When it comes to losing weight and getting lean, your number one priority should be ensuring you’re in a calorie deficit, i.e. you burn more calories than you consume. This is the most important factor when trying to lose weight; if this isn’t achieved, other factors matter little.
While meal timing is currently a topic of debate, the existing evidence suggests no one meal timing strategy is better for weight loss. However, when you’re restricting calories (to lose weight) as well as training, I’d recommend ingesting the majority of your calories before, during and after training to help fuel and recover from the workout. This means that more calories are being used as energy and to replenish and repair muscles than being stored as fat.
Another important factor is the balance of protein, fat and carbs, with current evidence suggesting higher protein intakes of 2.0 to 2.2g per kilo body weight per day can help promote higher quality weight loss by supporting the preservation of muscle tissue, meaning more weight is lost from fat rather than muscle.
Stephen Smith is a SENr registered sports nutrition consultant, and is the owner and founder of Race Faster. He is currently researching gut health and the effects of exercise on the gut for his PhD. You can follow him on Twitter