It can be hard to hit the gym after a long day at work. You don’t have the energy to take an hour long aerobics class, but you need to if you want to stay on track to losing that weight.
If you need a pick-me-up, don’t reach for an energy drink. Energy drinks are packed full of sugar and caffeine, Sure, both ingredients will definitely boost up your energy levels at first, but then they’ll also make you crash hard. So, instead of an energy drink, try a little dark chocolate!
Cocoa contains plant nutrients called epicatechins. These nutrients have the ability to promote the release of nitric oxide, which exist in cells that line your blood vessels. Doing so helps in two ways:
- Once nitric oxide is released, it causes your blood cells to open up (vasodilatation) to improve blood flow. More blood pumping means you get better cardio.
- Nitric oxide also allows your muscles to use more of the blood sugar that circulating through your veins, which boosts your energy levels.
One study of cyclists found that those who had dark chocolate in their diet (not just right before they worked out, but also as part of their regular diet), as opposed to white chocolate, improved their performance after two weeks. The cyclists were able to cover more distance during their sprints.
So, the next time you eat chocolate, you can feel confident knowing that it’ll help you exercise better, which in turn, will help you lose weight.