The interesting thing about Cellucor C4 Extreme pre workout, and for that matter almost all of the men's pre workout supplements on the market today, is that women actually can take them safely. What you have to understand is that these products either succeed or fail based on their marketing- and how the product resonates with a certain subset of users. Men's pre workout products need to resonate with male atheletes and bodybuilders who are looking for a product to help pump them up in the gym (my ex actually used to take them before going out to the bar too - but that's another story) (and that's why he's an ex lol). The point is- men's pre workouts might look like they'll get you all juiced up and ripped, but they really won't do that much on there own. That being said, there are various ingredients that men's pre workouts use that most women (myself included) don't really care for. More on that later (see 'side effects') - but I thought it was important to lead off with my thoughts on the 'men's vs women's pre workout' debate. As you know from reading my other reviews, I'm going to go over all aspects of Cellucor's award-winning pre workout C4 Extreme. I'll review the flavor of C4 pre workout, the packaging, the performance, the side effects, the ingredients, and finish with my final assessment. Could C4 be the first ever men's pre workout to crack the 'best pre workout for women' top ten?!
My Cellucor C4 Pre Workout Review
It came as no surprise to me that Cellucor puts out an absolutely delicious pre workout. With a menu exceeding 10 flavors, I had trouble even picking the right flavor! Cellucor puts out the standard staples such as pink lemonade, blue raspberry, fruit punch, orange, watermelon, lemon-lime, pineapple, and green apple; but I wanted to get a little outside of my comfort zone. I went with the Strawberry Margarita flavor because it had a really good rating on bodybuilding.com.
I was completely impressed with the flavor. Cellucor truly has their flavoring down to a science- and my taste buds appreciated it! I was in 'rita heaven from the first sip of my Cellucor C4 pre workout. Now, it was not the most 'natural' tasting pre workout that I've sampled, but I wasn't really expecting it to be, coming from a chromed out tub! The strawberry flavor was totally sweet and sour, and really did remind me of a margarita (albeit a super sweet one with not much tequila!). I can't say that I tasted a ton of citrus notes coming through the strawberry, but when I closed my eyes and swished the delicious C4 around my mouth (that just sounds weird LOL), I think I could pick up some lime juice flavor. In any case, the final word is that my Celucor C4 pre workout review is an A plus in the flavor deprtrment.
Cellucor C4 Packaging Review
Celucor C4 Extreme pre workout has some of the coolest packaging on the market. I swear in the supplement industry, packaging is everything! C4 comes in a chrome tub that you can practically see yourself in- such is the mirror-like effect of the finish. The label itself is bonded so tightly to the container that it becomes one. There is a 'carbon fiber' like texture around the surface of the label that adds to the experience when you hold it in your hand. The label color palette uses a very 'explosive' black and yellow scheme, to let you know that your upcoming workout is going to be nothing less than extreme. Everything about this product works in unison to create a seamless experience. From the name, to the colors, to the fonts, to the very texture on the jar- Cellucor C4 Extreme pre workout is practically a case-study in consumer package goods. As a design enthusiast, I'm truly impressed with the lengths that Cellucor (or an outside firm) went to make sure everything about this product works together harmoniously. Easily my favorite part of this pre workout!
Cellucor C4 Performance & Benefits Review
I am no stranger to men's pre workout products. Before the likes of Fitmiss Ignite and NDS Cardio Cuts came along- I was just one of the guys (er not really), in the sense that I was gulping down NO Xplode right there next to them before my gym sessions! That being the case, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect when I tried on Cellucor C4 for the first time. I measured out a scoop and a half (the scoops are quite small) of strawberry margarita Cellucor C4 Extreme into my shaker about 30 minutes prior to my workout. It was a saturday- which is easily my favorite workout day because I can take my sweet time at the gym, including the pre workout 'marinade' time. I started sipping my pre workout and preparing myself for my workout. I decided to freestyle my workout today, since I like to change it up. I dialed up a quick cardio session as a warmup, followed by an ultra high volume strength training workout. I had a feeling C4 was goign to give me the juice that I needed for an ambitious workout!
After only about 10 minutes- I started to feel Cellucor's legendary pre workout doing it's thing. The beta alanine really really really hits hard in this product. Say what you want about C4 extreme, but this is easily the most notable aspect of the product. My neck, cheeks, and face were lit up with the BA tingles. Sometimes I love the beta alanine tingles, and sometimes I hate them. Good thing my mindset was the former on this particular day, because I was totally feeling it! After only 20 total minues (very short marinade time for me), I hopped onto the bike and started cranking out intervals I opted for a 1:1 sprint rest interval at a pretty high resistance. Within minutes I was sweating bullets! It was pretty warm in the gym today, but I could tell that the C4 was totally ramping up my heart-rate and metabolism.
