C4 powder is a popular pre-workout supplement made by Cellucor, a leading fitness and nutrition company. C4 stands for "Cellucor 4th Generation" formula, indicating it has been reformulated and updated several times to remain effective.
C4 powder is designed to give you an energy boost, increase focus and stamina, and help you power through tough workouts. It contains a blend of ingredients like caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, and amino acids to achieve these effects.
C4 comes in powder form that you mix with water and drink before working out. It's available in several delicious flavors like fruit punch, watermelon, and blue razz. The powder dissolves quickly in water with a few shakes.
Key Ingredients in C4 and How They Work
C4 is an intelligently designed formula containing research-backed ingredients shown to enhance workout performance. Let's look closer at some of the key ingredients.
C4 contains 150mg of caffeine per serving from sources like caffeine anhydrous. As a reference, a cup of coffee has around 100mg of caffeine.
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that mobilizes fat for fuel and enhances muscle contractions. Multiple studies confirm caffeine can boost strength and power output, leading to better workouts.
By providing an energy kick, caffeine also allows you to maintain higher training intensity and volume. The 150mg in C4 is enough to fuel a tough workout without causing side effects in most people.
Creatine is perhaps the most widely researched sports supplement of all time. It occurs naturally in foods like beef and fish. Your body also produces some creatine in the liver and kidneys.
When taken as a supplement, creatine increases intramuscular stores of phosphocreatine. This extra fuel allows you to lift heavier weights and train harder before hitting fatigue.
Numerous studies confirm creatine directly increases lean muscle mass and strength. The 1 gram per serving in C4 supplies a clinical dose to boost your power output and gains.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that combines with histidine in muscle to form carnosine. Carnosine plays a crucial role in buffering acids that cause muscle burn and fatigue during intense exercise.
Supplementing with beta-alanine has been shown to elevate carnosine levels by up to 80%, promoting significant strength and endurance gains.
The beta-alanine in C4 also provides the "tingles" - a harmless and common side effect that lets you know it's working. The tingles fade with sustained use as carnosine levels increase.
In addition to performance-enhancing ingredients, C4 contains vitamins for general health:
- Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that supports immune function and tissue repair. Also enhances nitric oxide levels for muscle pumps.
- Niacin: Helps convert nutrients into cellular energy and rebuild muscle glycogen stores after workouts. Also promotes blood flow.
- Vitamin B6: Plays over 100 crucial enzymatic roles in the body. Helps convert nutrients to energy and regulate glycogen for sustained workouts.
- Vitamin B12: Supports red blood cell formation, neurological function, DNA synthesis, and fatty acid metabolism for energy production.
Adding these essential vitamins makes C4 a more complete formula to enhance overall exercise performance and recovery.
Key Takeaway: C4 contains ingredients like creatine, caffeine, beta-alanine, and vitamins that are extensively studied and scientifically shown to boost workout performance, energy, strength, endurance, and recovery from exercise.
C4 Product Line: Which One is Right for You?
With the success of the original C4 pre-workout, Cellucor has expanded the product line to provide more specialized formulas catering to different fitness goals and preferences.
Below is an overview of the Cellucor C4 product line:
|The classic pre-workout; explosive energy from caffeine/nootropics
|Anyone seeking enhanced energy, performance
|Creatine-free formula plus fat-burning ingredients
|Fitness enthusiasts cutting weight
|NSF Certified for athletes; bolder flavors
|Competitive athletes of any sport
|Ultra-high 170mg caffeine plus nitric oxide boosters
|Hardcore bodybuilders/elite athletes
|C4 Natural Zero
|Naturally sweetened, 100mg caffeine, NSF Certified
|Anyone avoiding artificial sweeteners/dyes
The original C4 formula provides a balanced pre-workout for enhanced energy, strength, endurance, and focus. It's versatile enough for any fitness level or goal.
C4 Ripped enhances fat burning for those seeking to cut weight and get a lean physique. With ingredients like green coffee bean extract, cayenne pepper extract, and L-carnitine, it also provides clean energy without creatine or calories.
For competitive athletes, C4 Sport is NSF Certified, meaning it's been independently tested and deemed safe/effective by a globally-recognized organization. The bolder flavors and caffeine/creatine supply energy even elite athletes demand.
