C4 Pre Workout Review (2020) | Is This Powder from Cellucor Worth It?

Ask anyone in the fitness community if they’ve heard about Cellucor and they’ll probably say YES. Funny thing is it wasn’t always this popular.

When the award-winning formula came out in 2002, it was a well-kept secret among bodybuilders and physical trainers who needed the extra pump to finish their routines.

I should know. I was among the first to try it out.

c4 Winner of The YearFast forward to ten years later and Cellucor entered the mainstream. The pre workout was no longer just for serious physical training.

Even people I barely saw at the gym started using it. In fact, Cellucor C4 became such a huge hit that Bodybuilding.com named it “Pre-Workout Supplement of the Year” for two straight years in a row!

But that was a long time ago. I think it’s about time we realize that Cellucor is an old product with the same old formula.

Now that more powerful and natural pre-workout supplements such as 4Gauge are available on the market, are Cellucor’s pre workout powders still worth the hype?


What is Cellucor C4 Pre Workout?

Cellucor C4 product is a line of pre-workout supplements from Nutrabolt, a sports nutrition company based in Texas. It’s designed to help you have longer-lasting workouts so you can do more reps, sets, and minutes than you normally could.

Cellucor Logo

Now I know what you’re thinking… Why can’t I just drink coffee or an energy drink?

The answer is simple, really. It’s because C4 product can do a whole lot more than boost your stamina . Like any pre workout supplements, it combines a unique set of ingredients to promote peak physical performance during workouts.

It provides four kinds of performance boosts:

  • Energy – which acts as fuel for your body
  • Mental focus - for improved concentration and alertness
  • Physical endurance – so you could last longer
  • Pumps – for enhanced muscle growth

C4 will also keep you from “crashing” after a long workout.


5 Types of Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Powders Review:

There are 5 kinds of Cellucor pre workout powder – Cellucor C4 Original Pre Workout powder, C4 Ripped product, C4 Ultimate product, C4 Extreme product, and C4 Sport product. Each one is specially formulated, and you get to choose based on your body’s unique physical demands.

Let’s take a closer look at my reviews of the Cellucor C4 Pre Workout Powders, so you can figure out which one you need.


C4 Original

C4 Original

PROS

  • High increases in output and good pump
  • Has the most flavors to choose from
  • Available in 30 and 60 servings
  • Great for beginners
  • Works best for casual exercise

CONS

  • Doesn’t do much for focus and physical endurance
  • Not for serious physical training

Summary

You could be doing light exercise or a regular workout and it wouldn’t matter. This classic formula is an all-around solution for meeting most demands at the gym.

Original isn’t the best pre-workout on the market (I still think 4Gauge is and later I’ll explain why). But if you want a basic pre workout that can keep you toned and energized, this would be an okay choice.

.


C4 Pre-Workout Ripped Explosive Energy

Ripped

PROS

  • Powerful energy booster
  • Gives extra pumps minus the bulk
  • Available in 6 flavors
  • Can help you lose weight

CONS

  • Minor improvements in focus and endurance
  • Limited to 30 servings per package

Summary

C4 Ripped Explosive Energy is the only pre workout from Cellucor with a unique Weight Loss Blend.

It has the same boosting properties as the C4 original pre workout recipe. However, the creatine-free formula means it can strengthen your muscles without adding to their mass or your overall weight.

Endurance-wise, it’s good enough if you’re starting off with light exercise as part of a weight loss plan.

But as you progress to more intense and more frequent workouts, you might have to double up your dose. Still, if you want to shred some pounds or if you’re looking for a creatine-free options, Ripped is worth the buy.

.


C4 Ultimate Pre Workout

Ultimate Pre Work

PROS

  • Provides maximum energy, focus, endurance, and pumps
  • You can choose from 8 flavors
  • Available in 20 and 40 serving packages
  • For advanced gym-goers
  • Ideal for heavy workouts

CONS

  • Lacks muscle-building ingredients

Summary

When it comes to performance, there’s no doubt that C4 Ultimate is an absolute beast. It has a maxed-out formula that allows you to get the most focus, endurance, and pumps in every scoop.

Needless to say, this pre workout is not for everyone. It’s for tireless gym nuts who want to keep pushing their limits and get through the toughest workouts.

If you’re into bodybuilding and want fast results, you might want to look elsewhere. It doesn’t have a lot of muscle builders so it could take time to grow muscles.

However, if you want the most potent pre workout from Cellucor, you might want to consider C4 Ultimate.

.


C4 Extreme Energy Pre-Workout

c4 Extreme Energy

PROS

  • Significant improvement in focus, endurance, and pumps
  • For experienced fitness buffs
  • Suitable for regular exercise

CONS

  • Limited flavor options
  • Only available in 30 serving packages
  • Not for the caffeine-sensitive

Summary

C4 Extreme Energy is a step-up from Original, containing higher doses of its key ingredients.

