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Overview of Cellucor C4 Ultimate
Cellucor gets an undeserved bad rap from people because they are a big brand selling to Costco and Walmart. Yes, those formulas are different but they are also for a different consumer. Within their product portfolio they have some impressive stuff, including Cellucor C4 Ultimate.
C4 Ultimate is Cellucor's premium pre-workout featuring exogenous nitrates and full clinical dosages of key ingredients. With a concentration of energy, pump and focus, C4 Ultimate is a pre-workout that should make any lifter happy. Let's stop with the hate and embrace the good. C4 Ultimate is good.
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Testing Results and Ratings
We reviewed Cellucor C4 Ultimate on five categories. We first start by looking at its ingredient profile. This portion of the review looks at the different ingredients used in the pre-workout supplement, what their intention is and how effectively dosed are each ingredient.
We then look at effectiveness. An effective fat burner product will use high quality, proven ingredients, at clinically backed dosages. This is generally an extension of the profile section. The higher quality ingredients used at proper dosages, the more effective that pre-workout will be.
Then we move into the taste of the different flavors we’ve tried. We grade each flavor separately and average the scores for their overall taste rating. We were able to test out the following flavors: Icy Blue Razz and Cotton Candy.
Mixability refers to how well the powder mixes in 6-8oz of water. We use the shaker bottle test. See video above for the full test.
Finally, we talk about value. Value is the combination of profile, effectiveness, taste and mixability in relation to cost. Another part of value are the competitors and other versions of pre-workout products on the market.
This is not your “Costco” or “Walmart” pre-workout from Cellucor. C4 Ultimate uses some pretty hefty dosages of key ingredients that is sure to impress a lot.
We start out with an interesting Citrulline Matrix. We get 4g of pure Citrulline, 1g of Citrulline Malate and 1g of Citrulline Nutrate (as NO3-C). This does not yield a full 6g of Citrulline, but we don’t need it too. Citrulline is the precursor to Arginine in the body. Citrullines #1 responsibility in a pre-workout is to improve blood flow for pumps. The use of Citrulline Nitrate was unique to Cellucor. They were, we believe, the first brand to use it. If this is your first time visiting FI, you know we love nitrates for their ability to drastically improve blood flow.
Beta-Alanine is used at the clinical dosage of 3.2g. This is the CarnoSyn version of Beta-Alanine, a respected and well studied version. Beta-Alanine is about as popular as caffeine these days in pre-workouts. It is because there is solid research behind it that proves it can aid in muscular endurance and buffer lactic acid. This can help you have better workouts overall. Beta-Alanine is an ingredient that should be taken daily, even on your non-workout days.
We get two forms of Creatine, neither being Monohydrate. We get 1g of Creatine HCl as ConCret and 1g of Creatine Nitrate as NO3-T. Both of these are branded versions of nitrates. ConCret made HCl popular with the “micro” dosing, although we still prefer to see Monohydrate over HCl. The use of Creatine Nitrate is again a unique feature and something we have not seen.
Taurine, which can help regulate electrolytes and aid in hydration, as well as “take the edge” off the jitters of caffeine is used at a respectable 1g.
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is a cognitive enhancing ingredient. We typically find this dosed around 750mg. Inside C4 Ultimate we get 400mg. A little lower than we’d like, but the brand does use Alpha GPC as AlphaSize as well. We get 200mg of AlphaSize Alpha GPC. This is higher than we typically see. We normally see this around 100mg, so even though NALT is under where we’d like, they make up for it in a better cognitive ingredient in AlphaSize Alpha GPC.
Caffeine is dosed at 300mg, which is a typical and beneficial dosage of Caffeine these days. If you can’t feel 300mg of Caffeine you might want to consider taking a break.
TeaCrine is used at 62.5mg. We are unsure if this is the full yield, but if it is then this is a good dosage. Compound Solutions, the ones behind TeaCrine recommend 100mg Dynamine and 50-75mg of TeaCrine. No Dynamine in this formula, but that is OK. TeaCrine, which is similar to caffeine without the jitters and is not considered a stim, is used at a good dosage.
Rauwolfia vomitoria root extract (Yohimbine) is used at 1mg. This is a good starting dosage of Yohimbine as some people have a bad reaction to this.
Lastly we get 50mcg of Huperzine A. This is another focus enhancing ingredient. We’d love to see this at a minimum of 100mcg overall, but again we do get NALT and AlphaSize Alpha GPC.
Overall this is a dang good formula. The only thing missing, that we would like to see, is a BioPerine or an AstraGin to aid in absorption of these great ingredients. When you’re looking at C4 Ultimate you really will see a benefit from three areas: focus, pump and energy. Some key components missing are endurance and strength/power output. Although those areas are not terrible. There are some really nice ingredients used on the market that aid in those areas that were neglected here, but a price point needed to be hit.
As mentioned in the profile section, you will see a benefit in focus, energy and pump.
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite pillar, energy. With 300mg Caffeine you SHOULD feel this. That, in combination with TeaCrine and Rauwolfia vomitoria root extract, you should get a nice stimulant effect. We did. It wasn’t too crazy high, but it also was NOT low. These three ingredients combined together typically improve alertness. Your heart rate may increase as well so test your tolerance accordingly.
Regarding a crash, the use of TeaCrine aids in that. We didn’t crash from this like we would with some high stim bomb products.
Pump is decent. We would still add a pump product if you can swing it, but with the use of Citrulline, Creatine (yes, Creatine can aid in pumps) and the nitrates, you get a decent amount of blood flow and feel full when lifting. This is more than just aesthetics, it is also great for bringing nutrient rich blood to the muscle.
Last is focus. When you use NALT, Alpha GPC and Huperzine A you can expect your focus to improve. Combine that with some stimulants like Caffeine and TeaCrine and it improves even more. You do get a nice focus from this product.
Overall this is an effective, good pre-workout. It works well on energy, pump and focus. We really cannot complain on any of those. We would have liked some more output ingredients like PeakO2 or Betaine (especially since they are using nitrates where is the Betaine Nitrate – cost I know). If you want a pre-workout that works made from a company that has to use safe ingredients, this will do it for you.
Icy Blue Razz:
This is where this pre-workout disappointed for me. Confession, I do not like Cotton Candy flavored drinks or powders, but this was even worse than the drinks I have had. It just had a weird “off” taste that is hard to describe. You do get notes of a traditional cotton candy, but that off-putting taste it left me I did not like.
Ice Blue Razz was much better, but it is still a blue raspberry at the end of the day. Once you had one, you’ve had them all. That’s not a bad thing, if you like that flavor profile then this is spot on for you.
Thankfully I have never bought a pre-workout based on flavor. However the ones we did try we were not overly impressed.
With a serving size of 16.2g this actually mixes very good. This is a great feature of this product. If you are one who likes to sip your preworkout, then this matters. If you like to sip it then you also need to make sure the flavor is what you want. With that said, very impressed with the mixability of this. Not a lot of particles or residue left in the shaker cup or seen floating in the water. Watch the video for a demonstration.
Honestly this is a great value for a pre-workout. It retails for $39.99 for 20-servings. The profile is solid, effectiveness is good and mixability is great. Taste could use an upgrade, but even still for $2 a serving this is in line with many of the competitors. With that said, code INFORMANT saves you 20% making this a $32 pre-workout for 20-servings making this a helluva deal on an impactful, effective pre-workout.
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