Pre-workouts are simply a combination of certain key ingredients that help promote energy, wakefulness, cognitive function, physical performance, & blood flow. Yes, we know there are hundreds of pre-workouts out on the market and sometimes it can be overwhelming for one to comprehend. To make things a bit easier, there are typically 3 categories in the pre-workout world.
The first category would be high stimulant based pre-workouts. These for the most part contain very high caffeine & extremely stimulating effects. When taking something along these lines, you do get energy to workout harder but somewhat sacrifice your "pump"(blood flow) because extremely high caffeine & high stimulants constricts blood flow.
The second category would be high performance based pre-workouts. These typically still contain caffeine & stimulants but are more heavily geared towards focus & pump(blood flow) for your workouts.
The third and last category would be a hybrid based pre-workout. This typically falls in the middle of an extremely high stimulant based pre-workout & a high performance based pre-workout. Somewhat getting the best of both worlds for your workouts.
Lastly, let's talk about nitric oxide aka pump booster. Generally speaking, these don't contain any form of stimulants and/or caffeine. They are a combination of certain ingredients that solely contribute to better blood flow. When you have better blood flow, you have better nutritional delivery to your muscles when you train or workout, of-course, taking into account that your diet is on point and well structured.
Is pre-workout & a pump booster required to make progress? NO, absolutely not required. Can you still workout without it? YES, 100%. So why should one incorporate it? The answer is this...It gives you the extra boost of energy, focus, motivation, endurance of which you can benefit from the increased performance. Remember, these are just tools you can utilize to your advantage to increase your performance & speed up the process.
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