Pre workout drinks and powders are among the most popular fitness supplements on the market, as the wide reaching ad campaigns have convinced people that they will make reaching your goal much easier.
Yet, while this will be true in some instances, most people have no clue what they are buying.
Pre workouts are usually filled with a long list of ingredients with scientific names that the average person will have never heard of. This can make separating the great pre workouts from the good or even completely useless ones extremely challenging to the untrained eye.
One pre workout that has gained a great deal of popularity in recent times is the Cellucor C4 Extreme Pre Workout.
Made by a reputable brand in the fitness supplement industry, you would think it is likely to be one of the more reliable and effective options on the market; but is it though?
Well, join us, as we conduct the ultimate Cellucor C4 Extreme Pre Workout review, and we can make that decision for ourselves.
Who Are Cellucor?
Cellucor are an American sports nutrition brand based in Austin, Texas and owned by Nutrabolt.
After launching in 2009 in partnership with GNC, they released their first pre workout powder, C4 Extreme Pre Workout, in 2011.
Over the decade plus since, they have gradually expanded and released ranges of protein powders, pre workouts, amino acids, nitric oxide boosters, ready to drink beverages, testosterone boosters, and weight loss supplements, the vast majority of which are NSF certified.
Having established themselves as one of the most popular and successful companies in the industry, their products are now available through major retailers including Costco, Target, and Walmart.
They have even joined with Mars Incorporated to create collaborations, with fitness supplements now available in the flavours of some of the most popular candy and confectionary on the planet.
C4 Extreme Pre Workout Ingredients: What Is It Made Of?
The best way to fully understand any product is to look at the ingredients that make it what it is. That way, you will be able to see exactly what it is capable of doing and know just how it does it, giving you the ability to judge it honestly and fairly.
That is particularly true with pre workouts as, like I mentioned before, they are often filled with a wide range of uncommon components.
With that in mind, before we begin our Cellucor C4 Extreme Pre Workout review, we will examine each of the ingredients that it is made of in great detail.
Caffeine anhydrous is simply regular caffeine in dehydrated form.
Known for its incredible ability to boost energy and reduce fatigue, caffeine is the core component in most pre workouts and energy drinks, as well as drinks like tea and coffee, making it the most commonly used stimulant on Earth.
Beyond its ability boost energy levels and prevent tiredness from setting in, caffeine also has the added benefit of increasing the body’s rate of lipolysis, which is the process that converts stored fat cells into energy. It does this by both raising your metabolism, as well as your internal temperature.
This not only adds to the energy producing effects it is added to the C4 Extreme Pre Workout for, but also allows it to function as a mild fat burner as well.
The 200mg present in each serving is more than enough to provide you with maximal boosts to both your physical energy and mental alertness.
CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine is a patented version of the beta amino acid and is considered to be one of the core ingredients that allows the C4 Extreme Pre Workout to function in the way that it does.
Beta Alanine is a common ingredient in most good pre workouts and is the component responsible for causing the tingling sensation that is synonymous with these types of supplements. Each serving of the C4 Extreme Pre Workout contains a substantial 2 gram portion of their patented variety.
Its primary reason for inclusion in pre workouts is that it converts into carnosine when it reaches the muscle cells, which helps to disperse the lactic acid produced while exercising. This prevents the onset of fatigue and promotes muscular endurance.
Beyond this, beta alanine has also been shown to optimise some of the body’s intramuscular functions, including enhancing both your physical and mental performance, while also increasing metabolism, enabling you to burn fat and produce energy at a higher rate.
Nitramax Citrulline Nitrate (NO3-C)
Cellucor’s patented Nitramax Citrulline Nitrate is a combination of the amino acid citrulline and nitrates, a type of NO salt.
Each compound by itself is known to amplify the effects of nitric oxide on the body, but both become infinitely more effective when used in combination with each other.
The primary role of nitric oxide in the body is to encourage the smooth muscle in the blood vessels to relax, causing the vessels to vasodilate or widen, thereby increasing the blood flow.
By increasing blood flow to the skeletal muscles, you make them feel stronger, creating a sensation bodybuilders and weightlifters commonly refer to as “the pump”, while also enhancing both their performance and endurance.
With 1 gram of Cellucor’s patented Nitramax Citrulline Nitrate in every serving of C4 Extreme Pre Workout, it will maximise the presence and performance of nitric oxide in your body, giving you both the mental and physical support you need to take your workouts to the next level.
Creatine Nitrate (NO3-T)
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound that is essential for the anaerobic production of energy in humans to continue occurring beyond just a few seconds.
One of the most popular fitness supplements on the market, it is proven to improve both performance and appearance.
The effect it has on the production of energy allows you to work out harder for longer, pushing your body to greater lengths and making larger improvements.
