In the past few decades or so, many have started seeing the benefits of taking care of their health and getting fit, whether it’s committing oneself to a sport or having a regular gym routine.
As time goes by, we’ve started looking for more ways to level up our ways when it comes to fitness and achieve maximum potential when we’re performing. I know I do!
Among the many supplements I’ve tried and tested over the years to enhance my training regime, one of the most effective has been pre workout supplements.
But not all pre-workouts are made equal (and safe); some are simply all packaging and no substance, and a few are banned for having “meth-like” substances in them. (1)
A few months ago, my social media was suddenly flooded with posts about a pre-workout supplement named “4 Gauge” and I’d be deadass lying if I said it didn’t make me curious.
The packaging alone makes it stand out from the crowd and the fact that a dietitian I personally knew had something good to say about it made me consider it…
I got into full nerd mode and did my own research on 4 Gauge pre workout along with other popular brands in the market before I committed to buying anything. Wouldn’t it be 100% ironic to get sick over a supplement’s questionable ingredients because I wanted to be healthier and more fit?
Yea, I thought so.
After a lot of digging online and some time reflecting about my life decisions in the corner of my home backyard gym, I ended up buying a can from 4 Gauge. Is that good or bad? I’ve laid down all my thoughts about this supplement in this 4 gauge pre-workout review below.
Pre-workout Formulas 101: A Short Recap
…let’s go back to the basics of what Pre-Workout Formulas are and what they’re made for before we go any further.
A pre-workout formula, as its name suggests, is taken prior to grueling workouts – be it calisthenic or resistance training sessions – to help increase endurance and/or develop muscle mass. It consists of various nutrients, vitamins, amino acids that help to increase your stamina, and stimulants like caffeine to keep energy levels up. (2)
But why is such an injection of the extra boost all that important? Well, exercise does increase metabolism, so even if you had a solid lunch before hitting the gym, there’s a good chance you’ll burn it up in next to no time. Ever hit the gym and felt deflated after a couple dozen reps?
Ideally, a pre-workout formula helps to give us that extra boost in energy levels when we’re doing high volume and high intensity training at the gym. A good pre-workout definitely gives me that extra gas for one more push.
I personally find myself less fatigued after the most grueling workouts when I’ve chugged a pre-workout before my training session. In addition, pre-workouts definitely help me recover faster so I have more time to get back in the gym for more muscle gains.
Adding a good supplement to your routine can give you many benefits, among them mainly:
But it’s not all sunshine and epic gym sessions with pre workout supplements. Studies have shown that a few people do experience the dark side when ingesting them, like:
- Insomnia (5)
- Jitters and Anxiety
However, most of these are due to allergic reactions to ingredients found in your chosen pre-workout (some people have problems with beta-alanine so it’s better if they get a beta-alanine free pre workout supplement). Your sensitivity to caffeine also counts, so the rule of thumb is to ALWAYS do your research (like me).
Choosing a natural pre-workout can help you prevent these side effects without sacrificing on your mental and physical performance.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s get to the main topic of this article.
4 Gauge Pre-Workout Supplement
The 4 gauge pre-workout isn’t a new name in the market, but what exactly is it?
A website that’s LOUD.
Their marketing is EXPLOSIVE.
It’s packaging is made to STAND OUT (heck, it’s in the form of a 4 gauge shotgun shell hence the name).
They claim the 4 gauge pre-workout is the one thing you need for outstanding firepower and skin splitting pumps to kill the weights during workout session like the military press, alternating dumbbell press, seated tricep press and similar workouts.
Besides, it’s also the safest and strongest pre-workout on the market with its exhaustively researched high quality ingredients that prevents nasty energy crashes while improving strength, focus, muscle pumps and energy. (6)
Quite the bold claims! But could it be all hype and no substance?
I’m not gonna lie, everything screamed “too good to be true” for me at first… but upon closer inspection, it seemed the manufacturers of 4 Gauge are actually on to something.
So, What IS 4 Gauge?
4 Gauge claims to be a total game changer by the fact that it’s made to hit 4 birds with one shot (get it?).
Their pre-workout formula is made to 1. enhance your raw strength, 2. give you strong mental focus, 3. give you long-lasting energy, and 4. help you get intense muscle pumps. (6)
4 Gauge is advertised to be unlike your standard pre-workout supplement, being a formula that’s made with all-natural ingredients – and this goes double for some meal replacement shakes and protein shakes on the market too. If you are curious about these, I did compare some of them like Kachava and Huel as well as Huel and Shakeology.
