Trends sure do come and go, especially in the fitness industry.
Now the current trend of “dry scooping” pre-workout is doing the rounds, especially on platforms such as TikTok.
However, dry scooping has actually been around since the dawn of the pre-workout boom, pretty much since the mid-2000s!
So now with content going viral on social media and dry scooping pre-workouts making the news headlines, it’s time we gave our two cents on the topic.
But first, let’s take a trip down memory lane, back to the early 1980s when the first pre-workout supplement was formulated by Dan Duchaine in Venice, California. The product was called ‘Ultimate Orange’ and it quickly became popular among bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, however some of its ingredients had legal complications.
The pre-workout industry was fairly quiet and in the 80s and 90s, it’s safe to say that there really wasn’t much out there, absolutely nothing quite as advanced as what you would find in today’s market. Back then, it was usually a caffeine tablet or a strong cup of coffee to see you through your workout.
Information was limited, however, with the birth of the internet, the pre-workout industry and supplement industry as a whole has risen from strength to strength.
So information has never been easier to find… but finding the correct information is vital as there’s so much out there!
So there’s a brief introduction to the history of pre-workout supplements, let’s explore now why they’re actually being used.
In a nutshell, pre-workouts are designed to help you to get more out of your training session. These supplements are designed to help boost energy levels, improve mental focus and physical performance during exercise. They typically come in powdered form that should be mixed with water, however, tablets and gels are also common.
Here are three ingredients that you’ll typically find in most pre-workouts:
- Caffeine, arguably the most obvious ingredient due to its aid with focus, alertness and energy. It really is a staple for a great pre-workout and you’ll find anywhere from 100mg to 400mg of caffeine per serving. It is advised not to take caffeine a few hours prior to bedtime due to its potential sleep-disturbing effects.
- Citrulline malate is another fantastic ingredient that’s often included and rightly so. It increases blood flow by dilating the blood vessels… essentially resulting in a shirt-tearing pump! We’re looking for at least 3g per serving here, right the way up to 8g even!
- Beta-alanine. Let’s say, you’ll know when you’ve taken beta-alanine as it is responsible for that itchy skin sensation! But it’s included for a very good reason, it helps athletic performance by increasing the user’s exercise capacity whilst decreasing fatigue. Basically, allowing you to train harder for longer! The typical dosage is between 2-5g per serving.
These three are usually the staple for any pre-workout, but usually, there are more ingredients added such as l-tyrosine, bioperine, creatine, B vitamins and more.
You can find pre-workouts that are as little as 3g in serving size, right the way to over 20g per serving. Here you can judge if your pre-workout is really delivering what they say they’re going to deliver…
So now we know what pre-workout supplements are and the typical ingredients you’ll find inside, let’s talk about how to properly consume them.
Put simply, we do not recommend dry scooping your pre-workout.
If your pre-workout is a 20g scoop per serving, that’s 20g of ingredients going into your system with barely any water to help dissolve.
If your protein powder is say just over 20g per serving, you wouldn’t dry scoop that would you?!
Dry scooping your pre-workout gets the ingredients into your body way too quickly and there’s not really much to dilute it with. Yeah, people might take a swig of water with it, but that’s probably 50ml of water with potentially 20g of ingredients. You need a significant amount of water to properly dissolve all of the ingredients and for it to properly go into solution.
Here are a few reasons as to why people might choose to dry scoop:
- Speed. Dry scooping is faster, no doubt about it, just knocking back your pre-workout with a dash of water is absolutely faster than mixing with water and sipping on it. But is it really worth the risks?
- Faster absorption. There “may” be some truth to this because some ingredients can be directly absorbed from the blood vessels in your mouth, but it’s for debate.
As we said, we do not recommend dry scooping, here are just a few reasons why:
- Accidental inhalation. When dry scooping, you may be unable to actually swallow the ingredients due to their chalky texture. As a result, this could cause you to gasp for air which could suck the powder into your lungs and passages. It could lead to inflammation or even an infection in the lungs.
- Digestive issues. Consuming large amounts of ingredients that are undiluted, could lead to nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and more. Simply mixing with the advised amount of water can prevent these problems!
- Water is essential! Water is critical for the absorption of the ingredients in your pre-workout from your digestive system to your bloodstream. Especially with large amounts of caffeine, it is essential to stay hydrated as when you’re dehydrated, your performance as a whole will suffer too!
- Potential effects on the heart. Pre-workouts can contain a lot of caffeine per serving and whilst the majority of people can handle this amount when the supplement is mixed with water and consumed gradually, this is a different story when dry scooping. A huge dose of caffeine will go into your body all at once and could lead to uncontrollable heart palpations potentially.
So how should I safely consume my pre-workout?
Firstly, ensure that you are hydrated before even taking your pre-workout!
We would advise you to assess your tolerance to the different ingredients and in particular, the stimulants in your pre-workout.
If you’re new to pre-workouts, then perhaps start with a smaller amount and gradually build your way up. Judge how you feel before, during and after each workout and adjust accordingly.
We’d suggest you mix your pre-workout with at least 300ml of water. Shake until the ingredients are dissolved and then sip on it over the course of 10 minutes or so. This is so you can gradually ingest the ingredients and that you do not overload your system. Plus, you get to enjoy the flavour too!
Consume your pre-workout around 20-30 minutes before beginning your workout. This will give the supplement time to take effect and provide you with the energy you need to smash your workout! Also, ensure you stay hydrated both after consuming and throughout your workout.
Of course, after finishing your workout, it’s important to refuel your body with a healthy meal to help replenish your stores and help your body to recover.
It’s generally recommended to cycle your pre-workout with your rest weeks and not to use a stimulant version for every single session as you can build a tolerance to stimulants such as caffeine. Perhaps save it for those big sessions like legs and back.
Here’s a final tip… shake the tub before opening it. Some ingredients are heavier than others and could sink to the bottom, so give it a little shake so that you can get an even distribution of ingredients.
So there you have it. It's easy to be tempted by the promise of a quick and easy energy boost, but the long-term implications can be dire. When it comes to pre-workout supplements, the best way to stay safe is to follow the instructions on the packaging and always keep hydrated. It's also important to speak to your doctor before taking any supplements.
Explore our range of pre-workout supplements which are engineered to help maximise your workout performance and include ingredients to increase muscle endurance, muscle pumps, energy, focus and more!