Consuming snacks before, during and after workouts can be helpful but it all depends on the type of snacks consumed. Workouts use a lot of energy since it involves burning of calories in the body, the energy reserves used up during the workouts must be replenished. Shakes offer the required energy for the workouts and also replenish the energy reserves in the body, the choice of shakes to be consumed is therefore vital so as to avail the energy for the body. Pre-workout shakes provide extra energy for workouts, among them is dark chocolate shakes which has been found to be very energetic.
Dark chocolate has the capacity to increase nitric oxide levels in the body and it is thus apprpriate to add it onto pre-workout shakes. A recent study has it that adding dark chocolate into pre-workout shakes boosts body recovery and growth. The study conducted by a number of researchers from Aberystwyth University in Wales involved men consuming either 100 grams of seventy percent cocoa dark chocolate or a control bar before pedaling on a motionless cycle for two and half hours on moderate speed. The subjects were then measured for their insulin and blood glucose levels and also for the indicators of oxidative stress.
The results which were reported in the 2011 issue of the European Journal of Nutrition indicated that when the subjects consumed the dark chocolate before workouts, they were more capable of maintaining their blood glucose levels and had higher insulin levels. The subjects also experienced reduced oxidative stress. The capability of maintaining blood glucose levels translates into having more energy to sustain the training intensity and helps the individual exercise more. The higher insulin levels helps in improving muscle growth, however higher insulin levels during workouts can limit the burning of fats. Therefore, if an individual hopes to lose body fat then it is appropriate that the chocolate be added to post-workout shakes. The reduced oxidative stress translates to better muscle recovery after workouts and can lead to more muscle growth.
The dosage most suitable for pre-workout chocolate intake is 3 – 4 ounces (100 grams) of 70 percent dark cocoa or a quarter cup cocoa powder. This dosage also applies to post-workout shakes.
In yet another study published in the European Journal of Nutrition in 2012 it was found that intake of pre-workout dark chocolate had beneficial effects on oxidative stress and body responses to prolonged workouts. The study put forward that dark chocolate alleviated workout induced oxidative stress and significantly increased the concentration of plasma anti-oxidant in the body. Plasma glucose concentrations were also found to be considerably higher after the workouts.
The study by the Aberystwyth University researchers thus proved that dark chocolate intake before workouts is very helpful, it enhances the performance of the body during the exercises and reduces stress after workouts. Dark chocolate thus translates to better muscle growth and recovery after workouts. Regular exercises and intake of dark chocolate before workouts greatly improves the body’s responses to workouts and sustains the individual throughout the workouts thus a healthy body and attainment of workout goals.