Cellucor C4 Ripped Review

C4 Ripped is a hybrid pre-workout/fat-burner by Cellucor, makers of the original (and extremely popular) C4 Pre-Workout. It contains several traditional pre-workout ingredients with a few fat-burning ingredients…

Cellucor C4 Ripped



Beta-Alanine is the rate limiting amino acid in the synthesis of the dipeptide, Carnosine, which acts as a lactic acid buffer in muscle tissue.  Reducing the build-up of lactic acid can directly enhance muscular endurance, and this has been demonstrated throughout multiple studies in both athletes and non-athletes alike.

A 2002 study from the “Japanese Journal of Physiology” which measured the Carnosine levels of sprinters found that individuals with higher muscular Carnosine levels exhibited higher power outputin the latter half of a 30m sprint (due to less lactic acid build-up).

Multiple studies have confirmed that Beta Alanine supplementation increases muscular Carnosine in a dose dependent manner. In particular, a 2012 study published in “Amino Acids” found that subjects who consumed 1.6 or 3.2 grams of Beta Alanine daily experienced significant increases in muscle Carnosine in as little as two weeks, with the higher dose achieving a higher concentration of Carnosine.

Like C4 Mass, C4 Ripped contains 1.6g of Beta-Alanine per serving, a technically effective dose.

Arginine AKG

Arginine is a non-essential amino acid that acts as a precursor to Nitric Oxide which generally enhances physical performance, specifically endurance.

Although high doses (6g at least) of Arginine have been shown to increase circulating Nitric Oxidelevels and muscle blood volume post-workout, it has failed to increase intra-workout strength in more than one study.

A 2012 study from the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” found no performance enhancement benefits with 3700mg of Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate prior to resistance training. In fact, in this particular study, subjects who received the AAKG actually performed slightly worse than the placebo group.

Due to the relatively small size of this study, it cannot be considered conclusive, but it certainly does not lend credibility to the notion that Arginine AKG is as effective as L-Arginine, let alone superior.

C4 Ripped contains 1g of Arginine AKG.

L-Carnitine L-Tartrate

Carnitine is an amino acid that is heavily involved with the metabolism of fat for energy. It is required for the proper transport of fatty acids in the mitochondria, where they are oxidized (burned) for energy through the process known as “beta-oxidation”.

Carnitine deficiency has been shown to hinder fat-burning capacity, but studies investigating whether excess Carnitine intake (i.e. supplementation) can burn-fat haven’t been very encouraging thus far.

Although Carnitine supplementation (1g/day) has been shown to increase fatty acid oxidation rates in humans without Carnitine deficiency, it has failed to induce weight-loss in rats, as well as moderately obese women.

Carnitine does have mechanisms by which it may stabilize the fat-burning process in individuals who are Carnitine deficient (unlikely if you eat enough protein), but is unlikely to actually burn fat.  Furthermore, Cellucor has crammed LCLT in a 1000mg  proprietary blend with Green Coffeee Extract, Capsimax, and Coleus,  which means there is 250mg at most.

Green Coffee Extract

Green Coffee Extract contains Chlorogenic Acid which has been shown to block carbohydrate absorption in humans, thus mimicking the effects of a reduced carb-diet. We discuss Green Coffee Extract in depth in this article, but it’s not clear whether C4 Ripped contains a particularly effective dose.


Cayenne contains the compounds, Capsaicin, which has been shown to increase in fat oxidation(relative to placebo) during low intensity exercise in healthy adult males.

It’s not clear how much Capsimax is present in C4 Ripped but, assuming enough is present, it may certainly contribute to fat-burning.

Coleus Forskohlii

Coleus Forskohlii contains the active compound, Forskolin, which has been demonstrated to increase Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP), the result of which is an increase in the rate of fat-loss.

We discuss the weight-loss implications of Forskolin in this article, but it may certainly contribute to the overall fat-burning capability of C4 Ripped (although Cellucor doesn’t disclose the dose).

N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine

Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid (the body can produce it from Phenylalanine) which serves a precursor to Dopamine (by first being converted into L-Dopa) and Noradrenaline.

Because of this relationship, Tyrosine is alleged to increase levels of these neurotransmitters, which would theoretically lead to performance enhancement. However, research has demonstrated thatTyrosine cannot outright raise Dopamine or Noradrenaline levels upon ingestion, though it can help maintain optimal levels when depletion might otherwise occur.

Upon ingestion, Tyrosine forms substrate pool, which can then be drawn from when an acute stressor (exercise, cold exposure, etc.) causes a temporary depletion of Dopamine/Noradrenaline. For this reason, Tyrosine can be useful for maintaining cognitive function during stressful activity.

Caffeine Anhydrous

Caffeine is a well-established ergogenic aid, oral consumption of which triggers the release of Catcholamines (Noradrenaline, Dopamine, Adrenaline, etc.), generally inducing a state of increased alertness, focus, and perceived energy.

Additionally, Caffeine can enhance calcium-ion release in muscle tissue, which directly increases muscle contraction force. Rather than discuss dozens of studies, we’ll leave it at this: Caffeine is an extremely effective ergogenic aid, though tolerance build-up is certainly an issue to keep in mind.

C4 Ripped contains 150mg of Caffeine.

Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna Pruriens contains L-Dopa, a direct precursor to the neurotransmitter Dopamine.  Although Mucuna Pruriens (assuming the right dose) may effective increase Dopamine levels in the brain, it remains unclear how this might impact exercise performance.  Certainly there are mechanisms by which Mucuna Pruriens could favorably impact exercise performance but without any studies on the topic, it’s tough to say for sure.

The Bottom Line

C4 Ripped is essentially the same formula as C4 Extreme except with an emphasis on weight-loss.  It may indeed encourage weight-loss due to such ingredients as Coleus, Capsaicin, etc.  We’re not quite sure, however, why Cellucor dropped Theacrine for C4 Ripped, considering Theacrine could potentially contribute to weight-loss.

Still don’t know which pre-workout is right for you? Check out our Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements list for some recommendations.

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