Review Nutrition Pre-Workout

C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout Review (2024)

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In this C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout review, we’ll be looking at one of the strongest pre-workouts on offer from Cellucor.

Overall, if you’re looking for a highly caffeinated pre-workout supplement, this may be a good choice for you, just be aware it does come at a premium price point. Let’s take a closer look!

C4 ultimate pre-workout

C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout Review: Quick Summary

C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout

C4 ultimate item sample
  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Strawberry Watermelon, Arctic Snow Cone, Icy Blue Razz, Orange Mango
  • Caffeine: 300mg
  • Special Ingredients: L-Citrulline, Taurine, Beta-Alanine, Creatine, Betaine
  • Package Information: 326g
  • Serving: 16.3g
  • Company Founded: 2002
  • Recommended by Athletes: Brittany Ann, Scott Mathison, Demi Bagby

Since it was founded in 2002, C4 has easily become one of the most popular pre-workout supplemets on the market. Today we’re looking at one of their strongest offerings, C4 Ultimate.

This supplement has a whopping 300mg of caffeine, making it best suited to those who have plenty of experience with pre-workout. It also contains a solid blend of active ingredients, including Beta-Alanine, Taurine, Betaine, and L-Citrulline. It also contains creatine, although it is dosed too low to produce any meaningful effects, even with consistent use. 

C4 ultimate supplement facts
36.5 EXPERT SCORE

A few minor downsides to this product include the use of artificial sweeteners and coloring, as well as its high price point. However, we believe C4 Ultimate to be a solid all-around pre-workout, especially for experienced users.


Stimulation:0
Taste/Flavor:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Very high stimulation
  • Most active ingredients are effectively dosed
  • Comes from a recognizable, popular brand

Could be better:

  • High price point
  • Made with artificial sweetener and dye

Who and What is C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout For?

C4 Ultimate is a supplement designed to help give athletes a boost before hitting the gym. This is accomplished through a high dose of caffeine and an assortment of additional active ingredients.

C4 ultimate supplement

Because of its high caffeine content, C4 Ultimate is likely best suited to experienced pre-workout users who are used to taking large doses of caffeine at once. The 300mg serving of caffeine will likely be too much for most beginners, and lead to unwanted side effects like upset stomach, heart palpitations, tremors, headaches, and more.

Especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine, you’ll likely be better off taking a milder, or stim-free pre-workout instead of a high-stim supplement like C4 Ultimate. This way you can get the benefits of the other effectively dosed active ingredients without an unnecessarily high amount of caffeine.

C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout Review

Below we’ll be taking a closer look at C4 Ultimate, from its ingredients, flavor, cost, and more. This way you can have a better idea of what you’ll be getting from this supplement.

So, is C4 Ultimate a good pre-workout? Let’s get into it!

1. Overall Ingredient Breakdown

Let’s start by taking a look at the C4 Ultimate ingredients breakdown. Aside from caffeine, C4 Ultimate contains 6 main active ingredients: L-Citrulline, L-Arginine, Taurine, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, and Creatine. We’ll be taking a closer look at each of these ingredients below.

C4 ultimate in one scoop

L-Citrulline

First, the C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout nutrition facts state that it contains 3g total of L-Citrulline as part of the supplements performance blend.

You can expect this dose to provide a boost to endurance exercise performance. L-Citrulline will provide both acute effects from a single dose, and more cumulative chronic effects from consistent use.

L-Arginine

It’s worth noting the “performance blend” that contains L-Citrulline also includes the ingredient L-Arginine. This supplement may be beneficial with aerobic and anaerobic performance, in acute doses of ~10-11g, or chronic doses of ~1.5-2g/day. C4 Ultimate contains 3g, making it more beneficial for these chronic effects.

Taurine

The next ingredient included in this formula is Taurine. Similar to L-Citrulline, this ingredient is mainly used for endurance exercise performance. Each serving contains 1g of Taurine, which appears to be the minimum dose for acute effects.

c4 ultimate powder in scoop

Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is another common pre-workout ingredient, which is primarily used to reduce lactic acid accumulation. Keep in mind that Beta-Alanine has no acute effects, and will only be beneficial with consistent use. It’s included here at a dose of 3.2g, which should be sufficient to produce noticeable effects after several weeks of supplementation.

Betaine

C4 Ultimate also contains Betaine, which will improve endurance performance and force production. You can expect 1.25g per serving, which is a sufficient, albeit slightly low dose. Like Beta-Alanine, Betaine will only be effective with consistent use.

