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With literally hundreds of pre-workout supplements available on the market, it can be difficult for a brand to stand out and set itself apart from the competition.
4 Gauge has definitely done just that.
They have a strong brand identity and their pre-workout ships in a container that literally looks like a shotgun shell.
After testing 4 Gauge over the past month, there wasn’t a lot that I didn’t like about the product, but there also wasn’t really anything that I loved about it.
Despite providing clinical doses of most of its ingredients and providing a good energy boost, there were some key performance areas where I felt this product fell a bit short.
Below is my full review, digging into the pros and cons of 4 Gauge pre-workout.
- 4 Gauge costs around $1.50 per serving, putting it just below the average cost per serving for pre-workouts, which is $1.61.
- 4 Gauge doesn’t have a long list of ingredients, but it does hit clinical doses for almost every ingredient included in its formula. It falls short only on its dose of creatine monohydrate.
- 4 Gauge is an excellent option for people who prioritize all natural ingredients or for anyone looking to try pre-workout for the first time. However, it may feel too mild (in terms of stimulants and strength-boosting ingredients) for users who are used to more intense pre-workouts.
Overall Rating: 3.2/5
4 Gauge Pre-Workout Video Review
What Is 4 Gauge?
4 Gauge markets itself as an “explosive” pre-workout, and the design of the container to mimic a shotgun shell gives the outward appearance that this is a really intense or “hardcore” pre-workout.
- Want to learn more about the brand? We interviewed the Founder of 4 Gauge, Connor Southworth. Read the 4 Gauge Story here.
In reality, it’s actually a relatively mild formula when compared to others on the market and it would make a great option for someone who is new to taking pre-workout or someone who prioritizes natural ingredients.
The ingredients in 4 Gauge focus on long-lasting and mood-boosting energy, making this an appealing option for cardio and HIIT-style workouts.
The formula has citrulline and red beetroot powder, two ingredients that are good for nitric oxide production (pump), and coconut water, which helps with recovery and hydration.
4 Gauge doesn’t really offer a lot in the way of supporting strength, power, or hypertrophy, however.
While you will get a performance boost from the energizing ingredients, it’s not the ideal formula if your goal is to push substantially heavier weights in the gym.
Outside of the ingredients, 4 Gauge has a section on their website titled “4Women” that discusses the benefits of their pre-workout for women while focusing on muscle mass and performance and minimizing the discussion around being smaller, which I think is an important message for women.
Though not necessarily related to the pre-workout itself, this definitely endeared me to the brand.
Claims vs Reality: How I Felt After Taking 4 Gauge?
I was really excited to try 4 Gauge, for one because the actual container intrigued me.
Secondly, I thought that the formula, which included red beetroot, coconut water, and Rhodiola sounded like a great combination for clean, jittery-free energy.
I wasn’t overwhelmed by 4 Gauge, but I wasn’t necessarily disappointed either. This one ultimately falls right in the middle of the road for me. I don’t think I will rebuy it, but I’m not in a hurry to give it away.
The first part of my experience involved fishing the scoop out.
Because of the design of the container, being a long narrow cylinder, the scoop has to go in completely vertically. This makes it impossible to scoop your product out without losing some of your pre-workout on the counter.
The second thing I noticed, which is hard to miss, is how strongly this product tasted of beets. It’s like a powdered fruit punch borscht (so ya, not the greatest).
Despite having a clinical dose of citrulline and a high dose of beetroot powder, which are “pump” ingredients, I didn’t feel like 4 Gauge actually provided a noticeable pump.
What I did like about 4 Gauge was the great energy.
I felt really good on this pre-workout, with no negative side effects like nausea or jitteriness. After having just tested Pre-Kaged Pre Workout where I got sick multiple times after taking it, knowing 4 Gauge was safe on my stomach was a welcome experience.
I also noticed that I recovered really quickly between sets and I didn’t fatigue as quickly during my high-volume sets.
Most notably, I remember finishing my first workout with 4 Gauge and leaving the workout feeling like I must have accidentally decreased my weights because I didn’t feel as though I had worked out very hard.
When I double-checked my weights from the workout prior, my weights were the same or increased slightly, and I had upped my training volume that week from 10 repetitions per set to 12.
I think this experience speaks to the recovery, endurance, and energizing aspects of this product.
Despite feeling good on 4 Gauge, I was left longing for the superhuman strength I felt on pre-workouts like Transparent Labs Bulk, especially for my strength and power workouts.
