Whether or not you’re on TikTok, chances are you’ve heard about a trend referred to as “dry-scooping” that’s been going viral on the social media platform. While dry-scooping isn’t completely new, the TikTok craze is a first—and pretty alarming.
Never heard of dry-scooping? It’s exactly what it sounds like: People pour scoops of powdered sports supplements (mainly pre-workouts) straight from the tub into their mouths instead of mixing them with water, as recommended.
While this might sound like the harmless adult version of eating Pixy Stix (which, let’s face it, often ended in gasps for air and water), it doesn’t come without potential consequences.
The Dangers of Dry-Scooping
Generally, people seem to be throwing back dry pre-workout powder in the name of good fun and scoring a few laughs online or in the gym—but there’s also a misconception out there that this delivery method will make the supplement kick in faster. And that’s just not the case.
“The ingredients [in pre-workouts] are designed to be dissolved in water or other beverages, which increases their solubility which helps them be absorbed in the GI tract,” says nutritionist Brian Tanzer, M.S., Manager of Scientific Affairs for The Vitamin Shoppe. So, if you’re looking for the most bang for your pre-workout buck, you’re truly better off sipping it down.
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That’s not all, though. While coughing down Pixy Stix as a kid was certainly uncomfortable, doing the same thing with a powder loaded with caffeine and other active compounds could be much more serious. “Dry-scooping pre-workout can cause serious burning and irritation in your throat and esophagus, as well as choking, which could cause some of the product to actually get into your lungs,” says Tanzer.
Not to mention, if you exceed the recommended amount of your pre (especially if it’s a high-stim product) for the sake of the stunt, there could be serious consequences. “If the product contains high levels of caffeine, which most do, you risk severe and potentially dangerous adverse effects like a rapid and/or irregular heartbeat, severe headache, and more,” Tanzer adds.
The Right Way To Take Pre-Workout
The lesson here: Do yourself—and your workouts—a favor and steer clear of dry-scooping. To reap the intended benefits of your favorite pre-workout, stick to the label’s instructions. Seriously. Tanzer recommends mixing it up in your shaker cup at home and drinking it over the course of at least a few minutes on your way to the gym or before you get moving. After all, what’s the point of splurging on a delicious pre-workout if you won’t enjoy it going down?