Maybe you’re looking for energy and focus to get off the couch and into the gym. Maybe you’re looking to take your gym session, workout class, or at-home training to the next level. What if there were something out there that could help you crush your workouts no matter what your training level or goal? There is.
It’s not a bag of magic beans; it's a pre-workout supplement.
What is a pre-workout?
On a practical level, pre-workouts are designed to help you increase training volume and intensity so that you can get more from each workout session. In time, those extra reps, sets and minutes spent add up to major gains. When you see your hard work pay off, the more motivation you have to train. And the more you train, the more progress you continue to make.
So, when combined with the proper training regimen and nutrition program, taking a pre-workout can offer that extra push–not just to workout today, but to do it again tomorrow, then again the day after...
Who should take pre-workout?
Traditionally, pre-workouts have had a reputation for being exclusive to the highly advanced gym-goer whose sole focus is to get as muscular as possible. But the truth is, pre-workouts can help just about anyone who wants to improve his or her fitness levels–from the beginner all the way to the hardcore gym buff.
In a nutshell, pre-workouts can benefit you if:
- You want 'focused energy' before a workout
- You're starting a program and/or trying to take it to the next level
- You want to lose weight
- You want to build muscle and strength
- You want to improve your performance–in the gym or for sport
Can't I just have coffee or an energy drink before a workout?
Coffee and energy drinks have their place in an active lifestyle. But it's important to note: while you do get an energy boost from a cup of coffee or a standard energy drink, pre-workouts offer additional performance benefits. That’s because most pre-workouts have tailored formulas that enhance physical output for a variety of activities–whether that's deadlifting 500lbs or running a marathon.
In other words, pre-workouts combine specific ingredients in specific doses to give you the biggest bang for your buck–a.k.a they maximize time and effort you put into your workouts.
Energy to perform
You don't just buy a car without checking out the features. You read the fine print to make sure what you're getting is exactly right for your lifestyle. The same goes for choosing a pre-workout.
Before purchasing a pre-workout, you want to examine the label and look for ingredients that support your fitness goal, training level, and so forth.
A few key ingredients to look for in a traditional pre-workout are:
Caffeine: That classic ingredient found in your morning pick-me-up is used to get you energized before your workout. Your pre-workout can have anywhere from 150mg-300mg per serving compared to a coffee or standard energy drink, which falls within the 80mg-150mg range.
CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine: Your muscles are made up of proteins, and amino acids are the foundations of those proteins. CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine is a patented amino acid used to help your muscles endure a tough workout. It’ll also give you tingles to tell you “hey, I’m working”.
Creatine Nitrate: You’ve probably heard of it before, but we promise it’s not just for giant shredded weightlifters. Creatine can be found naturally in bone and certain foods and helps to build strength and lean muscle. Creatine Nitrate is a university studied, advanced, and more soluble form of creatine that helps with "pumps" (or blood flow to the working muscles).
Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate: Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate is a precursor to nitric oxide, which promotes nitric oxide production in the body. Ultimately, this helps in achieving pumps.
TeaCrine® (Tetramethyluric acid/Theacrine): TeaCrine® is a non-stimulant source of energy and focus, and it is structurally similar to caffeine. Preliminary human studies indicate that the body does not adapt to it as quickly as it does to caffeine, therefore prolonging the tolerance buildup.
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine: N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is a more soluble form of L-Tyrosine, which supports the production of noradrenaline and dopamine, in turn supporting mental and cognitive health during stressful activities – such as physical training.
Velvet Bean (Mucuna Pruriens) seed extract (standardized for L-Dopa): Mucuna Pruriens contains high concentrations of L-Dopa. L-Dopa crosses the blood-brain barrier where it then converts to Dopamine, therefore supporting a positive effect on mental well-being, enhanced mood, alertness, and cognitive function.
Not all pre-workouts are created equal
There are different levels of pre-workouts thanks to the amount of stimulants found in each serving. In general, pre-workouts can fall into 3 categories:
Level 1: Low/moderate stimulant. Good for those who enjoy a standard energy drink or cup of coffee during the day.
