Do you use pre-workout supplements? The fitness industry is absolutely massive, and we are constantly being advertised different supplements, workout routines, fitness clothing, and diets. It has become the norm for people to buy into whatever is currently trending on TikTok or other social platforms without doing any research when it comes to getting fit.
One such example is the dry-scooping trend which initially became popularized on TikTok and has since gained popularity among thousands of fitness enthusiasts, particularly in the US. Unfortunately, this practice comes with many health risks and has already resulted in the hospitalization of a few unsuspecting victims.
But what is dry scooping? Well, I’m glad you asked. Dry scooping is exactly as the name suggests. It is the consumption of a pre-workout powder that is scooped directly into the user’s mouth and washed down with only a gulp or two of water as opposed to mixing the powder with a specified amount of water, usually 8-16 ounces, as instructed on the directions label of the product.
As the popularity of dry scooping pre-workout has grown, so have the cases of adverse effects and even hospitalization.
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Dry Scooping Can Cause Heart Attacks
Pre-workouts contain large amounts of caffeine. Typically, health professionals recommend no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day as exceeding this amount can have a negative effect on overall health, but with particular emphasis on cardiovascular health. Most pre-workouts contain anywhere from 150 mg to 300 mg of caffeine but can contain up to 500 mg.
If the average American drinks about three cups of coffee a day and each cup of coffee contain roughly 92 mg of caffeine, that would equal about 276 mg of coffee. Now add a pre-workout with anywhere from 150 mg to potentially 500 mg of caffeine and you’re sitting between 426 mg and 776 mg of caffeine a day. This is way too much caffeine to be consuming on a daily basis.
Too much caffeine can lead to heart disease with early signs presenting as high blood pressure. Other nasty side effects can include dizziness, headaches, shakiness, rapid heartbeat, and nausea.
Other common ingredients found in pre-workouts include:
- Nitric Oxide Precursors
Just like caffeine, many of these other common ingredients found in pre-workouts are not inherently bad. In fact, they are included on the ingredients list because of the great health benefits that they offer. But this depends entirely on the quantity and quality of those ingredients.
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Nitric oxide precursors and L-citrulline relax the blood vessels thereby increasing blood flow and boosting strength and endurance. Creatine both assists in building lean muscle and speeds up the recovery which translates to more explosive energy that gives you an edge when lifting heavy.
Beta-alanine decreases the amount of lactic acid that builds up in the muscles when the muscle fibers are broken down thereby hindering the initiation of muscle fatigue. BCAAs decrease muscle soreness and improve liver health. L-Glutamine reduces soreness and improves recovery after a workout. Niacin, which is a B vitamin helps build metabolism and energy in the long term. Taurine reduces muscle fatigue and improves performance.
All of this is to say that pre-workout can be a good thing when it is consumed appropriately and in the correct dosage. The problem occurs when people start using the product inappropriately and increase certain dosages that should be more closely regulated. Enter dry scooping.
Research has found that dry scooping a pre-workout is not only dangerous due to the high likelihood of choking and aspirating the powder into the lungs which cause damage to the lung tissue, but it also increases the risk of pre-workout heart attack, stroke, and other milder symptoms like rapid heartbeat and pain in the chest.
More and more young and otherwise healthy individuals with no history of cardiac issues are experiencing heart attacks and strokes as a result of dry scooping pre-workout. There even are some cases that resulted in death due to a heart attack that occurred after dry scooping.
Other serious side effects include seizures, respiratory failure, GI upset such as diarrhea or cramps, and anxiety. An important note to this is that pre-workouts should not be consumed by minors or those with certain health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. If you’re unsure of whether a pre-workout is safe for you to consume, we suggest you talk to your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional.
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How to Safely Consume Pre-Workout
As previously mentioned, pre-workout is not innately bad for you. There are ways you can ensure that you’re able to get the most out of your supplements and not overdo it causing more harm than good. Here are a few tips to follow to ensure your safety:
Follow the directions on the packaging
This may sound obvious, but it is incredibly important to avoid straying from the usage directions by changing the dosage of the supplement or decreasing the amount of water the mixture calls for. So DO NOT dry scoop your pre-workout.
Make sure you are using a quality supplement
It is important to do your due diligence and research what you are consuming. There are thousands of pre-workouts on the market today with no shortage of questionable ingredients. If something sounds too good to be true it probably is. And if the company is promoting an ingredient that you’ve never heard of, don’t buy into the marketing schemes. Make sure the product you decide to go with is third-party tested and does not contain any dangerous chemicals or filler ingredients such as artificial colors or flavors.
Do not use pre-workout if you have certain medical conditions
Talk to your doctor before taking a pre-workout if you have any pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. While pre-workout is generally safe to use while breastfeeding, you should still consult your doctor before adding a new supplement.
The overall takeaway from this is to avoid dry scooping pre-workout as it can increase heart problems and produce other negative side effects. Though pre-workout is typically pretty safe to consume, be sure to consult your doctor first and always follow the directions on the packaging to ensure proper dosage. Make sure you do your research and find a trusted product that contains quality ingredients without fillers.
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