Cellucor C4 Pre-WorkoutPer 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
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?
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 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.
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 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.