Exercising is just half the battle. When planning for a workout you should consider what you do afterwards – more specifically what foods you eat. To get the most out of your workout, it is important to consume nutritional rich foods such as Carbohydrates, Fats & Proteins + Water to ensure that your body is properly nourished and repaired.

Want to fuel your body with the nutrition it deserves to enhance optimal results? Find out more on the best foods to each post-workout!

1. Carbohydrates 

Don’t be alarmed with the word carbohydrates – there is often a negative connotation associated with it, forcing people to believe it will eliminate the effects of working out. Somewhat true – when we think of empty carbohydrates such as chips, cakes, cookies and fruit juices, which have a low fiber and nutrient content and can contribute to feelings of tiredness. It’s best to focus on consuming complex carbohydrates which are proven to boost metabolism, help you feel fuller for longer and are high in fibre. Great complex carbohydrates to consume after a workout include but are not limited to:


  • Oatmeal

    Oatmeal is not just confined to breakfast, it can be eaten as a great post work out meal. Oatmeal is considered a healthy carb that focuses on rewarding and replenishing hardworking muscles. Oatmeal helps infuse your body with the necessary nutrients it needs and help you recharge your energy.


  • Quinoa

    Quinoa is a carbohydrate rich food that is a great muscle builder after a workout as it contains all nine amino acids. It helps enhance your workout experience and assists in your post workout recovery.


  • Whole Grain Bread

    During a workout you lose a lot of energy and it is important to add fuel back into your body. Whole Grain bread is the perfect way to do so. Making a delicious post workout sandwich with soft whole grain bread filled with your favourite vegetables, condiments and ingredients is a great way to sustain that post workout buzz and keep you revitalised for the rest of the day.


  • Sweet Potatoes

    During a workout your body’s glycogen stores are depleted therefore consuming complex carbs like sweet potato afterwards can help rebuild those lost stores. As sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A and Potassium they can provide more structural strength to muscles after a workout as well as reduce muscle cramps or spasms. Sweet potatoes will also infuse nutrients into the body to help boost immunity post workout.


2. Healthy Fats

Another taboo word that has many negative connotations attached to it is the big F-Word — Fats. Whilst it is important to ensure your diet is not overly saturated in foods with a high fat content, not all fats are bad. The fats that you should avoid consist of Saturated and Trans Fats as they can raise cholesterol levels, and increase the risk of heart disease. However the good fats that should be incorporated into your diet consist of Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats which actually help lower the risk of heart disease and strokes. Here are some great healthy fats to eat post workout:


  • Avocado

    If you’re a sucker for a smashed avo on toast then you’ll be happy to know that avocados are a great post workout food. Avocados contain monounsaturated fats which contribute to repair muscles and infuse Vitamin B into your system in order to allow your metabolism to kick into gear. An ideal recovery meal contains a good balance of fats to ensure that your muscles and joints are healed.


  • Nuts & Seeds

    A handful of Nuts & Seeds are all you need to infuse a great amount of healthy fats, protein minerals, and fibre. It helps keep your stomach full after a workout to prevent you from snacking on empty calories such as chips or baked goods. They also are great for encouraging healthy muscle recovery. Great post workout Nuts and Seeds such as Almonds, WalnutsPepitas, and Chia Seeds are a great snack that can not only be eaten on their own but also added to yogurts, salads and smoothies to give it that extra kick it needs.


  • Nut Butters

    Nut butters are fantastic for your post workout recovery. Whether it be Almond Butter, Cashew Butter or Organic Peanut Butter they each are considered a great source of Calcium, Fibre and Iron which will help stimulate muscle repair and growth. It also helps regulate your body and ensures it continues to function at optimum levels.


3. Protein

Whenever you exercise or workout, replenishing your body with protein is key in helping combat muscle soreness and fatigue, increase stamina and strength as well heal the micro tears in the muscles. Proteins help make your muscles strong and contribute to muscle growth, boost glycogen storage and speed post workout recovery.


  • Protein Powder

    Protein Powders are pretty much a given, considering the name itself contains protein.Protein Powders are extremely versatile and a great way to incorporate protein as it can be incorporated into yummy shakes as well as Protein Bliss Balls, muffins, smoothies or bars. Each will help deliver the benefits of protein and allow you to effectively repair your muscles and assist in a speedy recovery so youre ready for your next workout.


  • Tofu

    Tofu may not necessarily be the food you crave the most after exercising but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it still is a great post workout food. Tofu is a plant based protein and contains 9 grams of protein per 100g. Tofu is packed full of antioxidants, polyphenols which are effective for reducing exercise induced inflammation, muscle soreness as well as oxidative stress


  • Chickpeas

    Chickpeas are effective forms of protein with an impressive 19 grams of protein per 100g. Chickpeas also are not only effective ways to consume protein but are also great ways to consume healthy carbs so you are effectively getting the best of both worlds. Chickpeas are a great source of energy which helps prevent post workout fatigue, as well as help nourish your muscles so it recovers properly.


+ Water!

It definitely goes without saying that you need H20 in your system after a workout. With any workout big or small you need to keep your body properly hydrated to maintain normal body function. During a workout your body naturally loses fluid via sweat, therefore you need to replenish that lost fluid by drinking water. Water helps lubricate your joints and regulate your body temperature which helps prevent heat stress and feelings of soreness.

** However it is important to note water shouldn’t be solely left to be consumed during the post workout stage, but should be consumed before, during and after in order to maintain efficient performance levels and recovery.




About the Author 

Gabriella is a University student studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and International Business. She is passionate about health and fitness and follows a ‘semi-vegetarian’ diet – a less restricted diet fuelled with all the essential nutrients from whole foods and the occasional inclusion of selected meats. She is keen to learn how to implement sustainable measures in her life and lead a more eco-friendly life