Most fitness enthusiasts, powerlifters, and gym goers have used pre-workout supplements to gain an edge in motivation, energy, and focus.

The biggest concern for most is not only the listed ingredients but how long the supplement will last.

In this article, we will look specifically at the Cellucor C4 pre-workout to determine how long it will last in your system, how long the supplement canister will last, does it expire, and how to use C4 safely.

How Long Does It Take To Kick In?

25 to 45 mins

How Long Do The Strongest  Effects Last?

1-2 Hours

How Long Does It Last In Your System?

Up to 8 Hours

Shelf Life If Unopened

1 year

Shelf life After Opening

6 months

How Long Will The Package Last?

2 Months / 3 Times A Week

How Long Do The Effects Of C4 Pre-Workout Last?

C4 has ingredients that will have differing effects, each with differing longevity in the individual who takes it. We will discuss safe use practices further below.

However, the main ingredients, such as caffeine and creatine, have different life expectancies once ingested.

Caffeine is absorbed into the system in about 20 to 30 minutes (anhydrous caffeine can take effect much faster).

Depending on your caffeine tolerance and the amount ingested, the effects of the caffeine boost can last from 2 to 8 hours. 

The other ingredients will last from a few minutes (like the niacin flush or tingling sensation) to a few hours after your workout, such as the creatine and branched-chain amino acids.

On an interesting note, some pre-workout effects won't be felt or noticed at all. Some of these are by design and nature, where you don't notice any impact as they work internally.

Others may take several doses or even weeks to build up enough to have any effect on the body at all.

All told, you will find that this pre-workout will have effects that last between 30 minutes to 8 hours.

c4 pre-workout

3 Factors That Can Influence The Effects Of C4 Pre-Workout

Pre-workout supplements have their effects on the body. Some are backed by science and study, and others are still in the testing phase. However, there are also factors that you have on the ingredients themselves.

One person may experience the athletic performance effects differently, based on the factors covered below.

1. Ingredient Intolerance

Tolerance is essentially the diminution in the body's response due to constant and repeated use.

What this means is that if you don't normally ingest caffeine, for example, but take a pre-workout with the stimulant, at first, you will feel the effects intensely.

As your body starts to accept the caffeine intake in pre-workout, though, it will grow accustomed to the levels you ingest, and the effects won't be as drastic.

Some people build up a tolerance quickly, others slowly, and few have a tolerance already based on their personal body chemistry.

2. Dosage Amounts

Another factor to consider is how much of an ingredient you get per dose. C4 has a single scoop serving suggestion, which contains the proper amounts of each ingredient listed. 

After conducting a review of C4 pre-workout, we can confirm that their dosage recommendation is adequate and sufficient for optimal performance.

If you follow the warnings and guides, as we have suggested, then you may not be taking a full dose at the start.

Instead, a half scoop dose or less until you build up that level of tolerance could be in order. While this has no real effect on your workouts or taking pre-workout mixes.

What it will affect, though, is how long the ingredients stay in your system and how much effect they have on your body.

Most pre-workout supplements are designed around their dosage suggestions. Taking less (or even too much pre-workout) can have adverse effects or even no effect at all.

3. Consistent Usage

Long-term pre-workout research is still ongoing. While there are not a lot of studies that say negative things about them as a whole, consistent and constant usage can lead to other issues.

What exactly those issues are will be different for each person and on an individual level.

For instance, one who takes a pre-workout to increase mental focus or delay muscle fatigue may find the effects don't work after a few years.

Until science catches up, you will have to evaluate and monitor your intake of these energy boost supplements yourself.

The long-term health risks seem minimal, but again, every person will have a different experience.

Known medical conditions, how fast you start exercising after taking the pre-workouts, the intensity at which you workout, and what type of resistance training program or weight loss program you follow will all have a positive effect or even negative effects on the supplement duration.

container of c4 pre-workout next to a jump rope

How Long Does It Take For C4 Pre-Workout To Kick In?

In general, once you take the pre-workout powder, you will feel the effects start to take effect in about 25 to 45 minutes.

Like most pre-workout products, C4 is a dietary supplement that increases muscular endurance, provides an energy boost, can enhance athletic performance, and lead to increased muscle mass.

As far as fitness supplements go, C4 is one of the most popular and widely used brands on the market today.

Taking other supplements or with more water may delay the effects but not too much.

It is important to note, though, that each ingredient may have different timing, as mentioned previously.

