The Best Natural Foods To Eat After You've Smashed Out A Workout

That don't involve a protein bar.

post-workout foods
Image: iStock

‘Smashed out a workout’ means different things to different people. For some, it might be a sweaty f45 class, for others it’s a 7k run—but no matter what your training style, one thing’s for certain; you need to refuel your muscles for max results.
The easiest way to do that? “You need a nutrient-dense meal with proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins to replace the nutrients expended during your training session, says fitness expert, Katie Williams. “Carbohydrates work to both replenish the body’s energy stores and, with the presence of protein, assist muscle synthesis and maintenance which in turn fast-tracks your recovery and inhibit inflammation.”
By coupling the two, you’re ensuring you’re meeting all of your body’s post-exercise demands. “Protein assists with muscle repair and development and carbohydrates aid protein uptake within muscles. Therefore, intake of both macronutrients are required.” Here’s a list of foods as recommended by Katie that you should try and eat within 30 minutes after exercise:


Okay no surprises here, but rehydration is extremely important. “After training, replacing water and electrolyte losses is needed for optimal recovery. You continue to lose fluid through sweat and urine even after finishing your session, so you should aim to replace losses by 150 per cent. If you’ve run for an hour you’ve most likely lost over a litre of water, so rehydrate with 1.5L.”

Coconut water

“Otherwise known as nature’s Gatorade, coconut water is an excellent post-workout quencher. Coconut water is the perfect beverage for restoring hydration, replenishing electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during exercise. It’s loaded with potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium which all play very important roles in many bodily functions.”

banana oats
Image: iStock


With 36 grams of carbs, ½ a gram of fat and 600 mg of potassium, bananas are a post-workout powerhouse.” Chop one up in some Greek yogurt or blend with a scoop of protein powder and liquid of your choice for all the goodness.

Cooked quinoa

“Containing around 21.3% of carbs, quinoa is also a good source of protein and fibre.” Toss it through your salad for lunch or sneak some into your chia pudding with some almond milk for breakfast after an early morning training sesh.


“Oats contain 66% carbs, and nearly 11% of that is fibre.” The best part? You can get creative with oats! Prep some creamy overnight oats, add to your smoothies or even treat yourself to some homemade oat cookies.

Image: Tropeaka

Whey Protein

If there’s any two things that belong in the same sentence, it’s post-workout and whey protein. If fat loss is your goal, then opt for high protein, low carb. If you don’t do whey, you can also benefit from a vegan protein powder.


With 6 grams of protein per serve, hard boiled eggs are a super easy and simple snack post-exercise. If you’re bored of eggs, there are some other superstar contenders that are even higher in protein which you can check out here.
Katie Williams is an ex sprinter and fitness expert who holds a Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science. Catch her on her new podcast series @wearerealtalk and follow her on @katiewilllly.

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