Creatine

Finally, this supplement also contains 1.5g of Creatine, in the form of Creatine Nitrate which has not been proven effective. While Creatine is an effective supplement, we recommend taking the more standard monohydrate instead of alternative forms. This is because monohydrate is a much better-researched form of this supplement.

C4 ultimate supplement in powder

Also, creatine needs to be taken at a dose of 3-5g, so the dose here is too low to produce meaningful effects. Creatine also has no acute effects, so there’s no real reason to take it as part of a pre-workout. To get all the benefits of creatine, we recommend taking it on its own.

2. Stimulation

Each serving of C4 Ultimate contains 300mg of caffeine, which is very strong for a pre-workout supplement. While this will be ideal for those with a high caffeine tolerance, pre-workout beginners would likely prefer a milder supplement.

3. Flavor

There is a decent amount of flavor variety with 4 different options available. However, from our experience, C4 Ultimate does not have the most appealing taste.

C4 ultimate supplement in glass of water

It has a sweet and sour flavor profile, but it also has a fairly strong medicine aftertaste. There are plenty of reviews that suggest a pleasant flavor, but from our experience, there are many better-tasting pre-workout supplements available. It also mixes fairly poorly, with a lot of powder typically left at the bottom of the glass.

4. Nutrition Label Transparency

C4 doesn’t advertise any third-party test results in case you’re concerned about the overall quality and potency of this supplement. While C4 is a longstanding, trustworthy brand, some added certification would make this supplement more transparent.

5. Value for Money

Each serving of C4 Ultimate will cost you about ~$2.25, which is fairly pricey for a pre-workout supplement. It’s worth noting that most high-quality, heavily caffeinated pre-workouts do come at a similar price point. However, if you’re alright with a slightly lower stim option, there are plenty of cheaper supplements out there.

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How Do You Use C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout?

As mentioned above, we mainly recommend this product to those who are used to taking pre-workout supplements, or other supplements with large doses of caffeine. We only recommend taking a full serving of C4 Ultimate if you’re confident you can handle such a high dose of caffeine.

C4 ultimate dissolved in water

This supplement may still be good for beginners, although we recommend starting with a half serving and building up the dose to avoid any potential side effects. With that being said, you may be better off simply choosing a more moderately stimulated supplement so you’re getting more effective doses of the active ingredients.

Pre-Workout ExperienceRecommended DoseCaffeine/Serving
Experienced UserFull Serving300mg
BeginnerHalf Serving (or choose a more moderate pre-workout)150mg

C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout Alternatives

Below we’ll be taking a look at 2 other popular pre-workout supplements from Transparent Labs and Huge. This way you can get a better idea of the other options out there, and which supplement is best for you. Let’s get into it!

1. C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout vs Transparent Labs Bulk

Transparent Labs Bulk

Transparent labs bulk sample
  • Item form: Powder
  • Best for: Overall Athletic Performance, High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Muscular Endurance, Training Volume, Reducing Fatigue, and Pumping Effect
  • Flavors: Strawberry Kiwi, Piña Colada, Blue Raspberry, Black Cherry, Peach Mango, Tropical Punch, and Sour Grape.
  • Caffeine (mg): 200
  • Special ingredients: Beta-Alanine, Citrulline, and Betaine.
  • Package information: 30 servings per tub
  • Price per serving: ~$1.67
  • Recommended by athletesKelsey HensonHafþór Júlíus Björnsson, and Paul Sklar 

First, we’ll be taking a look at Transparent Labs’ flagship pre-workout, Bulk. Each serving of Bulk contains 200mg of caffeine, making it much more moderate than C4 Ultimate.

This supplement contains a similar active ingredient breakdown with 8g of Citrulline Malate, 4g of Beta-Alanine, and 1.3g of Taurine. While it doesn’t contain any creatine, it does contain 2.5g of Betaine, which will help with endurance and force production with consistent use.

Bulk comes in a solid 13 different flavors. Each serving also costs ~$1.67, which is significantly cheaper than C4 Ultimate. Overall, this would make a great choice for anybody who wants a slightly more moderate and cost-effective pre-workout.

