Bodybuilding chocolate

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Is Dark Chocolate Good For Bodybuilding Then?

If you’ve been good, you’ve treated yourself to a candy bar snack by now. It also helps to take care of your expected sugar rush. But did you know that rich, dark chocolate is even better, could even be healthier for you? How is this? And so how is dark chocolate good for bodybuilding as well?

In five minutes you will know. Take note of dark chocolate’s rich ingredients and then enjoy your glimpse of its health benefits. And after seeing how dark chocolate fits into the smoothie maker, slow down for how it fits the bulking bill.

Why Dark Chocolate Matters

And did you know that dark chocolate is stuffed with nutrients that all have a positive effect on your heart health? Having been produced from the seeds of cocoa trees, dark chocolate is also tanked up with antioxidants. This early in the article, you will already have noticed how heart health has been emphasized.

Could It Be Bad Otherwise?

More on that in a later section. But do note that if you are already a diabetic, you could have had to forego the dark chocolate for now. Not necessarily because there are sweet alternatives available for diabetic eaters as well.

Dark Chocolate Part Of Bodybuilder’s Macronutrient Requirements

It should go without saying that before you fill up your snack bar, you’ll be in contact with your consulting physician or nutritionist about this matter. And just because you are now a special case does not mean that you’re going to be missing out on your three key macronutrients either.

Dark Ingredients

These of course are your proteins, carbs and fats. More on that later. In the meantime, let’s talk a little about dark chocolate’s ingredients. Well, let’s just list them already.

Do note that in a modest-sized bar of dark chocolate, all one hundred grams of it, over eighty percent of it is made up of cocoa, a healthy natural ingredient to boot.


Those of you who really need to watch the sugar can now rest easy. Because the amount of sugar in a one-hundred-gram bar of dark chocolate is relatively moderate. But the recommendation has still been made to regulate your consumption of such candy bars to no more than every other day to keep you heart healthy.


Those who need to watch their consumption of all fats need not worry just as long as they moderate their consumption of dark chocolate. Most of the fats are saturated and monounsaturated, of which some will be made up of small amounts of polyunsaturated fat.



A one-hundred-gram bar of dark chocolate contains the following minerals;

  • Iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, selenium, phosphorus.

All of which, by the way, far exceed the recommended daily allowance. Also note that this single bar already holds eleven grams of the essential fiber.


Dark Chocolate Benefits

This article’s emphasis, aside of the dark chocolate, has been on heart health. So it goes without saying that amongst the numerous benefits of consuming dark chocolate, there is that;

  • Heart disease risks could be reduced – This is due to the fact that compounds in the dark chocolate could be offering oxidative protection against LDL.
  • Subsequently, blood flow could be improved and blood pressure could be lowered. This is because flavanols in the chocolate could be stimulating the lining of the arteries in order to also produce nitric oxide.
  • Definitely quite nutritious – Best nutritional value comes from the chocolate’s high cocoa quota.
  • Rich source of antioxidants – It is already recorded elsewhere that raw, unprocessed cocoa is amongst the highest sources of antioxidants in food.

Why So Bad Dark Chocolate?

Whichever way you look at it, as potent as dark chocolate is, it’s best to be consumed in moderation. And because of its extremely igj calorie quota, it’s definitely not suitable for the bodybuilder’s cutting phase. But to add vooma to bland ingredients, boy, is dark chocolate Wow for the smoothie maker!

Load Dark Chocolate To Bulking Diet

By all means, knock yourself out as they say. Take two dark chocolate bars with you to the gym. Have one on your way there. And then have another one after you’ve completed your heavy lifting. Because this is what is happening. You’ve already helped yourself to well over a thousand calories!


By now you’ve pretty much had a good time with this article. Your conscience is clean for once, because by now there’s room in your diet for a really rich sweet treat that just happens to be good for your bodybuilder’s heart health too.

But by now you’ve also learned that it’s good exercise to practice the age-old good philosophy of everything in moderation. Stuff yourself with too much hard, dark chocolate before and after muscle training on a regular basis, you’re looking at stomach cramps or constipation. On a regular basis.


Filed Under: Nutrition And Diet


The Hidden Secret To Making Chocolate Healthy!

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, chances are that you're planning a romantic, luxurious evening with your significant other. Or you're single and using Valentine's Day as an excuse to self-indulge with some well-deserved pampering. Either way, it's hard to avoid chocolate on this one day of the year.

Why would you want to?

Okay, we know that chocolate doesn't exactly rank up there on your list of healthy foods. But there are ways to celebrate the chocolate rush of the season without racking up the calories.

The trick is to get creative and use these healthy recipes to indulge in the sweet, succulent taste of chocolate without piling on diet guilt.

Is Dark Chocolate a Healthy Alternative?

Dark Chocolate actually does pack in some healthy antioxidants that will boost your overall health. What provides the antioxidant benefit of dark chocolate? Cocoa. The higher percentage of pure cocoa that is in dark chocolate, the darker it'll be. Usually this also means the darker the chocolate, the bitterer it is since cocoa is naturally bitter.

Indulging in a bit of dark chocolate can be a good way to enjoy the thrill of chocolate and promote overall wellness at the same time.

One study performed in Finland noted that consumption of dark chocolate increased levels of HDL cholesterol in the body, thus promoting a healthier heart.