After ripping through my bike sprints, I got right into my weights. I started going back and forth between bent rows, front squats, and side planks. Not a ton of rhyme or reason to what I was doing- but wow did I feel good. I was going back-to-back-to-back with almost zero rest in between, and I was maintaining pretty strong form despite the moderate weights I was using! I'll admit the planks started to get super tought, but the energy and focus of C4 kept me in the game way longer than I would've been! I ended up doing this tri-set 17 times total. I think it was 17. LOL. Anyways before I knew it I had been doing my thing for like 90 minutes, and my body was telling me to 'freaking stop'. After a two hour workout- I knew I had found the first men's pre workout to crack the BPW top 10. So my workout was absolutely unreal, but like almost every pre workout and guy that I fall in love with - there are flaws. Unofortunately, my Cellucor C4 pre workout review follows that trend.
C4 Side Effects
- Creatine Fill: You've all heard about creatine and how great your workouts are on it. And I'd be lying if I said that the creatine in C4 didn't 100% contribute to the amazing-ness of my workout with it. But with creatine comes some water retention. Everyone's different, and reacts to things in unique ways according to their body chemistry- but I really did blow up. I loved the way my muscles looked immediately after the workout, but later that night on the town I really sort of wanted a thinner look than the WWE pump that I took into the club that night. Like. Seriously. Not hot. Definitely be mindful of when you're taking C4 pre workout if you're single!
- Artificial Flavors and Sweetner: Easily my least favorite part of Cellucor C4 is the use of artificial flavors and sweetners. The taste is literally amazing, but the cost of doing so is that it's like loaded with junk. Sucralose, artificial dyes- you name it. I think I was radio-active for like a week after taking it. And I could feel my teeth crying from the chemicals. I'm a little dramatic when it comes to artificial ingredients, but I truly believe we need to get away from them as a society, so I've got to tell it like it is on this one!
- Too much Beta for me: So I really was in a decent mood for the beta-alanine tingles before that first workout. But the next few times I tried it, the beta alanine just became downright uncomfortable. I think the first time I took C4 Extreme pre workout, I was just so amped up to try something new that I didn't mind the tingles. If you're like me and aren't crazy about the tingles, I'd seriously consider I different option than C4.
Cellucor C4 Ingredients Review:
The ingredients in C4 are pretty standard for a men's pre workout supplement. Let's have a quick look at them and why they're in here:
- Creatine Nitrate: As discussed earlier. It'll help you move more weight around, and for longer, but at a price. Your body retains some extra fluid, and your body looks fuller in general. Not my favorite for like 22 hours of the day.
- Caffeine: There's plenty of the good stuff in here, and you can totally feel it. They do a good job of smoothing it out and making it so that you aren't really jittery though.
- Beta-Alanine: This is the most BA-heavy pre workout that I've ever taken, and I think I've taken almost all of them. Therefore, this is the most BA-centric pre workout in the world. Beta Alanine supposedly improves endurance by elevating muscle-carnosine levels. The verdict is out how much beta-alanine you actually would have to take to get this effect, but it's always in pre workouts so that you can 'feel' them. Not really a fan.
- Arginine AKG: Is an amino that helps with the 'pump'. I personally feel way more of a pump from the creatine- but this one is found in almost every pre workout on the market. I don't really have a problem with it.
- Vitamin C, Synephrine, Tyrosine: These three all support or promote energy and focus. Probably my favorite three ingredient in here is the Synephrine with the tyrosine. Good stuff.
C4 Final Score 9.2
In summary, from a women's perspective this is a little bit of a catch 22. Can women safely take Cellucor C4? Absolutely. My C4 pre workout review is overwhelmingly positive for the reason that I've had some of the best pre workouts of my life when taking it. And I swear my physique has changed for the better because of it. On top of that, the flavors are unbelievable. The drawbacks are that the flavors are totally artificial in every way, and I'm really hesitant putting those chemicals in my body. Other considerations (for women), are that the creatine is going to make you a little puffy, and, the beta alanine is just obnoxious. Overall, the pros outweight the cons for me- and as such- I am proud to award it as the third place overall winner in this year's Offical Best Pre Workout for Women Top 10! Nice work cellucor!