Guide to Pea Protein Powder for Bodybuilding

Are you looking for an alternative to whey protein for bodybuilding? If so, pea protein may be the perfect option. With its high levels of essential amino acids and excellent digestibility, it’s become a popular choice among athletes and bodybuilders over the past years.

This guide will discuss everything you need to know about using pea protein powder in your routine.

What is Pea Protein Powder?

Pea protein powder is a plant-based, vegan dietary supplement made from yellow split peas.

Unlike many other plant-based proteins, pea powder protein is a complete protein, meaning it will supply your muscles with all of the essential amino acids they need to recover and grow.

Pea protein is also a great source of iron, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals that can help maximize your gains in the gym and help you maintain an overall healthy body.

Pea Protein Benefits

The main benefits of using pea protein powder as a bodybuilding supplement are definitely its muscle-building and recovery capabilities.

With its high levels of essential amino acids, as a complete protein, pea protein powder can help you build lean muscle mass, just like any other top-grade protein supplement. [1]

As you know, feeding the muscle is essential to maximizing your gains, and pea protein can be a great way to do this.

In addition to its muscle-building properties, pea protein powder is also incredibly easy to digest (93% PDCAAS score). This makes it perfect for those with sensitive stomachs who have a hard time digesting animal-based proteins like whey.

One thing pea protein is also rich in is sodium.

While sodium does get a bad rep sometimes, it is absolutely essential.

Sodium is an important electrolyte that plays a number of crucial roles in the body, including maintaining fluid balance, regulating blood pressure, and supporting muscle and nerve function.

During intense workout sessions, the body sweats and loses electrolytes, including sodium. If you don’t replenish these electrolytes, you may experience symptoms of electrolyte imbalance, such as cramping, fatigue, and dehydration.

Another one of the main benefits of pea protein is its fiber content compared to whey protein. However, it’s important to note that the fiber content in pea protein alone will not be enough to meet your daily needs and should be supplemented with other high-fiber foods. In fact, pea protein itself isn’t that high in fiber, but you do get more of it compared to whey.

Finally, pea protein has a low glycemic index, meaning it does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This makes it an excellent choice for individuals with diabetes who want to get into bodybuilding. [2]

Is Pea Protein Good for You?

Absolutely. Pea protein is very good for you.

Overall, it is one of the healthiest plant-based proteins out there. Pea protein has very high amounts of iron, zinc, and BCAAs (especially arginine and leucine), which are all essential for helping keep your body strong and healthy.

It’s also low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol, so it’s a great way to stay in shape while keeping your diet in check.

In addition, pea protein has been linked to improving cardiovascular health, as it helps lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

However, all those benefits still need to be properly researched before we can make any bold claims.

Is Pea Protein a Complete Protein?

Yes, pea protein is a complete protein.

For a while, there has been some confusion about whether or not pea protein is a complete protein, but recent studies have shown that pea protein is indeed a complete protein.

That said, it is somewhat low in methionine. [3]

However, that’s nothing to worry about, as you will get enough methionine from other foods in your diet, like eggs, beef, or brown rice.

Pea vs. Whey Protein

Pea protein and whey protein are both excellent sources of amino acids. However, there are a few key differences between the two that you should know about.

Whey is still considered the gold standard in bodybuilding supplements, as it is arguably the best source of complete protein and has the highest biological value (BV).

However, whey is not suitable for vegans or those with lactose intolerance, whereas pea protein is often the go-to alternative for these individuals.

In addition, research has shown that no observable differences in muscle growth have been reported when comparing whey and pea protein.

Is Pea Protein a Good Alternative to Whey Protein?

Drawing from that previous point, pea protein is definitely a good alternative to whey protein.

It will deliver the same benefits but without lactose or animal-based ingredients.

In addition, pea protein also has a better amino acid profile than many other plant-based proteins, which is why it is often the number one choice for vegan bodybuilders.

How Much Pea Protein Should You Take?

Just like with any other protein, bodybuilders should strive to hit their daily protein needs, which are usually around 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. 

Of that daily protein consumption, a good rule of thumb is to consume at most one-third of it in protein supplements. The majority of your daily protein should come from real whole foods. 

For the average person, a maximum of 40 grams of pea protein or less is a good daily dosage

That said, you shouldn’t blindly stick to this rule, as it may vary depending on your individual goals, age, and activity levels.

Sure, for optimal muscle growth, you should supply your muscles with enough amino acids, but remember to take into account the other important aspects of a healthy diet, such as complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

When is the Best Time to Take Pea Protein?

Some will argue that the best time to take pea protein is an hour or two before your workout.

This is because your body needs protein and amino acids to build muscle, and this is the ideal time to get them into your system.

However, this isn’t something you should obsess over.

If you choose to take your protein post-workout, in the morning, or during your workout – that’s totally fine too.

It all comes down to how much protein you are getting into your diet and when it works best for your lifestyle.

Pea Protein Side Effects

There are little to no side effects associated with pea protein.

However, it is possible to have an allergy to the plant itself, so watch out for any reactions such as itching, swelling, hives, or difficulty breathing.

Another thing to be mindful of is sodium.

Despite being an essential electrolyte, too much sodium can cause hypertension, water retention, and other issues.

Best Pea Protein Powders

If you’d like to give pea protein a try, there are many products on the market that you can choose from, but quite frankly, not all of them are worth your time and money.

These ones, on the other hand, are:

Naked Pea Protein Isolate
Naked Pea Protein Powder

Made from a single ingredient and with no additives or artificial sweeteners, Naked Pea Protein Isolate is an excellent option for those looking for a vegan-friendly protein powder that packs a punch in every scoop.

With 27 grams of protein per serving, this pea protein isolate is undoubtedly a fantastic way to hit your daily protein needs.

Oh, it’s also incredibly affordable for a pea protein.

NOW Sports Pea Protein Powder
Now Sports Pea Protein Powder

With 24 grams of protein per scoop, NOW Sports Pea Protein Powder should be more than capable of delivering you with all the essential amino acids to keep your muscles growing.

To keep your mind at ease, this one’s third-party tested, non-GMO, and free from additives or artificial flavors.

It also packs quite an electrolyte punch with 320 mg of sodium, so it should make for a great pre and post-workout recovery drink.

Source Organic – Premium Pea Protein Isolate
Source Organic Pea Protein Powder

Source Organic’s Pea Protein comes with a heftier price tag, but that’s because this product contains no fillers or additives and is made with premium ingredients sourced from Canadian farms.

It holds 22 grams of protein and quite a lot of phosphorous, making it the perfect protein shake to help your muscles grow and recover after a tough workout.


As you can tell, pea protein comes with plenty of benefits, and unlike many other plant-based proteins, pea protein can hold its own against the mighty whey.

It is an excellent source of essential amino acids, it’s easily digested and absorbed by the body, and if you choose right – it might not cost you an arm and a leg to grow those muscles.

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