No chocolate is low calorie, though, and chocolate shouldn't be eaten as a snack. The calories in dark chocolate are slightly more than cheese and slightly less than nuts. Chocolate is calorie dense and does not provide the fiber or protein necessary to balance the blood sugar spike you'll get from eating it.

Always remember to read the nutrition label on any chocolate bar you plan on indulging in and stick to a moderate amount. You can find dark chocolate treats that are fairly low in sugar, but don't forget to check for fat content.

It's far better if you can find ways to celebrate your sweet tooth that won't spike your metabolism or add unnecessary fat to your diet. The following recipes use chocolate protein powder or combine chocolate with other high-protein items that won't throw your metabolism for a loop.

Protein Is the Key!

By including protein in each of these recipes, you'll help balance out the nutrients in your "desserts" while promoting lean muscle and keeping you feeling great on your diet plan.

Here are a few ideas to get you started!


Whip Up Some Chocolate Protein Pudding

One of the simplest ways to fight a chocolate craving and indulge in something sweet with your significant other is to whip up some high-protein chocolate pudding. Everybody loves a creamy treat.

When you're craving something sweet and creamy like chocolate ice-cream or pudding, this recipe will satisfy that craving in record time.

  1. Prepare the chocolate pudding using two cups of skim milk. Note: If you want to make it extra thick, then reduce the skim milk down to just 1 or 1.5 cups instead.

  2. When your pudding is ready, add in a scoop of your favorite chocolate whey protein powder. Continue blending until well mixed and then place into individual serving bowls.

Want to get fancy? Try these ideas:
  • Alternate layers of Chocolate Protein Pudding with fresh Strawberries
  • Use vanilla or white chocolate pudding instead (replace chocolate protein powder with vanilla)
  • Make chocolate and vanilla protein pudding and then create layers of chocolate, vanilla, and fruit in the serving cup. Top with a few maraschino cherries for a beautiful effect.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size (1) Recipe yields 1

Amount per serving

Total Calories 109

Fat 1 g

Carb 7 g

Protein 18 g

Click Here For A Printable Version Of Chocolate Protein Pudding PDF (30KB)


Cook Up Chocolate Crepes with Whipped Topping

Try this Chocolate Crepe recipe for another great way to enjoy the taste of chocolate while sticking with your diet plan.

Chocolate crepes are perfect for a decadent breakfast or try them as a delicious, warm dessert to finish off the evening.

  1. Combine one scoop of chocolate low-carb protein powder with your Egg Whites, creating a very thin-consistency batter.

  2. Next, pour the batter onto the hot pan until a thin circle shape is formed.

  3. Cook the crepe like a standard pancake, and once the edges are starting to bubble, use a spatula to lift the crepe and flip it over to cook the over side.

  4. This whole process should only take a few moments per side, because the batter is very thin.

  5. Flipping your crepe might be difficult, but you can get tips Here.

  6. Once cooked, transfer the crepe over to a plate and then top with some sliced fresh bananas, a few slivered almonds, and just a small amount of sweetener.

  7. Meanwhile, prepare some whipped topping according to the package directions and then spoon over top of the crepes.

    Whipped topping, as long as you purchase the powder variety and make it yourself with skim milk, only contains a few calories per tablespoon.

  8. So if you keep the serving size down, this is a perfect way to garnish this dish. Once you have the whipped topping on, serve immediately.

  9. Try different fruits for different flavors in your crepes.


It's easier to use a non-stick pan sprayed with low-calorie non-stick spray.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size (1) Recipe yields 1

Amount per serving

Total Calories 85

Fat 1.5 g

Carb 2 g

Protein 16 g

Click Here For A Printable Version Of Chocolate Crepes PDF (68 KB)


Enjoy a Mug of Mocha by the Fireplace

If you've just finished the main course, and you're getting ready to relax for the evening, consider trying this smooth mocha recipe to help you savor the moment.

This recipe is much healthier than the commercial varieties of hot chocolate, and it'll definitely hit your sweet spot on your romantic night.

Click Here For The Recipe


Create a Masterpiece: Home-Made Chocolate Bars

This recipe for home-made chocolate bars will impress, inspire and delight. Your taste buds will thank you for this sweet, creamy confection, and you won't have to feel guilty about your diet.

Click Here For The Recipe

Creativity Goes A Long Way With Chocolate

Those are just 4 fast and easy ways to include chocolate in your Valentine's Day plans without having to ruin your diet. But if you let your creative juices flow, you'll be able to come up with tons of chocolate-lover-health-friendly recipes on your own!

Just follow these basic guidelines:
  1. Make it yourself-avoid store bought candies and out-of-box desserts.

  2. Use unsweetened cocoa powder to add chocolate-y goodness. Pure cocoa powder is naturally healthy and has great nutrition facts: 1 tablespoon has 12 calories, 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of carbs (2 grams of fiber), and 1 gram of protein. Go easy, because cocoa powder is bitter.

  3. Avoid sugar, use artificial or calorie-free sweeteners instead. Splenda is very popular and widely available, but you can also try stevia, which is becoming more available at grocery stores through brands like Truvia. And although Honey and agave are not calorie free, they are natural and make a good alternative.

