If anyone asked me to recommend a pre-workout, I would point to Cellucor C4. I literally cannot say enough good things about it. The ingredients really seem to work for me. As someone who caffeine doesn’t affect too much, this stuff is a gold mine. The energy it provides at 5 am are nothing short of miraculous.
I have been using this stuff for years to help with energy levels during my workouts, which last anywhere between 20 minutes (HIIT days) and an hour plus (leg day). I love it.
What is in it?
The label lists the usual Vitamin C, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, and Vitamin B12 as found in most other pre-workouts.
You didn’t come here that, though. You want to know HOW it works. As far as the stuff you are looking for in a pre-workout, the current recipe (as of May 2019) contains:
- 1.6g CarnoSyn Beta Alanine
- 1g Creatine Nitrate
- 1g Arginine
- 425mg ‘Explosive Energy Blend’ (N-Acetyl, L-Tyrosine, 150mg Caffeine Anhydrous, Velvet Bean seed extract, and Theacrine)
For reference, 150mg of caffeine is equivalent to about 1.5C of coffee.
Beta-alanine: Aids in the production of Carnosine, which helps keep your energy levels higher, longer.
Arginine: Converts to nitric oxide, expanding the blood vessels, allowing better cellular nourishment and better performance.
Creatine Nitrate: Works to increase muscular endurance by increasing the ATP stores in muscle fiber.
N-Acetyl: Multi-use amino acid that helps with protein synthesis, tissue growth, and functions as an antioxidant.
L-Tyrosine: Norepenephrine and dopamine precursor, more than likely included to avoid the body having to spend phenylalanine to produce it, instead reserving the bodily supply of phenylalanine to do other things.
The fruit punch flavor is amazing in my opinion. It isn’t too tart or too sweet for pretty much anyone to handle and consistently ranks high on any review that I have read.
I prefer slightly stronger tastes so I use less water than what the label recommends, but if you were to follow the listed directions and use the full 6oz of water recommended you wouldn’t be disappointed.
Anyone I know who has tried this Cellucor pre-workout loves the flavor palette. Their Pink Lemonade flavor is the most popular, with Blue raspberry also being a huge fan favorite. I found the Pink Lemonade to be a bit too tart for me, personally, however.
Occasionally, I have had a bottle be a bit grainier than others but it has never been intolerable. Most of the graininess I have come across is more user error (not stirring it well enough).
As with any powdered substance, it is possible to become grainy if exposed to moisture. Stir it properly and use the right amount of water and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Benefits of C4
I mix one scoop with about 4.5oz of water every morning Mon-Fri around 5:15am. By 5:30am I feel like I could (should?) go pick up a house.
My mental clarity is insane for a few hours after taking this product, helping me to focus completely on the task at hand. I have broken more than one personal record while using C4.
Unlike other pre-workouts I have tried, I don’t have the jitters and there is no crash when the product is wearing off. The amount of caffeine in a serving seems to be just right for me. Anything more and I crash. Hard.
The only problem I have with this pre-workout is the amount of dye in the drink. Even when mixed with the higher end of recommended water it is darker than most Kool-aids. If they were to cut back on the dye 50-70% it would still be pretty bright. Aside from that, I don’t really have too many complaints.
Cellucor C4 can be bought at most any health and fitness retailer, but I buy the 30 serving bottle at GNC for $30. The 60 serving container can be bought for $49.99.
How does it feel, though?
As a disclaimer: I. Hate. Jitters. Most people do. They are unpleasant, annoying, and can be a distraction. Jitters are usually brought on, at least in my case, by too much caffeine.
This stuff doesn’t give me the shakes like other supplements I have tried. C4 is literally just the right amount of energy and focus condensed into powder form.
One of the best things about this it is that I haven’t suffered a crash when it wears off. Ever. You come down slowly, which allows me to get back to normal over a period of time. Admittedly, I have never tried the other ‘levels’ of this product (Sport, Zero, Ripped, Extreme Energy), so I don’t know if they cause the jitters.
If you are looking for a good way to kick off a workout session, regardless of your fitness level or goal (weight loss, bulking, being more health conscious), Cellucor C4 Original makes an impressive pre-workout
It doesn’t have as much caffeine as other brands but the flavor profile is exactly where it should be. Between the mental clarity and the pump provided by C4, you will be ready to face the world (or the gym). I wouldn’t miss out on it.
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