A Personal Trainer's Guide to Muscle Fuel for the Normal Person

Most of us have heard that consuming protein surrounding a workout is a good idea. When you workout, your muscles need protein for fuel and recovery. Proteins are made of amino acids, which are the building blocks your body needs to prevent it from breaking down muscle tissue for energy.

The 30-60 minutes following a workout is called the anabolic window. This is the ideal time to repair muscle and encourage growth. I end most workouts with a protein drink like this Oatmeal Cookie Shake. Does this protein addition mean you will turn into Hulk? NO! Hulking body builders work for years and years to make gains of epic proportions.

So how much protein does a “normal” person need? A review of the latest guidelines for exercise and sport nutrition published in 2013 advises 20-25 grams of high quality protein after exercise (1). A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that amino acid composition as well as timing of the protein supplement is important for optimal muscle rebuilding after a workout (2).

Resistance exercise breaks down muscle; therefore, a fresh infusion of amino acids is needed to repair and build it. When you skip the protein, it’s essentially counterproductive. Not a weight-lifter? Protein also helps build enzymes and specific muscle fibers that allow your body to adapt to endurance sports like running!

I also like to have a mix of protein and carbohydrates before the workout for energy and stamina. No need to over-do it - a small snack will do the trick! I aim for about 10-15 grams of each 30 minutes prior to a workout. It was with that goal in mind that I used my Growing Naturals Vanilla Blast Rice Protein to create these Banana Chocolate Chip Protein Muffins. Between the decadently silky smooth texture and peanut butter-y banana flavor, you’ll never know you’re eating muscle fuel!

By: Laura Hall of Sprint2theTable.com Personal Trainer


  1. Potgieter S. Sport Nutrition: A review of the latest guidelines for exercise and sport nutrition from the American College of Sport Nutrition, the International Olympic Committee and the International Society for Sports Nutrition. S Afr J Clin Nutr. 2013; 26 (1).
  2. Wolfe RR. Protein supplements and exercise. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000; 72(suppl): 551S-7S.

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