Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Review

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C4 is the flagship product from Cellucor, a Texas-based supplement company that’s about 15 years old. They also sells a pretty decent whey called Cor-Performance and BCAA called Alpha Amino, but C4 is their Big Deal, and America appears to agree: it’s often considered the number one selling pre-workout in the country.

At 150 milligrams per scoop, it’s relatively low in caffeine. That’s about as much as you’ll find in 1.5 cups of coffee, but most pre-workouts have a good 200 milligrams of the stuff. So what else does C4 bring to the table?

Shop C4 HERE.

Cellucor C4 Nutrition and Ingredients

There’s no information about calories, but we do know there are a lot of vitamins: 400 percent of your daily Vitamin C, over 500 percent of your daily B12, and 150 percent of your daily niacin (Vitamin B3). There’s also 62 percent of your daily folic acid (Vitamin B9) and 25 percent of your daily B6.

But those aren’t the main attractions. The most important ingredients are the 1.6 grams of beta alanine, 1 gram of creatine nitrate, 1 gram of arginine alpha ketoglutarate, and the Explosive Energy Blend, which has 150mg of caffeine and an undisclosed amount of n-acetyl l-tyrosine, velvet bean seed extract, and theacrine.

Finally, there are the Other Ingredients: natural & artificial flavors, the anti-caking agent silicon dioxide, the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium, and red food dye number 40.

Cellucor C4 Preworkout Ingredients

Cellucor C4 Benefits and Effectiveness

First of all, the B-vitamins won’t have any effect on your workout unless you happen to be deficient, which is unlikely. Yes, B-vitamins are linked to energy production, but it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean they’re stimulants.

That said, the Vitamin C may help counteract potentially negative effects of the nitrate and reduce cellular damage during exercise, so I was glad to see it in the mix.

Most of the main ingredients are present in large amounts. The 150 milligrams of caffeine is a solid dose, the 1.6 grams of beta alanine has been shown in a few studies to boost endurance, and the creatine nitrate, while not a great source of creatine, does provide a good hit of nitrate. The nitrate converts to nitric oxide, which has been linked to improved blood flow and muscle pumps.

However the product isn’t without problems. I’m never a fan of proprietary blends like the Explosive Energy Blend. It has tyrosine, which acts a little like a stimulant and might improve focus, and the theacrine also acts like caffeine. However, I don’t know how much of these ingredients are present because it’s a proprietary blend.

See Our Top Pre Workout Picks

But the velvet bean extract, while it’s been linked to better production of adrenaline and testosterone, is present in a very small amount, under 150 milligrams. That’s roughly ten percent of the recommended dose. (We can assume this because it appears after the 150 milligrams of caffeine in the ingredients list.)

Finally, the arginine alpha ketoglutarate (AAKG) is meant to help with strength, but studies are very conflicting and there’s no scientific consensus supporting its usage.

Cellucor C4 Price

You can pick up 30 servings for $30, which is the same price as popular competitors Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Pre-Workout, Alpha GX7, and BSN’s N.O.-Xplode. It’s on the upper end of pre-workouts, which tend to range from $25 to $30 for 30 servings.

Cellucor C4 Taste

C4 comes in eight flavors, and we decided to try the Fruit Punch flavor. If you like Fruit Punch flavor, you’ll like this, but don’t expect something that actually tastes like a fruit punch. It tastes like maraschino cherry.

The Takeaway

The main attractions for Cellucor’s C4 here are the caffeine, the creatine nitrate, the beta alanine, and the tyrosine, which come together to make a pretty good cocktail for energy, focus, endurance, and blood flow. It’s also pretty nutritious. I don’t know if the AAKG or the velvet bean seed extract will do much to improve your workout, and the vitamins won’t act as stimulants, but as a caffeine, nitrate, beta alanine, and tyrosine supplement, C4 works. Just make sure you don’t have any issues with artificial ingredients.

Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout

Per Serving: $1.00










  • Solid doses of caffeine, creatine nitrate, and beta alanine
  • May improve blood flow and endurance
  • Vitamin C may have antioxidant effect


  • Contains a proprietary blend
  • Some ingredients aren't particularly well-supported by scientific evidence
  • Contains artificial flavors and sweeteners
Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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