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Dry Scooping protein powder.

Why Some Fitness Influencers are Dry Scooping and Why You Shouldn’t Do It

If you’re into working out and, like many people, follow a few fitness influencers on Instagram or YouTube, you’ve likely seen them sitting in their car or hanging out with their friends “dry-scooping” their pre-workout supplements right before walking into the gym.

What started as “dry-scooping challenges” has spread and become a normal way to take the popular supplement. Whether you think it looks cool or stupid, or even if you’re neutral to the way other people consume their pre-workout supplements, you might wonder: why? 

What is Dry Scooping?

Dry scooping is simply a method of taking your pre-workout supplement sans water. You will see people of all genders, shapes, and sizes scoop the supplement, open wide, dump, and swallow. Sometimes, users take a sip of water before swallowing and shake their heads—effectively (or maybe not) turning their mouth into the bottle and their tongue into the shaker ball. So, what’s the point? 

Protein powder in a scooper.

Why Dry Scoop Pre-Workout Supplements?

There are lots and lots of videos on “how to dry scoop pre-workout supplements,” but the vast majority don’t say why they dry scoop. The ones that specify why they’re doing the re-vamped cinnamon challenge make any of these claims:

  • it’s “hardcore”
  • the desired effects hit you faster
  • it’s more convenient
  • no clean up (i.e., one shaker bottle) 

One man claimed that he typically is in a rush, so dry scooping his pre-workout supplement is quicker and easier than mixing a scoop with eight ounces of water and drinking that.

This gentleman also claimed that the water dilutes the pre-workout supplement, which means delayed effects and perhaps a lousier workout. He goes on to say that when he consumes the supplement this way, he feels the desired effects instantly. There are no scientific studies to back up these claims.

How to Dry Scoop Pre-Workout Supplements

In the many YouTube how-to videos out there, users explain and demonstrate their dry scooping technique. For the most part they:

  1. Take a scoop of their pre-workout supplement of choice, open their mouths wide and tilt their head back before dumping the product into their mouths. Some people explain they put the supplement under their tongue, others on top of their tongue.
  2. Next, they stress not to take a breath. They say this with an earnestness that one only achieves from firsthand experience. It seems that each pre-workout is different, and even seasoned dry scoopers end up hacking and blowing powder clouds all over the room on occasion.
  3. Once the pre-workout is in your mouth, you have one of two choices. Take a sip of water, shake, swish, and swallow, or use your saliva to moisten the product before swallowing.

Reading and watching stories about dry scooping is one thing but executing is another. It seems that perfecting the method takes practice and a healthy amount of trial and error.

Woman drinking pre-workout

Why You Shouldn’t Dry Scoop Pre-Workout Supplements

As previously mentioned, there is a lack of research to support claims that the pre-workout hits harder and faster when you dry scoop. What’s happening is very likely a placebo effect, as the amount of active ingredients is the same whether you mix it with water or not. There is no reason that consuming a scoop of powder would absorb any faster than eight ounces of water mixed with the powder.

Consider the caffeine in coffee. One six-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains approximately 71 mg of caffeine. One ounce (or one shot) of espresso contains roughly the same. Unless you’re sipping your six-ounce cup of coffee over an extended period, the effects of a shot of espresso don’t hit you much faster than the coffee. 

Dry Scooping: Be Warned!

If you understand that dry scooping is mostly just hype, but you still want to give it a try, you should be aware that this method does come with some risks.

  • Tooth Decay. Many pre-workout supplements contain a substance known as citric acid. Its purpose is to aid in flavouring and solubility—it makes anything it touches taste tangy and sour. The problem with citric acid and dry scooping is that your tooth enamel doesn’t hold up against the harsh acid, so it can permanently chew away at the surface layer of your teeth. If you’re going to put acid directly onto your teeth, you should brush and floss immediately afterward. Since part of the reason people dry scoop is convenience at the gym, this might not be ideal, in which case you should avoid it altogether. Your teeth will thank you.
  • When you inevitably snort and hack up your pre-workout while you try to get the hang of dry scooping, you risk inhaling the powder into your sinuses and lungs. Not only is this majorly uncomfortable, but you also risk infection.
  • Lastly, there’s some risk in taking more pre-workout than recommended. Admittedly, if you use a quality supplement brand, there won’t be any shady ingredients in your supplements. However, consuming too much caffeine and other legal and safe ingredients can sometimes cause dangerous side effects. If you’re going to dry scoop your pre-workout, please ensure that you mind the recommended dosing.

Athlete drinking protein powder from a water bottle.

What to Do Instead: Taking Your Pre-Workout the Right Way

Instead of dry scooping your pre-workout supplement, consider just following directions on the container. Mix the supplement with some water, and feel free to chug that. If you feel you’re struggling with delayed onset of effects, try distancing your meals from the time you take your pre-workout. By waiting about two hours after your meal, your stomach should be relatively empty and will readily absorb your pre-workout. You’ll feel the effects just as quickly as if you were to dry scoop!

Trends and challenges will come and go, but you only have one body! Most people are exercising and eating right because they want to treat their bodies correctly and stay healthy. Sometimes these viral challenges don’t line up with health goals, and often they’re downright dangerous.

Dry scooping your pre-workout supplement isn’t necessarily dangerous; you most likely won’t die. However, the perceived benefits just don’t make much sense, so why risk choking or the health of your teeth? We recommend finding a quality pre-workout supplement that you’ll enjoy sipping instead!

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