Eating Chocolate Before Exercise: Does It Help Runners?

Eating chocolate before exercise has shown to help runners perform better. Learn more about recent research on eating chocolate before working out, and the many ways you can incorporate it into your diet.

Eating chocolate before exercise is beneficial

Do you love eating chocolate but feel that it has a negative effect on your running? Think again because some Eating chocolate before exerciseevidence suggests that consuming a moderate amount of chocolate can actually boost your performance during exercise and might even help improve your recovery afterward. Research has found that some of the elements found in chocolate can actually build a muscular structure that can help you produce cellular energy. Read on as we find out if eating chocolate before a workout is truly effective.

Feel Less Effort with Chocolate

In a study published in the ‘Biomedical and Environment Sciences,’ 16 male college students who consumed a chocolate bar before a moderate-intensity run had higher blood sugar levels 15 minutes into their run and all the way through 30 minutes after their run compared when they had a placebo supplement. In fact, the blood sugar levels of the subjects dropped to below a normal range 30 minutes into their exercise when they did not have chocolate. When the subjects were made to eat the chocolate bars, they also showed other indicators like favorable blood lactate levels and a lower rate of perceived exertion. All these showed researchers that having a chocolate bar before exercise can help boost exercise stamina and improve recovery.

Chocolate is a Gift to Runners

Another study published in the ‘Journal of Physiology,’ researchers split sedentary male lab mice into different groups to study the effects of epicatechin on their physical performance. Epicatechin is the main nutritional ingredient of cacao. When researchers gave all groups a treadmill test, they found that those mice given epicatechin and a light 15-day training regimen in advance outperformed control groups and an epicatechin group that did not exercise.

The researchers also found out that the group of mice that received epicatechin with no exercise outperformed the group that got exercise but no epicatechin. After researchers biopsied the muscles of the nice, they found that the cells in the muscles of those mice given epicatechin were making new structures that help create cellular energy. The more of these structures a muscle has, the less susceptible it is to fatigue. Still, researchers have to do more studies to determine if this effect is the same among humans consuming cacao-rich dark chocolate before a workout.

Still, Take Caution with Chocolate

While this might seem like good news to all chocolate lovers, the results of these researchers should not mean that you can chow down on a big chocolate bar right before you go running. Just a small amount of dark chocolate is all that is needed to get the performance-enhancing benefits of this treatment. In fact, eating a lot might only undo the benefits by overloading the muscle receptors. Small means give grams or just half a square of a dark chocolate bar. Also, never think that you can get by with a milk chocolate bar. This has gone through too much processing that it has undone the effects of epicatechin.

Chocolate Pre-Running Snacks

  1. Sprinkle of dark cocoa on your Greek yogurt (add honey if you like)
  2. Handful of high-quality dark chocolate chips before running
  3. Few mini pretzels covered in dark chocolate
  4. Sprinkle with cocoa onto a cup of coffee forever more endurance benefits
  5. Handful of trail mix with cocoa nibs, dried fruit and nuts
  6. Piece of high-quality dark chocolate for another mix of carbs and proteins

To get the most from these chocolate before working out benefits, consume one with as much cocoa content as possible, preferably 70 percent and above. These kinds went through the least amount of processing so it was able to retain a good amount of nutrients. If you find yourself still craving for chocolate after running or working out, reach for some eating chocolate milk after working out. Chocolate milk has also been found to make for a great recovery drink.

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