Ingestion of Carbohydrate Prior to and during Maximal, Sprint Interval Cycling Has No Ergogenic Effect: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled, Crossover Study

Nutrients. 2020 Jul 25;12(8):2223. doi: 10.3390/nu12082223.


Carbohydrate (CHO) ingestion may improve intermittent sprint performance in repeated sprint efforts ≤15 s. Yet, evidence for its efficacy on sprint interval durations ~30 s is lacking. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of CHO ingestion on maximal sprint interval exercise. Fifteen (n = 15) recreational athletes (13/2 males/females, age 22 ± 2 years; height 176 ± 11 cm; mass 76.8 ± 11.3 kg) volunteered for this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design. Participants completed two experimental trials (performed 10-days apart) involving the ingestion of an 8% CHO solution or a flavour and appearance-matched placebo (PLA) solution (5 mL/kg/bw), immediately before exercise, and preceding the second interval of four × 30 s bouts of repeated maximal sprint efforts (separated by 3.5 min of passive recovery). Peak and mean power (W) output progressively decreased during the repeated sprints (main effect of time, p < 0.0001), but there were no differences between CHO and PLA during any of the sprints (p > 0.05 for condition main effect and condition × time interaction). Physiological responses (blood lactate, heart rate, oxygen consumption, respiratory exchange ratio and RPE) were also unaltered by CHO ingestion. In conclusion, CHO ingestion does not enhance performance or modulate physiological responses during intermittent maximal, sprint cycling.

Keywords: anaerobic; ergogenic aid; solution; substrate utilisation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance / physiology
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Interval Training
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances