Two of the most popular pre workout supplements on the market.
But... you only really need one.
If you're looking for the perfect mixture to give you a boost in the gym (and let's face it... a great pre workout can make a HUGE difference in your training), but don't want to invest the time and money to try them both yourself, I think I can help you make the decision!
What is Six Star Pre Workout Explosion?
Six Star is one of the most affordable, popular, and ubiquitous pre workout supplements on the market.
You'll find it in pretty much every fitness aisle (grocery stores, convenience stores, drug stores, you name it), and it clocks in with a pretty painless price tag.
To boot, it comes well-recommended by its users and has earned its place among fitness' best selling supplements.
If you couldn't tell by the name, Explosion promises an extreme level of energy and focus in the gym.
What is Cellucor C4 (Original)?
Cellucor is one of the industry's most highly trusted supplement brands, and C4 is without a doubt their flagship product.
C4 original pre workout is a massively popular drink, and with less "extreme" branding than Explosion, promises a blend of energy, focus, performance, and recovery for gym rats.
It carries a higher price tag but keeps users coming back again and again.
So how do these two stack up?
The first thing we need to do is break down common and uncommon ingredients and see how the dosages compare.
(Scroll down for a comparison chart)
Caffeine: Neither Six Star Pre Workout Explosion nor Cellucor C4 really brings it when it comes to caffeine, as both powdered beverages ring in with just a little more caffeine than a cup of coffee. The 135mg of caffeine found in Explosion is about as low as you'll find in most pre workouts. There are other compounds inside both drinks that supply energy, but since caffeine is the main driver, you'll want to take this into account whether you're sensitive to it (and want very little) or need a little bit more.
Creatine: Creatine is a very common performance and recovery booster found in most pre workouts, and often taken as its own supplement. Both of these pre workout drinks have minimal amounts of creatine (Explosion and C4 use slightly different versions of creatine, but the amount is too small to make a big difference either way). You'll get a little bit of a boost but won't see the same kinds of effects as if you were truly "loading" creatine.
Arginine Alpha Ketoglutorate (AKG): AKG (or AAKG) helps your liver handle the stress of heavy exercise, keeping you feeling fresh in the gym and not sore and stiff. It's effectiveness is up for some debate, but in either case, Explosion and C4 both offer similar (small) amounts of the substance.
Beta-Alanine: Simply put, Beta-Alanine helps reduce fatigue in the gym by reducing acid build up in the muscles. Both pre workouts offer effective doses of Beta-Alanine, with Cellucor getting the slight edge.
Teacrine: Teacrine is designed to boost mood and motivation, without the side effects that come from pure stimulants. It is not present in Six Star Explosion, though the exact quantity inside C4 is unknown as it's part of Cellucor's proprietary blend.
Both C4 and Explosion pull in mostly positive reviews from paying customers.
Users universally praise the flavor of both drinks.
The main criticisms of Six Star Pre Workout Explosion are: Difficulty fully mixing the powder (clumping), not enough of an energy boost, and not as good of a muscle "pump" (which could be due to low amounts of creatine).
The main criticisms of Cellucor C4 are: Its higher cost, jittery energy due to caffeine, and inconsistent quality in shipping (receiving the wrong products or damaged during shipping).
Prices may vary depending on where you buy, buy expect to pay a little more than twice the amount per serving for C4.
Six Star Pre Workout Explosion pros and cons
- One of the least expensive options on the market
- Low caffeine levels for the caffeine-sensitive
- Higher creatine levels
- Caffeine may be too low for the initiated
- Powder clumps
- Might not get a great "pump"
Cellucor C4 pros and cons
- Great flavor
- Presence of teacrine
- Higher amounts of Beta-Alanine & Caffeine
- Can cause jitters in the caffeine-sensitive
- Inconsistencies in shipping
- Very low levels of creatine
These two pre workout supplements are similar in many ways, and are most likely best-suited to beginners in the gym or people who don't want to dabble with high doses of caffeine, creatine, and other compounds.
For my money, I'd prefer to go with Cellucor C4 because it's known to be an overall higher quality product, and the energy level should be enough for people who are a little more used to caffeine.
But your opinion and needs might be different! Give them both a try and let me know in the comments what you think.