*Disclaimer: I am not sponsored, endorsed, or compensated in any way for my reviews. They are 100% my opinion used to help you make an informed purchase.
Cellucor's C4 is a decent pre-workout supplement and it is definitely a popular supplement among a large portion of gym-goers. However it is lacking some key ingredients and doesn't include enough of others. I'll go into the details of those ingredients below:
Vitamins and Minerals
C4 contains many B vitamins such as Niacin (aka Vitamin B3), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid. However, the dosages are either severely overdosed (583%DV of B12?! ) or aren't necessary in a pre-workout, especially if you are already taking a multivitamin. In addition to B vitamins, C4 also contains a large amount of Vitamin C, which is also unnecessary if you are taking a multivitamin. Finally, C4 contains a very small amount of Calcium. All of these vitamins and minerals can be helpful if you have a poor diet, but there have been no studies that I'm aware of that show that these dosages will help prepare your body for an intense workout.
In addition to the vitamins and minerals mentioned above, C4 contains other ingredients that have been shown in clinical studies to provide some benefit during your workouts, however the dosages are too small.
Beta Alanine - Beta Alanine is an amino acid that has been proven to reduce exercise-induced fatigue, improve anaerobic capacity, and increase potential workload. However, studies have shown that the clinically effective dosages need to range from 4 to 10 grams. C4 only contains 1.6 grams of beta alanine per serving, meaning that you would need to take at least 3 servings to reach an effective dosage of beta alanine.
Creatine Nitrate - Creatine nitrate is a form of creatine that is bound with nitrate. There have been hundreds of studies that show that taking creatine can help you build more strength, muscle endurance, and recover faster from workouts. It is recommended that you take around 5 grams of creatine in order to maximize the effects. However, C4 only contains 1 gram of creatine nitrate, meaning that you would need to take 5 servings in order to consume an effective dosage of creatine.
Arginine - Arginine is used to help increase your body's nitric oxide levels, which can increase growth hormone levels. And while spiking your growth hormone levels can have anticatabolic effects, it's not going to stimulate the growth of skeletal muscle or increase strength. Furthermore, the 1 gram of arginine in each serving of C4 will not even spike your growth hormone levels enough to take advantage of the anticatabolic effects.
Explosive Energy Blend - C4's Explosive Energy Blend is just a blend of stimulants like caffeine. Caffeine can be helpful in a pre-workout since it gives you a jolt of energy, helps speed up your metabolism, improves mental performance, and improves your mood. However, caffeine has not been shown to directly stimulate muscle growth, improve strength, or improve muscle recovery.
Overall, Cellucor's C4 contains a fairly weak dosage of effective ingredients mixed with some vitamins and stimulants. I do notice a tingling feeling from the beta alanine and the stimulants get me pumped up for my workout. Because of that, it's not a terrible pre-workout supplement, but it could be better. The taste of C4 also bumps up its score. My favorite flavors are the watermelon and icy blue razz. This definitely isn't a pre-workout that you have to choke down. If you've never tried Cellucor's C4, ask your local supplement store for sample sizes to see if you like it before buying an entire container. It's a good brand to start with if you're new to pre-workouts, but it's a little pricey due to its popularity (not its effectiveness).
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