Have you ever been told to eat a third of a bar of high-quality dark chocolate 15 minutes before a workout?
Good quality dark chocolate (ideally at least 70% cacao) has been proven to release endorphins that make us feel good. Some of dark chocolate’s benefits come from resveratrol, an antioxidant (immune system booster) found in red wine, among other products. Its mental health benefits include the ability to boost brain levels of endorphins (natural opiates). As well as serotonin (a mood-altering chemical on which many antidepressants act).
Because it can increase serotonin levels in the brain, dark chocolate also may increase serotonin production in the gut. And thus help your immune system. It may help reduce blood pressure and increase arterial blood flow, reduce the chance of blood clots and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
People who eat chocolate three times a month had a reduced risk of heart failure of 13%, compared to those who ate none. Similarly, as an anti-inflammatory food, chocolate is linked to living longer.
Dark chocolate releases dopamine and has a lot of benefits such as vasodilation. Which is basically that pump that people are after when they’re trying to build muscle. It also benefits your brain function because it stimulates your brain cells to release that dopamine. And it also releases serotonin which is going to calm the nervous system down
Another side benefit (mental) of eating dark chocolate before you go to the gym is it creates this positive feedback loop with your brain. Now that you’re getting this piece of chocolate before your workout you’re creating a positive association with your training session. You have something to look forward to. A piece of dark chocolate doesn’t have much weight to it but it’s very nutrient-dense so it really provides the body with a lot of energy whilst still making you feel light in the stomach, allowing you to jump around and move. Which is better then working out with an empty stomach, some might say.
If you’re attempting to lose weight and thus are aiming to be in a calorie deficit. It’s worth noting that you’ll need to factor this extra snack into your daily goals. 50g of dark chocolate typically contains around 300 calories. Having your chocolate 10 to 15 minutes before your workout.
Taken from an article written by Scarlett Johansson’s personal trainers.