Meanwhile, its ability to retain water gives the muscles a larger look and a pumped feeling, both of which enhance mental focus and drive.
Beyond this, the form of creatine used in the C4 Extreme Pre Workout is also bonded with nitrates. This allows it to function as an NO booster, making the effects of the included Nitramax Citrulline Nitrate more potent in the process.
1 gram of this two in one performance and pump amplifier is included in every serving of the C4 Extreme Pre Workout.
Huperzine A is a type of alkaloid found in plants known as firmosses and is a known inhibitor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which affects the ability of the central nervous system to send the impulses required to make muscles contract.
It is a substance not normally found in fitness supplements, as its most commonly utilised benefits include its ability to enhance memory, learning, concentration, and other mental functions, as well as improve quality of sleep. It is even being trialled as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
However, the improved sleep and concentration it offers can both be incredibly beneficial to workouts as well.
Better sleep will make you more energetic during sessions, allowing you to train harder, while being more restful will also give your muscles more opportunity to repair.
Meanwhile, improved concentration allows for a better mind muscle connection to be made during your workouts, increasing the productivity and muscular improvements achieved in each session. A 50 mcg dose of Huperzine A is included in each serving of the C4 Extreme Pre Workout.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine is an amino acid derivative of the primary amino acid tyrosine, the main goal of which is to regulate the neurotransmitter levels in plasma.
Studies have shown that it is incredibly effective for allowing people to retain full mental and physical ability when in stressful situations, such as when they are cold, fatigued, sleep derived, or required to perform prolonged periods of physical activity.
This makes the 200mg of N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine present in each serving of the C4 Extreme Pre Workout perfect for keeping you focused and upbeat during the long, physically taxing workouts you will be required to complete in order to achieve your goals.
How Healthy Is The C4 Extreme Pre Workout?
The C4 Extreme Pre Workout is designed primarily to produce results, rather than promoting health.
Being made from a number of chemicals that alter your body’s functions and featuring a variety of artificial colours and flavours means it is never going to be classed as a traditionally “healthy” drink.
However, that doesn’t automatically mean it is unhealthy either. Containing zero sugar and no calories, it can conveniently be added to your daily routine without worrying about it making you gain weight or develop conditions like diabetes.
It also gives you the ability to enhance your physical performance, helping you to train harder in the gym and make changes that will improve your health.
So, whether or not C4 Extreme Pre Workout is healthy or not really depends on your own perspective. That said, it certainly isn’t unhealthy.
Does The C4 Extreme Pre Workout Have Any Side Effects?
The ingredients found in Cellucor’s C4 Extreme Pre Workout have been linked to a large number of side effects.
These include addiction, anxiety, bloating, dehydration, diarrhoea, dizziness, excessive saliva production fatigue, fainting, flushing, headaches, increased heart rate, indigestion, insomnia, irregular heartbeats, low blood pressure, muscle cramps and twitching, nausea, restlessness, shaking, sweating, slurred speech, vomiting, weight gain, and damage to the kidneys and liver.
Many are also not usually recommended for those pregnant or breastfeeding, while some can cause interactions with other medications, such as beta blockers, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and other cholinergic agents, and a range of heart medicines, which could be potentially harmful.
However, the doses found in Cellucor’s C4 Extreme Pre Workout are reasonably low and are only present in quantities which are just enough to produce the desired effects.
This has led to it being classed as relatively safe for use by most people, although it should still be avoided by anyone who is allergic to any of its ingredients or dealing with any of the situations listed above.
Cellucor C4 Extreme Pre Workout Review
The Cellucor Extreme Pre Workout features a potent blend of caffeine, creatine, amino acids, nitrates, and more, which is carefully balanced to provide the mental and physical support you need to power through your workouts and achieve your goals as quickly as possible.
Available in a range of 7 flavours, which includes fruit punch, icy blue razz, midnight cherry, sour batch bros, twisted lemonade, ultra frost, and watermelon, it is one of the best tasting pre workouts on the market and has an option to suit people of all tastes.
It relies primarily on natural flavourings and contains zero sugar or calories, so is a great choice for anyone concerned about gaining weight or consuming too many artificial products. It is also suitable for use by both men and women, so there are no limits to who can use it to reach their goals.
It is available in both 30 and 60 serving tubs, which retail at $34.99 and $41.77, respectively. This means servings start at $1.16 each and can go as low as just 70 cents per drink.
This makes the C4 Extreme Pre Workout incredibly good value, especially for a product produced by a company as established and reputable as Cellucor.
