The timing of your meals won’t change the number of kilojoules burned during a workout (for running, that’s about 140kJ/km).
However, timing will affect how you feel and perform when you train. If you’re not properly fuelled up, a workout can leave you feeling tired and shaky, and this will compromise the intensity and duration of your exercise.
To make sure you have plenty of fuel in the tank, eat two to four hours before your workouts. Include easily digested foods that are high in carbohydrates – such as pasta, cereal, yoghurt and fruit and veg.
To speed recovery, refuel immediately after your workouts with more carbohydrate-rich foods, plus a bit of protein from foods such as lean beef, chicken or fish and skimmed or soya milk.
For optimum weight loss, it’s also important to balance kilojoule intake with physical activity level throughout the day. Eat more when you are more active, and less when you are less active.