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Pre Workout vs Energy Drinks: How to Choose

Why Use a Pre Workout or Energy Drink

Increased energy can be a powerful motivator!  Whether you’re looking for a boost before a morning workout or need that afternoon spark to hit the gym after a long day of work. Both pre-workouts and energy drinks can help you jump start your motor to get after your fitness goals.

Energy Drinks work to support increased energy, alertness, and focus.

Pre-Workouts work to support increased energy, muscular endurance, strength, and muscle pumps.


Ingredients in Pre-Workout vs Energy Drinks

It’s easy to confuse pre-workouts and energy drinks because they’ll often feature many of the same ingredients, these are some of the most common:

  • Caffeine: Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can support increased reaction time, alertness, and attention.[1] We use caffeine to contribute to the explosive energy experience of C4 Energy Drinks and C4 Pre-Workout Powders. Caffeine can be synthesized chemically or as in the case of the InnovaTea® in C4 Smart Energy, it can be derived from plant-based sources.
  • BetaPower®: Naturally derived betaine from beets, BetaPower® helps maintain muscle cell hydration. One of the key functions of betaine in the body is to act as an osmolyte, which means that it protects cells and proteins from environmental stress.[2] You can find BetaPower® in our energy drinks C4 Energy and C4 Ultimate.
    • CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine: Beta-alanine is an amino acid that combines with histidine (also an amino acid) in our bodies to form the dipeptide carnosine. Carnosine plays an important role in buffering pH levels in our skeletal muscles. Beta-alanine helps support muscular endurance and fights muscle fatigue.[3] We use CarnoSyn® beta-alanine in some of our C4 Energy drinks and all our C4 pre-workouts. CarnoSyn® is the patented form of beta-alanine that has been clinically studied.
    • Creatine: Creatine is an organic compound made up of amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine. Creatine supplementation can support increased strength, power, and lean muscle mass.[4] Creatine in its various forms such as creatine monohydrate, HCl, and nitrate is a key ingredient in many of your favorite C4 pre-workouts.
    • Nitric Oxide Amplifiers: Nitric oxide amplifiers are ingredients that increase plasma nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide is a molecule that has a vasodilating effect on the blood vessels, meaning it widens our blood vessels causing increased blood flow. Some common nitric oxide amplifiers include arginine and citrulline. You can find nitric oxide amplifiers in some of our C4 Energy Drinks and in your favorite C4 pre-workouts.
    • Nootropics: Nootropics are ingredients that support increased cognitive function. We use the nootropic Cognizin® Citicoline in our C4 Smart Energy drink formula. Cognizin® is the patented form of citicoline that is clinically studied to support mental energy, focus, and attention.


    Are Pre-Workouts the Same as Energy Drinks?

    While pre-workouts and energy drinks share many of the same ingredients, they do have some key differences.

    Energy drinks are made for any time of the day energy. Whether it’s working out, studying, gaming, or getting through a long meeting there’s C4 Energy for any occasion. While pre-workouts are formulated specifically for the window of time before you start your workout to prime your body for physical performance. Because most people tend to drink their pre-workouts quickly, they’re also likely to feel the energy from caffeine much sooner than one would from an energy drink.

    Another key difference is that due to energy drinks being available in a liquid format, some popular ingredients and their appropriate dosages that are found in pre-workouts may not be found in energy drinks because they may degrade in liquid or negatively impact the drink’s solubility.


    Can You Use Energy Drinks for Workouts?

    You can use energy drinks before a workout for increased levels of energy, focus, and alertness. C4 Energy and C4 Ultimate are unique energy drinks because they feature physical performance ingredients like CarnoSyn® beta-alanine and BetaPower® betaine. However, if you’re looking for bigger pumps, you’ll want to use pre-workouts since many nitric oxide amplifier ingredients like citrulline need to be dosed at levels much higher than what you’d find in an energy drink. 

    Picking One For Your Goals

    Whether you want to jump your energy for an amazing workout with an energy drink or a pre-workout. We’ve got you covered.

    C4 Energy Drink: The incredible flavor of C4 Energy is made with zero sugar and zero compromise on taste. Powered by clinically studied ingredients like CarnoSyn® beta-alanine and BetaPower® betaine, it’s time to elevate your energy.

    C4 Smart Energy Drink: The mouthwatering flavor of C4 Smart Energy is made with zero sugar and zero compromise on taste. Powered by clinically studied ingredients like InnovaTea® caffeine and Cognizin® citicoline, it’s time to elevate your mental focus.

    C4 Ultimate Energy Drink: The unrivalled flavor of C4 Ultimate is made with zero sugar and zero compromise on taste. Powered by clinically studied ingredients like CarnoSyn® beta-alanine and BetaPower® betaine, C4 Ultimate was designed to deliver ultimate energy to overdrive performance.

    C4 Sport Pre Workout: NSF Certified for Sport® pre-workout with ingredients that support elevated energy, muscular endurance and cellular hydration.*

    C4 SuperSport: proudly NSF Certified – the independent certification trusted by athletes and major sporting bodies worldwide. So, whether you’re an elite competitor or just starting your fitness journey, you can trust C4 SuperSport to supercharge your performance.

    C4 Original Pre Workout: Our original pre-workout that started it all - C4 Original is built to take your energy, muscular endurance, and pumps to the next level.*

    C4 Ultimate Pre Workout: Formulated to fuel your ultimate workout, C4 Ultimate provides ingredients to support ultimate energy + alertness, pump + performance and muscular endurance.*







    Date March 23, 2022
    Category Supplementation