Carbohydrates in the pre-workout meal and their relation to physical and sports performance: an integrative review




Exercise; Athletic Performance; Carbohydrates.


Carbohydrate is considered as the main source of energy for living beings because its substrates are used by several metabolic pathways responsible for energy production in the body. The consumption of certain macronutrients at specific times in relation to the training time is one of the main strategies used in sports nutrition. The present study aims to analyze the effects on physical and sports performance with the use of carbohydrates in the pre-workout meal. This is an integrative review of the literature available in the PubMed and Scielo databases, using the descriptors: “exercise”, “athletic performance” and “carbohydrates”. Only clinical trials published between 2016 and 2022 were included. After reviewing the literature, 12 studies were selected that evaluated, among other aspects, physical performance in different sports modalities using pre-exercise nutritional strategies that include carbohydrates in its composition. The results found suggest that the pre-workout consumption of carbohydrates can improve performance in strength exercises, but not in aerobic exercises.


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Battazza, R. A., Suzuki, F. S., Kalytczak, M. M., Paunksnis, M. R. R., Politi, F., Evangelista, A. L., … Bocalini, D. S. (2019). Effects of previous carbohydrate supplementation on muscular fatigue: double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study. Motriz: Revista de Educação Física, 25(1).

Baur, D. A., Willingham, B. D., Smith, K. A., Kisiolek, J. N., Morrissey, M. C., Saracino, P. G., … Ormsbee, M. J. (2018). Adipose Lipolysis Unchanged by Preexercise Carbohydrate Regardless of Glycemic Index. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 50(4), 827–836.

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Maroufi, K., Razavi, R., Gaeini, A. A., & Nourshahi, M. (2021). The effects of acute consumption of carbohydrate-protein supplement in varied ratios on CrossFit athletes’ performance in two CrossFit exercises: a randomized cross-over trial. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 61(10).

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Rothschild, J. A., Kilding, A. E., Broome, S. C., Stewart, T., Cronin, J. B., & Plews, D. J. (2021). Pre-Exercise Carbohydrate or Protein Ingestion Influences Substrate Oxidation but Not Performance or Hunger Compared with Cycling in the Fasted State. Nutrients, 13(4), 1291.

Santos, M. P. P. dos, Spineli, H., Bastos-Silva, V. J., Learsi, S. K., & Araujo, G. G. de. (2019). Ingestion of a drink containing carbohydrate increases the number of bench press repetitions. Revista de Nutrição, 32.

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How to Cite

GOMES, D. A.; LOPES, K. C. B. B.; CARVALHO, L. M. F. de. Carbohydrates in the pre-workout meal and their relation to physical and sports performance: an integrative review. Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 11, n. 15, p. e295111537375, 2022. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v11i15.37375. Disponível em: Acesso em: 31 jan. 2023.



Health Sciences