I would definitely still recommend 4 Gauge to friends if they had never taken pre-workout before and were looking for an extra boost to their workouts. For me, though, I’ve been taking pre-workouts for 10+ years and need something a bit stronger.
4 Gauge Pre-Workout
4 Gauge is an excellent option for people who prioritize all natural ingredients or for anyone looking to try pre-workout for the first time.
4 Gauge Ingredients (Per 1 scoop)
|Ingredient||Dose||Clinical Effective Dose||Meets Clinical Standard|
|Citrulline Malate||6000 mg||6000-8000 mg||✅|
|Creatine Monohydrate||1000 mg||5000 mg||x|
|Acetyl L-Carnitine||500 mg||500 mg||✅|
|Red Beet Root Extract||300 mg||n/a||n/a|
|Coconut Water Powder||300 mg||n/a||n/a|
|L-Theanine||200 mg||200-400 mg||✅|
|Rhodiola||100 mg||50 - 680 mg||✅|
Citrulline is an amino acid that acts as a nitric oxide enhancer in the body.
Nitric Oxide helps the body dilate and constrict blood vessels which can improve blood flow to the muscles and improve heart health. Supplementing with creatine means more nitric oxide production, leading to the aforementioned benefits.
Citrulline is a common ingredient for anyone looking for a good “muscle pump”.
Aside from the aesthetic benefits, citrulline may help delay fatigue, increase muscle strength and endurance, and improve recovery.
While more research is needed, the optimal dose so far appears to be 6-8g of citrulline taken 30-60 minutes before exercise.
4 Gauge meets clinical dose standards with a 6g per scoop dose.
Creatine is an amino acid that is found predominantly in the brain and muscles. It plays an important role in the creation of energy during one of the primary energy systems used during resistance training.
In simple terms, having higher stores of creatine in the body results in more potential energy stored, resulting in increased strength.
Creatine is one of the most thoroughly studied sports supplements and has a long track record proving its safety and efficacy.
Articles discussing creatine will occasionally mention side effects like bloating, water retention, or stomach upset. These symptoms occur most often when individuals choose to do a loading phase, whereby they take 3-4x the daily dose of creatine in order to saturate their creatine levels faster.
You may choose to do this loading phase and risk the side effects, but if you forgo the loading phase, your creatine levels will reach full saturation after 3-4 weeks of daily supplementation anyways.
The easiest and most commonly used dosage of creatine monohydrate is 5g daily, and is safe for long-term use.
With only 1g per scoop, 4 Gauge does not meet clinical dosing requirements for creatine monohydrate and will require additional supplementation if you want to see the full benefit.
You can buy unflavored creatine monohydrate powder and add it directly into your pre-workout, or take it mixed into water/juice/electrolyte beverage on your rest days.
Carnitine is a compound created in the body by combining two amino acids: lysine and methionine.
In the body, L-carnitine has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also plays a key role in converting fat to energy in the body.
Acetyl L-Carnitine specifically has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, which makes it an appealing option for increasing mental focus and clarity (though it’s most often been studied with patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease).
The optimal dosing for l-carnitine is 2g daily over the long term (longer than 2 weeks). Since the specific type used in 4 Gauge is Acetyl L-Carnitine HCl, it can be effective for improving mental function in doses as low as 500mg, which is what’s found in one scoop of 4 Gauge.
Red Beet Root Extract
Beet Root Powder (which is exactly what it sounds like – beetroot dried and ground into a powder) is one of the most nitrate-rich foods available. The body takes these nitrates and converts them to nitric oxide.
It is difficult to establish an effective pre-workout dose of beetroot powder since much of the research using beetroot either uses doses based on specific nitrate levels (which would be impossible for a regular consumer to infer), or use actual beetroot juice measured in ml.
In my professional opinion, it is likely that you will experience a light to moderate increase in performance attributed just to the beetroot powder found in this pre-workout. These effects will be compounded if you supplement with beetroot powder daily.
Coconut Water Powder
Coconut water is very rich in vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamin B6, iron, and potassium.
These vitamins and minerals all play key roles in energy metabolism and consuming them around your workout will help with overall hydration, muscle contraction, and recovery.
There isn’t a set, clinically established dose of coconut water powder that is ideal pre-workout, but the number of vitamins and minerals found in 300mg of powder will provide the benefits mentioned above.
Theanine is an amino acid that is found naturally in tea and some mushrooms. Traditionally it is used to help promote relaxation without causing drowsiness.