2. C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout vs HUGE Wrecked Pre-Workout

HUGE Wrecked Pre-Workout

Huge wrecked pre workout item
  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best for: Overall Exercise Performance, High-Intensity Performance, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect, Mental Focus
  • Flavor: Watermelon Slush, Raspberry Mojito, Bomb Popsicle, Rainbow Burst, Peach Rings, Sour Gummy
  • Caffeine: 175 mg
  • Special Ingredients: L-Citrulline, Beta Alanine, Betaine Anhydrous
  • Package Information: 40 Servings per container
  • Serving: 1 Scoop (15.5 g)
  • Recommended by Athletes:  Oliver Forslin, Matt Greggo, Mo Samuels

Next, we’ll also be looking at Huge’s Wrecked pre-workout. Wrecked is the mildest supplement we’ve covered so far with 125mg of caffeine per serving, and 50mg of Di-Caffeine Malate.

Its main active ingredients are 4g of L-Citrulline, 1.75g of Beta-Alanine, and 1.5g of Betaine. These are all fairly low doses, but should still be effective. If you’re interested in getting stronger stimulation and higher doses of the active ingredients, you could take a double dose!

Wrecked comes in 7 different flavors, which is in between Transparent Labs and C4. Each single serving will cost ~$1.25, making this the cheapest option we’ve covered.

FAQ

What is C4 Ultimate Good For?

C4 Ultimate is good for providing a strong amount of stimulation thanks to a solid 300mg of caffeine. As a result, we mainly recommend this supplement for people used to taking large doses of caffeine. This supplement will also provide several ergogenic benefits, mainly thanks to active ingredients Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, and Taurine.

Does C4 Ultimate Have Creatine?

C4 Ultimate does contain creatine. However, it only contains 2g of creatine per serving which is likely too small of a dose to produce any meaningful effects, even with daily use. As a result, we recommend taking creatine on its own if you want to maximize the benefits of this powerful supplement.

How Much Caffeine is in C4 Ultimate?

The C4 Ultimate caffeine content is 300mg per serving, which is strong even by most pre-workout standards. As a result, we mainly recommend this product to experienced pre-workout users used to large doses of caffeine. While beginners can still use this supplement, we recommend starting with a half dose to avoid any potential side effects.

C4 ultimate in glass of water

Conclusion

Overall, C4 Ultimate is a solid pre-workout supplement, especially if you want a high dose of caffeine. It also contains effective doses of L-Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, and Taurine for added ergogenic effects. The main downsides are the cost and additional active ingredients, but this is an otherwise great choice for a pre-workout supplement. We hope our Cellucor C4 Ultimate Pre-Workout reviews can help you make a more informed choice!

Are you looking to give C4 Ultimate a try? Have you ever tried any pre-workout supplements? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Also read:

References:

  1. Caffeine, “The Dangers of Caffeine,” Health, University of Utah, https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/2023/08/dangers-of-caffeine (Accessed Feb. 18, 2024)
  2. Wethington, L. N. “The Ergogenic Effects of Acute Citrulline Malate Supplementation on
    Weightlifting Performance in Trained Females.” Health, Human Performance and Recreation
    Undergraduate Honors Theses. (2016).
  3. Aitor Viribay, et. al, “Effects of Arginine Supplementation on Athletic Performance Based on Energy Metabolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Nutrients. May; 12(5): 1300. (2020).
  4. Kurtz, J.A. et al. “Taurine in sports and exercise.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr 18, 39 (2021).
  5. McGonigle, B, et. al, "EFFECTS OF BETA-ALANINE ON ANAEROBIC PERFORMANCE," International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 8: Iss. 8, Article 67. (2020). https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol8/iss8/67/
  6. Apicella, Jenna M., "The Effect of Betaine Supplementation on Performance and Muscle Mechanisms" Master's Theses. 109 (2011).
  7. Kreider RB, et. al, “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr. Jun 13;14:18. (2017).
  8. Apicella, Jenna M., "The Effect of Betaine Supplementation on Performance and Muscle Mechanisms" Master's Theses. 109 (2011).
  9. All photos are made by our Torokhtiy Media Team.

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David Sasha Schulz avatar

Author: David Sasha Schulz
Doctor of Chiropractic, BSc Human Biology, CSCS

Chiropractor – 4 years
Strength coach (CSCS) – 10 years

Sasha is a Chiropractor and Kinesiologist practicing in Kelowna, BC, Canada. He has been practicing Chiropractic since 2019, integrating manual therapy, strength training and programming principles, and nutritional strategies to get his patients optimal results. He currently scratches the competitive itch in fitness, and the occasional endurance race, and plays golf and snowboards for fun. He has an interest in all strength and fitness-related sports.

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