  4. Always balance your chocolate with protein! Use protein powders, natural Peanut or Almond Butter, and Egg Whites to make protein-packed goodies!

  1. Nurmi, T. et al. (2004). Dark Chocolate Consumption Increases HDL Cholesterol Concentration and Chocolate Fatty Acids May Inhibit Lipid Peroxidation in Healthy Humans. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. Vol 37, Issue 9. Pp. 1351-1359.

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7 Foolproof Protein Sweets

Most of us have experienced at least one major disappointment when it comes to making protein treats. Misfire no more! These recipes are delicious and easy enough to renew your faith in healthy baking.

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3 Ways to Eat Chocolate | 3 Ways to Eat Cottage Cheese | 3 Ways to Eat Peanut Butter | 3 Ways to Eat Lentils | 3 Ways to Eat Bananas | 3 Ways to Eat Avocados | 3 Ways to Eat Winter Squash | 3 Ways to Spice Up Meals

Forrest Gump famously stated, "Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get." Well, in fact, research shows that what you get from chocolate are nutrients that can help keep your heart beating strong; improve your insulin sensitivity, blood cholesterol, and inflammation; help in the battle against type 2 diabetes; and maybe even boost your VO2 max.[1-3]*

But, plowing through a bag of sugar-coated chocolate candies won't do your health or waistline any favors. Instead, here are three healthy, antioxidant-rich ways to get your chocolate fix—and a recipe to put each one to deliciously good use.

1. Dark Chocolate Bar

Chocolate bars are essentially a blend of ground up cocoa bean (referred to as chocolate liquor or cocoa mass), cocoa butter, and sugar. The higher the cocoa percentage of a bar, the less sugar and generally the larger dose of antioxidants it will contain. Since many antioxidants have a bitter taste, dark chocolate can be an acquired taste. While dark chocolate contains a fair amount of saturated fat, the majority of this comes in the form of stearic acid, which appears to have a neutral impact on heart health.[4]

Dark Chocolate Bar

Even with all the health benefits dark chocolate provides, you still need to practice portion control. A good rule of thumb is to snack on about 1 ounce daily, equal to 140-170 calories.

2. Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is made when fatty cocoa butter is pressed out of cocoa beans, leaving behind a cakey substance that is then dried and pulverized into cocoa powder. Not only does this remove much of the fatty calories, it also concentrates the flavor as well nutrients and antioxidants. And unlike chocolate bars, low-calorie cocoa powder won't increase the amount of added sugar in your diet.

Cocoa Powder

When possible, choose lighter-colored, stronger-flavored "natural" or "raw" cocoa powder, which is also sold as "cacao powder." Dutch-processed cocoa is treated with alkali, which mellows the flavor but also destroys most of the beneficial antioxidants.[5,6]

Use cocoa powder to add chocolate essence to oatmeal, protein shakes, pancake or waffle batter, and, of course, any number of baked goods. You can also add it to homemade energy foods like bars and balls, and to chili to deepen its flavor.

3. Cacao Nibs

Take raw or roasted whole cacao beans, smash them to bits, and you end up with crunchy, intensely flavored cacao nibs. (Nibs are commonly referred to "cacao nibs" rather than "cocoa nibs.") Think of these nibs as chocolate in its most rudimentary form—kind of like Mother Nature's chocolate chips.

Cacao Nibs

The least processed form of chocolate, nibs are made of 100-percent cacao. This pure form retains a treasure trove of nutrition, including significant amounts of dietary fiber (up to 8 grams in a 1-ounce serving), antioxidants, and magnesium. They also contain caffeine, so don't eat them late at night.

Sprinkle cacao nibs on oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit salads, smoothie bowls, and ice-cream. They're also a surprisingly great addition to green salads. Or add them to muffin or pancake batter for a bit of crunch. You can even grind them with coffee beans to perk up your java.

*Chocolate is not a substitute for medical prescriptions and should not be treated as such.

1. Chocolate Bar: Chocolate Oatmeal with Cherry Sauce

Chocolate infused oatmeal. Can there be any better way to start the day? Soak the oats overnight to cut down on their cooking time. You can also prepare the cherry sauce in advance and heat it up again at breakfast. If you want to bump up the protein numbers, stir some protein powder into the oats as you heat them up on the stovetop.

Chocolate Oatmeal with Cherry Sauce

View Recipe Here

2. Cocoa Powder: Cocoa Bean Veggie Tacos

With the stealth addition of cocoa and chipotle chili, this bean filling is so rich and smoky tasting that you won't miss the meat on taco night.

Cocoa Bean Veggie Tacos

View Recipe Here

3. Chocolate Nibs: Chicken Strawberry Salad with Cacao Nib Dressing

Meaty chicken, sweet strawberries, velvety goat cheese—teamed up with the bitter crunch of cacao nibs to deliver a festival of flavors and textures. Gently poaching the chicken in water keeps the meat deliciously moist.