- Available in a good range of great tasting flavours
- Provides both the mental and physical support required to effectively fuel your workouts
- Offers extremely good value, especially when purchased in the larger tubs
- Relies on natural flavourings and features no sugar or calories
- Produced by an established and reputable company
- Can be hard to get hold of outside of the United States
- Some of the ingredients are known to cause side effects or interact with certain medications
- Not suitable for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
Alternatives To The C4 Extreme Pre Workout
The C4 Extreme Pre Workout is undoubtedly a fantastic pre workout supplement and one that will meet the needs of almost anyone looking for such a product extremely well.
That said, as with any product, there will be those who feel that it is not right for them, for one reason or another.
With that in mind, I will now show you some of the best C4 Extreme Pre Workout alternatives on the market. This should hopefully ensure that everyone goes away knowing exactly what supplement they want to buy, to help them achieve their goals.
BSN N.O.-XPLODE Pre Workout is the original pre workout supplement and remains one of the most popular pre workouts on the planet to this day.
With a legacy like it has, you can have complete confidence that this is a product that will get you where you need to go as fast as possible.
It utilises an insane blend of caffeine, amino acids, creatine, vitamins, minerals, nootropics, and various other natural compounds, to produce one of the most powerful stimulant supplements you will find.
Available in a choice of 6 great tasting flavours that includes blue razz, fruit punch, grape, jungle juice, razzle dazzle, and watermelon, there are plenty of options to keep people of all preferences coming back for more.
The BSN N.O.-XPLODE Pre Workout is available in a 30 serving tub for $36.99, a 48 serving tub for $57.40, and a 60 serving tub for $61.73, working out at $1.23 per serving, £1.20 per serving, and $1.03 per serving, respectively.
- One of the most powerful pre workout supplements on the market
- Has an incredible legacy as an effective supplement
- Available in a good choice of flavours
- Is sold in countries around the world
- Adds multiple ingredients that benefit health as well as performance
- Contains 5 grams of sugar, as well as a small number of calories
- Not as good value as some other alternatives
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout, formerly known as Platinum Pre, is a pre workout supplement designed using only ingredients of the highest quality.
Its blend of caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, acetyl l-carnitine HCL, and n-acetyl-l-tyrosine is incredibly similar to what is found in the C4 Extreme Pre Workout, yet it is fortified with multiple vitamins, allowing it to offer greater benefits to your overall health.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre comes in 30 serving tubs and is available in 4 different flavours. Blueberry lemonade, fruit punch, and watermelon candy all retail for $34.99, which works out at $1.17 per serving and is roughly in line with the price of most competing pre workouts.
However, the less popular green apple flavour is available for just $16.29 per tub or 54 cents per serving.
This means those not overly fussed about flavour can get themselves an incredibly effective pre workout that offers better value than almost anything else on the market.
Vitamin D for Immune Support, with Creatine, Beta-Alanine, and Caffeine for Energy, Keto Friendly, Watermelon Candy, 30 Servings (Packaging May Vary)
- Great value, especially with specific flavours
- Made using only the highest quality ingredients
- Uses a potent blend of mentally and physically stimulating substances
- Fortified with vitamins to enhance overall health
- Available in countries around the world
- Quantities of some of the ingredients are lower than in other similar products
- Contains a small amount of sugar and calories
Animal Fury Pre Workout Powder is part of the legendary Animal Stak muscle building routine, which is designed to maximise your physical performance and development.
The formula of BCAAs, beta-alanine, caffeine anhydrous, citrulline malate, and L-tyrosine works in unison to provide stimulation during your sessions, while simultaneously helping to fuel and repair the muscles for better development.
Available in a choice of 5 flavours that includes blue raspberry, green apple, ice pop, orange, and watermelon, there should be enough options to keep people of all tastes happy.
Sold in a 20 serving container for $24.75 and a 30 serving container for $32.94, it works out at $1.24 per serving and $1.10 per serving, respectively. This puts it right in the middle of the average price range of the comparable products on the market.
- Offers reasonably good value
- Helps to build and repair muscle, in addition to fuelling your workouts
- Incredibly high dose of caffeine provides a great energy boost
- Available in a good range of flavours
- Can be used as part of the famous Animal Stak muscle building regime
- Servings are larger than some similar products, which can leave users feeling bloated while they train
- The high dose of caffeine can result in greater crashes and come downs
C4 Energy is a product that takes everything Cellucor knows about pre workout supplements and adds it to a traditional energy drink.
This makes it a perfect option for those on the go, who don’t want to be carrying shakers or tubs of powder around with them.
Made using their patented blend of caffeine and CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine, it provides a similar mental and physical kick to your workouts, while the addition of certain vitamins and superfood ingredients offers added support against dehydration.
Like their traditional pre workout powders, C4 Energy is completely sugar and calorie free. It is also available in a whopping 16 different flavours to choose from.
