Health & Wellness

Post Workout Snacks – is yours right for You?

May 16, 2016
top post workout snacks

I’ve been asked several times what post workout snacks do I reach for.  Well the answer is not as clear cut as it may seem.


top post workout snacks

Before we even talk about post workout snacks we need to ask ourselves this question:

Do you really know what a ‘healthy’ snack is?  Even healthy snacks contain calories so you need to be aware of what you are eating, especially if your goal is to lose weight.  Here are some healthy snack ideas which you could try.

I’ve heard that as a general rule eating protein within 20 – 40 minutes post workout is beneficial.  Here are some High-Protein Snacks you could try, however, as you will see below there is also more to post workout snacks than we realise.

Now, I’m not an expert so I decided to ask my Personal Trainer, Nikki Wakerley her thoughts on what she would recommend for a post workout snack.  Nikki, has over 15 years experience as a personal trainer and has a wealth of knowledge not just about exercise but about living a healthy lifestyle.

My main takeaway from my interview with her was that with post workout snacks there is a general rule of thumb but in reality to achieve results and because we are all different,


It is more than just grabbing a snack, it is knowing:

  • why you need it,
  • the type of food,
  • what your lifestyle and training goals are
  • having a chat to a nutritionist.

Why are post workout snacks important?

It’s best to have a post workout snack for a couple of reasons.

Not many people train on a full stomach and should have eaten a couple of hours before exercising to allow the body to digest the food. Therefore, after exercise has commenced, the body is in need of refueling/nourishment/meal/snack to keep the metabolism working effectively and energy levels balanced. Its best to eat every 3-4hours.

When exercising (and depending on the type of exercise and intensity), the body will mostly use stored glycogen that resides in the muscles (once those stores are depleted the body will recruit fat from the fat cells). It’s advised to replenish these glycogen stores, within 30 minutes of the workout, to stop the body from converting the muscle into energy, wasting/decreasing your muscle mass.

What type of food do we need post work out?

The type of food will particular to your training goals.

I would always recommend natural foods, nothing processed. Eating something is better than not eating at all. Don’t starve the body and allow it use its primitive instinct, you’ll end up putting on more fat.

You say each person’s requirement for a post work out snack AND TIMING OF EATING THE SNACK is different why?

For the people who are trying to build muscle, it is essential they eat/drink a snack immediately after their workout to prevent the body converting muscle into energy therefore wasting/decreasing the muscle mass. A high GI snack would be best for these types of athletes, e.g. Banana, watermelon, protein shakes with carbohydrates.

For those that have excess fat, it would be OK to delay the snack, the compromise is to waste a little muscle but burn a few extra calories. This method should only be used when there is excessive fat and the fat loss is the main objective.

What questions should a person ask their nutritionist?

The very first question to should ask a nutritionist is, ‘am I eating a balanced diet’?

Taking in a food diary will help the practitioner understand what nutrients are being consumed. In my experience most people eat well, but get the timing all wrong. Get advice from your nutritionist when and how much you should eat at each meal time. I am an very active person and will have 5-6 meals each day.

Nikki’s points to remember….

Remember, you really are what you eat! 

You eat fatty, processed, lab created foods, you’ll feel fatty and processed.

Eat natural, healthy, colorful foods, you’ll feel energized and glow with health.


Let’s Keep Sizzling!

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  • Reply Kala May 16, 2016 at 20:58

    Those were useful pointers Sue and Nikki. Post exercise snack done wrong can nullify the benefits of exercise. Thanks for these excellent tips.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2016 at 16:01

      Hi Kala!! Yes I learn so much from Nikki she is a wealth of knowledge and knows how to get the best out of me.

  • Reply Carol Cassara May 17, 2016 at 22:26

    For me, I had to learn to eat some carbs in the morning before my workout, to give me the energy I needed after sleep. That was something different for me. So this morning, it’s shredded wheat and half a banana with amond milk, about 3 hours before.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 18, 2016 at 11:15

      I find I can’t really eat before I do a long run but I try for a banana at least. What you have is perfect for a pre workout snack and as you say the carbs give us energy.

  • Reply Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski May 18, 2016 at 01:31

    I’m a big proponent of eating “real” food as opposed to anything packaged or juiced. I’d rather have a banana or 1/2 an avocado than a protein bar or kale chips any day.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 18, 2016 at 11:17

      I’m with you Rebecca! Real food is really so much better for us. I think many people think protein bars etc are good and they are I suppose if you are out and about but what is wrong with a banana! You know what is in real food – you really don’t know what is in most packaged foods or at least in Australia, packaging information needs an overhaul. Have a great day!

