Workout Meals Review

Workout Meals Review (2024) Is This Service The Secret To Gaining Lean Muscle?

This quote from Tomi Jurlina, “I’m a terrible chef“, is probably not the quote you expect to read from the co-founder of a prepared meals service.

Fortunately, he founded Workout Meals in 2012 alongside his friend Dean Deakin (who can cook) and has since hired an executive chef to manage their kitchen.

Workout Meals tackles one of the main struggles for any gym-goer – diet. Achieving results in the gym requires a consistent and balanced diet, which can be very difficult if you don’t enjoy cooking or you don’t have the time to cook fresh meals every day.

That’s the cornerstone of the Workout Meals experience and this focus has seen them deliver over 100,000 meals across New South Wales, Adelaide, Brisbane and the ACT.

Workout Meals Prepared Meals Review

Workout Meals Review Summary

Workout Meals deliver on the promise of real, fresh food that’s convenient to eat. They have some delicious dishes available, although I’ve found there are some snags with the overall experience. 

Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10
  • Ordering - Website - 6/10
    6/10
  • Food - Quality - 7/10
    7/10
  • Ordering - Meal Choice - 8/10
    8/10
  • Food - Taste - 8/10
    8/10
  • Ordering - Delivery - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value For Money - 8/10
    8/10

Pros

  • Good range of healthy meals.
  • Fitness programme with every subscription.
  • Some incredibly tasty meals.

Cons

  • Issues with some ingredients lists.
  • Confusing website when managing your order.
  • Inconsistency with cooking of meals.
  • Some meals can be very dry (especially chicken / turkey).

The standout unique selling point for Workout Meals is that they own their own farm in Kulnura just an hour north of Sydney. They source many of their vegetables and eggs from this farm, promising some of the freshest prepared meals you can buy.

Workout Meals is a “fresh” prepared meals service, so all meals arrive refrigerated (not frozen). This means their closest competitors are My Muscle Chef and MACROS. I pulled together some of the most common FAQ’s in my guide to prepared meals services.

This Workout Meals review covers the entire Workout Meals experience including purchasing, delivery, food and subscriptions so let’s get started!

Explore Workout Meals with a $40 DiscountClick here and use code 'NEW40' for your discount!

Getting started with Workout Meals

Co-founder Tomi has a background in IT, with that influence clear in a slick and well-designed website. Since 2019, they’ve gone through multiple branding iterations, landing ultimately on a wave design that feels modern but I’m not sure it makes me think about ‘food’.

Old Workout Meals Logo
Version 1 – 2019
Workout Meals Logo
Version 2 – 2020
Workout Meals Logo v3
Version 3 – 2023

Workout Meals structure their meals with both goal-based on fixed meal packs, making it easy to identify which meals you should be choosing from. These are:

Goal-Based Custom Packs

  • Weight Loss
  • Lean & Fit
  • Muscle Gain
  • Meals for Anyone

Fixed Sets

  • Low Calorie
  • High Protein
  • Gluten Free

Selecting a goal-based custom pack triggers an interesting quiz that asks for your gender, age, and activity levels. Answering these allows the system to present a proposed meal plan that will help you meet your goals.

Tell Workout Meals about yourself to receive a custom meal plan

Each meal plan includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a full 7 days (you can switch to a 5 day plan). You can also add extra snacks each day if you want.

I think this is a very clever approach to guiding people towards an appropriate plan, although be warned that having 3 ready meals a day can add up to an expensive week.

My first Workout Meals day on a muscle gain plan

You are able to simple build your own basket of meals if you want, so you aren’t limited by their menu planning tool. However, be aware that there is a minimum order value of $60 (roughly 5 meals).

You won’t find any Workout Meals dinners available in supermarkets, they’re only available online.

Meal variety and options

The regular menu consists of 26 different main meals with a wide range of different protein sources.

Most prepared meals services tend to rely heavily on chicken dishes, and Workout Meals is not an exception. 50% of their meals are based on a chicken protein source, with the rest varying between seafood (1), beef (8), and vegetarian (1).

I really like how the meals are displayed on the website, with the weight, calories, protein, carbs, and fats very easy to read.

Penne Bolognese, Sweet Porato & Beef Mex Bowl, and Meatballs& Mash on the Workout Meals menu.
The Workout Meals menu is very well designed

All meals are available in a single size, which might limit your options even further. I found that my custom meal plan had some repeat meals included, so with a relatively small menu it’s definitely possible to get bored of the same meals quickly.