Chicken Strawberry Salad with Cacao Nib Dressing

View Recipe Here

  1. Lin, X., Zhang, I., Li, A., Manson, J. E., Sesso, H. D., Wang, L., & Liu, S. (2016). Cocoa flavanol intake and biomarkers for cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The Journal of Nutrition, 146(11), 2325-2333. 
  2. Rowley IV, T. J., Bitner, B. F., Ray, J. D., Lathen, D. R., Smithson, A. T., Dallon, B. W., ... & Goodrich, K. M. (2017). Monomeric cocoa catechins enhance β-cell function by increasing mitochondrial respiration. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 49, 30-41. 
  3. Patel, R. K., Brouner, J., & Spendiff, O. (2015). Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 47. 
  4. Steinberg, F. M., Bearden, M. M., & Keen, C. L. (2003). Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: implications for cardiovascular health. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103(2), 215-223. 
  5. Payne, M. J., Hurst, W. J., Miller, K. B., Rank, C., & Stuart, D. A. (2010). Impact of fermentation, drying, roasting, and Dutch processing on epicatechin and catechin content of cacao beans and cocoa ingredients. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58(19), 10518-10527.
  6. Miller, K. B., Hurst, W. J., Payne, M. J., Stuart, D. A., Apgar, J., Sweigart, D. S., & Ou, B. (2008). Impact of alkalization on the antioxidant and flavanol content of commercial cocoa powders. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56(18), 8527-8533.
ANABOLIC CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES - High Protein Bodybuilding Dessert Recipe

The health benefits of dark chocolate are often publicized throughout social media, but you may be wondering as to whether these apply to bodybuilders as well. 

Is dark chocolate good or bad for bodybuilding? Dark chocolate is good for bodybuilding because it contains fat and fibre, helping you to feel satiated, increasing your ability to stick to your diet. Since dark chocolate contains some carbs and no protein, ensure other meals contain both carbs as a lean protein.  

However, there’s more to the story, including how much you should eat, meal timing, types of dark chocolate, and more.  

In this article, I will provide:

  • The general health benefits and macronutrient breakdown for dark chocolate
  • 3 pros and cons of eating dark chocolate for bodybuilding 
  • How much and when to consume dark chocolate pre-and post-workout
  • The best type of dark chocolate for bodybuilders 

Eating Dark Chocolate for Bodybuilding: Overview

dark chocolate for bodybuilding

Dark chocolate includes any chocolate with between 50-90% cocoa; however, the most popular options available in store are 60%, 70% and 85%. The nutrition information for these is as follows:

Per 30g, approximately 3 squares, 60% dark chocolate contains:

  • 160 calories
  • 2g of protein
  • 18g of carbs
  • 10g of fat  

Per 30g, approximately 3 squares, 70% dark chocolate contains

  • 170 calories
  • 3g of protein
  • 14g of carbs
  • 12g of fat

Per 30g, approximately 3 squares, 85% dark chocolate contains

  • 165 calories
  • 3g of protein
  • 11g of carbs
  • 14g of fat    

As you can see, as the percentage of dark chocolate increases, the number of carbs decreases, and the number of fats increase.  This information is important when we start talking about the pros and cons of dark chocolate.  

3 Pros of Eating Dark Chocolate For Bodybuilding

Bodybuilders have the primary goals of gaining muscle and losing fat to optimize their physique. We want to make sure we keep these goals in mind as we assess the pros and cons of eating dark chocolate for bodybuilders. 

1. Dark Chocolate Can Make It Easier To Lose Weight

Dark chocolate is a rich source of fat and contains fibre. Both fat and fibre slow down digestion, this means you will feel full and satisfied longer after eating. 

This is particularly beneficial for bodybuilders that are cutting. Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that one of the biggest hurdles can be avoiding high-calorie foods and treats. 

I don’t know about you but I tend to reach for those higher calorie treats when I’m hungry and unsatisfied, especially when I’ve just eaten and my meal didn’t do the trick. The more full and satisfied you can feel after each meal, the easier it will be to stick to a lower-calorie diet long-term.

Therefore, including dark chocolate in your diet is beneficial for bodybuilders as it can assist with weight loss by making it easier to stick with a lower-calorie diet.

2. Dark Chocolate Can Improve Digestion

Bodybuilders tend to consume a moderate carbohydrate diet, however, the majority of their carbs are often consumed pre and post-workout. Carbs eaten around a workout are generally lower in fibre. So while this is beneficial for workout performance, it can result in some slower digestion. 

This is where dark chocolate can help as it provides 4g of fibre per 30g. General fibre recommendations are between 25 – 30g of fibre daily, meaning 30g of dark chocolate will provide 16% of your daily fibre. It is important to note that the fibre increases as the percentage of cocoa increases, I recommend consuming 85% or higher for these health benefits.

The most beneficial aspect for bodybuilders is that chocolate is primarily a fat source, not a carbohydrate source. This is beneficial for bodybuilders as it can be challenging to get fibre strictly from carbs consumed away from a workout, without going over your total daily carbs. Since fat is primarily consumed away from workouts, this is the optimal situation. 

By incorporating dark chocolate into your diet when bodybuilding, you can improve your digestive system regularly. 

This is important for overall health as this is how your body disposes of waste and toxins. Additionally, it can help improve your overall mood as poor digestive health is often linked to a reduction in mental health.

Looking for other fat sources for bodybuilding, check out our articles on: 

3. Dark Chocolate Has Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Properties Providing General Health Benefits

Dark chocolate contains cocoa which is rich in antioxidants providing anti-inflammatory properties. Put into simple terms, these foods simply assist your body in dealing with inflammation.  