The pre-workout tingles are typically the first symptom or effect felt. Shortly after, the energy from the caffeine or other stimulant source will be felt.

After an hour of ingestion, though, any and all effects that can be felt or noticed will be.

Your exercise program, gym session, or endurance run will reap the benefits if started within this 30 to 60 minute window.

How Long Does A Container Of C4 Pre-Workout Last?

We get it. Supplements, pre-workout drinks, powders, and other ingested items like protein powder aren't cheap.

You want to get the most bang for your buck. Knowing how long a pre-workout will last after you take it is one thing.

You also want to know how long the container full of pre-workout powder will last on your shelf. There are a few factors to consider when talking about expiration dates on pre-workout supplements.

First and foremost, yes, most of the ingredients in a pre-workout mix have a half-life, and the product will expire on its own, even unopened.

That said, once you open your container, you want to store it in a cool, dry place such as a cabinet or cupboard. Keep it away from moisture or extreme heat and close the lid securely. The common ingredients can last quite a while, but the active ingredients may not.

Expect about 6 months of shelf life after opening and up to a year unopened. If you are unsure, though, you can look at the bottom of the container.

There you will find a lot of number and a use-by date. If that date is in the past, it is time to buy a new package of C4.

If you take it regularly, you also want to know how long it will last. Do you get your money's worth? The short answer is yes. Even daily use will last at least a month. 

The serving size of a single scoop is small, and C4 comes in two sizes: 30-day and 60-day supplies.

Since you shouldn't take the pre-workout on days you are not hitting the gym, it will depend greatly on how often you workout.

A 30-Day (180g) Supply Will Last You:
  • 7 to 8 weeks when taken 4 or 5 times a week
  • 10 weeks when taken 3 times a week
  • 15 weeks when taken twice a week
The 60-Day (390g) Supply Will Last You:
  • 15 weeks when taken 4 or 5 times per week
  • 20 weeks when taken 3 times per week
  • 30 weeks when taken twice per week.
man holding a can of c4 pre-workout at the gym

The C4 Pre-Workout Ingredients List

Now that we have covered the invaluable service a pre-workout supplement can bring to your exercise performance, and we know how long it will last, let’s take a closer look at those ingredients.

What do they do, and how long will their effects last? Let’s find out.


Caffeine is the stimulant used in many pre-workout supplements. That caffeine, though, can come from many different sources.

The most common are coffee bean extract, green tea extract, or pure caffeine in dehydrated form, known as anhydrous caffeine.

For those that are caffeine sensitive, there are other options. You can opt for C4 Sport, which contains less caffeine than the standard formula or the Ultimate formula.

While some people cannot handle stimulants very well, others are known as hyposensitive, and essentially caffeine will have little to no effect.

Whatever category you fall in, proper dosage is always recommended. You should never consume more than 400mg per day.

As a comparison, an 8 ounce cup of coffee contains about 90 mg, while one scoop of C4 (Standard) contains 150 mg.

These stimulants are what give your workouts that extra boost. While the exact amount per serving will change, the entire container as a whole is mixed in highly controlled settings to get the most beneficial effects for your fitness journey.


Beta-alanine is one of the amino acid molecules produced naturally by the body. As a supplement, it helps prevent lactic acid build-up and can speed up post-workout recovery. [1]

Supplement companies love to add beta-alanine and other BCAAs to their ingredient lists because it does help you produce more carnosine.

Carnosine absorbs acids your muscles generate during high-intensity workouts and helps you stay feeling fresh longer.

Each serving of C4 contains 1.6g of beta-alanine. The effects aren't typically felt more than they are experienced.

While it can take a few doses to build up in your system, the effects last for a few hours post-workout, which you notice by speedy recovery times.

Creatine Nitrate

Creatine nitrate is among the newest forms and works to eliminate the negative aspects of creatine monohydrate.

Namely, the water retention is all but eliminated because the molecule is attached to a nitrate compound instead of a hydrogen one.

The nitrate compound helps achieve better muscle pump, increases energy, and helps stimulate nitric oxide production to bring oxygen and hydration to the muscles as they work.

In addition, you will find that your blood vessels expand to allow muscle cell absorption to increase muscle growth.

These effects are felt within about half an hour of taking, and you really notice them during your workout when the muscle fatigue is delayed.

C4 contains 1g of NO3T, which is about 3 to 4 grams shy of the daily intake levels. This allows you to take your straight creatine post-workout.

