Guide to Collagen Protein Powder for Bodybuilding

If you want to meet your nutrient goals during a strength or bodybuilding training phase, you’ve likely considered adding a protein supplement to your routine. A quick protein shake is a great way to support your body’s recovery and muscle-building goals. 

Collagen proteins have been taking the supplement world by storm the last couple of years, but are they better than a standard whey protein powder?

What is Collagen Protein Powder?

Collagen protein powder is a beef-sourced protein. Most often, it is powdered particulate of parts of the cow that we may find less appetizing directly on our dinner plate, like tendons and other connective tissue. These particles are small enough to dissolve easily in water or smoothies.

Just because we won’t eat these parts of a cow for lunch doesn’t mean there aren’t nutritional benefits. Research is still new and inconclusive, but some studies show a lot of promise, particularly around collagen being linked to increased skin elasticity and joint health.

What are the Benefits of Collagen Protein Powder?

One of the most noteworthy benefits of collagen protein is that any collagen protein powder will always be lactose-free, as lactose is only found in whey. This is great news for those that are lactose intolerant. 

However, even those who can digest whey easily may still find that it causes some mild bloating or other unwanted effects, like more acne or other forms of inflammation in the body. So collagen protein could be a good alternative for anyone looking to avoid common side effects of whey

Collagen makes some big claims, like adding more bounce and glow to the skin and other similar claims that add to a more youthful appearance. While collagen in the body does aid in skin elasticity, research is still inconclusive on whether ingesting collagen orally actually translates to your body being able to put it to use.

While researchers are still on the fence regarding collagen’s ability to be the fountain of youth, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any benefits to ingesting collagen. It is linked to increased joint support and bone density, which are both beneficial to bodybuilders and lifters of any age. A strong skeleton supports strong muscles and decreases the risk of injury. [1]

How Does Collagen Protein Compare to Whey Protein?

Collagen and whey protein both come from cows, but the method of extracting the protein is quite different. Collagen protein is beef protein specifically sourced from the parts of the cow that are highest in collagen, like connective tissues and gelatinous parts of the animal.

Whey protein comes from dairy. Milk is processed and split into two products: casein and whey. For much of human history, whey was discarded when turning milk into cheese. Only within the last few decades did we realize that this “waste” byproduct was actually a nutrient-dense powerhouse.

Is Collagen Protein a Good Alternative to Whey Protein?

Whether or not you choose collagen over whey protein depends on personal preference. For those seeking something quick digesting and economical, whey protein has been the reigning champ for decades and will continue to do so. 

If you’re interested in seeing the possible positive side effects of collagen, it’s a great alternative that will get you to your protein goals without side effects from lactose.

How Much Collagen Protein Should You Take Per Day?

Your daily protein requirement when lifting is about a gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. In an ideal world, we would get all of our nutrients from whole foods, but that isn’t always possible with a busy schedule. 

The average collagen protein serving will be between 20-40 grams each. Ideally, you’d source around 70% of your protein from real foods, and up to 30% can be from a supplement like powdered collagen protein

When is the Best Time to Take Collagen Protein?

The most important factor when meeting your protein goals is simply that you meet them each day. If you are looking to go a step further and time your protein intake for maximum benefit, you should consider taking a protein shake right after working out to help your body start to repair muscle tissue that was torn during your gym session.

Collagen protein takes a bit longer to break down in the body than other proteins like whey or a standard beef protein which will be leaner. Because it digests more slowly, you’ll actually want to drink your collagen protein before you work out. Your body will most likely begin digesting it toward the end of your workout, right on time for it to be put to work.

Collagen Protein Side Effects

Thankfully, protein supplements all go through rigorous testing before they hit the market, and they have been around for a very long time. As a result, you’re unlikely to have any significant negative side effects from adding a collagen protein shake to your daily or weekly routine.

Collagen isn’t a molecule you’re at risk of overdosing on, but just like with any new supplement, there is a chance of bloating if the formulation doesn’t agree with your body. If you’re adding a new supplement to your stack, be sure to do it one at a time so that you can monitor and pinpoint any side effects that you may want to avoid.

Best Collagen Protein Powders

Searching for the best collagen protein for your needs can feel overwhelming. So we’ve hand-picked the three best options for you here.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptide Protein Powder
Vital proteins collagen protein powder

Vital Proteins is the company that has put collagen as a dietary supplement on the map, particularly for those in the fitness and bodybuilding space. Their collagen supplements, including their collagen protein, are sourced from high-quality farms in the United States. This supplement is an excellent protein source, with 18 grams of protein and only 70 calories per serving

Bulletproof Collagen Protein Powder
Bulletproof collagen protein powder

The Bulletproof brand has also been a huge proponent of adding collagen and other healthy fats into athlete’s daily diet for years. Their recipes are dialed in nutritionally and make great flavors that blend well into your daily coffee or smoothies. Just like the previous option, it’s a protein-packed punch of 18 grams of protein and just 70 calories per serving

Bare Performance Nutrition Collagen Protein
Bare Performance Collagen Protein Powder

Bare Performance is another excellent company with very high sourcing standards. Their collagen protein is packed with 20 grams of protein and only 80 calories per serving, and they also exclusively source from high-quality grass-fed beef.


If you are looking for a good whey protein alternative that could have some pleasant and beautifying side effects, it’s worth giving collagen protein a try! Just like anything else you are adding to your diet, be mindful and try to choose the best quality option that you can afford to ensure you’re ingesting nothing but the best.

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