C4 Ultimate cranks up the intensity to the maximum, containing a whopping 300mg caffeine plus bitter orange extract for extreme energy. With 6 grams of citrulline for nitric oxide boosting muscle pumps and zero sugar, it's made for hardcore bodybuilders but packs too strong a punch for casual gym-goers.
Finally, C4 Natural Zero caters to those with sensitivity to artificial sweeteners or seeking clean supplements. Naturally flavored and sweetened with sucralose and stevia, it provides an onset of clean energy and performance.
No matter your sport, fitness level, or goals - C4 offers a pre-workout to take your game to the next level.
How to Use C4 Pre-Workout for Maximum Results
To get the most out of C4 pre-workout powder, follow these guidelines:
- Timing: Take one serving 20-30 minutes before your workout. The ingredients need ample time to enter the bloodstream and take effect but not long enough that the benefits wear off before you’re ready to hit the weights.
- Dosing: Stick to the recommended one serving (one scoop) to assess tolerance, especially if new to pre-workouts. Most versions contain 150-350mg caffeine per serving. More is NOT better when it comes to dosing pre-workout.
- Mixability: Mix one level scoop thoroughly in 6-8 oz cold water until dissolved completely, then consume the entire cup. You can use shaker bottles but glass/metal drinkware helps mixing ability.
- Cycling: Avoid taking C4 every single day. Your energy levels may dip from building up too much tolerance to the caffeine and other stimulants. Cycle off for one week after every 2-3 weeks using C4 for maximum results.
- Hydration: Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after workouts to offset sweating and promote delivery of nutrients to muscles. Dehydration can hinder the benefits of taking any pre-workout supplement.
When used properly and cycled appropriately, C4 can take your training intensity and progress to the next level session after session!
To maximize results with C4 pre-workout powder:
- Take 1 scoop 20-30 minutes pre-workout
- Mix thoroughly with 6-8 oz cold water
- Never exceed 1 serving per workout
- Cycle off 1 week after every 2-3 weeks taking C4
- Stay properly hydrated before, during, and after training
Is C4 powder safe? Are there side effects?
When taken as directed, C4 is generally safe and well-tolerated for most healthy individuals. However, overdosing on C4 powder or exceeding label recommendations can increase the risk of side effects.
Potential side effects, usually from taking too much, may include:
- Anxiety, jitteriness
- Rapid heartbeat
Discontinue use if any side effects are concerning or do not go away.
Some ingredients like beta-alanine can cause a "tingly" feeling on the skin but it is harmless for most people. Those with
Is C4 gluten-free? Keto-friendly? Vegan?
C4 Original is gluten-free and keto-friendly, using gluten-free grain sources and no added sugars. All C4 pres contain zero sugar and carbs so they fit low-carb diets like keto.
However, C4 is not considered vegan or vegetarian since some products contain creatine derived from fish and meat sources. But Cellucor does offer C4 Vegan certified by the Vegan Society for plant-based athletes and those avoiding animal products.
When should you take C4 powder?
The best time is 20-30 minutes before your workout. This gives your body ample time to absorb and utilize key ingredients like creatine and beta-alanine before hitting the weights but not long enough for the effects to wear off.
Taking C4 too close to your workout won't allow your body to properly process the nutrients and boost energy metabolism.
Can you take C4 twice a day?
It's generally not recommended to take C4 more than once per day. There's no added benefits to taking C4 multiple times a day but it will increase your risk of side effects like jitteriness and rapid heartbeat from too much caffeine, creatine, etc.
Stick to one serving 20-30 minutes before your workout then avoid all stimulants after. Read labels carefully for caffeine content if consuming coffee or energy drinks later in the day to prevent going overboard.
Does C4 expire? How long does an open tub last?
If stored in a cool, dry place, unopened containers of C4 typically last 2-3 years past the manufacturing date before expiring. Once opened, try to use C4 powder within 3-4 months before it oxidizes and loses potency.
Proper storage is key - keep your C4 tightly sealed, avoid excess heat/moisture, and use clean/dry utensils every scoop to maximize how long it lasts.
Be sure to reference the expiration date printed on your tub and if the product smells "off" or looks discolored, it's likely gone bad and time to replace.
C4 Original remains one of the most popular and highest quality pre-workout supplements for anyone looking to take their training up a notch.
With four generations of cutting-edge formulations in its arsenal, Cellucor has built an entire line of C4 products catering to all types of fitness enthusiasts.