As long as you don’t mind being dosed with 300 mg of caffeine, it’s a good choice for enthusiasts and beginners who want to transition from casual exercise to a more regular routine.

My only complaint is that it doesn’t have as many flavors as the classic formula. But you should try this if you want a stronger version of Original.

.


C4 Sport

Sport C4 Pre Workout

PROS

  • NSF Certified for Sport ®
  • Available in 10 and 30 servings
  • Uses creatine monohydrate
  • Suited for athletes and professionals
  • Can be used in competitive sports

CONS

  • Least powerful formula
  • Not many flavors available
  • Feels more like an energy drink

Summary

I won’t mince words here. It’s the weakest pre-workout in the entire Cellucor line.

You can’t even get as much pump as the Original. With the dosage toned down, C4 Sport feels more like an energetic drink than a pre workout.

That being said, it’s NSF Certified for Sport ® which means that you can use it in competitions.

Sport also deviates from the classic formula and contains creatine monohydrate (not nitrate), which is more widely studied. If you happen to be an athlete or just like sports a lot, you should consider getting Sport.

.


C4 Pre Workout Ingredients (Original Pre-Workout)

There’s no doubt that this Pre-Workout works. I’ve tried it myself and have also worked with clients who swear by it. But I think it’s more important to know if the ingredients that go into it are both safe and effective.

Supplement Facts

So in this section, I’ll be examining the science behind the ‘core ingredients’ of C4 Original and other nutrients that have been added in.

Ingredients: Natural & Artificial Flavors, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Silicon Dioxide, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, FD&C


Vitamin C

One serving contains 250 mg (417% DV) of Vitamin C as Ascorbic Acid. 


Niacin

One serving contains 30 mg (150% DV) of Niacin as Niacinamide.

  • Niacin supplementation has been linked with serious complications in recent years. Among these are bleeding, skin problems, diarrhea, ulcers, a higher risk for infections, and muscle damage – yikes!
  • Furthermore, diabetics who supplemented with niacin were 55% more likely to experience difficulties managing their disease.

Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12

One serving contains 500 mcg (25% DV) of Vitamin B6 as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate and 35 mcg (583% DV) of Vitamin B12 as Methylcobalamin.


CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine

One serving contains 1.6 g of CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine, a patent by Natural Alternatives International, Inc.

Beta Alanine
  • Several studies have shown the benefits of beta-alanine supplements for exercise. It delays the onset of fatigue, improves physical endurance, and increases carnosine content in muscles which can improve performance during high-intensity exercise.
  • The positive effects of CarnoSyn® have also been demonstrated through research. It’s proven to increase muscle carnosine, extend the fatigue threshold, and increase the physical working capacity of males and females.

Explosive Energy Blend

One serving contains 425 mg of this propriety blend from Cellucor. It combines N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, Caffeine Anhydrous, Velvet Bean Seed Extract (Mucuna pruriens), and Theacrine as TeaCrine®, a brand from Compound Solutions, Inc.

Cellucor Flavor
  • N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) is a nootropic or a “brain enhancer” but its ability to improve focus and alertness during exercise is only supported by subjective reports, not evidence-based research.
  • A two-part pilot study reveals that taking TeaCrine® in 200 to 300 mg doses resulted in reduced fatigue and improved concentration, and motivation to exercise. Unfortunately, this study relied on subjective reports and not measurable data.
  • Numerous studies have proven that caffeine improves exercise performance by increasing muscle endurance, muscle strength, physical power, and cardio-respiratory endurance.
  • Mucuna pruriens contains significant amounts of L-DOPA, which supposedly helps you stay focused and motivated during workouts. According to one study, L-DOPA fails to produce a positive effect on the mood of healthy individuals. But it does help with the production of adrenaline and testosterone.

Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate

One serving contains 1 g of Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate.

  • Arginine Alpha Keto Glutarate (AAKG) is a nitric oxide stimulant that is believed to improve exercise performance and reduce fatigue. Sadly, the actual research is discouraging.
  • Supplementing with AAKG provided no benefits on the muscular strength and endurance of both trained and resistance-trained men.
  • While AAKG showed some benefits on upper body muscular strength, there was no significant improvement in upper and lower body muscular endurance.

Creatine Nitrate

One serving contains 1 g of Creatine Nitrate as NO3-T®, a patent of ThermoLife International, LLC. Creatine nitrate is a combination of creatine and nitrate.


How To Use It?

Take one (1) level scoop of C4 Pre-Workout and mix it into a 6 fl. oz cup of water. You can drink it 20 to 30 minutes before exercise, training, or any activity with high physical demands.


Benefits & Side Effects of C4 Product?

What I love about it is how they’re formulated for very specific needs.  For instance, you might want to drink C4 Sport product before joining a professional cycling competition or a running marathon.