Examples of some of the meals available are:

  • BBQ Beef Mac & Cheese
  • Peppercorn Steak & Chips
  • Butter Chicken
  • Chicken Sweet Chilli Stir Fry
  • Nasi Goreng
  • Chicken Parmigiana

For breakfast, your options include a Cheese Pesto Omelette, Protein Porridge or Shakshuka.

Breakfast is often not provided for at other meal delivery services, so it’s good to see that Workout Meals are thinking about all the meals they can provide for. It’s still a relatively limited menu though with just 5 options in total.

A selection of Workout Meals breakfast items
Workout Meals had a limited breakfast selection

Special diets and food intolerance

There are 5 salad options on the Workout Meals menu, though only 2 of these would be suitable for vegetarians or vegans. There are much better vegetarian meal delivery options out there. Workout Meals have clearly decided not to cater for plant-based diets.

This is the statement Workout Meals provide around allergens:

All our meals are prepared in bulk within our commercial kitchen. Therefore, we cannot guarantee meals are Gluten/Nuts/Dairy/Crustacean Free.

FAQ

This also means that I wouldn’t recommend Workout Meals for anyone with a severe allergy. This is further compounded by the attention to detail around their ingredient lists which we’ll come back to a little bit later.

If you are Gluten Free there are only 8 options on the menu, so you’ll struggle with a lack of variety if eating Workout Meals for more than a few weeks.

Similarly, their menu offers filters with a reasonable set of meals for dishes that are Sesame Free, Dairy Free, Chemicals Free, and Eggs Free. Honestly, I’m not sure what “chemicals free” means in this context. Does that mean some meals are packed full of unknown chemicals? It’s a little unusual.

A variety of allergen filters are available

Delivery options

Workout Meals deliver to over 3,000 locations across Australia.

You’re able to use their delivery checker to see whether they can delivery to your postcode, along with the days delivery is available. In central Sydney, I’m able to get deliveries every single day of the week, whereas more rural areas may only see 2-3 delivery days each week.

Deliveries are either made between 12am – 6am (overnight) or between 8am – 6pm depending on which option you choose.

Standard delivery costs a flat fee of $15 to all areas, which is expensive. However, this is simply used as an incentive to sign up for the regular subscription service. If you’re a subscriber (either weekly or fortnightly) then delivery is FREE to all areas.

This makes it an absolute no-brainer to sign up for their regular subscription. Just set yourself a reminder to pause your delivery before the cut-off deadline if you don’t want to receive it that week.

On receipt of your box, you’ll receive a photo with proof of delivery. This can definitely be handy for finding out where the delivery driver has left your meals! Like most services, the meals will last 6-8 hours without needing to be refrigerated so it’s possible to get the box delivered and pick it up later in the day.

How much does Workout Meals cost?

I’ve found that meals are priced slightly higher than average for a prepared meals service, with meals starting at $11.95 up to a maximum price of $13.95. As mentioned previously, most gym-goers will want to opt for the larger meals that are between 500 – 700 calories and these are more likely to be at the $13.95 price..

With the minimum order of $60, this means you can order boxes with as little as 5 meals. This is quite a low limit compared to other services and would be useful if you just want to stock up on a few meals.

That means a 7-day custom meal plan for 3 meals a day costs upwards of $250. It’s not a cheap endeavour.

There is no discounting system for larger orders, so there is no added benefit of adding more meals to your order.

Featured Service

My Workout Meals box

My boxes have all arrived between 10:30 and 11:30 am, placed next to my front door, with an SMS confirmation being sent soon after.

The boxes themselves are neatly branded and have the same contents as most other services to keep the meals cool – ice packs and insulated foil.

Recycling the contents

There’s no information about whether the contents of a Workout Meals box are recyclable or not, which is disappointing.

Generally, you’ll find that:

  • Cardboard Box – Recycle in normal recycling collection.
  • Thermal Liner – Recycle in a soft plastics recycling bin found at most supermarkets.
  • Freezer Gel Packs – You need to empty out the contents (recommended to mix with salt before pouring down sink) and recycle the plastic in soft plastics.
  • Black Meal Trays – Recycle in normal recycling collection.
  • Vacuum Seal Film – Recycle in a soft plastics.
  • Cardboard Sleeve – Recycle in normal recycling collection.

However, I can’t confirm any of this is strictly accurate for the Workout Meals contents.

Check out my blog on the environmental impact of food boxes for more information.

Workout Meals Delivery Box
My Workout Meals Delivery Box

How’s the food?

Workout Meals pride themselves on offering real, fresh ingredients from their organic farm, created by restaurant chefs.

