Like most modern exercise fads, “dry scooping” exploded onto the scene through word of mouth and social media popularity.

While its supporters call it a “better, faster way” to ingest pre-workout supplements, we find this rising trend more dangerous than effective – and have the science to prove it.

Let’s explore the basics of pre-workout, the flawed principles behind dry scooping, and better ways for you to take supplements before hitting the gym:

The Basics of Pre-Workout

Pre-workout is a supplement that prepares your body for strenuous physical activity with an ample supply of exercise-boosting ingredients, like:

  • Caffeine
  • Taurine
  • Creatine
  • Beta-Alanine
  • Branch Chain Amino Acids
  • Vitamins

  • At its core, pre-workout aims to provide energy, improve focus and concentration, and help reduce the adverse effects of strenuous exercise on your mind and body. 

    These benefits reduce fatigue, making it easier for you to safely and effectively complete long, intense workouts.

    Additionally, many pre-workout supplements can help you build strong, healthy muscles that recover quickly after exercise.

    Pro Tip: For more on the in’s and out’s of pre-workout, check out Ultimate Nutrition’s Guide to Pre-Workout (**add hyperlink once blog published).

    The Risks of Dry Scooping

    The risks of dry scooping your pre-workout supplement are numerous and can vary widely in severity.

    Let’s break down a few of the most common and the possible threats they pose to your health:

    why dry scooping pre-workout is dangerous | ultimate nutrition


    Though many dry scoopers don’t like to admit it, it is very difficult to swallow a standard serving of pre-workout powder. Gagging, coughing, and gasping for air are often unfortunate parts of the experience

    When you ingest an excessive amount of any powder orally without water, you are also at risk for unintentional inhalation. This especially applies to the thick powders of many pre-workout supplements.

    If you accidentally inhale enough pre-workout into your nose or lungs, you might even experience aspiration – the inability to normally breathe due to something blocking your lungs or airways.

    In addition to being incredibly unpleasant, aspiration can have long-term side effects, including tissue damage and a higher risk of chronic infection.

    Cardiovascular Issues

    Another potential risk of dry scooping pre-workout powder is cardiovascular damage due to immediate exposure to high quantities of caffeine.

    The average pre-workout supplement contains 150-300 mg of caffeine, comfortably below the maximum recommended daily amount of caffeine (400 mg) for adults.

    However, quickly ingesting a whole serving of a pre-workout with ~300 mg of caffeine without water can put undue pressure on the cardiovascular system.

    Particularly for those who are caffeine sensitive, improper consumption can lead to arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and increased blood pressure, demanding the heart to work harder to supply the body with blood.

    Though not common, these adverse reactions are plausible and can be especially damaging to people diagnosed with or at higher risk of underlying heart conditions.

    Pro Tip: Avoid any pre-workout supplement that contains >400mg of caffeine in its recommended serving size. This amount of caffeine can be hazardous to consume in one go, even if the supplement is correctly mixed with water.

    Digestive Distress

    Dry scooping is often a thoroughly unpleasant experience, even hours after your workout ends.

    What you don’t see in “dry scooping pre-workout” Tiktoks is that the practice forces high concentrations of undiluted substances through your digestive system all at once. As you can imagine, this can have some unpleasant results.

    Dry scoopers often report experiencing nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloating, flatulence, and more soon after ingestion and even days after supplementation.

    These side effects can mess with your workout and your recovery, reducing the effectiveness of your gym sessions. They also make it challenging to eat a full day’s worth of nutritious food, as symptoms of indigestion often disrupt a healthy appetite.  

    It is also worth mentioning that dry scooping can contribute to dehydration, potentially leading to further stomach pains and constipation.

    The Healthiest Way to Take Your Pre-Workout

    The healthiest way to take a reputable supplement – be it for exercise, nutrition, or any other purpose – is by following the instructions given by its maker.

    In the case of most pre-workouts, that means mixing a recommended serving of powder with 8-16 oz of water, typically ~30 minutes before exercise.

    Not only is this a more pleasant and safe way of consuming your pre-workouts, but it is also more effective:

    Mixing water with pre-workout powders dilutes the supplement, enhancing your body’s ability to fully absorb its ingredients into your bloodstream at a safe, effective pace.

    Water also helps reduce your susceptibility to pre-workout possible side effects, increases blood flow to your muscles, and boosts muscle strength through hydration – all leading to a better pump.

    woman stretches over yoga mat

    Ultimate Nutrition’s Pre-Workout Supplement

    Ultimate Nutrition’s team of scientists has pioneered the next generation of pre-workout: Pre Gold.

    This innovative supplement covers far more than just the energy boost of the average “stim-bomb,” equipping you with the necessary PUMP, ENERGY, and POWER for an explosive workout.

    With Caffeine, Synephrine, and Taurine for healthy boosts of lasting energy and a perfect mix of muscle-boosting ingredients like L-Citrulline, Potassium Nitrate, and Beta-Alanine to boost your ultimate power output, Pre Gold is the pre-workout you need to meet and beat your exercise goals.

    Pre Gold comes in two delicious flavors, Blue Raspberry and Cherry Limeade, with 30 servings per 250g container at $29.99.

    Ben Tuschman