Another TikTok fitness trend has caused concern after allegedly causing a young OnlyFans star to have a heart attack. Twenty-year-old Briatney Portillo wanted to see if the TikTok “dry scoop” challenge could really help energize her workout. Instead, she ended up sharing her story from a hospital bed.
What Is the “Dry Scoop” Challenge?
The “dry scoop” trend refers to pre-workout powders, which typically contain amino acids, vitamins, caffeine, creatine, and sweeteners. Participants are tasked with taking a dry gulp of the powder — which is intended to be mixed with water — right before a workout.
Supposedly, ingesting the powder dry intensifies its “energizing” effects. However, many examples of the trend online don’t end well, with some users experiencing choking and breathing issues.
Portillo, who posts to the racy OnlyFans platform as well as TikTok, decided to try the challenge back in April. Speaking to Buzzfeed, she said she could feel the effects of the powder almost immediately after scooping.
“After I took the pre-workout, I started to feel tingly and itchy all over my body, which wasn’t a good feeling, but I Googled it and it said that was a normal side effect… so I began to do my workout,” she said.
While exercising, Portillo began to feel a heaviness and slight pain in her chest.
“I thought it was maybe anxiety or a bad panic attack, so I decided to just ignore it and push through my workout,” she recalled.
Soon feeling nauseous and lightheaded, Portillo decided to return home. After a shower left her feeling better, she reported to her job as an exotic dancer. As she prepared to perform, however, her symptoms worsened quickly.
“In the locker room of my job, I started getting hot, even though it was cold in there” Portillo said. “I started sweating a lot and was drenched even though I was wearing a bikini.”
Suddenly, Portillo’s chest pains returned, more intense than before.
“The pain went to my back and to my left arm and my left arm went slightly limp, so I know those were symptoms of a heart attack,” she said. “I called 911 and the ambulance came.”
A Surprising Diagnosis
Portillo stayed in the hospital overnight, during which nurses found high levels troponin — a possible indicator of a heart attack. The next day, doctors determined that she had suffered an NSTEMI — a slightly-less-damaging form of heart attack.
Portillo shared updates with her TikTok followers from her hospital bed, urging them to stay away from the viral trend that landed her there.
“Putting this out there so y’all don’t do what I did because I’m the type of person to try anything and everything I see here w/o questioning it,” she wrote in one video’s caption.
The 20-year-old has since left the hospital with only a few new directives from the doctor.
“They said to stay away from caffeine and watch what I take — especially [pre-workout powder], since it isn’t regulated by the FDA,” she said. “They said I was OK to work out within 3-4 days after my hospitalization and to start watching my heart rate on either a Fitbit or a smart watch.”
Medical professionals have since warned against dry scooping pre-workout powders — and advised caution when using them at all.
“Aside from protein, [pre-workout powder] also typically contains a massive amount of caffeine (in some cases up to 500 mg!), as well as artificial dyes, sweeteners, and emulsifiers,” cardiologist Dr. Nicole Harkin told BuzzFeed. “Taking such a large amount at once could certainly be detrimental to the body, by increasing the heart rate and blood pressure acutely.”
However, if you must use a pre-workout powder, Dr. Harkin advised using it strictly as directed.
“Using a product differently than intended by the manufacturer, such as dry scooping, is rarely a good idea,” she said. “It’s meant to be diluted, and when you don’t do this, it can have potential serious consequences in the body.”