Theanine can decrease the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain which are associated with anxiety, while potentially increasing the activity of your feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
The overall effect of theanine paired with caffeine, like it is in this pre-workout, is improved mental focus and a more calm energy. It can help reduce the jitteriness and anxiety that are commonly associated with taking caffeinated pre-workouts.
The optimal dose of theanine is 200-400mg daily. 4 Gauge meets the clinical dosing standards with a 200mg per scoop dose.
Caffeine is a compound found naturally in more than 60 plants including tea and coffee beans.
Caffeine is a stimulant that speeds up the central nervous system. This causes an increase in alertness and mood and delays exhaustion.
Caffeine is the most consistent ingredient found across all brands of pre-workout and can improve performance in nearly all aspects of exercise: high-intensity training, muscular endurance, strength, power, and cardiovascular endurance.
Some potential side effects of caffeine ingestion include anxiety, jitteriness, or heart palpitations. The FDA recommends an upper limit of 400mg of caffeine per day.
4 Gauge falls well below the upper limit recommendation with a dose of 150mg per scoop, equal to approximately 2 small cups of coffee.
Rhodiola Rosea Powder
Rhodiola Rosea is a herbal supplement that is considered to be adaptogenic. This means it helps promote resistance to stress, both physical and mental.
A product that is adaptogenic, like Rhodiola, will help the body recover from the physical demands of the workout, delay fatigue, as well as enhance mental focus and mood.
Rhodiola has been proven effective in doses as low as 50mg but is most commonly used in doses between 288 and 680mg for acute (immediate) anti-fatigue benefits.
4 Gauge falls on the low end of the range mentioned above, with a dose of 100mg per serving.
Though this is below the 288mg that has been used for anti-fatigue and anti-stress benefits, Rhodiola in doses of 50mg daily has been shown to be effective in preventing fatigue so we will say that 4 Gauge meets clinical dosing standards for this ingredient.
Highlights: What I Like About 4 Gauge
4 Gauge doesn’t use any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners in its formula.
It also focuses highly on herbal/natural ingredients like red beet powder, coconut water, and rhodiola root powder.
Reasonable Caffeine Level
At 150mg per serving, equal to roughly 2 small cups of coffee, 4 Gauge falls well below the FDA’s recommendation of staying at or below 400mg daily.
The lower dose of caffeine (relative to other pre-workouts which go up to 425mg of caffeine per serving) decreases the likelihood of experiencing negative side effects like insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, or jitteriness.
This dose is also nice for individuals who want to consume other sources of caffeine in their day like coffee, tea, or energy drinks, since it allows some freedom to safely integrate those.
Great Endurance and Hydration Blend
The ingredients in 4 Gauge provide well-rounded and prolonged energy, both physical and mental.
The combination of citrulline and red beet powder both boosts nitric oxide production to improve blood flow and endurance and enhance recovery.
Acetyl L-Carnitine, caffeine, theanine, and Rhodiola all work together to provide energy and mental focus while eliminating the common side effects of caffeine like jitteriness and anxiety.
The overall result is long-lasting, mood-boosting energy and great mental focus.
Drawbacks What I Did Not Like About 4 Gauge
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to mask the taste of beetroot powder in any product, especially if that beetroot powder is in a clinically effective dose. Despite their best efforts at creating a fruit punch flavor, the taste of beets is overpowering.
I didn’t actually mind the taste that much. I happen to like beets, but even still I found the beet taste to dissipate rather quickly and allow the fruit punch flavor to show through.
How Does 4 Gauge Stack Up Against Our Criteria For Pre Workouts
Our rating: 3.75/5
4 Gauge Pre-workout comes in at about 10 cents below the average cost per serving of pre-workouts available on the market. With clinical doses of energizing ingredients, it provides a decent value.
If you are looking for a good energy boost and endurance without a crash or jitteriness, then 4 Gauge does provide a good value at only $1.50 per serving (even less if you choose any of 4 Gauge’s bulk order or subscription options).
It’s definitely possible to find some pre-workouts which provide a slightly better value, like Transparent Labs Bulk. Bulk only costs around 12 cents more per serving, but has nearly double the amount of ingredients, and contains clinical doses of all of those ingredients.
That being said, some pre-workout supplements now cost upwards of $3.00 per serving, so if your overall priority is finding an energy booster at a reasonable price, 4 Gauge is a great option.