  • Reply Roz Warren May 18, 2016 at 04:51

    My usual post-swim snack is a glass of water with walnuts, almonds and prunes (which, I’ve read, are good for my bones.) I hope that Nikki would approve.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 18, 2016 at 11:18

      Hi Roz that sounds perfect for your post-swim snack. Lots of good unprocessed food and I’m sure Nikki would certainly give a thumbs up.

  • Reply Krista May 18, 2016 at 08:32

    Good information. More and more my husband and I are trying to eat closer to the source. So less processed foods. We are working on it…its not always easy but we are making a bigger effort.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 18, 2016 at 11:22

      I suppose as long as we are trying Krista that is the main thing. I’m a big believer in the 80/20 rule – 80% of the time I eat healthy, wholesome food and 20% I treat myself. As long as the %’s don’t reverse I think having balance and enjoying a treat occasionally stops us from over indulging. At least you have your husband with you so you can support each other.

  • Reply Cathy Lawdanski May 18, 2016 at 10:11

    Good advice. I know I cannot eat what the young, slim, muscular people in my gym eat after a workout! Luckily, I workout in the late afternoon, so just have dinner when I get home. And after a tough workout, I am not that hungry, which really helps keep me from overeating.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 18, 2016 at 11:24

      I’m sure even the young ones need to make wise choices with their post workout food. I find sometimes the harder the workout the less we feel like eating but we do need to eat something. Good on you for working out I’m sure you give the young ones a run for their money 🙂

  • Reply Carolann May 18, 2016 at 11:19

    I read this as I’m sitting here snacking on some Twizzler bites oh my gosh talk about guilt! I really have to make better choices when I get weak in the knees for something sweet. Thanks much for sharing this

  • Reply Lois Alter Mark May 18, 2016 at 14:47

    Well, I don’t have to worry about post-workout snacks because I really don’t work out! I play tennis almost every day and always eat a protein bar before we play to give me energy. I don’t usually have a snack afterwards although I definitely make up for that the rest of the day!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 20, 2016 at 17:27

      Well I think playing tennis almost every day would qualify as a workout Lois! Good for you!

  • Reply Laura May 19, 2016 at 12:04

    Oh I’m terrible at this – I need to have handy snacks readily available after a run or workout. Great post!


    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 20, 2016 at 17:39

      It is hard to be prepared all the time Laura. I know myself sometimes I fall down in this area but at least I know what I’m meant to do so being organised I found is the key. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle May 21, 2016 at 10:08

    Thanks for getting this good advice for us to learn from. I am making an effort not to snack between meals. I am a bit like Cathy, after exercise we come home and have a meal. I have found a good quality protein bar that I sometimes have before a workout, which I call morning tea/lunch. Of course, a good coffee goes with that 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 22, 2016 at 10:46

      Hi Kathleen! Yes, Nikki is a font of knowledge and I don’t profess to be an expert so it is good to get the right advice. Oh I still need my coffee but first up in the morning to get me going! 🙂

  • Reply Ginger Wroot May 23, 2016 at 11:41

    I definitely need to lose some fat at the cost of losing some muscle, so delayed eating is what I need, I guess. Not a problem, since I don’t have much of an appetite right after working anyway. Thanks for a great post!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 23, 2016 at 19:46

      Glad you enjoyed the post Ginger! Thanks for stopping by to comment and hope you visit again soon.

  • Reply Melissa Ruddy May 23, 2016 at 12:43

    I have been so focused on what I eat I have never really given much thought to when I’m eating. That is a great point and clearly one I’m neglecting. Great post.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 23, 2016 at 19:47

      Thanks Melissa, I always learn something from Nikki she is so knowledgeable. x

  • Reply May 23, 2016 at 16:14

    What fantastic tips Sue! I really appreciate that you consulted a nutritionist, she shared some valuable information with you . Thank you for sharing it with us. I am working hard to eat and be healthier since the stroke and this kind of information is a huge inspiration! I hope you have a wonderful week and may god bless you and yours in all your endeavors!

    In health and happiness.. i will be sharing to my healthy foods & lifestyle board:)

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 23, 2016 at 19:49

      I’m sorry to hear you have had a stroke Horace and wish you all the best. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Have a fabulous week and thank you for sharing. Have a beautiful week.

  • Reply Michelle June 8, 2016 at 06:21

    Good tips to know. I do eat every. 3 to 4 hours and try to incorporate protein into each meal/snack. Great tips from your PT.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 8, 2016 at 09:37

      Yes Michelle, that is Nikki’s philosophy as well 3 to 4 hours. I know we are both singing from the same song sheet!

  • Reply Healthy Snacks January 12, 2018 at 23:01

    Hi Roz that sounds perfect for your post-swim snack. Lots of good unprocessed food and I’m sure Nikki would certainly give a thumbs up.

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