This includes their regular line up of arctic snow cone, cherry limeade, cotton candy, frozen bombsicle, midnight cherry, orange slice, purple frost, sour batch bros, strawberry watermelon ice, tropical blast, and twisted lemonade, as well as the Skittles, and Starburst cherry, lemon, orange, and strawberry flavours they have made in collaboration with Mars Incorporated.
The 12oz cans are available in packs of 12 for $18.79 and packs of 24 for $37.99, both of which work out at $1.57 per can.
A pack of 12 16oz cans is also available for $28.49, which works out at $2.37 per can. Single cans are also available from in store retailers, yet are not currently available online.
- Incredibly convenient and great for use on the go
- Available in an astounding number of great flavours
- Contains zero sugar or calories
- Features a blend of performance enhancing supplements and added vitamins
- Better value than most regular energy drinks when bought in bulk
- Not as potent or cost effective as traditional pre workout powders
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Before we wrap up our ultimate C4 Extreme Pre Workout review, I want to quickly address a few of the most frequently asked questions people have about the supplement.
This will help to ensure everyone has a completely clear picture of the product, allowing them to definitively make their own conclusion on whether or not it is right for them.
Is C4 Extreme Pre Workout A Fat Burner?
C4 Extreme Pre Workout is not designed as a fat burner.
It is a pre workout supplement, the main aim of which is to provide users with the energy and mental focus to complete more challenging workouts, so that they can achieve greater results.
However, two of the ingredients included in the C4 Extreme Pre Workout, beta-alanine and caffeine, are common ingredients in fat burning supplements, as they increase your body’s lipolytic, metabolic, and thermogenetic rates, all of which enhance the rate at which your body burns fat.
So, while the C4 Extreme Pre Workout isn’t designed as a fat burner, it can offer some similar qualities, making it a good pre workout choice for those who are hoping to improve their body composition.
Will The C4 Extreme Pre Workout Help You Build Muscle?
The C4 Extreme Pre Workout doesn’t contain any key nutrients like protein or carbohydrates, so will not directly help you to build muscle.
However, it does allow you to complete longer, more intense workouts, which are the best way of achieving muscular development.
So, while the C4 Extreme Pre Workout won’t directly lead to gains in muscle on its own, it is a key component to helping you make the necessary changes to achieve that aim as quickly as possible.
Those after a product specifically to help them build muscle will be better off turning to a protein powder, or even using one in combination with a pre workout.
The Vega Sport Protein powder is a fabulous option, which will meet the needs of the vast majority of people.
Then, you also have non-dairy, sugar free, and vegan protein powders, ensuring there are options available for all, no matter your dietary requirements.
How Do You Take The C4 Extreme Pre Workout?
The C4 Extreme Pre Workout is a powdered drink mix.
To consume it, you need to add one level 5.7 gram (0.2 oz) scoop (included in each tub) to 170 ml (6 fl. Oz) of cold water and mix well for at least 30 seconds.
For best results, mix the drink using a shaker bottle.
The drink should then be consumed between 20 to 30 minutes prior to a workout, which will give it plenty of time to take effect.
It should not be consumed within 3 hours of when you intend to go to bed, as this could cause issues such as restlessness and insomnia, due to the high caffeine content.
How Long Will The Effects Of The C4 Extreme Pre Workout Last?
Most people will feel the effects of the C4 Extreme Pre Workout starting to occur from 20 to a maximum of 45 minutes after its consumption.
These effects will then usually last up to 3 hours for most people, while almost everyone should see all the effects wear off after a maximum of 6 hours.
Like with any pre workout, the exact effects and duration may vary, depending on how sensitive you are to any of its ingredients or any of the other supplements and medications you may be taking.
There are ways to estimate the precise duration of the effects of pre workouts, and this is something that is important for those hoping to achieve maximum results from such supplements.
The Cellucor C4 Extreme Pre Workout is a fabulous pre workout supplement.
It does everything you could ask for from a pre workout and more, and it is no wonder that it is one of the most popular supplements of its kind on the market.
While there is always the potential for side effects to occur, and people in certain situations that we have mentioned should avoid it altogether, the vast majority of people will find it to be an incredibly safe and effective way to supercharge their workouts and achieve their goals much faster.
So, whether you are looking at using a pre workout for the first time, getting back on one after taking a break, or simply switching from your regular choice,
I highly recommend giving the C4 Extreme Pre Workout a try and seeing just how beneficial it can be to your results for yourself.
Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine from Alexandria university and is a practicing plastic surgeon. He’s our expert on all things nutrition, medicine, rehabilitation, and flexibility. Dr.Ahmed has been a medical content writer for more than 11 years and his work reached top publications such as the HuffingtonPost