C4 is a popular pre-workout – but is it worth the hype?
Today I’m going to take you through my experiences with the product, the science behind how it works, and what kind of quality you can expect.
If you want an objective opinion before you spend your cash, read on. We’re going to be covering Cellucor’s C4 pre-workout, and what you can expect from it!
I’ve used C4 once before, but that was a long time ago. Coming into this supplement, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.
The Cellucor brand is associated with quality and effectiveness. The popularity is built on being a good, all-purpose supplement company, which was reassuring before using this product.
More specifically, there’s been a lot of buzz around C4. It’s a popular product in the bodybuilding community and, even in weightlifting circles, it’s achieved a little popularity.
I remember when I was just starting out, Jon North videos about slamming C4 and screaming about weights were pretty regular in my life.
C4 is an all-purpose pre-workout supplement.
It’s been a player on the market for a long tie now and has established itself as something of a standard. It’s a pre-workout that features caffeine, but also includes secondary ingredients that make up a lot of its effect.
Simply put, this is more than a caffeine product. It’s a performance-improvement product in the traditional pre-workout tradition. The intention is wakefulness, awareness, and improvements in your workout.
This is perhaps the best and worst thing about C4. It’s so general that we can’t make out how it would attempt to differentiate itself from other pre-workout supplements.
However, in being so general it has become a general-use supplement. You can use it whatever your performance goals and training style: it’s inclusive and it doesn’t have to be specific to a certain type of training or goal.
C4 Original Ingredients
There are a few key ingredients you’re going to find in this product that really make it worthwhile. The active ingredients are mainly caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, and Arginine (as AAKG).
Caffeine is obviously going to be useful, but the combination with N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is a good choice. It’s a brain-support compound that is useful for regulating mood and assisting with the focus you’ll feel during your workouts.
The caffeine dose is the minimum effective dose of 150mg, but this puts you in control and you can increase your dose if necessary. You’re not going to be wired off of a single scoop, but you can take more if you need to.
The beta-alanine and creatine are a great pairing. The creatine dose is around 50-60% of what you should be taking on a daily basis, which is a little weaker than we’d like to see – but creatine is a cheap supplement to take by itself if you really want to.
The combo of creatine and beta-alanine supports both endurance and strength-endurance. This means that, however you train, you’re going to be able to do it harder for longer.
Arginine as AAKG is okay. We’d much rather see the superior citrulline, which boosts muscular endurance and supports better pumps. Arginine is inferior by the science, and the standard dose is 3-6g while C4 only provides 1.
The vitamins and minerals also help: B vitamins are crucial in energy metabolism, while vitamin C support collagen synthesis and is a potent antioxidant to support health.
Overall, we like the ingredients in C4, but there are definitely some missed opportunities here. Citrulline would be a superior choice, while the dosages on creatine and B-alanine are far more effective if you’re using 2 scoops.
My Experience with C4 Original
I’ve really enjoyed my time working with this product.
As mentioned above, I was naïve to beta-alanine before using it. I’m not a huge endurance enthusiast, so adding this in was an interesting change and it certainly showed.
The first thing I noticed is that the longevity of the effects was much greater than with an energy drink and I felt very focused through the 3-4 hours of my sessions. From there, I was also pretty awake when I got home and for another few hours afterwards.
This has been great for me, but it might not suit everyone. If you’re training later in the day then you might want to watch out for the 6-hour caffeine half-life.
The B-Alanine (CarnoSyn) in this product is associated with tingles. These are pretty normal and healthy, but they were definitely a new experience and you should be prepared for tingly ears/fingers. I thought this was quite funny – just remember it’s totally normal!
C4 Original Taste
We went for the icy blue razz on this one – because that’s a classic flavor. I’m still not convinced blue raspberry exists, but I like the taste.
It’s a fresh taste and doesn’t feel overpowering when mixed into 500ml of water. This definitely makes staying hydrated easier!
One thing that did stand out is the lack of aftertaste. Pre-workouts often carry a really metallic 3rd profile/aftertaste (MyPre is really bad for this) but C4 has managed to avoid this.
At the instructed dose of 1 scoop/500ml, this is a really mixable product. I’ve also used 1.5-2 scoops, and this seemed to mix well, too. There’s a little powder left in the bottom, but it’s really no big issue and you’re not chugging lumps of pre-workout powder.
The Final Verdict
Overall, the experience of using C4 original pre-workout was pretty good. It’s brought about some positive effects and the ingredients list is solid.
The longevity of the focus that comes from this product was good, and I definitely felt better for having used it instead of my usual approach. The tingles were a little shocking, but the reliance on supplementary ingredients and micronutrients is a plus.
As we mentioned, C4 is a staple on the market. It’s a consistent, effective product that does what it says. It might not be a niche-perfect product, but it’s built for everyone, and that might make it perfect if you’re looking for a simple, effective, sustainable pre-workout supplement.
Overall, a really solid product for good gym performance, but perhaps not the perfect product if you’ve got something specific in mind. The more specific your goals, the less perfect this product will be for you.
C4 Original Pre Workout
- Great experience: there really is a hard-to-describe “ready to go” feeling that out-performs some other products, and most other forms of pre-workout stimulants (e.g. energy drink or coffee).
- Great on the basic secondary ingredients – aimed at strength, endurance, focus, and pumps
- Good price
- An all-rounder, aimed at improving performance across the range of training styles/goals
- Using arginine – even AAKG – instead of citrulline is inferior. This would be an easy improvement to a great product
- It doesn’t provide a strong unique selling point/superiority, which is the other side of being a comprehensive, well-rounded product.
Last update on 2020-02-20 UTC -5 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API - Details