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Dry Scooping: A Dangerous Pre-Workout Fad

A cup of dry pre-workout powder sitting on a scale besides a blender.

Every day there seems to be a new TikTok trend. Ranging from fun dance challenges to harmless Halloween ghost photo ops, TikTok can be a fun way to connect with others. But some trends are challenging users to try dangerous activities, like licking toilet seats and dry scooping. We all know why licking a toilet seat is unhealthy, but not many people have heard about dry scooping and why it’s dangerous.

What Does Dry Scooping Mean?

Dry scooping is when a person eats pre-workout supplement powder without mixing any water with it. Most pre-workout powders contain performance-enhancing ingredients, including amino acids, B vitamins, creatine, beta-alanine, and caffeine. If not taken correctly or in moderation, this supplement can lead to toxicity and health risks.

Why Are People Trying Dry Scooping Pre-workout Powder?

Some people believe that dry scooping can help increase the effects of the performance-enhancing ingredients while water only dilutes them. It has also become a popular challenge and trend on TikTok.

Can You Dry Scoop Protein Powder?

Dry scooping protein powder is just as dangerous as dry scooping pre-workout powder. The protein concentration in the powder needs to be diluted by water to help your system process the nutrients. If not, a high dose of protein powder could be difficult for your organs to process and lead to health risks. Also, as with any powdery substance, dry scooping protein powder can result in choking.

Is Dry Scooping Pre-workout Bad?

Yes! Dry scooping pre-workout has been proven to cause some negative experiences for some users. A person may experience serious side effects like heart problems, trouble breathing, and toxicity. Mild side effects include choking, vomiting, and throat irritation, similar to what people experience with the cinnamon challenge trend.

Dry Scooping Pre-workout Powder & Heart Attacks

This year, a 20-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital because she was experiencing coughing, sweating, and chest pain after dry scooping a pre-workout powder. The doctors diagnosed her with a mild heart attack which may have been caused by the caffeine in the pre-workout powder she ingested. The woman made a full recovery and made a TikTok video to warn her followers.

The Risks of Pre-workout Powders

People still need to take pre-workout powders with caution, even if they drink them with water. It’s important to always read the manufacturer’s instructions and talk with your doctor before starting pre-workout supplements. Here are some other risks to be aware of:

Not FDA Approved

The FDA does not regulate pre-workout powders for safety. This means that pre-workout powders may contain ingredients that could be dangerous and cause toxicity — especially if someone uses them in a way that the manufacturer did not recommend. Do your research, learn as much as you can about the supplement, and ask your doctor before starting any.


Another risk to pre-workout powder is the amount of caffeine each serving contains. Caffeine is a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements along with other similar “energizing” ingredients. Experts have found that one serving of most pre-workout supplements has the same caffeine as one to three cups of coffee does. If someone has taken an excessive amount of pre-workout powder or has too much too quickly, the caffeine can cause anxiety, rapid heart rate, heart problems, chest pain, tremors, and dizziness.

Dry scooping pre-workout powder is especially risky for people with underlying health conditions, including heart or lung disease.

What to Do If Someone Tries Dry Scooping?

If someone you know tries the dry scooping pre-workout TikTok challenge, don’t panic. Give them a serving of water to drink to help clean away any powder residue in their throat. Then call the Missouri Poison Center for more advice. If they start experiencing chest pain, coughing, and sweating, take them to the nearest emergency room or call 911 for emergency assistance.

Have any other questions about pre-workout powder or other dangerous social media fads? Call the Missouri Poison Center to talk with a specially trained nurse or pharmacist. Our call center is open every day of the year, all day.

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