Southern Airways airport with security testing pre workout powder with caption 'I got stopped at security' (l) Southern Airways sign in airport with caption 'the flying experience that I had yesterday' (c) Southern Airways airport security testing pre workout powder with caption'and of course it did' (r)

/@sarahmpov/video/7256962377294433582?is_from_webapp=1&web_id=7251655255921886762 Remix by Caterina Cox

‘I’ve never heard of pre-workout being explosive’: Traveler says airport tested and confiscated her pre-workout

'That would mean it was explosive... so they took it.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Jul 19, 2023   Updated on Jul 19, 2023, 10:47 am CDT

Before working out, some athletes opt to take a substance called “pre-workout” to improve their performance and promote muscle growth.

Per Healthline, “They’re typically powdered substances that you mix into water and drink before exercise. While countless formulas exist, there’s little consistency in terms of ingredients. Amino acids, beta-alanine, caffeine, creatine, and artificial sweeteners are often included, but quantities of these vary widely depending on the brand.”

However, on a recent trip, TikTok user Sarah (@sarahmpov) discovered a new fact about pre-workout—it can test positive for explosives by the TSA.

In a video with over 52,000 views, Sarah takes a flight from a small airport in Muskegon, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois. 

“I got stopped at security, and before I knew it, they were digging through my bag and dropping chemicals onto my pre-workout to see if it would turn blue, because if it did, that would mean it was explosive,” Sarah says in the video. “And, of course, it did, so they took it.”

@sarahmpov SO many things I wish I would have known before booking this flight. is preworkout really explosive 😭😭😭 #smallairport #tinyairplane #hometownairport #flyingwithpreworkout #preworkoutonairplane #tinyairportexperience ♬ Pink Champagne – Abby Roberts

The pre-workout in question appears to be Ryse Project: Blackout – Pre-Workout. While all of its ingredients are listed on the website, it’s unclear which one may have inadvertently triggered a positive response from the TSA’s testing kit.

In general, pre-workout is allowed on planes, and some sites have noted that there are a variety of ingredients that a TSA’s testing kit may accidentally mark as dangerous which are actually not. It is more than likely that this is a “false positive” test, in which a substance is marked as dangerous or explosive when it does not in fact have explosive capabilities under normal circumstances.

In the comments section of Sarah’s video, many users expressed surprise at the security’s decision to take away Sarah’s pre-workout. 

“i’ve never heard of pre workout being explosive,” wrote a user.

“I travel with my pre every week and never had an issue in TSA,” added another.

“NOT THE PREWORKOUT,” exclaimed a third. “i would cryyyy.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Ryse and Sarah via email.

Update 10:46am CT July 19: In an email to the Daily Dot, Sarah said that she has not yet replaced the pre-workout.

“I don’t buy pre-workout often. This purchase was kind of a splurge for me but I wanted to treat myself, since I hadn’t bought any in awhile,” she explained. “The Ryse Pre-workout was actually brand new, I had only used it one time before it got taken. That combined with the fact that I really enjoyed it made it being confiscated all that much more upsetting.”

As to why her pre-workout got confiscated, Sarah said she isn’t sure.

“I honestly have no idea why the pre-workout activated the security’s test. I would never guess that an ingestible powder would be something potentially dangerous to fly,” she wrote. “They ran the test on it twice. But, the part that threw me off is that the people who were running the test didn’t make the call of whether to let it go through or not. One of the people manning security called someone on their cell phone, sent them a photo of the test result, and the person on the phone (who wasn’t present) made the final call to not let it go through. They also failed to truly explain to me why it wasn’t allowed.”

“Pre-workout is so popular now, if it weren’t allowed on flights, I feel it should be a known thing,” she continued. “But because it’s not (or at least I’ve never heard of this happening), it makes me question the validity of the airport’s decision. Another security person mentioned that protein powder has also activated the security test in the past, which falls into the same category. I just hope that if it is true that pre-workout and protein powder are not allowed in carry-on bags while flying, that people know because it’s not the cheapest thing in the world to replace. “

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*First Published: Jul 19, 2023, 9:24 am CDT