Training boosters or pre-workout boosters (often just referred to as pre-workout) are dietary supplements that can increase your training performance. The most basic distinction between different boosters is that between focus boosters and pump boosters. Often you can find both variants in one product. A booster should be taken about 20-30 minutes before an upcoming workout.
However, before reaching for a booster, you should be aware of the ingredients, possible risks, and side effects. Some guidelines determine which ingredients are legal in Europe, but athletes in the US should be aware that the FDA does not regulate the ingredients found in pre-workout boosters, and many boosters do not even have accurate ingredient lists, instead claiming a "proprietary blend" to avoid giving more information. This often means that important ingredients are severely underdosed to save the manufacturer money, so try to avoid products without specific information on their ingredients AND dosage.
Dimethylamylamine, also known as methylhexanamine, or DMAA for short, is one of the banned ingredients in Europe. It increases blood pressure and is suspected of leading to heart attacks and strokes. So always make sure to use legal pre-workout boosters and avoid this ingredient.
A focus booster provides better focus. It can increase your concentration and energy levels during a workout. Primarily, the ingredients caffeine, tyrosine, guarana, and taurine are included in such a booster.
Boosters for focus often contain vitamin B and so-called adaptogens to help your body better absorb the caffeine. These additionally reduce stress and possible discomfort after the effects of the booster wear off.
A focus booster can also be used outside of training for work that requires good concentration, e.g., when studying.
On the other hand, a pump booster provides better blood flow during strength training, the so-called pump. It contains neither caffeine nor other stimulants. Pump boosters mainly use amino acids such as citrulline and arginine.
The biggest positive effect of a pre-workout booster on your performance comes from caffeine. So instead of a booster, you could also consume coffee, caffeine tablets, or energy drinks. To get the pump-enhancing effect of a booster, you could make your own pre-workout booster with citrulline and arginine, for example. This way, you can adjust the dosage to your own body.
Be careful when consuming pre-workout boosters! You should not consume boosters in too high of a quantity or too regularly, especially if they are highly dosed. Excessive consumption can lead to addiction, sleep disorders, and other health side effects.