Our rating: 2/5
4 Gauge contains a high dose of beetroot powder, which overpowers the fruit punch taste of the product.
Nearly 6x the amount of beetroot powder found in
Our rating: 5/5
4 Gauge dissolves easily into water and leaves little to no undissolved particles. It becomes quite foamy immediately after shaking it, but the foam dissolves quickly.
Our rating: 4/5
Though relatively low in total caffeine, 4 Gauge gives good energy and mental focus. The addition of acetyl l-carnitine provides additional mental focus. The combination of l-theanine and rhodiola promotes calmness and reduces anxiety and jitteriness.
I feel like the clean, lasting energy is where 4 Gauge really shines. It has enough caffeine to give you a good energy boost, but not so much that you are at high risk for negative side effects like jitteriness or heart palpitations.
For people who are tolerant of caffeine, this is even an option that you could take later in the afternoon or early in the evening that might not cause insomnia.
I don’t often use buzzwords like “clean energy”, but that really is the best way to describe the energy effect of this product. Having both theanine and Rhodiola provide a really calm energy that helps you dial in and focus on the workout at hand.
Our rating: 2.5/5
Both citrulline and beetroot powder increase nitric oxide production and should theoretically provide a good pump. I felt like the pump with this product was less noticeable than other pre-workouts I’ve tried.
There are always variable factors in what contributes to overall muscle pump like hydration status, how much/what you’ve eaten that day, and body composition attributes.
Even still, when comparing my upper body pump with this product compared to others like Legion Pulse, 4 Gauge fell a bit short.
Our rating: 2/5
Despite the addition of creatine, an ingredient popular for increasing strength, the dosage falls short and the overall strength-boosting benefit from 4 Gauge wasn’t noticeable.
You can see indirect increases in strength through the improved energy and recovery from the other ingredients found in 4 Gauge, but strength is not the strong point of this formula. Pun intended.
Who Should Take 4 Gauge?
4 Gauge is a great option for people who:
- Are new to taking pre-workout and want something less intense
- Have a lot of cardiovascular, HIIT, or endurance components to their training
- Prioritize natural ingredients and want to avoid artificial flavors and colors
- People who don’t like the “tingly” feeling they sometimes get from pre-workouts (this is attributed to the ingredient, beta-alanine, which is absent in the 4 Gauge formula).
Who Should Not Take 4 Gauge?
I would pass on 4 Gauge if
- You can’t stomach the taste of beets
- You are looking for a high stim formula
- Increasing strength and muscle mass is your #1 goal
What Are Other Customers Saying About 4 Gauge?
One of the hardest sections to write for this article was the customer review section. There were practically no reliable reviews available for 4 Gauge.
On Amazon, 4 Gauge has a 3.9/5 star rating, but that’s only off of 20 total reviews, which is not a reliable sample size.
On a positive note, this was one instance where I was able to read every single review on a product and I didn’t have to spend ages combing through reviews.
Nearly all reviews on Amazon praised the fact that this product gave good energy with no jitters or crash afterward.
The few negative reviews left mentioned the poor taste or felt that the product didn’t do much for them.
The reviews on the 4 Gauge page are not reliable for an objective article like this one, since they are very clearly hand-picked positive testimonials. That’s not to say that the people leaving the testimonials are lying. I’m sure they love the product as much as they say they do.
But when the testimonials are featured on a page and are clearly hand-picked, you’re not going to find any negative feedback.
That said, the testimonials on the 4 Gauge website mimic my own experience and those of the select few Amazon users: This product provides good energy with no crash or jitteriness and is popular for cardio and HIIT sessions.
4 Gauge Alternatives
Transparent Labs Bulk
If you like the appeal of a naturally flavored pre-workout that has a low to moderate caffeine level, but you want more ingredients to support strength and muscle growth, try Transparent Labs Bulk.
Bulk falls within a similar price range at around $1.66 per serving. For 16 cents extra, you get 2 extra grams of citrulline, and the addition of clinical doses of beta-alanine, betaine, and taurine to support strength and performance.
The Bulk pre-workout has caffeine and l-theanine like 4 Gauge does, but it also features Alpha-GPC and Tyrosine to help increase energy and mental focus.
Transparent Labs Bulk comes in a 30 serving container and is available in 12 different flavors including strawberry kiwi, black cherry, pina colada, and sour grape.
Transparent Labs Stim-Free
If you work out late in the evening or are trying to avoid caffeine and stimulants, consider trying Transparent Labs Stim-Free. It comes with all of the benefits of Transparent Labs Bulk including being third-party tested, clinically dosed, and it has no artificial flavors or colors.
