Shadow X is a pre-workout supplement created by Cobra Labs. It comes in three flavors – Lemon Zero, Magic Berry, and Neon Tropic.
Claimed to promote:
- Mental focus
- Muscle pumps
At $29.99, this pre-workout is fairly low-cost. But does Shadow X’s ingredients suffer from its low price tag, or does it represent great value for money?
We’ve analyzed this product to help you decide.
Take a look:
About the Company
Founded in 2010, Cobra Labs are well-known for their first and best-selling pre-workout supplement, The Curse. They’ve since expanded and a fat burner, and another pre-workout product, called Shadow X.
The Ingredients and How They Work
Interestingly, Cobra Labs have seperated certain ingredients under different titles – they’re essentially proprietary blends that show you exactly what’s inside.
However, let’s take a look at whether the ingredients contained in Shadow X are effective in delivering benefits – such as increased mental focus, muscle pumps, and energy.
See for yourself:
Cobra Labs have started off badly here. While Beta-Alanine has been shown to improve muscular endurance, it comes with the risk of paresthesia when taken in a dose bigger than 0.8g-1g.
Paresthesia is a tingling on the skin of your face, chest, hands, face, and extremities – it’s not life threatening, but it’s uncomfortable enough to ruin your workout in the gym.
As there is 2,000mg (2g) of Beta Alanine in Shadow X, you’re almost certain to experience paresthesia after using this pre-workout. We recommend staying away from this ingredient to avoid paresthesia.
This is an organic acid that contains sulfur, and is found in foods (especially meat). It’s most commonly used to reduce cramping due to its ability to improve blood flow.
Although it’s not key to a top quality pre-workout, there aren’t any negatives in having this included.
This is one of the three branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and is considered the most beneficial one. L-Leucine promotes muscle protein synthesis, which aids muscle growth.
However, it’s only shown to be effective in delivering this benefit in doses between 2,000mg-5,000mg – there is only 750mg of L-Leucine in Shadow X, meaning you’re not likely to experience its benefits.
Cobra Labs should’ve replaced L-Leucine with something more beneficial to a pre-workout, like Creatine Monohydrate – this is one of the best ingredients you can find in a pre-workout, and has proven to boost strength and endurance in the gym.
L-Citrulline is one of the best ingredients in Shadow X, and any pre-workout it’s in. It’s an amino acid that turns into L-Arginine in your kidneys after oral supplementation – this results in increased nitric oxide levels, which in turn widens your blood vessels (vasodilation), delivering intense muscle gains during your workout.
But you might be thinking, why not take L-Arginine directly? This is because L-Arginine has a poor absorption rate, meaning your body can’t use L-Arginine when its orally supplemented, so it’s ineffective in raising your L-Arginine levels.
There’s also a problem with Shadow X – L-Citrulline works best at its optimal amount (between 6,000mg-8,000mg). This pre-workout only contains 2,000mg, so you won’t experience great muscle pumps when using this product.
We recommend you to search for a pre-workout that contains between 6,000mg-8,000mg to experience its full benefits.
– Highest Rated Pre Workouts Here –
Also known as trimethylglycine, it’s a molecule that was discovered in beetroot. However unlike beetroot, it doesn’t raise your nitric oxide levels.
It’s believed to increase strength and endurance, but only at doses of 2,500mg-6,000mg taken twice daily. This is a problem, as Shadow X only contains 600mg of Betaine, meaning you’re not likely to experience enhanced strength and endurance when taking this pre-workout.
Cobra Labs should’ve replaced this ingredient with Beetroot Extract, which raises your nitric oxide levels and promotes intense muscle pumps while you lift weights in the gym.
This is one of the best ingredients in Shadow X. It’s one of the safest nutrients out there, and also one of the most beneficial – it enhances your strength, endurance, and mental function (memory and reaction time).
However, the problem is the amount of caffeine contained in this pre-workout – while caffeine is very safe to consume, it comes with the risk of side effects when taken in a large dose.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for caffeine is 400mg. Shadow X contains 350mg, which is most of your RDA, taken at once – this puts you at risk of suffering from side effects like jitters, energy crashes, and insomnia.
You should look for a pre-workout that contains 150-200mg of caffeine, to experience its benefits without risking side effects.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that reduces stress levels and improves mental function (memory and reaction time), as it’s used to produce noradrenaline and dopamine.
It’s not a key ingredient in a pre-workout as it’s more suited to a Nootropic product – Cobra Labs should’ve replaced this ingredient with L-Theanine.
L-Theanine works in synergy with caffeine to form a ‘smart caffeine’ – this combination provides you with heightened benefits of caffeine, without the risk of any side effects such as jitters, energy crashes, and insomnia.
You should definitely look out for pre-workouts that contain both caffeine and L-Theanine to get the best value for your money and results.
Olive Leaf Extract
This is an extract from the leaves of olive plants. It’s believed to protect you against LDL oxidation (accumulation of cholesterol).
However, it’s usually taken in doses of 500-1000mg – Shadow X only contains 5mg of this ingredient, meaning you won’t experience this benefit.
Most of the ingredients in Shadow X are ineffective – none of the doses in this pre-workout are optimal.
Check out which ingredients work and which don’t in our
– Pre workout ingredients guide –
There is cause for concern due to the inclusion of Beta-Alanine in this pre-workout, which can cause paresthesia (tingling on the skin of your face, chest, hands, and other extremitites).
The high dose of caffeine (350mg) can also cause side effects to those sensitive to it, such as jitters, energy crashes, and insomnia – Cobra Labs should’ve lowered the caffeine dose in this product to avoid this issue.
Here’s a list of the potential side effects from taking Shadow X:
- Paresthesia – a tingling on the skin of your face, chest, hands, and extremities (Beta-Alanine)
- Jitters (High dose of caffeine)
- Energy Crashes (High dose of caffeine)
- Insomnia (High dose of caffeine)
Not what you’re looking for? See your best options in our
– Top 3 Pre Workout Page –
Pro’s and Con’s
- Contains some great ingredients for a pre-workout, such as L-Citrulline and Caffeine.
- None of the ingredients inside Shadow X are at optimal levels (some are underdosed like L-Citrulline and Betaine, while others are overdosed like Caffeine).
- Many ingredients are ineffective in providing benefits in a pre-workout supplement.
- Not good value for money.
Shadow X Review Conclusion
While there are some great ingredients that you’d expect to find in a top quality pre-workout (L-Citrulline and Caffeine), both of them are underdosed and overdosed – L-Citrulline’s optimal amount is 6,000mg-8,000mg (Shadow X contains 2,000mg), while the RDA for Caffeine is 400mg (there’s 350mg in one serving of this pre-workout).
Most of the ingredients contained in Shadow X aren’t key to a pre-workout (L=Tyrosine is more suited to a Nootropic product). You should look for a pre-workout that contains an optimal amount of L-Citrulline and 150-200mg of Caffeine.
We recommend looking out for other ingredients that’re beneficial in a pre-workout – Beetroot Extract (promotes muscle pumps), Creatine Monohydrate (enhances strength and endurance) and L-Theanine (works in synergy with Caffeine to form a ‘smart caffiene’, providing you with heightened benefits of caffeine without the risk of side effects.