all-natural and you can tell; there’s no bitter chemical aftertaste and they are subtle enough not to overpower.


Taste of course is just one element – and frankly not the most important one – but GU Electrolyte Brew stacks up well where it matters too. Fundamentally an electrolyte drink needs to replace the ‘body salts’ lost during strenuous exercise, when these are depleted the neuromuscular system’s ability to work effectively is compromised and the result (at least the most noticeable immediate result) is muscular cramping. The raspberry, orange, lemon/lime flavours all pack in 327mg of sodium and 52mg of potassium, whilst the Blueberry Pomegranate ups the levels of sodium to 490mg, but cuts potassium to 40mg. There’s not a huge effective difference between these levels for the average athlete, although the added sodium could prove beneficial in more extreme conditions…


In addition GU Electrolyte Brew includes a dual-blend of carbohydrates; the mix of maltodextrin and fructose (‘complex’ and ‘simple’ carbs respectively) is at 2:1, a ratio that is considered optimum for absorption. The dual carbs both provide energy during training and help maximise the absorption in the stomach of both fluids and the potassium/sodium electrolytes. In short they help rehydrate you quicker.


A single 34g sachet makes a larger than average 621ml drink – the rather odd volume probably the result of GU’s American heritage where it would make a far more round-sounding 21floz.


GU Electrolyte Brew is sold in boxes of 16 sachets at £41.60 or more reasonable (but perhaps less convenient) canisters containing 35 servings for £30.


Further details of GU Electrolyte Brew at and online purchase from, amongst others,


Featured Nutrition Reviews

Vita Coco

Vita CocoIf you have attended almost any sporting event over the last few months – indeed almost any outdoor event – you can’t help having noticed the presence of Vita Coco; pumping the kind of high-visibility on-site marketing into the ‘natural hydration’ market that Red Bull reserves for the energy drink.


The story goes that friends Ira Liran and Michael Kirban were talking to two Brazilian women in 2003 about what they most missed about their country; their answer, ‘agua de coco’ (coconut water) set Liran and Kirban on a course to bring it to market in the US – successfully achieved, on a small scale, along the East Coast the following year. A decade later and Vita Coco is sold in a reported 20,000 outlets globally. But how does it really stack up in the hydration department?


Served ice-cold it’s certainly refreshing – it’s ability to quench, we found, reduces exponentially with any rise beyond straight-from-the-fridge-temperature – but the real secret to Vita Coco is that it contains a balance of electrolytes very close to that of the human body. This means it hydrates ‘in balance’ in the same way that an isotonic energy drink does but, broadly speaking, in a much more ‘natural’ way. Both fat- and cholesterol-free, the original Vita Coco, contains just 0.02g of sodium and 5g of carbohydrates – the result a small quantity of added fruit sugars – per 330ml serving.


It probably goes without saying that Vita Coco have diversified. There are now five additional flavours from which to choose: peach and mango, pineapple, orange, tropical fruit and acai and pomegranate. Of these, none but the acai (a ‘drupe’ from the palm of the same name) and pomegranate truly tickled our taste buds; we found them a little insipid and certainly no improvement over the original pure coconut variety. Acai and pomegranate was another matter; an unusual taste with a surprisingly pungent – but pleasant – smell, this could well be our post-ride drink of the summer. Of course the extra fruit also adds to the carbohydrates – typically an addition 1g, hardly worth worrying over.


So, certainly not all varieties to out taste (they may well, of course, be to yours) but the choice of a truly natural hydration solution appeals immensely when the alternative is often overly-sugared, ‘sciencey’, sports drinks. Keep it ice cold and keep it natural.


Vita Coco is available in 330ml, 500ml and 1litre servings; Prices vary widely – try comparing 20,000 retail outlets – but for full details and list guide prices (and online purchase) see