I did notice though that 4 gauge carries lower amounts of stimulants compared to other pre workout products on the market, but the company claims it doesn’t diminish the energy boost the formula provides to get me pumped up for my workout sessions, more so during weight lifting days.
This pre-workout has a laundry list of cool natural ingredients, and there are also some that you won’t find in it. Let’s dive into what is in it and what isn’t.
What’s In It
4 Gauge is a low-calorie and low-carb yet effective pre-workout carrying only 5 calories and 4g of carbs. Its manufacturer lists 8 natural ingredients that make up the 4 Gauge pre-workout (7):
150mg Caffeine Anhydrous
This naturally occurring stimulant is the dehydrated form of caffeine that comes from coffee beans and cacao. Caffeine, when dehydrated, comes in a powdered form and is much more concentrated and potent than regular caffeine. (8)
Many have begun to add Caffeine Anhydrous to their pre-workout regiment as studies have shown that it can aid in enhancing mental performance (pretty much like smart caffeine) strength, boosts endurance and athletic performance to a greater extent. (9)
On average, pre-workout formulas tend to have at least 200-300mg of Caffeine in them, which makes 4 Gauge’s 150mg seem like you’re missing out on a lot of ammo (energy) and you’d think hardcore athletes may find this a bit wanting.
But 4 Gauge digresses and claims that more hardcore lifters, athletes and many a personal trainer have since tried out their supplement exactly because it has less caffeine than other brands in the market.
“You do not need hundreds of grams of caffeine,” as they say in their official website.
This unique amino acid goes hand in hand with Caffeine Anhydrous — Caffeine gives you energy to pump, l- theanine gives you energy to focus.
Naturally found in tea leaves, L-theanine is scientifically proven to relax your mind without making you drowsy. (10) This can help prevent any jitters and keep you mentally alert for amazing workouts experience, you’ll need laser focus to avoid damage to your equipment, like bending your barbells if you drop them often, or worse yet, ending up with an injury.
6000mg L-citrulline DL-malate
You won’t find this non essential-amino acid normally in a lot of food but it’s highly concentrated in watermelon! Studies have proven that regular intake of l-citrulline dl malate can help with muscle growth and can increase muscle endurance during workouts. (11)
Once L-Citrulline enters your body, it significantly boosts your nitric oxide levels which in turn, would help to dilate blood vessels. One of the main benefits of nitric oxide dilating your blood vessels is it increases blood flow by allowing blood to pass through them as it transports fatty acids and oxygen to the needed areas.
You will need more blood flow not only for your fitness goals, but also in sports like sprinting or half marathon run.
4 Gauge claims to provide you with the optimum dosage compared to other supplements that under-dose this amino acid in their proprietary blend.
1000mg Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine monohydrate is ne of the most well-researched supplements out there when it comes to improving strength and muscle growth during resistance training. we’ve all heard about it at some point in our gym-going lives. (12)
While it’s mostly added to pre-workouts for its muscle building and rapid energy production during intense activities, 4 Gauge’s bigger reason for adding Creatine monohydrate is it helps you focus and concentrate so you get more out of your workout. (13)
300mg Red Beet
Beetroot juice has long been touted as a magical natural potion if you want enhanced performance and better endurance to give you an edge during sports or resistance training. (14)
4 Gauge gives you the optimum amount of 300mg of Red Beet to increase the levels of Nitric Oxide in the body. This works hand in hand with L-citrulline to get more blood and oxygen pumping in your veins.
An adaptogen that comes from a flowering herb found in the cold regions of Europe and Asia, studies have proven that this supplement can aid in increasing the body’s resistance to stress. (15)
RhodiolaRosea helps to prevent fatigue and depression, and can definitely help you stay motivated, and enhances your exercise performance to crush that superset at the gym.
300mg Coconut Water
Proclaimed as nature’s sports drink, coconut water not only prevents dehydration but also contains electrolytes, potassium, magnesium, calcium. (16)
A dose of coconut water powder in your supplements helps with staying hydrated, which can help prevent any headaches, low blood pressure, and keep you focused on your fitness or weight loss goals.
500mg Acetyl L-carnitine
People take this supplement for a variety of reasons (17), but many athletes and gym aficionados use it to help limit any “fat gains” and keep building lean mass. acetyl l-carnitine works in your body by transporting body fat to your cells to be used as fuel hence helping you lose weight.
Further, research has shown that it can reduce muscle soreness while improving the quality of muscle recovery, as well as increase fatigue resistance so you can push further during a workout. (18)
What’s Not In It
4 Gauge boasts that its pre-workout formula does not have any “proprietary blends” and artificial sweeteners.
Proprietary blends have always been a topic of controversy as manufacturers are given the freedom to not disclose what many a proprietary blend are actually made of and simply call them that… “proprietary blends.” (19)
I prefer to buy from companies that are 100% transparent when it comes to the ingredients they use and any label that simply tells me it has “proprietary blends” with no further explanation gets a hard pass from me.