Level 2: Moderate/high stimulant. Good for those who enjoy multiple energy drinks or cups of coffee a day and/or take pre-workout before the gym.
Level 3: Extremely high stimulant. Good for those who have taken pre-workouts for years.
C4 is America’s #1 selling pre-workout brand
There are a lot of pre-workout brands out there but C4 is America’s #1 selling pre-workout brand. We've sold over a billion servings of the C4 family of products (that’s enough to stretch around the world three times, although we’re not sure why you’d do that). Unlike other brands, we don’t skimp on quality and our formulations include patented, clinically studied ingredients at doses that yield the best possible products for your goals.
With the C4 family of pre-workouts, you’ll be able to find one that fits your lifestyle–whether you want to lift as heavy as possible and get all Schwarzenegger-ed out, kill it harder at the sport you play, or just look a little more toned for the beach.
How do you know which C4 to take? That depends on your goals and stimulant tolerance. The C4 ID Series personalizes your pre-workout experience so you can choose the best formula for you.
Find Your C4
C4 Sport: The perfect choice for athletes, coaches, and trainers of all levels! C4 Sport provides explosive energy & performance, and proudly wears the NSF® Certified for Sport® logo. The NSF certification is recognized by many major sporting agencies. You'll be ready to crush it the second the clock starts.
C4 Original: The ORIGINAL explosive pre-workout! It's great for beginners as well as those who want to take their training to the next level. Featuring clinically studied ingredients – such as CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine, and NO3-T® Creatine Nitrate, C4 original combines incredible ingredients & flavors, to provide explosive support for energy, pumps, and muscular endurance! That’s why it’s America’s #1 selling pre-workout!
C4 Ripped: C4 Ripped takes the explosive energy and flavor experience of C4, and incorporates a formula to support weight loss! With ingredients such as Green Coffee bean extract, L-Carnitine tartrate, Coleus Forskohlii, and Capsimax® Cayenne, C4 Ripped is the perfect combination of energy and weight loss support!
C4 Extreme Energy: For those seeking the next level of pre-workout energy, C4 Extreme Energy combines 300mg of caffeine with 3.2g of CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine in every serving! C4 Extreme Energy also incorporates Huperzine A and Rauwolfia root extract – providing focus support and taking energy to the extreme!
C4 Ultimate: For those who are seasoned pre-workout users looking for a fully-loaded, high-impact pre-workout. C4 Ultimate combines 300mg of caffeine with 3.2g of CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine in every serving – alongside 6g of Citrulline Malate! This ultimate C4 also contains Nitrosigine®, Creatine Nitrate®, BetaPower® Betaine, and a robust cognitive support blend – featuring Zembrin®, AlphaSize® A-GPC, and Huperzine A!
What if I am sensitive to stimulants?
You can still reap the benefits of a pre-workout without having stimulants. Non-stimulant formulas focus on the power of amino acids to enhance muscular endurance and may also include ingredients for pumps.
*If you are sensitive to caffeine, Beta BCAA is the perfect stimulant-free alternative to our C4 line.
Can I take other supplements if I take pre-workouts?
You certainly can, however, you want to make sure you do not exceed your nitrate threshold or double up on stimulatory products such as pre-workout and weight loss products. One stimulant based product should be used at a time.
Products with higher concentrations of nitrate-based ingredients such as the C4 ID Series family and NO3, for example, are not recommended to be used together.
A good rule of thumb when stacking products: take a pre-workout (a C4 ID Series product), an intra-workout (Alpha Amino to support hydration and recovery) and a post workout (a Whey product: Cor Whey, Casein or Gainer).
When should I take pre-workouts?
Typically, you take pre-workouts 20-30 minutes before your training session. Refer to each product's 'Suggested Use' for specific directions.
The first day of the best workouts you’ve ever had
Taking a pre-workout isn’t going to immediately make you able to deadlift 500 pounds or run 50 miles, but what a pre-workout can do is help you get off the couch and into the gym, onto the field, or wherever you put in work. Over time, you will reap the benefits of taking pre-workouts consistently. And when you’re ready to progress to the next level, we’ll be right there for you with a C4 for your goals.
Now that you have the 411 on pre-workouts, find training advice, motivation and more here.