Skip to content

10 Surprising Foods That Can Boost Your Workout Results

A board-certified specialist in sports dietetics shares the best foods to boost your workout results.

Heading to the gym is just one part of achieving noticeable results. Food shopping is another integral part of your overall wellness plan that should not be overlooked. We're making your next grocery run easy with this list of dietitian-approved foods that can actually boost your workout results.

"The right foods and beverages can significantly enhance performance, improve recovery times, reduce the risk of injury, and support overall health and well-being," explains Amy Goodson MS, RD, LD, CSSD, a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics and the author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook. "Proper nutrition provides the body with the necessary fuel and building blocks to perform optimally, repair tissues, and adapt to the stresses of exercise."

You are what you eat, which is why your shopping list should be optimized for pre and post-workout eating habits. "Nutrition helps to fuel and refuel activity. Without proper nutrition, the body will not have the energy and nutrients needed to perform or recover optimally," Goodson tells us.

Here are 10 foods and beverages that can boost your workout results. They may surprise you!

Milk and Chocolate Milk

chocolate milk, one of the best foods for a runner's recovery

"I don't like chocolate milk," said nobody, ever. Surprisingly, chocolate milk—and milk in general—provides an amazing balance of carbs to protein. Chocolate milk is particularly good for the cause, as it aids in rehydration and muscle recovery.

"[This balance] helps replenish glycogen stores and repair muscle tissue post-workout. It's also rich in electrolytes like calcium, potassium, and magnesium," says Goodson. "Plus, milk naturally contains about 90% water."

8 Things To Eat After a Workout if You're Trying To Lose Weight

Tart Cherry Juice

cherries with juice

You may have incorporated tart cherry juice into your relaxing bedtime routine to help you sleep better. Well, that's not the only benefit of this tasty drink!

Tart cherry juice is chock-full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as anthocyanins. "[Tart cherry juice] helps reduce muscle soreness and inflammation, which can enhance recovery and performance in subsequent workouts," shares Goodson.


baked salmon with veggies

When you're looking for a solid dose of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and quality protein, salmon is an excellent choice.

"Omega-3s can help reduce inflammation by buffering free radicals that can cause damage to cells, while its high-quality protein content supports muscle repair and growth," explains Goodson. So, grab some salmon on your next shopping trip!

Pomegranate Juice

pomegranate juice

Pomegranate smoothie, anyone? Not only is it delicious, but pomegranate juice is filled to the brim with antioxidants, especially polyphenols.

"These antioxidants [in pomegranate juice] help improve blood flow, reduce muscle soreness, and enhance recovery by combating oxidative stress," Goodson points out.

The Best Foods to Eat For Exercise to Burn More Fat, Say Dietitians

Beetroot Juice

beet juice with beetroot and mint

Beetroot juice is packed with high amounts of nitrates, which boost blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to your muscles. "[This enhances] endurance and performance during workouts," Goodson explains.


Eye of round roasted beef

Beef is a stellar source of essential nutrients, such as iron, selenium, and high-quality protein.

"Beef provides all the essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth, making it an excellent post-workout food," Goodson tells us. "[In addition, selenium] acts as an antioxidant, helping to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which can enhance recovery and overall immune function."

Let's not forget the importance of iron in your diet, which your body easily absorbs more so than non-heme iron derived from plant-based foods. "Adequate iron levels are crucial for maintaining energy levels and endurance, as iron plays a key role in oxygen transport in the blood," Goodson shares.

14 Best Foods for Better Workout Results, According to Experts


close-up woman pouring cup of blueberries into hand, foods to burn belly fat

Blueberries are king when it comes to antioxidants, especially vitamin C and anthocyanins.

"Antioxidants help reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress and inflammation, speeding up recovery and reducing muscle soreness," says Goodson. She adds, "Vitamin C supports collagen production, which is important for joint and muscle tissue health."


cooked quinoa

Quinoa is the perfect side dish or base for your meal, as it's a 100% plant-based protein. Not only is it delicious, but it's helpful in the muscle repair process, offers sustained energy, and feeds your body with essential nutrients, including iron and magnesium, which are key for muscle function.

"[Quinoa] contains all nine essential amino acids. This makes it an excellent option for muscle recovery for those who consume a plant-based diet," Goodson says. "Quinoa also provides carbohydrates to help provide energy during workouts as well as refuel glycogen (carbohydrate) stores post-workout."

9 Best Post-Workout Snacks to Build Muscle, According to a Sports Dietitian


banana peeled, concept of how many calories in a banana

A banana a day is always a good idea! Why? Well, this fruit is a great provider of vitamin B6, potassium, and carbs.

"Potassium is an electrolyte and can help decrease the risk of muscle cramps," Goodson notes. "It also provides carbohydrates for quick energy for workouts. Vitamin B6 aids in protein metabolism."

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt, concept of snacks for weight loss and muscle gain

Greek yogurt makes for the perfect light meal or snack any time of the day. Plus, it's full of probiotics, protein, and calcium.

Goodson shares, "The high-quality protein supports muscle repair and growth, while probiotics improve gut health, which can enhance overall nutrient absorption and immune function. Calcium helps keep bone mineral density strong, which can help fight against bone breaks and fractures."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
Sources referenced in this article
  1. Source:
  2. Source:
  3. Source:
  4. Source:
  5. Source: