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Dry Scooping: Answers to All the Questions You Were Afraid to Ask

Is dry scooping safe? That's a common question plenty of fitness-minded people are Googling these days. Fitness trends come and go like lightning in the digital age. Every week there seems to be a new buzz word to unpack and it can be hard to keep up. You’ve probably heard of dry scooping, particularly when it comes to pre-workouts and have probably even seen people singing its praises on TikTok and Instagram.

In this article we’ll demystify the dry scooping trend and look into what it is, whether or not it's safe and answer the question: Is dry scooping the best way to get your pre-work out?

What is Dry Scooping?

Many people use some sort of protein shake, creatine or pre-workout supplements in order to get the most out of their workouts. These supplements often have large quantities of essential nutrients and amino acids, also known as BCAAs, that are beneficial to bone and muscle health. Dry scooping is a quick, convenient way to get these nutrients.

Most pre-workout and protein mixes come in powder form that you’re supposed to mix into a smoothie or liquid. Dry scooping is where people take the powder and swallow it without adding anything to it. Many people claim that this is quicker, easier and a lower calorie option. People see it as a way of cutting out the middleman by not including any liquids. 

Is Dry Scooping Safe?

Dry scooping started as a social media stunt, but has quickly become a trend. Since it became popular, many medical professionals have warned that dry scooping has multiple health risks.

Dry Scooping Issue #1: Instant Caffeine

The first concern that most doctors bring up is that most pre-workouts have massive amounts of caffeine in them. Most single servings of pre-workout have at least three coffee’s worth of caffeine! Ingesting that all at once can cause heart palpitations and could even aggravate existing heart issues. Diluting the powder with a liquid prevents you from consuming too much caffeine at once. It also allows for a slower release of the caffeine.

Dry Scooping Issue #2: Breathing in Powder

The second issue medical professionals have addressed is the fact that people could aspirate on the powder. Aspiration is when something is sucked into the airway and lungs instead of the stomach. This can cause a lung infection and even pneumonia. These health risks are rare, of course, but many doctors and nutritionists are telling people to stop with the dry scooping. They feel that even if the risk is minimal, the possible health issues just aren't worth it.

Is Dry Scooping Better than Mixing?

Any fitness enthusiast knows that using equipment incorrectly is dangerous and will not get you the results you’re looking for. It’s time to start looking at supplements the same way.

Pre-workouts and creatine powders were meant to be mixed into a liquid. Dry scooping might land you in the hospital and it isn’t as effective as mixing. Pre-workouts are not meant to be burned by your body immediately. The amino acids and caffeine that are put into these powders to optimize your workouts rely on a slow release to get you through your entire work out.

You might actually be missing out on some of the benefits because of the way our digestion system works! Liquids are much easier for our digestive system to pull nutrients from.

The only benefit anyone can seem to find with dry scooping is that it’s quicker than making a shake. Speed running your pre-workout shouldn’t be the goal. The point of a pre-workout is to give you energy and allow you to get the most out of your workout. By not following the mixing directions on the packaging, you might be shooting yourself in the foot.

What are Some Better Ways to Take Pre-Workouts

Believe it or not, there are alternatives to making pre-workout shakes! Some people find it hard to finish a whole shake before their workout and that is totally understandable! Some pre-workouts come in edible gummy form or even pill form. These are both great options, but if you’re more of a DIY person there are options for you too.

Pre-Workout Jell-O shots

Dissolve the pre-workout powder in hot water and add your favorite Jell-O packet. Put it in the fridge and let it chill. This method allows you to make ‘Jell-O-shots’ that can be consumed easily while also allowing the slow release on which pre-workouts depend.

Pre-Workout Slushies

If you aren’t a fan of smoothies, try a slushie instead! There's no calories in ice after all. You could make your own at home with a slushie maker or you could just buy one from a convenience store on your way to the gym. Mix your powder in, stir and wait 5-10 minutes for the powder to dissolve. This is a great option on hot summer days.

Homemade Gummies

If your favorite pre-workout powder doesn’t already come in gummy form, just make your own! Get your powder, any candy mold (silicone preferably), flavored Jell-O and two packs of unflavored gelatin. Get a cup of cold water and poor the unflavored gelatin into it and mix. The gelatin will start to solidify in a few minutes. While you’re waiting, boil water over the stove and once it’s boiled add the Jell-O, pre-workout powder and gelatin. Mix and then pour into your mold. Put the mold in the fridge for about an hour and you will have delicious, homemade pre-workout gummies!

Pre-workout powders are a great way to get the most out of your workout, but dry scooping isn't the answer. Medical professionals overwhelmingly advise against it, and there isn’t any evidence to support that adds anything to your workout benefits. Unfortunately dry scooping is just another internet trend that we'll look forward to going out of style.

Skip the Dry Scooping, But Try these Pre-Workout Options

Here's three pre-workout powders to get you started. Choose from plenty more on the HERC's pre-workout page

Alani Nu Pre-Workout
30 serving

ANS Prophecy Sour Gummy
20 serving 

Ghost Burn
40 servings

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