Owned by the Austin, TX-based Nutrabolt, Cellucor has become one of the most recognized names in sports nutrition and supplements since its founding in 2009. With a name like C4, Cellucor gives you the idea of an explosive product for high-performing athletes. C4 has regularly been recognized by industry leaders like GNC and BodyBuilding.com.  

Initial Impressions on C4 Sport Pre Workout

Cellucor keeps the C4 theme going with packaging that vaguely calls to mind caution tape and danger yellow. 

Despite a small tub, C4 includes 30 doses with a small scoop. The extremely fine powder mixes up quickly. While the powder appears white, the Icy Blue Razz mixes up into a slightly distressing, outrageously neon blue. 

Energy Ingredients in C4 Sport Pre Workout   

  • Explosive Energy Blend (425mg)
  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
  • Caffeine Anhydrous 150gm
  • Velvet Bean extract
  • TeaCrine Theacrine

Cellucor C4 isn’t as transparent about some of their ingredients as other manufacturers. They list 425mg of their exclusive Explosive Energy Blend, but out of the four ingredients in the blend, only caffeine anhydrous gets a specific dosage (150mg). 

Now, considering that the FDA-recommended maximum for caffeine is 400mg, and many pre-workout supplements toe the line as closely as they can, 150mg isn’t all that much. It’s a couple of cups of good coffee. 

Nootropic (Focus and Mood) Ingredients in C4 Sport Pre Workout

  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
  • Velvet Bean extract
  • TeaCrine Theacrine

The other ingredients in the Explosive Energy Blend – tyrosine, velvet bean extract, and theacrine – aren’t necessarily energy enhancers, though. More importantly, all three of these are nootropics with brain enhancing effects. 

L-Tyrosine is as well-known nootropic, and the acetyated form is more water-soluble and usable for your body. Velvet bean extract is a little less known, but some early studies have shown potential for mood enhancement and possibly even muscle growth. The jury is still out, though, so we can’t say for certain. Theacrine has similar energy boosting qualities to caffeine, and is naturally occurring in tea and coffee. It has uses for mental clarity as well as energy, just like caffeine. 

We recommend you take these with a grain of salt, particularly as C4 does not give specific dosages. Even effective ingredients need effective dosage to work. 

Anti-Fatigue Ingredients in C4 Sport Pre Workout

  • Beta-Alanine 1.6 g

It’s rare that you see a pre-workout formula today without a solid dose of beta-alanine, simply because of its effectiveness at increasing endurance and holding fatigue at arm’s length. In studies, beta-alanine has been shown to make a noticeable difference in endurance levels for extremely high-intensity workouts – the kind of explosive activity C4 was named for. 

At 1.6g, the beta-alanine in C4 is actually surprisingly low, though still an effective dose. 2.5g is generally considered optimal. It’s quite likely, though, that Cellucor is hoping to avoid the most common complaints about beta-alanine, the infamous skin-crawl. We did not encounter the tingling sensation, so maybe they’ve got the dosage right. 

Pump and Blood Flow Ingredients in C4 Sport Pre Workout  

  • Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate 1 g

While most pre-workout supplements go for L-Citrulline for pump and blood flow, C4 takes the more unusual route of 1g of Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate. AAKG has been shown in studies to have some effect on blood flow, particularly increasing heart rate and blood flow. However, it’s worth mentioning that in those studies, participants were taking 12g per day – 12 times the amount in C4.

However, we realize vasodilation is critical for a good workout. Blood supplies oxygen to the cells, and any way to increase blood flow is a way to increase power, endurance, and recovery. C4 has its heart in the right place, but it might be underpowered. 

Strength Support & Body Composition Ingredients in C4 Sport Pre Workout

  • Creatine nitrate (NO3-T®) 1g

Creatine is ubiquitous in the fitness world because it works. However, it’s not so ubiquitous in pre-workout supplements. Maybe supplement companies expect serious athletes to get their creatine separately; maybe there’s just not demand. Creatine does tend to be cheaper on its own than added into a formula.

However, including 1g of creatine nitrate in C4 is a good move on Cellucor’s part. And choosing creatine nitrate over creatine monohydrate is a good choice too. Creatine nitrate is more soluble and therefore more available for your body than the more common monohydrate version. So even though 1g looks like a small dose, it delivers more than 1g of monohydrate would. 

Electrolyte Ingredients in C4 Sport Pre Workout  

Electrolyte support couldn’t be more important to a workout. In high-intensity exercise, one of the biggest potential issues is electrolyte loss, especially sodium. Electrolytes help your muscles contract and relax, and balance the integrity of your cells. 

Unfortunately, C4 doesn’t include any electrolytes. Is Cellucor assuming their customers will take care of that on their own? Possibly. And most athletes will have their own go-to for electrolytes. But if you’re promising an explosive workout, it would be a good idea to make sure your customers can make it through. 

The Extra Mile: What Else Does C4 Sport Pre Workout have in it?

  • Vitamin C 250mg
  • Niacin 30mg
  • Vitamin B6 500mcg
  • Folate 417mcg
  • Vitamin B12 35mcg

We don’t typically see vitamins in pre-workout formulas, but C4 packs in 5 different vitamins: Vitamin C, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, and Vitamin B12. Four of them are well over FDA daily recommendations. Vitamins aren’t precisely a necessity, but it’s helpful that Cellucor would add in some of the basics to their formula. 

Taste & Flavors of C4 Sport Pre Workout

Cellucor offers C4 in 7 different flavors, including watermelon, fruit punch, and cherry limeade. We tried the Icy Blue Razz flavor. Icy Blue Razz turns out to be a surprisingly good flavor, despite the slightly off-putting bright blue color. Despite being sweetened with sucralose, there is no strong aftertaste. 

Who C4 is For 

C4 is best for athletes who want a lot of energy fast for a high-intensity workout. 

Who C4 is Not For

C4 is not for customers who really want a strong hit of caffeine and beta-alanine. 

Potential Side Effects of C4 Sport Pre Workout

 – No serious side effects that we noticed

Final Verdict 

Cellucor C4 Original Pre-Workout offers a solid formula with a good taste. However, we have to temper our impression since the Explosive Energy Blend formula is a little less than fully transparent.

dumbells on gym floor exposed brick background


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