But if you’re doing cardio or weightlifting, you can choose from other non-sport varieties of this supplement to get more energy, endurance, pumps, and focus.

I could go on here and give you plenty of examples. But the point is that you can easily switch blends based on your changing demands.

It’s also widely available and can be purchased online. You can get it on Costco, Walmart, and Amazon.

Having looked into the contents of C4 Original pre workout product, I’m on the edge here. It seems to have ingredients that work (Creatine Nitrate, CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine, Caffeine, Vitamin B6), ingredients that don’t work (Niacin), and ingredients that may or may not help you at all (Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin C).

C4 Benefits

The ingredients found in the propriety Blend also fail to impress. There’s only 150mg of caffeine in every serving or roughly the equivalent of 1.5 cups of coffee.

For the caffeine-sensitive, this is good news. But for those who are used to pre-workouts with much more caffeine, they will find this supplement is lacking.

Other ingredients in the propriety blend may help you maintain focus, stay motivated, feel less tired, and have the stmaina enough to pull through. But their exact doses are not indicated – and are probably too small to produce any significant effects.

Overall, you should see improvements in physical endurance, energy, and performance during exercise.

Most of its ingredients – including Caffeine, Creatine Nitrate, and CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine – are at least proven to be effective. But because some ingredients “cancel out” one another, the results won’t be as powerful as you might expect.

Also, as I’ve pointed out, there are ingredients such as Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate with conflicting data so there isn’t enough scientific research to support its use.

Is C4 pre workout bad for you? Well, it has been associated with skin itching and tingling. However, Cellucor claims these side effects are considered harmless and a normal reaction to beta-alanine.


Is C4 Cellucor Pre-Workout Supplement Safe?

Should I take it?

Drinking it is safe as long as you meet the following conditions:

  •       You’re a healthy adult aged 18 or older
  •       You’re not pregnant or nursing
  •       You’re not taking any medications
  •       You don’t have any pre-existing conditions
  •       You don’t have a family history of diseases indicated in the label
  •       You take the product as directed

Otherwise, you should consult a licensed healthcare professional before using it.


What About C4 Pre Workout Taste?

C4 Original comes in 12 flavor options, including fruit punch, pink lemonade, orange dreamsicle, strawberry margarita and my personal favorite – Icy Blue Razz J With these many flavors, it never feels like you’re having the same drink.

I’m not going to argue which is the best flavor or tell you that you’ll love all of them. At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal preference. So I’m leaving it for your taste buds to decide.


Is C4 Original Banned by NCAA?

C4 Ingredients are not banned right now. For 2017 & 2018 after the methyl synephrine prohibition, Cellucor reformulated its products. The company lifted the synephrine from the ingredient list and added theacrine.

Following the official NCAA list of forbidden substances, caffeine also comes under the stimulant class. Another product that NCAA athletes stay away from using is pre-workouts with caffeine as its main ingredient, and few with other supplements that are not regulated by the FDA. C4 is banned in multiple disciplines because of an ingredient that C4 use to have called, synephrine, which may provide a slight edge over their competition.


The Final Verdict. Does it Work? Experience and Results

Having used Cellucor C-4 for years, I can personally attest that if you want long-lasting workouts, this product won’t leave you hanging.

The pre-workout works smoothly when I train beginners to perform a light exercise, or if I transition from light to moderate exercise. It also holds up well with moderate exercise and I usually don’t feel tired up until towards the end of my routine.

Sadly, I can’t say the same for its other supposed benefits. There was a time when I drank it religiously throughout weight training but found no remarkable difference in my ability to concentrate.

4Gauge vs Cellucor

After training for a couple of weeks, the “extra pumps” didn’t do much as far as muscle growth was concerned.

Throughout my career as a personal trainer, I’ve mostly depended on Cellucor for endurance and used other brands to gain muscle and stay focused.

I have long wanted to replace it with a product that could meet all of my needs. So when Roar Ambition announced 4Gauge – a pre-workout that promises power, focus, stamina, and muscle pumps – naturally, it got me curious.

After weeks on 4Gauge, I noticed that I get the muscle growth and focus which it fails to deliver – plus the additional stamina you would expect in a pre-workout.

Compared to Cellucor, results are more noticeable and easier to achieve with 4Gauge.

4Gauge Pre Workout has all-natural ingredients, which is a bonus if you’re conscious about health and nutrition.

There are no propriety blends in this dietary supplement so you know exactly how much you’re getting of each ingredient.

Don’t get me wrong. I still think it is a good option. But Cellucor has relied on their “award-winning formula” for far too long that they failed to improve it. If you want something newer and better, 4Gauge is the way to go.

           4 Gauge

#1 Best Alternative Pre-Workout

  • Natural Ingredients
  • 5 Calories Per Serving
  • Effective Bodybuilding Supplementation
4 Gauge