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How to Eat Your Way to a Great Physique With Chocolate

How to Eat Your Way to a Great Physique With Chocolate

Is it really possible to enjoy tasty food AND build a great physique?

Of course, if you choose to eat the right things.

Bodybuilding isn’t all about supplements, steroids and pumping iron. Nor is it about buying expensive protein powders. It is primarily about nourishing your body and giving it the raw materials it needs to build lean mass.

At the forefront of the right things to eat for ripped abs and beefed-up biceps is, surprisingly, dark chocolate.

We’re not kidding. There’s actual science behind that statement.

Dark Chocolate’s Dark Secret

Theobroma cacao is the plant from where cacao beans are found. These seeds are the source of the chocolates we all enjoy.

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Not much convincing is needed to get anyone to eat more chocolate, it’s simply one of the most delicious foods. It’s decadent. It’s satisfying. It can lift your mood and make you feel happier.

Not only that. It has numerous health benefits as well.

Where does the health benefits of chocolate come from?

It’s the cacao flavonoids.

These are the main active compounds in chocolate and what makes it a healthy food.

However, these cacao flavonoids can only be found in sufficient quantities of dark chocolate or cacao extracts. Dark chocolate must be 70% cacao or more, the higher cacao content the better. Do note that higher cacao concentrations also means a more bitter taste. The 70% dark chocolate contains just enough sugar to tone down the bitterness.

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Avoid milk chocolate, the added sugar and other ingredients in milk chocolate make it unhealthy. These will overpower any benefits you may get from the cacao. Besides, the cacao in milk chocolates is already too low to produce any real noticeable effects.

Also, chocolate must be from organic sources, processed in the least way possible. Choose non-alkalized chocolate since most of the beneficial compounds are still intact in this form.

Back to flavonoids.

Flavonoids are potent antioxidants with numerous benefits. They are especially beneficial to the cardiovascular system. The cacao flavonoids help increase nitric oxide. This compound relaxes the blood vessels (vasodilation) and allows more blood to flow through. This promotes more blood to reach all tissues while also keeping blood pressure within normal range.

This effect is also beneficial to your goal of building a ripped physique. Your muscle tissues will receive more nutrients and oxygen that they need to build more lean muscle.

Dark Chocolate For Building More Muscle

Good blood flow helps improve muscle recovery and endurance. You will feel less muscle soreness after high-intensity exercise, as well as shortening the recovery period letting you maintain the growth you achieved from your exercise.

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Prolonged recovery would mean prolonged catabolism. This is the breakdown process typical of the muscle recovery process. Any gains made run the risk of being broken down without adequate recovery. Dark chocolate can help counteract this by improving your muscle recovery rate.

One notable type of flavonol in dark chocolate is epicatechin. This acts as a myostatin inhibitor. Myostatin is a protein that controls muscle growth and development. It is an important protein to prevent hypertrophy or abnormal muscle growth. Epicatechin inhibits myostatin just enough to let your muscles grow faster and with greater volume, acting as an anabolic compound.

Epicatechin further promotes muscle building by stimulating follistatin. This protein’s function is the opposite of myostatin. Follistatin promotes muscle growth, further adding to epicatechin’s anabolic effect.

Aside from dark chocolate and cacao, you may get epicatechin from other foods and supplements.

Dark Chocolate’s Other Desirable Benefits

There is a long list of health benefits to be gained from eating dark chocolates daily. You should aim for at least 50 grams each day, with at least 70% cacao content.

The most prominent benefits other than muscle building includes better mood and improved sex life. Yes, you will feel happier and enjoy sex better because of dark chocolate.

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Dark chocolate promotes better blood flow to reproductive organs and promotes increased testosterone production, which also can help improve libido. Better blood flow and higher testosterone levels will enable you to have more stamina in bed and perform for longer, promoting stronger, fuller erections.

Blood flow to the brain is also increased, leading to nourished brain cells that are sure to function on a high level. This in turn, leads to a better balance of neurotransmitters, which can translate to better mood and an overall anti-depressant effect.

The benefits of consuming dark chocolate are substantial and science is just beginning to uncover what this seemingly magical cacao bean is all about. If you find it hard to incorporate healthy habits, dark chocolate might be easy for you since it is not only good for you but also tastes amazing!

Featured photo credit: Licensed from stockunlimited.com (Image ID : 1692172) via stockunlimited.com

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Alex Eriksson

Founder & CEO, Anabolic Health

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Published on October 17, 2019

How to Build Endurance Fast and Enhance Stamina

How to Build Endurance Fast and Enhance Stamina

Day to day we all suffer. Life is hard, have you ever got to work and just stopped right in front of the stairs and just absolutely dreaded the thought of having to go up to them? By the top, you’re out of breath, uncomfortable and sweating.

