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Cellucor C4 Original Pre-workout Review: The Go-To Pre-Workout Supplement

Our in-depth review analyzes the reformulated Cellucor C4 Original Pre-Workout. Discover if the enhanced formula with AI-powered PeptiPump® and focus-boosting Huperzine A delivers on its promises of increased performance and sustained energy for maximized workouts.

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; we may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. You can learn more about our review process here.

Introduction

The pre-workout supplement market is booming with an ever-increasing number of products hitting the shelves, all promising to give you an edge in your training. Among this crowded field, one name stands out as America’s top-selling pre-workout – Cellucor C4. This review will take an in-depth look at C4, examining its key ingredients, effects, and value for money through the lens of a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach.

Navigating the vast array of pre-workouts can be daunting, especially with most brands making lofty claims about their efficacy. By using a scientific, evidence-based approach combined with real-world testing, this review aims to provide an impartial analysis to help consumers make an informed decision about C4.

Key Takeaways

  • Cellucor C4 is a leading pre-workout supplement in America, known for its simple yet effective marketing and various product lines.
  • Key features of C4 include moderate doses of caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine nitrate, and citrulline malate, alongside vitamins for overall health support.
  • Expert evaluation confirms C4’s efficacy in providing clean energy and supporting muscular endurance, although it may lack potency for intense workouts due to lower ingredient doses.
  • User experience highlights a smooth energy boost with no jitters or crashes, but limited muscle pumps due to lower citrulline content.
  • C4 is competitively priced and enjoys positive consumer sentiment, with a variety of flavors and a money-back guarantee.
  • While suitable for general fitness enthusiasts and beginners, more experienced athletes may find C4’s dosages insufficient for maximum performance.

How Does It Rate?

Editor’s Rating
4.4/5

C4 Pre-Workout Powder

C4 pre-workout
Ingredients

4.9/5Ingredients
Value for Cost

4.8/5Value for Cost
Manufacturer

4.5/5Manufacturer
Safety

4.8/5Safety

The Rise of Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout

Cellucor launched its flagship C4 pre-workout back in 2011, and it has maintained a stranglehold on the supplement industry ever since. What started as a basic powder has evolved into a whole line of C4 products like C4 Extreme and C4 Ultimate targeted at different fitness goals.

The enduring popularity of C4 is clear from its presence at major events like South by Southwest where it is the official energy drink, as well as partnerships with iconic brands like Skittles and Starbursts.

Part of C4’s success can be attributed to its simple but effective marketing that resonates with the everyday gym-goer. With relatable names and vibrant colors and flavors, the C4 brand has become synonymous with the pre-workout category itself in many consumers’ minds.

Key Features of C4 Pre-Workout drink

  • Contains 150mg of caffeine anhydrous for an energy boost
  • Has 1.6g of beta-alanine to promote muscular endurance
  • Includes 1g of creatine nitrate to support lean muscle growth
  • Provides 1g of citrulline malate for enhanced blood flow and pumps
  • Features vitamins C, B6, and B12 for overall health support
  • Available in 9 different flavors like fruit punch, pink lemonade, etc.
  • Very affordable at under $1 per serving
  • No proprietary blends, all ingredients doses disclosed
  • Suitable for beginners or those with lower caffeine tolerance
  • Produced by a reputable brand in the sports nutrition industry

Why C4? An Expert’s Examination

As a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, our team members sought to validate C4’s claims firsthand by incorporating it into their regimen and conducting an evaluation. Following several workout sessions while using C4, it was observed that the product indeed delivered a clean energy boost, courtesy of its 150mg caffeine content, which proved adequate for most users without excessive stimulation.

Additionally, the inclusion of beta-alanine was noted to effectively support the completion of additional repetitions during resistance training. However, the individual did not perceive significant improvements in muscle pumps, attributing it to the relatively modest 1g dose of citrulline present in the formula.

In-Depth Ingredient Analysis

a container of Cellucor C4 original pre-workout powder in orange mango flavor sitting on a table.Orange mango flavored Cellucor C4 original pre-workout

Cellucor C4 pre-workout has a straightforward formulation that focuses on some key, well-researched ingredients. Let’s break them down:

Caffeine (150mg)

As one of the primary stimulants in the formula, caffeine[1] is included to boost energy levels, alertness, and focus during workouts. The 150mg dose is a moderate amount, roughly equivalent to a cup and a half of coffee.

