I almost always have something before I workout to give me some extra energy or motivation to push myself in whatever I’m doing that day.
I’ve gone the preworkout supplement route but I’ll also do an energy drink or just a regular cup of coffee or shot of espresso too. I’ve had good results in terms of energy with basically anything that has a decent amount of caffeine in it.
I was using BSN’s N.O. Xplode for a while and I liked it, but when I ran out I didn’t buy another because I felt basically the same whether I had that or just an energy drink before training.
That was a few years ago though, and I wanted to give preworkouts another shot, so I looked into what’s out there now and saw that Cellucor’s C4 was getting some good reviews. So I decided to check it out.
The Cellucor C4 Lineup
C4 has a huge amount of different variations out there. There’s original, 50x, ripped, mass, on the go, and a bunch more.
Of course I was drawn to the “Ultimate” version since it’s supposed to be their best formula. I figured might as well go for the top shelf offering here.
So let’s get down to business.
What Ingredients Are in C4 Ultimate?
On the Cellucor website, they claim that C4 ultimate is not for the weak or weekend warrior, that it’s instead only for people looking to truly “find out what they’re made of” during their workouts.
Sounds good, but I’ve heard marketing hype before. So what kind of ingredients do they have to back up these claims?
C4 Ultimate promises to help not only with focus and energy but also with endurance, strength, and recovery. The laundry list of ingredients include:
– CITRULLINE MALATE – a precursor to L-Arginine that is supposed to help give you better blood flow and muscle pumps
– BETA-ALANINE – to enhance muscle endurance
– CREATINE NITRATE – a form of creatine that is claimed to be more bioavailable than creatine monohydrate
– BETAINE – claimed to improve strength and power
– NITROSIGINE – patented form of Arginine that is supposedly more bioavailable
– ARGININE AKG – yes, more Arginine
– TAURINE – claims to help with muscle damage recovery
– N-ACETYL-L-TYROSINE – to help with mood and energy? Unclear how though
– CAFFEINE – what would a preworkout be without it?
– MUCUNA PRURIENS (L-DOPA) – supposedly increases dopamine in the brain
– THEACRINE – another stimulant similar to caffeine
– ALPHA GPC – supposed to help muscle contraction power
– ZEMBRIN – claimed to help cognitive function
– RAUWOLFIA VOMITORIA – claimed to burn fat
– HUPERZINE A – supposedly a nootropic
Obviously this is a ton of ingredients, but most preworkouts like to stack up a lot of different stuff, so this is nothing new.
Compared to other C4 formulas though, C4 Ultimate has a much higher dosage of almost every ingredient, which I really liked to see. You’ll only need one scoop per serving, versus other C4s and preworkouts where you need 2-3.
I’m not going to individually list out the dosage of each one on here, you can go to the Cellucor website and read the fact panel. But so far so good in my opinion.
My Experience Taking C4 Ultimate
I decided to do my usual 30 day review, keeping everything else consistent (workout, diet, etc.) so I could give C4 Ultimate a fair appraisal.
I ran 6 days a week, alternating 3 mile fast runs 3 days a week with 5 mile slower jogs 3 days a week. Aka Monday 3 miles, Tuesday 5, and so on.
Side note, I was going to buy tanning pills to try since I’d be in the sun more with all the running and maybe do a review, but I decided to do one supplement at a time. Just in case there were any weird side effects from anything, I wanted to know which supplement was doing what. So I’m saving that for another review.
Anyway, I ran in the morning, after a small breakfast of either steel cut oats or whole grain toast and jam.
Also, I hit the gym 3 days a week for weights, going Tuesday Thursday Saturday. Tuesday was chest and back, Thursday legs, and Saturday shoulders and arms.
I lifted after work at around 6 pm everyday. This was in addition to the morning run of 5 miles at 7:45 am.
On the 3 days a week that I just ran, I took 1 scoop of C4 Ultimate about 30 minutes before each run. I tried the icy blue razz flavor, which I really liked.
On days that I ran and lifted weights, I had a coffee instead in the morning, and took the C4 30 minutes before lifting weights at night so I could see how it helped with lifting vs. running. Also after work I’m usually pretty tired (who isn’t) so I wanted to take advantage of the energy boost before the gym.
On the label, they say that some people might get a tingling sensation from the beta-alanine. I didn’t really feel anything like that, so no issues there.
First thing I noticed after my first time taking this preworkout is that the energy component is definitely there. C4 Ultimate has 300mg of caffeine per serving, and I definitely could feel it.
On my run I felt charged up and I had plenty of endurance, getting through 3 miles with a near personal best. So far so good.
Next day, I took it before I hit the gym and the same energy boost hit me hard. I had plenty of energy and focus to really push it on the weights and left the gym feeling amazing.
Not surprisingly, I had some trouble getting to sleep that night. I definitely wasn’t used to all the caffeine in it, especially not so late in the day.
I don’t count this as a bad thing against the C4, I mean if you’re taking something to give you energy you can’t complain if you can’t get to sleep after.
After around day 14, I started to notice getting a less energized after taking the C4 Ultimate. I can only guess that I was getting used to it and building up a tolerance.
This is obviously very common with caffeine, and whatever other stimulants in the C4 (like theacrine) just weren’t giving me the same boost as in the first days of my review.
This wasn’t incredibly surprising, since your body will build up a tolerance to basically anything. But the drop off was definitely worth noting.
Also, I kept having trouble falling asleep after taking the C4 before my nighttime weight workouts all the way into the 3rd week of my review. After that it started becoming not so bad. I’m guessing that’s because of the buildup of a tolerance as well.
My Own Recommendations
Overall, I was pretty happy with C4 Ultimate. It didn’t feel like anything revolutionary, but it gave me a solid energy boost before each workout, especially in the first 10 days.
For anyone looking to take this, I’d definitely recommend not taking it after around noon, depending what time you go to bed at night. Especially if you’re not used to massive amounts of caffeine.
I’d suggest trying one scoop in the morning after breakfast and just seeing how it affects you. You could even try a half scoop if you know that you’re sensitive to stimulants.
Also, since your body inevitably builds up a tolerance to any stimulant, I’d recommend saving C4 Ultimate for any time that you really need a big boost before a workout, rather than making it an everyday thing.
Again, if you’re worried about being able to sleep, save it for an early morning workout.
Overall, if you’re looking for a good preworkout to give you an energy boost, I don’t think you can go wrong with C4 Ultimate. At $69.99 for 40 servings it’s a little pricey, but it definitely gives solid performance.
If the amount of stimulants or other ingredients in the Ultimate formula seem too much for you though, you might want to check out another version of the C4 formula.