So, how to build endurance fast and enhance stamina? We will look into the tips in this article.

What Is the Best Exercise for Endurance?

When faced with any exercise venture, we will always ask ourselves “What is the best way to get to our goals?”

Really it does depend. Why do I say this?

There are a lot of variables as to what form of exercise I might recommend for you. Not to worry I just won’t leave it there. I’ll give you examples that will fit for many different scenarios.

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When recommending forms of cardio for people, you have to examine many things like, how long have they been training, their age, any injuries that were diagnosed by a medical professional and just some nagging pains that they may have from overly tight muscles.

When faced with someone who is very under trained, has worked years at a desk, and hasn’t trained in decades, I would recommend a non-impact form of cardio like a bike, elliptical, row, reason being that their muscles, tendons and ligaments aren’t used to bearing hundreds of pounds of impact that is caused every single time we jump, land, run. This same idea would go for someone who has any kind of arthritis in the knees, back etc.

When faced with running, and sprinting, I would recommend these modes of cardio to those clients that have experience with these forms of cardio, whether that be athletes or just casual runners; of course, assuming that they have good running technique and footwear. Without good running technique or footwear, you are bound to run into some sort of injury eventually.

Types of Cardio: LISS Vs HIIT, Which Is Better?

There are two main forms of cardio that people are familiar with or have heard of.

One of them is “LISS” which stands for low intensity steady state. This form of cardio wood be represented by a form of cardio that is not very taxing and doesn’t involve any sort of intervals. A good example would be walking on the treadmill on a slight incline and moderate paced walk that you are able to keep up for approximately an hour.

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Currently on fire, the very well known form of cardio “HIIT” which stands for high intensity interval training. This cardio is very intense and includes spurts of near maximal effort followed by a complete rest or active recovery (walking). Perfect example of a HIIT workout would be interval sprints, sprinting maximal effort for 20 seconds followed by a minute of walking (1:3 work to rest).

Now that you know what they are, you may be asking which one is better for you. And the answer is, both! Both will build your endurance and when we combine both of them into your training protocol, you will build your endurance and stamina even faster than just using one or the other!

Here’s a routine you can take reference of:

Mock Training Week (Novice Trainee)

  • Monday: HIIT sprint (1:3 work to rest) 20 min
  • Tuesday: LISS bike (slight resistance) 60 minute
  • Wednesday: LISS walk (outside if possible) if not slight incline light pace, 60 minutes
  • Thursday: OFF
  • Friday: HIIT row machine(1:2 work to rest) 20 minutes
  • Saturday: LISS walk (outside if possible) if on treadmill small incline, light pace
  • Sunday: OFF

*the allotted work to rest ratio will vary based on the level of physical fitness of the individual

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How to Build Your Physical Endurance

When building a customized cardio program, it is very important to know your baseline level of cardio done via fitness testing. These tests will give you a good measure from where you are starting, so you can easily measure your progress a few months down the road.

If you’re not familiar with exercising programming and really want to train efficiently and with good form, it would be a good idea to hire a Personal Trainer. The trainer will be familiar with performing these types of fitness test and can ensure they are being performed exactly the same each time to ensure accurate results. A Personal Trainer can also help you build a customized cardio program tailored to your goal of building endurance based on your current fitness levels.

How Endurance Is Actually Built

Endurance is actually built by challenging our base fitness of cardio which in turn build our Vo2 Max (most amount of oxygen we can use during exercise), which is the best measure of cardio/endurance.

In order to challenge our endurance, we must make our heart more efficient. A good measure to see if you are improving would be to do a run for 5 minutes at a certain speed on the treadmill and then measure your Heart Rate immediately after; then repeat that exact test 8 weeks down the road to measure your progress that way.

Another good way to measure our progress would be by increasing the difficulty of your workouts weekly/bi-weekly so you can see that you are progressing week to week.

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Final Thoughts

Besides the workout advice above, I suggest you combine all these following quick tips:

  • Eat healthy and unprocessed foods.
  • Challenge your cardio/endurance (train with intensity).
  • Train frequently.
  • Track your progress.
  • Get to a healthy body weight.
  • Build a good cardio program.
  • Have a goal.

Do these consistently because without sustainability, we will not see the most amount of results possible.

Great changes require consistency and hard work. Keep at it and follow your goals, results will come!

Featured photo credit: asoggetti via unsplash.com

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