Beta-Alanine (1.6g)

A study in International Society of Sports Nutrition[2],Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that can help increase muscular endurance and reduce fatigue during high-intensity exercise. The 1.6g dose may produce a moderate “tingling” sensation but is lower than the clinically relevant 3.2g dose used in many studies.

Creatine Nitrate (1g)

Creatine is a popular supplement for increasing lean muscle mass and enhancing strength and power output. While 1g may seem low, creatine nitrate[3] is designed for superior solubility, so lower doses can be effective.

Citrulline Malate (1g)

This amino acid is included to support increased blood flow and nutrient delivery to working muscles, potentially enhancing endurance. However, the 1g dose is lower than the 6-8g used in most studies of European journal of applied physiology[4].

Vitamin C, B6, and B12

These vitamins are included for their roles in energy production, immune function, and overall health, though the high doses likely have minimal performance impact.

While C4 contains some well-researched ingredients, many of the doses fall short of clinically relevant amounts found to be effective in studies. This may limit the overall potency of the product for more experienced or high-intensity users

User Experience and Taste Test

A team member tested C4 pre-workout for a week, consuming one scoop 20-30 minutes before workouts. The Pink Lemonade flavor proved to be pleasantly tart and sweet without overwhelming the palate. It dissolved well, leaving no gritty texture or undissolved particles.

Regarding its effects, a moderate increase in energy and alertness was noted, although not as intense as some stronger pre-workouts previously experienced. The lower caffeine content ensured a smooth experience without jitters or a subsequent crash.

A tub of C4 Original Pre Workout Powder for testing. We tested Cellucor C4 original pre-workout at our facility

Additionally, the team member felt capable of exerting more effort during lifting sessions, likely attributable to the presence of beta-alanine and creatine.

However, there were no significant muscle pumps or noticeable increase in vascularity, which was expected given the relatively low doses of citrulline and nitrates. Overall, C4 offered a pleasant, smooth energy boost suitable for moderate workouts but may lack the potency required for more intense gym sessions.

Comparing C4 to the Competition

Product Price per Serving Key Ingredients Flavors Intended Audience
C4 Original Pre-Workout $0.99 (30 servings) Caffeine, Beta-Alanine, Creatine Nitrate, Citrulline Malate 9 flavors General fitness, beginners, moderate users
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout $1.09 Caffeine, Creatine, Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline 4 flavors General fitness, moderate users
Transparent Labs BULK Pre-Workout $1.66 Beta-Alanine, Citrulline Malate, Caffeine, BCAAs 12 flavors Hardcore athletes, bodybuilders, strength athletes

Cellucor C4 Original Pre Workout Reviews

C4 pre-workout enjoys a strong 4.7/5 average rating from over 570 customer reviews on the official website. Many reviewers praise the product’s effectiveness in boosting energy and focus without excessive jitters or crashes. The variety of flavors is also frequently mentioned as a plus.

a container of Cellucor C4 pre-workout powder with spoon.Customer review on Cellucor C4 pre-workout powder

However, some negative reviews report side effects like nausea, headaches, and digestive issues, which could be attributed to individual caffeine sensitivity or other ingredients. A handful of customers felt the formula wasn’t potent enough for their needs.

Overall, the customer sentiment seems largely positive, with most users finding C4 to be a reliable, affordable pre-workout option that delivers a smooth energy boost without overwhelming stimulant effects.

Price, Purchasing, and Guarantees

C4 pre-workout is very competitively priced, with a 30-serving tub costing $29.99 (about $0.99 per serving) and a 60-serving tub at $49.99 ($0.83 per serving). Even better value can be found through their subscription program, which drops the price to just $0.65 per serving for the 30-serving tub and $0.54 per serving for the 60-serving option.

Cellucor offers a 60-day money-back guarantee on all purchases, allowing customers to try the product risk-free and request a full refund if unsatisfied (minus shipping costs). The ordering process is straightforward through their official website, with options for one-time purchases or convenient subscription deliveries.

c4 pre-workout conclusionFinal Verdict

C4 pre-workout from Cellucor is a solid, no-frills option for general fitness enthusiasts and those new to pre-workouts. Its moderate caffeine content and focus on basic ingredients like beta-alanine and creatine make it a good entry point, providing a smooth energy boost without overwhelming stimulant effects.