As the name suggests, the stim-free pre is 100% caffeine-free, making it a great option for people who work out later in the day and don’t want to disrupt their sleep but still want a substantial performance boost.
Stim-Free has the same amount of citrulline as 4 Gauge (6g per scoop) and uses only natural colors and flavors which is about where the similarities end.
Transparent Labs Stim-Free uses elevATP ®, a patented blend of Ancient Peat and Apple Fruit extract for a stim-free energy boost.
For improving strength and performance, the stim-free blend consists of BCAAs, beta-alanine, betaine, taurine, and tyrosine.
Are There Any Promos or Discounts For 4 Gauge?
One thing that 4 Gauge does really well is having a strong brand identity. From the shotgun shell-shaped container, which they refer to as a “round”, to their advertising as an “explosive” pre-workout.
This theme carries through with their bulk savings and discount options.
You can buy what they refer to as an “Ammo Crate”, which is 4 containers of 4 Gauge at a discounted rate.
Buying the ammo crate saves you approximately $10 per container, which is a substantial saving.
You can also subscribe to 4 Gauge’s “Gun Club”, which is their subscribe and save feature. Your subscription is set to deliver monthly and saves you 10% off your order.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 4 Gauge The Best Pre-Workout?
4 Gauge is a good option for individuals who are new to pre-workout and don’t want something too intense. It’s also a good option for cardio and HIIT workouts. It is not for individuals who want a substantial muscle pump or whose goals involve significant increases in strength and power.
Is 4 Gauge Third Party Tested?
I could find no indication on the product or company website that indicates that 4 Gauge is third party tested.
Is 4 Gauge Good For Weight Loss?
4 Gauge does not contain significant doses of ingredients specifically for fat loss. Since it provides a good energy boost, however, you might find yourself able to workout harder and/or longer which could accelerate your weight loss goals.
Is 4 Gauge Safe For Women?
4 Gauge is safe for use by women. In fact, 4 Gauge has an entire page on their website dedicated to outlining the benefits of 4 Gauge for women. This product should not be used while pregnant. Consult a doctor prior to use if you are breastfeeding.
How Much Caffeine Does 4 Gauge Have?
4 Gauge has 150mg of caffeine per scoop.
Does 4 Gauge Have Creatine?
4 Gauge has 1g of creatine monohydrate per scoop, falling shy of the recommended maintenance dose of 3-5g daily.
How Long Does 4 Gauge Last For?
The energizing effects of 4 Gauge can be felt for anywhere from 2-4 hours. Due to the addition of theanine, there is not a crash associated with this product.Its effects will gradually wear off throughout the day.
Does 4 Gauge Need To Be Cycled?
4 Gauge does not technically need to be cycled, but it is recommended to take 1-2 weeks off every 6-8 weeks to avoid building up a tolerance. If you stop noticing 4 Gauge’s effects, it’s time to take a 1-2 week break.
Will 4 Gauge Make Me Jittery?
You should not notice jitteriness with this pre-workout. 4 Gauge includes theanine and rhodiola in its formula, two ingredients which promote relaxation, anti-stress, amd mood elevation.
What Flavors Are Available For 4 Gauge?
4 Gauge is available in 3 flavors: Fruit Blast, Pina Colada, and Frozen Lemonade.
Where Is 4 Gauge Made?
4 Gauge pre-workout is proudly made in the United States. Their manufacturing office is out of Utah.
What Is 4 Gauge Shipping Policy?
4 Gauge ships to the USA and Canada through their depot in Tennessee. Shipping times within the contiguous US range from 2-4 business days. International orders take anywhere from 2-15 business days. See their website for details about your country. Shipping rates vary by location.
What Is 4 Gauge Return Policy?
4 Gauge has a 100% guarantee. If you are not satisfied with your product, they advertise a money-back guarantee with no questions asked. Simply contact customer support to initiate your return.
How To Contact 4 Gauge?
4 Gauge Pre-Workout
4 Gauge is an excellent option for people who prioritize all natural ingredients or for anyone looking to try pre-workout for the first time.
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About The Author
Jennifer Vibert is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Nutrition Coach, and supplement store manager. She has a Bachelor of Kinesiology with a major in Fitness and Lifestyle and a minor in Psychology from the University of Regina. She is a Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition, with a passion for helping clients learn the fundamentals of nutrition and supplementation in order to build healthy, sustainable habits.