There’s a dangerous new trend out there on TikTok whereby gym-goers take pre-workout powders without mixing them with water. This is known as “dry scooping.” Some say this method helps the body absorb the compounds within the supplement faster, giving you a better workout. However, these claims have not been backed by science.
There are many potential risks associated with this practice, and many of them are quite serious. Here we will go into the risks of this dry scooping trend and take a look at reviews on how to safely consume pre-workout powders and pre-workout supplements.
Pre-Workout Powders: Explained
Pre-workout powders, dietary supplements that can enhance your workout, offer many benefits to the user. You can boost your energy and focus, increase your workout capacity, promote blood flow to the muscles, and prevent fatigue.
The common pre-workout ingredients include:
- Caffeine: This increases energy and focus while lessening fatigue
- Creatine: This can enhance high-intensity performance while improving training adaptations
- Beta-alanine: This is a pH buffer for lactic acid, increasing the capacity for high-intensity exercise
- L-theanine: This prevents the jittery effects that one may get from too much caffeine consumption. It also promotes focus.
- L-arginine: This is a precursor to nitric oxide, which stimulates blood flow and vascular function
- Citrulline malate: This converts to L-arginine and stimulates nitric oxide
- Branched chain amino acids: These can be added to supplements to enhance muscle protein synthesis while preventing muscle breakdown, even though data on this is still inconclusive.
While pre-workout powders first became popular in the bodybuilding world, athletes in many sports also use them. Most manufacturers recommend mixing pre-workout powders with water and taking it about a half hour before a workout.
Pre-workout powders, dietary supplements known to increase energy, can also prevent fatigue, enhance work capacity, and boost blood flow to the muscles.
Dry Scooping: The Risks
Most pre-workout powders are supposed to be mixed with water. If you eat them dry, there could be some serious health risks involved. In addition, pre-workout powders are meant for those over 18 due to high caffeine levels that can be dangerous in high doses. Pre-workout powders may also feature harmful substances.
This is what makes the TikTok dry scooping trend even more dangerous – minors are the ones doing this challenge. Check out the top risks of dry scooping your pre-workout powder.
When taking a pre-workout powder without mixing it with water, you could inhale the powder. Once in your mouth, you could have difficulty swallowing this chalky texture. As a result, you could instinctively gasp for air, thus sucking that powder right into your nasal passages and lungs.
This is called aspiration, and it may result in lung inflammation or infection.
Heart side effects
Many pre-workout powders have a lot of caffeine in them, sometimes more than 300 mg per serving. That’s the same amount of caffeine in three eight-ounce cups of coffee.
While most adults can handle this amount when mixing the powder with water and consumed gradually, dry scooping gives you a huge dose of caffeine at once. This is too much for anybody, especially those under 18.
This large dose of caffeine can result in heart palpitations and elevated blood pressure.
One case has been documented of a social media influencer who had a heart attack when dry scooping pre-workout powders.
Another side effect of dry scooping is the tendency to experience digestive issues due to the high amounts of undiluted substances that get into the stomach at once. This happens due to the lack of liquid. Symptoms can include:
- stomach cramps
If you just mix your supplement with water, you can prevent all of these side effects.
Dry scooping is dangerous and can have many health risks, including digestive issues, heart palpitations, lung irritation, or accidental inhalation infection. It’s important to read all label instructions to avoid these risks.
Safely using pre-workout supplements
Pre-workout supplements are often used in certain training programs for intermediate or advanced trainees.
Most beginners don’t benefit much from pre-workout supplements, as they should instead focus mainly on receiving proper nutrition pre-exercise and post-exercise, understanding exercise techniques, and getting stronger on a gradual basis.
For minors under 18, it’s not recommended they take pre-workout powders due to the potential for serious health risks.
Also, certain ingredients contained in pre-workout powders could be banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
These products have many other ingredients in them that may not be listed individually, but rather as a proprietary blend. Student-athletes would be wise to heed this advice. For adults looking to responsibly consume pre-workout powders, check out these safety tips.
Read package instructions
Always read the instructions on the label. Most brands tell you to mix your pre-workout powder with eight to 16 ounces of water within 30 minutes of working out.
Some brands pose dosing guidelines that are based on your weight because they will affect how your body processes the supplement. When you follow the instructions, it’s unlikely that you will experience dangerous side effects.
Stay away from proprietary blends
Some brands feature proprietary blends, which are basically formulations of many supplements listed as one on the label.
This protects the company’s formulation, but it’s risky for users because you don’t know what’s in the supplement or how much of each ingredient.
Just stay away from proprietary blends when you want to choose a high quality supplement. Stay with brands that are honest and upfront about what ingredients are in the product.
Go with third-party-tested pre-workout powders
Pre-workout powders — as in the case of all dietary supplements — aren’t regulated by the FDA, so stick with a brand that has a trustworthy reputation.
Many companies verify their products with a third party, ensuring they don’t contain contaminants or any banned substances.
Always use supplements tested by a third party for safety and labeling accuracy.
To safely use a pre-workout powder, always read the label instructions. Stay away from brands that contain proprietary blends and select products that have been tested by a third party.
The dry scooping TikTok trend that encourages people to consume pre-workout powders without mixing with water is very dangerous. There are many serious health effects associated with this practice, including digestive issues, heart palpitations, and lung irritation or infection.
Also, pre-workout powders shouldn’t be used by minors under 18.
For adults looking to consume pre-workout supplements safely, always adhere to label instructions, stay away from brands that market proprietary blends, and select products tested by a third party.
For everyone, dry scooping pre-workout powders is unsafe and discouraged by all healthcare professionals.
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