However, more experienced athletes or those seeking maximum performance may find the dosages lacking compared to more comprehensive, premium pre-workout formulas. The affordable pricing and wide range of flavors are definite strengths.

For general gym-goers looking for an inexpensive way to enhance their workouts, C4 is a reliable choice that delivers on its promises of increased energy and endurance. But for hardcore lifters and competitors, investing in a more potent, clinically-dosed pre-workout may be worthwhile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Does C4 pre-workout work?
A. Yes, C4 pre-workout contains ingredients like caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine that can boost energy, endurance, and focus during workouts. However, the dosages are relatively moderate compared to some more potent pre-workout formulas.

Q. What are the side effects of C4 pre-workout?
A. Potential side effects include jitters, headache, nausea, and digestive issues, likely due to the caffeine content. Some users also report a tingling sensation from the beta-alanine.

Q. Why is C4 so strong?
A. C4 is not considered an excessively strong or high-stimulant pre-workout. With only 150mg of caffeine per serving, it provides a moderate energy boost suitable for most users.

Q. Does C4 pre-workout contain creatine?
A. Yes, C4 contains 1g of creatine nitrate per serving, which can help increase lean muscle mass and strength.

Q. How much caffeine is in C4 pre-workout?
A. A single serving of Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout provides a dose of 200mg caffeine, as listed on the product information. This amount is intended to enhance focus and energy levels during exercise.

Q. Is C4 pre-workout safe?
A. The safety of Cellucor C4 pre-workout hinges upon individual health considerations. Seeking counsel from a licensed healthcare practitioner prior to usage is imperative, particularly if one harbors pre-existing medical conditions, ingests medications, or experiences pregnancy/nursing. The product label delineates potential intersections and contraindications to facilitate informed utilization.
Q. When should I take C4 original pre-workout?
A. To maximize the effects of Cellucor C4 Original Pre-Workout, the recommended intake is one serving (one scoop) mixed with 4-6 fluid ounces of water 20-30 minutes prior to your workout. After establishing your tolerance and seeking a further energy boost, an additional serving (one scoop) can be consumed alongside the initial serving before training.

Q. Is the C4 original a good pre-workout?
A. Reviews suggest Cellucor C4 Original Pre-Workout may enhance energy, focus, and endurance during exercise. However, individual responses can vary. Consulting a healthcare professional before consuming C4 Original or any pre-workout supplement is advisable, particularly for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Where to Buy C4 pre-workout?

Check the Amazon Website to Purchase this Product

4 Sources

BodybuildingReviews avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in BodybuildingReviews, you can read more about the editorial process here.

  1. Guest NS, VanDusseldorp TA, Nelson MT, Grgic J, Schoenfeld BJ, Jenkins NDM, Arent SM, Antonio J, Stout JR, Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Goldstein ER, Kalman DS, Campbell BI. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2021 Jan 2;18(1):1. doi: 10.1186/s12970-020-00383-4. PMID: 33388079; PMCID: PMC7777221.
  2. Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Stout JR, Hoffman JR, Wilborn CD, Sale C, Kreider RB, Jäger R, Earnest CP, Bannock L, Campbell B, Kalman D, Ziegenfuss TN, Antonio J. International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Jul 15;12:30. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0090-y. PMID: 26175657; PMCID: PMC4501114.
  3. Joy JM, Lowery RP, Falcone PH, Mosman MM, Vogel RM, Carson LR, Tai CY, Choate D, Kimber D, Ormes JA, Wilson JM, Moon JR. 28 days of creatine nitrate supplementation is apparently safe in healthy individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014 Dec 20;11(1):60. doi: 10.1186/s12970-014-0060-9. PMID: 25589898; PMCID: PMC4293808.
  4. Gough LA, Sparks SA, McNaughton LR, Higgins MF, Newbury JW, Trexler E, Faghy MA, Bridge CA. A critical review of citrulline malate supplementation and exercise performance. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2021 Dec;121(12):3283-3295. doi: 10.1007/s00421-021-04774-6. Epub 2021 Aug 21. PMID: 34417881; PMCID: PMC8571142.

Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, CPT

Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDCES, CPT is a New York City-based telehealth registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition communications expert.
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