Velvet Bean

Rich in crude protein, fatty acids and starch, the Mucuna pruriens, or Velvet Bean, is a tropical legume with many medical benefits. [2]

While the healthcare professional community is still debating the actual benefits of workouts, it is already being added along with other stimulants in pre-workout drinks.

C4 contains up to 40mg of velvet bean seed extract (as a part of their "Explosive Energy Blend") per serving. The effects aren't felt, so it is undetermined how long they actually last.

man doing pull ups with chains around his neck

Safe Use Of Pre-Workout Supplements

Like with all workout supplements and vitamins, minerals and supplements, too much can lead to adverse health conditions.

Caffeine Toxicity

Taking caffeine can be detrimental to your workouts. It isn't that you are ingesting caffeine; it is how much caffeine you ingest overall.

The long-term side effects can alter your sleeping patterns, mental performance of healthy adults and even increase heart rate and blood flow leading to high blood pressure. [3]

Niacin Toxicity

Niacin flush is common as the small blood vessels near the skin expand and become engorged with blood.

This rash or red coloring appears on the face, hands, feet, and back. However, it is common, not dangerous, and will go away after several minutes.

However, high doses of niacin can lead to liver function damage, low blood pressure, and even multiple organ failure over time. [4]

Other Safety Concerns

There are things you want to avoid in your pre-workout supplement routine.

Artificial sweeteners, dyes, and colors like FD&C Red #40 and Yellow #5 and #6 can cause allergic reactions. Wellness professionals agree that we should avoid as many artificial ingredients as possible.

You should always buy your supplementation from trusted companies. Transparent Labs is a great example of a small company whose biggest focus is ingredient quality. We have personally tested their product and it met all our criteria.

You can check  the whole Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout Review and find out more about the product and our testing process.

May Contain Substances Banned In Professional Sports

Common ingredients aside, some pre-workouts contain substances that are banned in professional sports and competitive weight lifting.

For most home gym and daily gym goers that are not on a professional circuit won't have to worry much about these, but if you are concerned, you can avoid them.

Look at the ingredients list and if you see any of the following, avoid that brand.

  • Octodrine
  • Beta-methylethylamine
  • Deterenol
  • Phenpromethamine

Safety Guidelines

It is important to keep in mind that workout supplements, pre-workout supplements, vitamins, and minerals are not regulated or tested by the FDA.

As long as the label doesn't claim to treat or cure any illness, the FDA stays out of it.

Make sure you do your due diligence, research, and speak to your healthcare provider for any concerns before you start taking these supplements.

Frequently Asked C4 Pre-Workout Questions

Who should take a pre-workout?

Anyone that works out regularly, needs extra focus, energy, or has an intense training session should take pre-workout supplements. While they aren't required, they can help with body composition, increase lean body mass as well as provide you with high energy levels.

Is C4 the strongest pre-workout on the market?

No. Based on caffeine levels and other ingredient levels, there are much stronger brands on the market. Woke AF, Hooligan, Insane Labz, and Dead Right are stronger than Cellucor C4.

Does C4 help to build muscle?

C4 can help to build muscle. It builds up compounds and molecules the body produces naturally and can help fight muscle fatigue. By prolonging your workouts and giving you boosted energy levels, you can work out more, longer, and have lower recovery time, which can lead to higher muscle gains.

Can I take C4 without working out?

You can take a pre-workout without working out, though it isn't recommended. There is no long-term nutritional value in a pre-workout, and the effects will be wasted if you take it and then sit on the couch. You should only take pre-workouts on days you hit the gym or go for a run.


Knowing how long your pre-workout lasts in your system, how long it takes to take effect, and how long the container will last are all important to understand.

With Cellucor C4, you have options of 30-day or 60-day supplies, which, when taken on workout days, can last several weeks.

The ingredients, stimulants, and other factors will help you stay motivated, energized, and focused.

If C4 is your pre-workout supplement of choice, you have made a good one. If you are looking for a new brand to try, C4 is one to test.

recommended pre-workout!

Cellucor C4 Ultimate Pre Workout







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Miloš Lepotic

Miloš Lepotic

Meet Miloš, a certified sports nutritionist and self-taught supplement expert whose pharmacological background and nearly a decade of gym experience make him the perfect guide for optimizing your health and athletic performance through supplement reviews and practical advice rooted in factual, science-backed information.