When it comes to artificial sweeteners, we all know they’re just as bad as regular sugar (or even worse). You definitely need to not only quit eating table sugar, but also avoid these sweeteners at all costs. Sometimes the best pre workout supplement could be one with only one flavor, or is slightly sour, but it's far much better than have several flavors pumped full of sugars.
Why? Well, because regular intake of these sugar alternatives have been linked to several health hazards including weight gain and increased risk for cancer. (20)
Should I Be Worried About Side Effects?
You don’t need to be worried if you’ve done thorough research and consulted your doctor before adding a pre-workout to your diet.
Most times, side effects such as insomnia, jitters, diarrhea, and headaches, are allergic reactions to certain ingredients so it’s best to be more proactive and ask a professional if you’re at risk of experiencing such side effects. (5)
If you’re highly sensitive to caffeine, it’s recommended to try half a serving (1 scoop instead of 2) of 4 Gauge and see how your body reacts to it during and after your workouts.
This goes double for y’all fitness newbies out there too, if you haven’t been using supplements before, or you’re just unsure how well you might cope with one, then the best way is to start with small rations.
What Are Other People Saying About 4 Gauge?
I saw countless testimonials over at their official website praising 4 Gauge and swearing they’ll keep buying it over and over again. You’ll find glowing reviews like: (21)
“Overall I’d score 4 Gauge full marks. It’s worth every penny to not feel unwanted side effects but still get a ridiculous edge in training! Thanks 4 Gauge!”
– Ricarda, 27, Germany
“Since I have been using only 4 gauge as my pre-workout I have definitely made mass gains on all lifting and physical sports I do. It gives me a totally smooth and energizing power shortly after I take it.”
– Ryan Krause, 32, United States
“Straight away I was drawn to 4 Gauge, ingredients wise it’s the cleanest pre workout I’ve seen and it’s packaging is certainly striking. No artificial sweeteners and minimal calories. 5 per serving. What can I say, 4 Gauge blew me away. I felt so energised and powerful, but not shaky and itchy, it made me go a few extra sets in the squat rack that’s for sure!”
– Michelle, 27, UK
But it’s their website and you’d be a fool to advertise negative feedback when you’re trying to sell your product as the best pre-workout in the market, so I was still skeptical.
I did find a few reviews made by legit weightlifters and bona fide gym rats on youtube as well as from well-respected fitness blogs that gave 4 Gauge a thumbs up for having the right amount of caffeine, does what it promises, and is vegan-friendly.
The only major complaints I’ve seen are that…
4 Gauge pre-workout is only available in one tropical fruit blast flavor. Okay, this is not really a huge complaint since it does taste good but hey, we like a little variety here! And…
It’s a little pricey at $45 for only a 200g shell with a serving size of 14g per serving (which makes it $3.2 per serving). A lot of their competitors charge almost the same price for double the volume.
Despite these, they haven’t deterred many athletes from making 4 Gauge a part of their daily workout routines.
My Personal Experience
Let me just start off by saying that I admit to buying this mainly because of the packaging. It’s THAT cool.
But, really, aside from that, I was highly impressed with roar ambition it gave me and my overall output in the course of using it for 2 weeks.
I used to split my training days from 6 days to 4 days, especially when I felt extremely fatigued and just not seeing the gym as my happy place. The first day I took 4 Gauge, I noticed I was more alert but not jumpy and irritable, and I lasted 2-5 more reps than I normally would during my supersets.
By the end of the 2nd week with 4 Gauge and I’d finished my can, I could see a slight increase in my lean mass and I could definitely say I felt happier and even refreshed after my workouts.
Most of all, it blew my mind how the testimonials on their websites were actually telling the whole truth!
As to 4 Gauge only offering 1 flavor, I really can’t complain since I find the taste quite pleasant. For its price, though, I’d have to agree with the majority that it IS quite pricey.
4 Gauge stays true to its claims and I was quite satisfied with my results after using it for 2 weeks.
It's the ultimate ammo crate that you can add to your supplement stack- its ingredients may have fancy science-y names but they’re all natural and backed by extensive research. I’m happy to know that a company like 4 Gauge does their homework and actually listens to experts to make their pre-workout stand out, not just for its marketing, but for delivering results as well.
Now, if only they could lower the price without lowering the quality, then that would make 4 Gauge the top tier pre-workout formula in my books!
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