Pre-workout supplements have gained quite popularity over the last few years. Supplement companies keep bringing new products to the market almost everyday claiming to be reigning over the others. But how can you tell the difference?

In order to choose the right product for yourself, you need to understand what pre-workouts do and how they do it, what are some pros and cons, when is best to take them etc.

What are pre-workouts?
Well, as the name says, it is a product designed to be consumed before your workout. How much before? Usually pre-workouts would work best when taken 30-45 min before your training. In about that time, the body break downs the components, and make them available in the blood stream to the cells, the energy levels are increased, the pump and the focus can be felt.

How do they work?
There can be a number of ingredients in order to provide the above affects, manufacturers choose to combine multiple ingredients to together to boost their effects. What's inside may vary and some may affect you and some may not. So you should read the label to figure out if there is anything you like or should avoid in particular. Some of the common ingredients you would find in a pre-workout product are here.

Creatine is perhaps the most popular energyc aid and most used substance in pre-workout formulas, simply for it's ability to replenish your energy levels by increasing ATP synthesis, help increase recovery in muscle cells, and by allowing water retention in muscle cells, which provides a better pump during the workout.

Branched Chained Amino Acids (BCAA's) are essential amino acids that make up about 1/3 of all protein mass. They are namely Valine, Leucine, and Iso-leucine. There are 5 other essential amino acids, making it a total of 8 essential amino acids among 20 total. They are called essential because our bodies can not produce them yet they make up 1/3 of all protein. However the remaining 12 amino acids can be produced by the body. Needless to say, if you are not consuming enough BCAA, it will eventually cause in muscle mass loss. BCAA's also help fight fatigue, and speedy recovery. They also replenish the amino acids burnt during the exercise.

Caffeine, an energy stimulant which increases awareness, attention, and focus.

Beta-alanine is known to decrease fatigue and help with muscular recuperation. However some users may experience a little discomfort at beginning in high dosages if that is the case for you, you may choose to take multiple but smaller dosages throughout the day so the affects are not cumulative and you won't feel that uncomfortable or you may choose a product without it.

Acetyl L-Carnitine is a supplement that helps with fat loss by improving the conversion of fat cells into energy by the cell. It helps maintaining the lean body mass and stripping the fat off.

Taurine is often included in pre-workout formulas as its ability to improve performance and also heping with muscle fatigue along with beta-alanine. Similar to creatine, taurine will also help the cell retain more water, which would give your muscles more volume.

Green tea leaf / extract contains 2-4% caffeine, which improves thinking and alertness, and may stimulate the nervous system, heart, and muscles by increasing the release of  "neurotransmitters" in the brain.

Agmatine helps promote Growth Hormone (GH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). Agmatine also increases Nitric Oxide (NO) levels.

What product is good for you?
This would depend on the individual. If you are not used to taking pre-workouts or stimulants, or if your body is relatively sensitive, you may want to start with a not so-strong product. Some experienced users or customers with not as much sensitivity to such products may try stronger products to help boost their effects even more.

Some good products we can recommend on the light scale are Pro Supps Amino Linx (Stimulant-free), CTD NO Nitro. If you are looking for the ultimate performace try Black Beast Mode Black from Beast Sports and get ready for an intense workout or Cellucor C4, VMI S.M.A.R.T Creatine 3 and BCAA Peak from Inner Armour are other great choices for ones looking to load up on amino acids.