The Right Pre-Workout for You

the right pre-workout for you

Amazon Prime Day is only ONE WEEK away! On July 15th and 16th, every sports nutrition company is going to be offering big savings on their pre-workout products. But with so many different choices, it’s important to find the right pre-workout for you.

Today, we’re going to compare a competitor’s product, C4, with our pre-workout of choice, RedLeaf. Of course, we are biased toward RedLeaf. But any honest company will tell you their product isn’t perfect for every single person. 

We wrote this blog about a month ago to compare Red Leaf Pre-Workout with one of our well-known competitors, Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout. Especially as you’re bookmarking the products you want to buy on Amazon Prime Day, it’s important to learn which products are right for you!

Ingredient Comparison

When you are deciding between two pre-workout supplements, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First and foremost, what are your goals and what ingredients support those goals? Second, are there any specific ingredients you need to stay away from? Third, consider the rest of your diet- do you like to drink coffee during your day? Overall caffeine intake is important for your overall health. 

Both C4 and RedLeaf contain various BCAA’s and caffeine. Beyond that, there are a few differences. Let’s compare the two and find out which is the right pre-workout for you.

BCAA’s and beta alanine

BCAA’s are important because they can help you reduce muscle breakdown, especially in a caloric deficit. There are three branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) – valine, leucine, and isoleucine. RedLeaf contains 1000mg of BCAA’s, while C4 does not list these on their ingredient list. 

We also want to consider beta alanine and its presence in a pre-workout. The basic understanding of beta alanine is it allows your muscles to go harder for longer. This is a good thing. C4 has 1.6 grams of beta alanine (in a proprietary formula) while RedLeaf clocks in at 1.0 grams per serving. 

Who should use which? BCAA’s are not particularly important if you are eating in a caloric surplus AND consuming adequate protein (0.8-1.0 grams/pound body weight). Additionally, the extra beta alanine in C4 is nice for performance athletes looking for a slight edge. Some studies show no difference after 1.0 grams, but there is no downside to having a little bit more in the mix.

Athletes looking for peak performance and eating to gain muscle mass: C4

Athletes looking to lose body fat and maintain muscle mass: Red Leaf 

caffeine quantity

After considering the amino acid profile of a pre-workout drink, let’s take a look at caffeine content. The Mayo Clinic recommends that you should not consume more than 400mg of caffeine per day. However, it is important to note this is not an individual number. If you notice three to four cups of coffee (that’s about 400mg of caffeine) makes you jittery, or doesn’t allow you to sleep well at night you will want to cut back on your caffeine intake.

The benefits of caffeine are wide-ranging, but for workout purposes it can do two things: 1) increase alertness thereby improving your motor control and coordination, and 2) reduce the perceived discomfort in a workout. No one knows exactly how much is needed to make these effects happen. For some, it comes with a small dosage of caffeine. Others need a bit more.

RedLeaf has 40mg of caffeine per serving (approximately 1/2 cup of coffee) while C4 has 150mg of caffeine per serving (approximately 2 cups of coffee). 

Neither amount is right or wrong. Decide for yourself how much you need. Our recommendation is that if you’re going to drink more than one cup of coffee throughout the day, you will want to error toward the lower amount of caffeine in a pre-workout.

added ingredients

Just like there shouldn’t be a bunch of added sugar in something simple like the bread you buy at the grocery store, you don’t need a bunch of extra ingredients in your pre-workout. Essentially, you should see the BCAA’s and other aminos in your pre-workout, as well as the sweetener being used, and caffeine. Outside of that, the rest of the ingredients may be a beneficial cherry on top, or they could be reducing the overall quality of your pre-workout.

Red Leaf lists natural flavors (same things you have in La Croix and other seltzer waters) malic acid, and beet juice as its added ingredients.

C4 contains acesulfame potassium, silicon dioxide, natural flavors, calcium silicate, citric acid, and red food coloring as its additional ingredients. Both use sucralose (in the case of Red Leaf Cranberry Lime) as their sweetener. Red Leaf Blueberry Acai, however, is naturally sweetened with stevia leaf extract and monk fruit.

We’ll let you be the judge here for whether or not the additives matter to you. For some, it is very important (count us among that group) others care less. Here is an article about acesulfame potassium, in case you’re curious about what it is / does.

  1. Ultimately, at the end of the day the choice is yours to make. You know your body and your goals better than anyone and we are here to support you in every way we can.

If Red Leaf sounds like the right pre-workout for you, head over to our Amazon page, here, and bookmark it for Prime Day. You will have the chance to save between $4 and $8 on Red Leaf during select hours between July 15th and 16th.