Why is this important for bodybuilders? Well, inflammation is a normal part of weight training and allows for our bodies to adapt and recover. 

However, if inflammation is too high you will notice a reduction in performance as your body is never able to fully recover. Consuming dark chocolate can increase your body’s ability to fight inflammation ensuring you are properly recovering after each workout. 

Proper recovery is key to being able to perform at your best each and every workout session. Think about the last time you had to work out when you were quite sore. Likely you didn’t have a good workout. Therefore, to maximize performance, incorporate dark chocolate can assist with recovery.

3 Cons of Eating Dark Chocolate For Bodybuilding

Overall, while I’ll discuss a few downsides to dark chocolate, it is not difficult to mitigate these by considering the quantity of dark chocolate being consumed.

1. Dark Chocolate Does Not Provide Sufficient Protein To Build Muscle

Consuming sufficient protein is critical for muscle growth and development so your muscles have what they need to repair and recover after a workout. 

Research suggests that to build muscle, a protein intake of 2.4g per kg of body weight should be consumed. For example, this means a 200lb individual (~90kg) would require approximately 206g of protein per day.

Dark chocolate only contains 2g of protein per 30g, making it not a significant source. Protein would need to be consumed from other sources throughout the day to ensure sufficient protein consumption. 

Looking for other protein sources for bodybuilding, check out our articles on: 

2. Dark Chocolate Does Not Have the Recommended Protein to Fat Ratio for Optimal Body Composition

To consume sufficient protein without going over your daily calories, it’s also important to consider the ratio of protein to fat. If you are getting sufficient protein but the ratio to fat is too high, your overall daily calories will be above what they need to be and you will gain fat. 

To optimize body composition, research shows that a ratio of 5g of protein to 1g of fat is most optimal. This will ensure you are eating the minimum amount of fat required for healthy hormones while also consuming enough protein to maximize muscle building. 

Per 30g serving of dark chocolate, it contains 2g of protein and 10-14g of fat. This is a ratio of 1g of protein to 5-7.5g of fat, quite a bit off from the recommended range. 

This isn’t to say that dark chocolate is bad for bodybuilders, but it does show that it is important to pair a lean protein source, such as low-fat Greek yogurt, when consuming dark chocolate to increase the ratio back to the recommended 5:1. 

Want to more about greek yogurt? Check out my article Is Greek Yogurt Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?

3. Dark Chocolate Is Calorically Dense

Dark chocolate is high in fat, which also means that it is quite calorically dense. This simply means that the physical volume of dark chocolate is much less than say a food high in carbs or protein. 

This can become problematic if you are not careful in considering your portion size as you can easily eat a lot of calories worth of dark chocolate without realizing it. This can cause you to go over your daily caloric intake which may lead to fat gain in the long run.

Additionally, food like dark chocolate that is low in volume will not leave you feeling as physically full after consuming. This can result in eating a very high-calorie portion size while trying to feel physically full. For bodybuilders who are looking to maintain a lean physique, these can present challenges.

Can You Eat Dark Chocolate Before Workouts?

Pre-workout nutrition is important for bodybuilders as it can help maximize your gym performance. A meal high in carbs and low in fat is best to provide a quick source of energy.

So can you eat dark chocolate before a workout? Yes, you can consume dark chocolate before a workout, however, opt for a 1oz (28g) serving of 50-60% cocoa dark chocolate 30-60 minutes before a workout so your body can utilize the sugar for quick energy. Reduce the amount if any other fat sources are consumed pre-workout.

Is Dark Chocolate Good or Bad to Eat Before Workouts?

Before a workout, you want to be eating a meal high in carbs since carbs can be quickly broken down by your body and used for energy throughout your workout. Both fat and fibre slow down this digestion process, delaying the breakdown of the carbs eaten and reducing the energy available. 

Since we want to maximize the energy you have available during your workout, it’s important to limit the fat in your pre-workout meal and allow our body to get its energy from the carbs consumed. A good general range I recommend is 15-20% of a meal’s calories.

Dark chocolate is a rich source of fats, which while important for a healthy diet, is not the best source of energy pre-workout. However, dark chocolate does contain carbs, particularly sugar; which is beneficial for pre-workout. Therefore the quantity consumed is an important consideration to get the benefits of the sugar without any disadvantages that come with too much fat. 

Looking for a treat to eat pre-workout? Check out our articles on Are Donuts Good or Bad For Bodybuilding? and Is Ice Cream Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?

How Much Dark Chocolate Should You Eat Before Workouts?

Dark chocolate can be consumed before a workout, if in a small enough quantity that the total fat in your pre-workout meal does not exceed 15-20% of your meal total calories. In practice, this is about 30g 

To keep the fat in your pre-workout meal low, I recommend consuming no more than 30g of dark chocolate before a workout. This will provide you with 10g of fat. This will also provide 18g of carbs, 14g of which are sugar, which is a good additional boost of energy. Since sugar is the quickest for your body to digest, consume it 30-60 minutes before exercise. 

When determining the amount of dark chocolate you are eating, ensure you are considering what else you are eating pre-workout. I recommend skipping other fat sources in favour of dark chocolate as it also provides sugar which most other fat sources do not. 

