In this Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Review, you’ll learn exactly what makes one of the most talked about supplements work and why many people consider it to be among the most effective and reliable products in the workout industry.
There’s no denying the fact – the hype is real when it comes to C4 Pre-Workout, but is it really up to snuff? Does it put its money where its proverbial mouth is and is it really worth your time?
We’re going to take an in-depth look at all of the ingredients and find out exactly what makes it tick – then give you our verdict!
Incidentally, the product we’re currently reviewing is the updated and improved version of a once-famous product called Cellucor C4 Extreme.
And since we’re talking about pre-workout powder supplements in general, after you’re done reading this Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout analysis – you might want to check out how it matches up against the other best in the business, by going to Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Men and Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Women.
Spoiler alert – it’s not in the top 3.
Overview of C4 Pre-Workout by Cellucor
Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Supplement is designed to push the limits of human strength and endurance.
It claims to provide athletes with explosive energy, intense focus, and unbelievable muscle pumps. We are going to closely look into these claims and see if they really hold up.
It’s made by Cellucor, a highly trusted and respected manufacturer that has existed since 2002 and since then has received wide praise and acclaim for a variety of their products, especially their flagship pre-workout supplement called C4 Extreme, which is a precursor to this one.
Cellucor is a manufacturer that relied on their products to speak for themselves – focusing more on people and online communities, rather than advertising.
Becoming so massively popular on the merit of their products alone is no small feat- so it’s understandable why this manufacturer has the trust and respect of its clients.
Full Ingredient List Analysis
This is essentially the same product as C4 Extreme, but with slightly re-shuffled ingredients. The manufacturer has removed Synephrine due to customer feedback and added TeaCor™ Tetramethyluric Acid (Theacrine).
The fact that the manufacturer actually listens to its customers and adjusts their products accordingly speaks very highly of their commitment to providing their clients with the best possible product.
It also contains a comprehensive list of Vitamins B, including B3 (Niacin), B6, B9 (Folic Acid) and B12. However, B6 is severely under-dosed for the purposes of this supplement – there’s not nearly enough of it to be an effective dose.
It’s a well-known fact that during very intense physical activity, your body utilizes many different substances, vitamins, and micronutrients to maintain proper function.
Especially Vitamins B6 and B12, which your body uses to, among a wide variety of other things, convert protein and sugar into energy and to produce red blood cells, thus burning through them quite fast and becoming deficient!
Incidentally, your body also loses a lot of these vitamins, including many other micronutrients and minerals, through sweat.
So it’s a complete mystery to us why the manufacturer tried to include B6 in such an insignificant amount. We know that this is not meant to be a vitamin supplement, but if they chose to include it – they should have done so at a dose that makes more sense.
Same thing goes for the inclusion of such a minuscule amount of Calcium. It’s effectively nothing more than label-dressing and completely boggles our mind as to why the manufacturer wanted to include it at a measly 3% of Daily Recommended Value.
Now let’s see what all of the ingredients do:
Vitamin C – We’re all very familiar with this one; it plays several important roles in many crucial functions, most notably regulating your immune system and metabolism.
Niacin – Its primary use is to lower and control the blood levels of cholesterol, but it also plays a crucial role in the energy release to the cells of your body.
Vitamin B6 – It plays a huge role in maintaining healthy brain function and plays a part in more than 100 enzymatic reactions. It also helps maintain normal nerve function and communication, as well as plays a critical part in the synthesis of various neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
Folic Acid – Improves oxygen circulation in the blood and works along with B12 to form Hemoglobin.
Vitamin B12 – Plays a vital role in energy and red blood cell production, as well as metabolism regulation, among many other things.
Calcium – Helps develop denser and stronger bones.
By the way, if you want to learn more about all the benefits of these various vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, please refer to our Multivitamin Guide: Info, Benefits and Side Effects for a more comprehensive explanation.
Now we’re getting to the real product ingredients:
Beta-Alanine – This is a non-essential amino acid that increases muscle carnosine levels, boosting anaerobic endurance and increasing aerobic performance. It also aids against the onset of fatigue thus effectively raising your total exercise capacity.
This supplement contains 1.6g per serving, and the most effective trials were made with 3.2-6.4 grams of Beta-Alanine per day. Which means that to get the full benefits, you must use a double serving.
Creatine Nitrate – It’s a much more soluble type of Creatine than Monohydrate and also yields a significant Nitric Oxide effect, providing true pump and effectively eliminating the need for any other pump products in a pre-training enhancer.
The most notable problem here is that it’s only 1 gram! Since Creatine Nitrate consists of around 1/3 of nitrates, it means that you’re only getting around 2/3 of 1 gram of Creatine, which is not nearly enough!
The vast majority of studies conducted on Creatine specify that you need to have around 5 grams for it to be effective.
This is where the supplement lacks the most because even with a double scoop you wouldn’t be getting an efficient dose.
Arginine AKG – Also known as Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate is a compound consisting of Arginine which is an amino acid that contributes to muscle growth, and Alpha-Ketoglutarate, which breaks down sugars and amino acids for energy.
