Dark chocolate is a true super food. To be specific, I’m talking about dark chocolate that’s around 70% cocoa or more. Its health benefits are well documented, but dark chocolate is also a performance-enhancer that warrants inclusion in your pre-workout meal.
First off, it’s been shown in the past to boost nitric oxide (NO) levels; we’ve known this for a while. A recent study from Aberystwyth University (Wales), however, found another reason to add dark chocolate to your pre-workout shake: more productive workouts.
The researchers had men consume either 100 grams (about 3.5 oz.) of 70% cocoa dark chocolate or a control bar before pedal- ing on a stationary cycle for 2.5 hours at a moderate pace. They measured the subjects’ blood glucose and insulin levels, as well as markers of oxidative stress. They reported in an issue of the European Journal of Nutrition that when the subjects consumed the dark chocolate before the workout they were able to better maintain their blood glucose levels, had higher insulin levels and experienced less oxidative stress. These are significant findings, as the ability to better maintain blood glucose levels means you’ll have more energy to keep your training intensity up.
The aforementioned results suggest add- ing about 3 ounces of dark chocolate or 1/4 cup of cocoa powder that’s at least 70% cocoa (or cacao) to your pre-workout meal or shake. When to have your dark chocolate around workouts is simple: Whenever you take your other pre-workout supplements like Pre JYM and Pro JYM.
For taste reasons, you probably don’t want to throw chocolate or cocoa powder in with your Pre JYM, which is fruit/citrus flavored. But dark chocolate/cocoa tastes great with any flavor of Pro JYM. Of course, if your dark chocolate source is 3 ounces in bar form, it’s probably easiest to just eat it separately from your shake instead of trying to crumble it up and add it to your shake.