We asked Registered Dietician, Breda Paralta, her thoughts on eating dark before your workout. She said: 

Brenda Peralta

“Dark chocolate can give some extra energy to your workout. It also increases endorphins which could make you go more motivated to workout. Include 1 oz 30-60 minutes before the activity”. 

Can You Eat Dark Chocolate After Workouts?

Post-workout nutrition is not as hot a topic as pre-workout nutrition, but for bodybuilders that are looking to get as much muscle growth as possible, it should be a key consideration. Consuming a high carb and high protein meal will provide your body with what it needs to adequately recover and build muscle.

Can you eat dark chocolate after workouts? Yes, you can consume dark chocolate after workouts as it contains beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. However, limit it to 45g or less to maximize recovery. The amount of dark chocolate should be reduced if any other fat sources are consumed post-workout.

Is Dark Chocolate Good or Bad to Eat After Workouts?

Similar to before a workout, carbs are also important to consume after a workout. This will help replenish your body’s stored energy that is depleted throughout your workout. 

In addition to carbs, it’s also important to include protein post-workout. Research shows consuming protein within the first two hours post-workout has a significant positive impact on muscle protein synthesis, otherwise known as the process of repairing and rebuilding muscle. 

This process of repair and recovery is what will lead to strength and muscle growth, a key goal of bodybuilding. 

Dark chocolate provides some carbohydrates and no protein so it’s best to consume along with a source of protein and carbs. A great example of this would be greek yogurt with fruit and dark chocolate. 

Brenda Paralta noted that:

“After training is another good choice. It (dark chocolate) has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help in the recuperation process.” 

Some inflammation post-workout is normal, however, too much can result in extended muscle soreness, joint pain and difficulty recovering from your workout. As you can imagine, if this is how you’re feeling multiple days after training, your gym sessions for the rest of the week will not be as effective. 

Foods, like dark chocolate, that provide anti-inflammatory benefits can help assist with this recovery process along with other tools such as sleep and adequate protein consumption. 

Therefore, dark chocolate is beneficial to eat post-workout but also pair with a carb and protein source for optimal recovery. 

How Much Dark Chocolate Should You Eat After a Workout?

Dark chocolate is beneficial to be consumed after a workout, as long as the quantity is small enough that the total fat in your post-workout meal does not exceed the recommended range of 20-25% of your total calories. This translates to no more than 45g (approximately 5 squares) of dark chocolate chocolate  

This will provide you with approximately 15g of fat as well as 25g of carbohydrates to also assist with recovery. I recommend skipping other fat sources as dark chocolate is the most optimal, providing additional carbs and antioxidants in conjunction with the fat. 

Also, there is no amount of time I recommend waiting after you have done your workout to consume dark chocolate. So long as the quantity is within the recommended range, dark chocolate can be consumed anytime.

Which Type of Dark Chocolate is Better for Bodybuilding?

Dark chocolate ranges in the percentage of cocoa from 50-90%. As the percentage of cocoa increases, the fat in the chocolate increases and the carbs and sugar decrease. Therefore, the best type of dark chocolate to consume will depend on what macro profile is most beneficial.

Around a workout, where we want the carbs to be high and the fat low, I recommend consuming a lower percentage of dark chocolate between 50-60%. This will provide the most sugar and carbs for energy with the least fat slowing down this absorption process. 

For meals not around a workout, I recommend sticking to a higher percentage of chocolate, 70-85% is best. This will provide more fat and fibre leaving you feeling most full and satisfied after your meal. 

Therefore, all types of dark chocolate are good for bodybuilders, but which one your choose should be based on when you are consuming dark chocolate. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, the health benefits of dark chocolate outweigh the cons and therefore I recommend bodybuilders consume dark chocolate. 

Pre-workout and post-workout, opt for a lower percentage of chocolate to maximize the carbs and minimize the fat so you have the most energy available. For meals that aren’t around a workout, opt for a higher percentage of chocolate so you feel full and satiated from the fat and fibre. 

About The Author

Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes. You can connect with Laura on Instagram or through her Website.

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Chocolate bodybuilding

Is Chocolate A Fit Or Fat Food?

Halloween pumpkins, Santa Claus, Valentine's Day hearts, and the Easter Bunny: These festive symbols all have a common thread, or more accurately a common taste—chocolate! I can't think of any other food that is associated with as many special events and celebrations as chocolate. It comes in every shape, is served world-round, and also targets some of the most fundamental human cravings. Fat? Check. Sugary carbs? Check. Energy? Bonus!

As children, the rule of thumb when it came to chocolate was elation before hesitation. As adults the inverse is more often the case. That's because chocolate's hefty levels of calories, sugar, and fat have secured its position toward the top of the "foods to avoid" and "special occasions only" lists. This notion has been reinforced by countless dietary schemes that are more or less built around the old saying, "If it tastes good, it must be bad for you. And if it tastes amazing, it must be even worse."

In recent years some amazing research has revealed that chocolate—or at least its base ingredient, cacao—might work for you, not against, when it comes to achieving a fitter, healthier body.

However, in recent years some amazing research has revealed that chocolate—or at least its base ingredient, cacao—might work for you, not against, when it comes to achieving a fitter, healthier body. The powerful nutrients in this simple bean can help limit fat storage in the body, in addition to providing mood, circulatory, and cell protection benefits. And those are only the benefits we know about.