After trying 20+ different meals, I can confirm that they really succeed in making their meals feel like real home-cooked food. Whilst other services can taste quite manufactured/bland, the Workout Meals are mostly tasty dishes that feel as if you’ve made them yourself.

Workout Meals Contents

I’d go as far as saying that some meals are the nicest prepared meals I’ve tasted.

However, I found they were also a bit hit and miss. There were a few meals that really missed the mark, making me question why they were on the menu in the first place.

For example, the Naked Turkey Burger is a really great idea but it just results in really dry burger patties without enough sauce. I don’t know why these companies try and make fried chicken dishes… ever. The Chicken Karaage was simply odd, with a strangely mushy coating. Then there’s the Feta & Almond chicken which just tasted of vinegar and nothing else.

Ultimately, I think there needs to be a bit more work to refine some of these dishes to meet the general standard of the other dishes.

One dish that stands out is the Peppercorn Steak & Chips. Notoriously hard to get right when reheated, this dish ends up looking watery and unappealing but is actually unbelievably delicious. For something that’s just had 2 minutes in the microwave, it’s an absolute treat.

Workout Meals Steak & Chips
Looks watery but tastes absolutely incredible. Peppercorn Steak & Chips.

Cooking the prepared meals

Each meal comes in a shallow black plastic container, vacuum sealed with a thin plastic layer. One massive advantage is that you don’t need to poke/peel the plastic before heating, you can just throw the meal itself into the microwave. This is the same technology that My Muscle Chef use and that works really well.

Reheating times are a consistent 2 minutes for every dish, which is incredibly convenient if you need to grab dinner quickly.

Innacurate Ingredients Lists

I was starting to really enjoy my Workout Meals experience, but there were two things that have really put me off. The first is that they have problems getting the ingredient listings right on their packaging. You can see below their ingredients list for Southern Fried Chicken which is incredibly missing the Chicken! This is a really disappointing oversight and is something they must resolve ASAP.

I also received the Karaage Chicken which had a sticky label with the nutritional information. For a long time, I couldn’t see the ingredient list. Turns out that you need a microscope to read it. The ingredients are those tiny lines of text next to the “Use By” date that are simply unreadable.

Southern Fried Chicken Ingredients
Southern Fried Chicken Ingredients (minus Chicken)
Karaage Chicken Ingredients
Karaage Chicken Ingredients (in fine print)

Pink Meat

One of my favourite dishes has been the Sticky Asian Meatballs & Steamed Rice. It has this delicious sticky sauce covering meatballs that are moist and flavourful.

Unfortunately, with my second delivery, I faced meatballs that were cooked like this…

Pink Meatballs
My Sticky Asian Meatballs, looking a bit pink

Now, I’m someone who likes their steak raw and appreciates that beef doesn’t always need to be cooked through. This, however, was highly offputting. It suggests there is a lack of standardisation with the way they cook their meals.

Fortunately, all the chicken I ate was thoroughly cooked through. I’m struggling to find the confidence that this would always be the case though.

Meals I loved

  • Mongolian Beef with Brown Rice
  • Peppercorn Steak & Chips
  • Turkey Mince Poke Bowl
  • Beef Bolognese & Pasta
  • Thai Green Curry with Cauliflower Rice
  • Beef Mex Loaded & Sweet Potato

Meals I wouldn’t recommend

  • Southern Fried Chicken
  • Moroccan Chicken
  • Feta & Almond Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries

Workout Meals 360 – No Longer Available

With every subscription to Workout Meals, you used to receive a subscription to their WM360 service. It was a service that offered a personalised training regime and food plan, produced by their in-house personal trainers. There’s no doubt it was an incredible selling point.

Unfortunately, this service is no longer available and that’s a real shame.

My Final Thoughts on Workout Meals

They are so close to creating a fantastic prepared meals service. I don’t think the meals are massively overpriced for a long-term subscription and I appreciate that many ingredients come directly from a NSW farm.

So it’s a real shame that there are so many little snags/issues with the overall service. This is consolidated by the fact there are little bugs with the account management system which makes it quite difficult to manage your meals each week. I even found some meals weren’t available if I was logged in, but re-appeared if I signed out.

If Workout Meals were new to this, I could forgive them for having teething issues. Since they’ve been around for over 11 years, I have to say that the overall experience should be more polished.

If you’re fitness-focused and based on Australia’s East Coast, it’s worth trying some of their better meals and storing some in the back of your freezer for when you need a quick meal.

Explore Workout Meals with a $40 DiscountClick here and use code 'NEW40' for your discount!

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