It’s the new year, and I’m sure you made some sort of resolution. By any chance, did it include losing weight?
Are you someone who secretly uses chocolate as a motivational booster before and after you hit the gym, the road or the court? It’s time to stop feeling guilty about those pre-workout and post-exercise chocolate cravings, and start to embrace the idea that chocolate might just be your secret weapon against fatigue and soreness.
Dark Chocolate Good for Working Out? Here’s Why…
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains some powerful natural ingredients that have been linked to performance enhancement in athletes. And yes, this has even been studied by scientists and applied to real-life scenarios. What are the attributes that make chocolate so enticing, and appropriate for athletes?
What You’ll Find in the Dark Chocolate You Eat Before Working Out
- Epicatechins – The cocoa bean is filled with these flavanols. Epicatechins set the stage for your body to better increase your oxygen flow throughout the bloodstream. When your blood cells get more oxygen, you get the benefits.
- Stimulants – Have you noticed that you feel a burst of energy after nibbling on a piece of chocolate before you lift weights, jog, play a pick-up game or go cycling? That’s not an accident! Chocolate has been proven by researchers to not only stimulate the mind, but also to keep you focused on your intense activity.
- Blood Pressure Reducers – Along with the stimulant effects, chocolate is considered a vasodilator. In layman’s terms, this means your blood pressure is positively affected by long-term eating of chocolate. Who doesn’t like to go to the doctor for a physical and hear that your blood pressure is excellent?
- Antioxidants – This is a word that we hear quite a bit, but what does it mean for you when you’re getting ready to sweat hard? In a (chocolate-covered!) nutshell, antioxidants help you stay healthier and recover without getting sick. They may also play a factor in keeping your muscles from becoming too achy after a particularly strenuous athletic activity.
Why Is Dark Chocolate Better for You?
Before you think that this gives you free reign to eat all the chocolate you want, it’s important to know that most research has been done on dark chocolate, rather than milk chocolate varieties. Dark chocolate is higher in cocoa solids, giving you a more intense amount of chocolate-infused workout good stuff. It also contains few or no milk solids, so if you’re struggling with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy, you’ll find it easier for your body to digest.
How Much Dark Chocolate Should You Eat Before and After Exercising?
Whether you’re going to be running, walking, diving, jumping or performing some other physical activity, you can always count on dark chocolate to be your pal. The key, of course, is to eat it in moderation. Before your workout, an ounce or two of premium dark chocolate is enough to give you a kick without burdening your system with an unnecessary amount of sugar or fat.
After your workout, you can feel free to nibble a little more as post-exercise recovery fuel. Again, opt for dark chocolate with the highest concentration of cocoa solids you can find. (And enjoy!)
Ready to Improve Your Workout With Chocolate?
Let’s face it … this is exciting news for chocoholics who want to stay fit and healthy! Finally, you have a great excuse for carrying your dark chocolate right into the health club without any feelings of regret. If someone looks askance, just refer them to this article … and make sure you offer them a piece of your chocolate!