Arginine AKG also has great synergy with nitrate coming from Creatine Nitrate because L-Arginine is converted to nitric oxide in the body. It’s known to stimulate the release of insulin and other substances like the growth hormone.
Explosive Energy Blend – 371mg – A PROPRIETARY BLEND that contains:
Caffeine Anhydrous (150mg) – a dehydrated form of caffeine. We all know what Caffeine does.
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine – It’s the best-absorbed form of L-Tyrosine that’s also most bioavailable. It’s considered as one of the most important amino acids because it is involved in a large number of vital functions, most notably synthesis of structural proteins and conveying signals throughout the body.
That said, it’s safe to assume that there is only around 150-200 mg of it in this supplement, depending on the doses of the other two ingredients. This presents a problem since most studies show that the true benefits are gained at 250-500 mg.
Yet another under-dosed ingredient which suggests that you need to take two scoops.
Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) seed extract (standardized for L-Dopa) – This substance boosts dopamine and growth hormone levels.
TeaCor™ Tetramethyluric Acid (Theacrine) – Theacrine’s molecular structure is incredibly similar to Caffeine and in fact it acts just like it, but without all the tolerance issues.
But given that Caffeine is at 150mg and L-Tyrosine is at 150-200mg, the remaining 21 or 71 mg split between the last two ingredients makes us question their effectiveness.
That’s exactly why proprietary blends present a huge problem – you don’t know whether something is at an effective and impactful dose or is just there for label-dressing.
We strongly discourage the use of proprietary blends in any sports nutrition supplement, especially those that are made by unknown or untrustworthy manufacturers. The reason is quite simple – it’s very easy to hide unnecessary, harmful or ineffective ingredients in a proprietary blend.
The vast majority of manufacturers, even though they claim that proprietary blends are necessary to “protect their secret ingredient formula” still use these mixes to obscure the quantity of the ingredients.
By doing this, they can easily put in a lot of stuff in that act as simple “label-dressing” – components that look great on paper but are present at utterly insignificant doses that do nothing to your body.
This is sadly another nail in C4’s coffin.
Supplement Features – The PROs and CONs of Taking Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout
So now we know the real deal about all of the ingredients. It’s time to dive into the pros and cons of the supplement:
- Reliable Results
- Massive Energy and Focus
- Provides a great pump
- Dissolves quickly
- Perfect for beginners and casual gym-goers
The biggest upside is that at a single serving, this supplement is ideal for beginners and amateur bodybuilders.
It does not overwhelm you and provides you with decent and reliable results.
The energy kick is absolutely massive, and focus is out of this world. That’s where this supplement truly shines and shows us its real purpose.
- Not as strong as the competition
- Requires 1.5-2 scoops
- Expensive as a result of 2 scoops per serving
- Causes Jitters
- Contains Acesulfame-K and Sucralose
- Contains a Proprietary Blend!!
So after all of the hype, this product appears to be weaker than its competition. It’s mainly due to the fact that the main ingredients are under-dosed.
For this supplement to be truly effective, it has to be taken at around 2 scoops per serving. However, that presents you with a couple of problems:
The first issue, and most important of all, is that one scoop already contains 150mg of Caffeine. If you take a double scoop, you’ll be consuming 300mg, and many people can’t easily tolerate that amount.
And that’s not counting the Theacrine, which in combination with that much Caffeine will cause massive jitters.
The fact stands that taking a double scoop before exercise will increase the risk of potential Cellucor C4 side effects.
Other than that, it also contains Sucralose and Acesulfame-K – ingredients that we generally frown upon and that most sports nutrition supplements sadly still use. They are known to screw with your insulin hormone levels and cause some potential side effects in people sensitive to them.
Our Final Verdict and Evaluation of the Supplement
So is C4 a good pre-workout? Yes, it most certainly is – if you use 1.5-2 scoops.
However, it’s absolutely perfect for beginners as well as casual and intermediate level of gym-goers!
If you’re someone who’s recently joined the gym and don’t want a product that’s going to overwhelm you – we can easily and safely recommend this supplement to you without any reservations whatsoever!
It yields real and, most importantly, reliable results and does exactly what it promises – provides people with explosive energy, intense focus, and unbelievable muscle pumps!
Quite surprisingly, it lives up to its claims because it doesn’t promise you more than it can effectively deliver! This yet again speaks very highly of the manufacturer and shows that they do not promise you false and unsubstantiated results just to sell their products.
That said, even though our experience with this product has been good – it wasn’t perfect. That’s because this product provides only the basics of an intense experience and can surely be improved upon by adding a couple of other ingredients – for example, BCAAs and Citrulline Malate – and increasing the amount at which these and other ingredients are present!
We can boldly make this claim because we’ve come upon several products in our reviews that are far better and provide stronger and more all-encompassing results.
But even though there are better products available on the market – this one’s still a very solid choice and has proven to be reliable.
After you’ve seen all the C4 pre-workout facts, it’s up to you to decide if this supplement is worth your time and money.
If you’re a serious bodybuilder or a professional athlete, we recommend that you go with another, much more effective and efficient option.
This product is decent but lacks the real impact of a truly powerful pre-workout supplement.
But what do you personally think of such workout products? What do you think about the ingredients contained in it?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!