The time has come for us to reclaim chocolate! Let's rethink its reputed sinfulness and explore the ways you can enjoy it without guilt.

The Food of the Gods

Long before jolly old Saint Nick and his reindeer, the Mayans and the Aztecs1 ruled the Americas. The reverence these civilizations had for chocolate went to a level that may seem extreme even to today's ardent chocoholics.

The Aztecs used what they called "the food of the gods" as currency, and it was also the basis of what their leader Montezuma called "the divine drink." Only the upper crust was allowed to sample this heady concoction, which included roasted cacao beans, vanilla, and chili peppers.

Despite the drink's bitter taste and cold, sludgy consistency, it was powerful stuff. The Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes noted that "a cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food."2

The Aztecs called it xocolatl, but since it could be the first sports drink, I like to call it "Montezumade." No matter what we call it, its spirit lives on in cacao's scientific name, Theobroma cacao, from the Greek words theo (god) and broma (drink).

Cacao was brought back across the Atlantic in the 16th century, where it was sweetened and refined to match European tastes. The intercontinental fascination—and the refining and sweetening—continued escalating throughout the centuries into today's multibillion-dollar chocolate industry.

Xocolatl, the "Divine Drink" of the Aztecs

water 2 3/4 cups of water

green chili pepper 1 sliced

cocoa powder 1/8 cup

vanilla extract 1 tsp

  1. Boil chili in 3/4 cup water for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Strain out chilis, add in other 2 cups water, bring back to boil, whisking in vanilla as water heats up.
  3. Add in cocoa powder and continue whisking for 5 minutes.
  4. Let cool and serve. Just don't expect it to be sweet or particularly tasty!

More Bliss, More Blood Flow

Most people laugh when I tell them that chocolate is a fruit that grows on trees, but it's true! The cacao tree grows in tropical regions in Central and South Americas such as the Amazon and Orinoco river basins.

The cacao fruit's pods contain seeds or "beans" that are rich in nutrients and fat. The seeds, when removed, can be ground into cocoa paste. It becomes cocoa powder once varying levels of the fatty cocoa butter are removed.

Cocoa powder on its own is pretty acrid stuff, as are the raw cacao nibs that have begun showing up in health food stores in recent years. But it's still packed with remarkable nutrients—including a few you can feel working.

One is theobromine, a type of kinder, gentler caffeine responsible for mild mental stimulatory properties, and which is also present to a lesser extent in some teas and in yerba mate.

On the other side, cacao also contains the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is a precursor to the calming neurotransmitter serotonin; and anandamide, which is also known as the "bliss molecule" for its ability to promote relaxation.

The counterbalancing outcome of these of nutrients is a relaxed energy sometimes referred to as the cacao "buzz." Researchers have been able to show a clear mood improvement in research studies wherein participants consumed a chocolate product.3-5

However, many of those same study participants expressed feelings of guilt due the association between chocolate and unhealthiness. This buzz kill is unfortunate because cacao starts doing a lot of good once it's in your body.

A Cardiovascular and Cellular Champion!

A lot of the positive press about chocolate in recent years has revolved around a class of nutrients called flavonoids, which it contains in spades. These fascinating plant products are renowned for the positive effects they can have on circulation and cardiovascular health.

In a few prominent studies over the last decade, flavonoids from cacao have been shown to support the mechanics of optimal blood flow as well as desirable blood pressure and cholesterol levels.2,6-9 One study showed that just two weeks of including dark chocolate in the diet increased the potential for additional blood flow that could be accessed when necessary.9 And as anyone who has heard of "blood doping" knows, having more blood to deliver to muscle during and after exercise can translate to optimized performance and recovery.

How does this work? Well, for one, cacao is rich in arginine, the amino acid that is the immediate precursor to nitric oxide. And nitric oxide, you may have heard, is a key regulator of blood flow that works by increasing the diameter of blood vessels supplying body tissue—including muscle.8 Chocolate also seems to have a say in how much nitric oxide is made and how long it lasts in tissue. And, let's not forget that regular dark chocolate consumption also has been clearly linked to lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels, despite the saturated fat it contains.15-16

Cacao is also packed with antioxidants, including but not limited to the famous flavonoids. Antioxidants are critical for hard-training people who burn more calories, and thus produce more free radicals in their bodies.

Researchers at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom saw this in action in 2011 when they analyzed cyclists who consumed dark chocolate regularly for two weeks prior to a strenuous ride.10 While the dark chocolate didn't appear to increase performance, it did reduce markers of inflammation during recovery. Other researchers have noted that a couple weeks of dark chocolate consumption likewise improved markers of inflammation in non-athletic women.11

Unfortunately, it's not clear at present to what extent we can expand these conclusions to muscle damage and recovery after resistance training. This is certainly an important area waiting for exploration. But the overall health benefits from cacao are increasingly clear.

Chocolate for a Leaner, Healthier Body?

As the dots pile up in the "pro-choco" column, you may be tempted to think purely in terms of math: "Do the overall benefits of eating chocolate outweigh the caloric cost?" Unfortunately, there's no simple way to answer that question, because those fantastic flavonoids do more than help your heart. They might also help to keep you lean!12

One study, for instance, concluded that cacao components can reduce the efficiency of carbohydrate- and fat-digesting enzymes, which could benefit body weight management.13 Other research suggests that cacao nutrients might also work at the genetic level, reducing the activity of genes that produce proteins which increase fat storage.14

Interestingly, in the cycling study mentioned above, the researchers also noted that the levels of fatty acids in the blood increased during cycling, which suggests greater release from fat tissue.10 This is promising, but cocoa and fat-loss connections are another area that could use further research and will no doubt get it.

Get Your Square A Day!

In case you haven't figured it out already, I firmly believe that chocolate and fitness can coexist … with a caveat: The health benefits from chocolate come from the cacao part, not from the additives that the Willy Wonkas of the world use to make it sweeter, creamier, and subsequently lighter product known as cocoa. So think in terms of "cacao," not "chocolate."

In general, choose products greater than 70 percent cacao, which is dark but still sweet enough to be appetizing for most people.

When choosing chocolate, read labels. Look for darker, lower-fat, and lower-sugar varieties, and in particular, the products that clearly call out the percentage of cacao. In general, choose products greater than 70 percent cacao, which is dark but still sweet enough to be appetizing for most people. Shoot for 1.5-2.0 oz. of dark chocolate, which will deliver the level of flavonoids determined in several studies to support cardiovascular benefits.

Most people find they can't eat dark chocolate in the same quantities as milk chocolate, but it's nevertheless important to keep in mind that even at that high of level of cacao, you will still get calories from fats and carbohydrates. The amount is roughly 200 calories per 1.5 oz., depending on the manufacturer.

However, much of this will occur naturally, coming from the cacao itself. A milk chocolate product containing about the same calorie level may have double the sugar (24g versus 12g) of dark chocolate, and only one quarter of the fiber content.

So be selective and be restrained. But don't beware, because chocolate is good for you.

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  1. Hurst WJ, Tarka SM Jr, Powis TG, Valdez F Jr, Hester TR. Cacao usage by the earliest Maya civilization. Nature. 2002 Jul 18; 418(6895): 289-90.
  2. Corti R, Flammer AJ, Hollenberg NK, Lusher TF. Cocoa and cardiovascular health. Circulation. 2009 Mar 17;119(10):1433-41.
  3. Macht M, Dettmer D. Everyday mood and emotions after eating a chocolate bar or an apple. Appetite. 2006 May; 46(3): 332-6.
  4. Macht M, Mueller J. Immediate effects of chocolate on experimentally induced mood states. Appetite. 2007 Nov; 49(3): 667-74.
  5. Radin D, Hayssen G, Walsh J. Effects of intentionally enhanced chocolate on mood. Explore (NY). 2007 Sep-Oct; 3(5): 485-92.
  6. Taubert D, Roesen R, Lehmann C, Jung N, Schömig E.Effects of low habitual cocoa intake on blood pressure and bioactive nitric oxide: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2007 Jul 4; 298(1): 49-60.
  7. Osakabe N. Flavan 3-ols improve metabolic syndrome risk factors: evidence and mechanisms J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2013 May; 52(3): 186-192.
  8. Taubert D, Roesen R, Lehmann C, Jung N, Schömig E. Effects of Low Habitual Cocoa Intake on Blood Pressure and Bioactive Nitric Oxide. A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA. 2007; 298: 49-60.
  9. Shiina Y, Funabashi N, Lee K, Murayama T, Nakamura K, Wakatsuki Y, Daimon M, Komuro I. Acute effect of oral flavonoid-rich dark chocolate intake on coronary circulation, as compared with non-flavonoid white chocolate, by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography in healthy adults. Int J Cardiol. 2009 Jan 24; 131(3): 424-9.
  10. Allgrove J, Farrell E, Gleeson M, Williamson G, Cooper K. Regular dark chocolate consumption's reduction of oxidative stress and increase of free-fatty-acid mobilization in response to prolonged cycling. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2011 Apr; 21(2): 113-23.
  11. Di Renzo L, Rizzo M, Sarlo F, Colica C, Iacopino L, Domino E, Sergi D, De Lorenzo L. Effects of dark chocolate in a population of normal weight obese women: a pilot study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2013; 17 (16): 2257-2266.
  12. Farhat G, Drummond S, Fyfe L, Al-Dujaili EA. Dark Chocolate: An obesity paradox or a culprit for weight gain? Phytother Res. 2013 Sep 2; epub ahead of print.
  13. Gu Y, Hurst WJ, Stuart DA, Lambert JD. Inhibition of key digestive enzymes by cocoa extracts and procyanidins. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 May 25; 59(10): 5305-11.
  14. Matsui N, Ito R, Nishimura E, Yoshikawa M, Kato M, Kamei M, Shibata H, Matsumoto I, Abe K, Hashizume S Ingested cocoa can prevent high-fat diet-induced obesity by regulating the expression of genes for fatty acid metabolism. Nutrition. 2005 May; 21(5): 594-601.
  15. Kurlandsky SB, Stote KS. Cardioprotective effects of chocolate and almond consumption in healthy women. Nutr Res. 2006; 26: 509-516.
  16. Tokede OA, Gaziano JM, Djoussé L. Effects of cocoa products/dark chocolate on serum lipids: a meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr . 2011 Aug; 65(8): 879-86.
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