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Calories are calories. If you eat them you can burn them no matter what. I always like to have a few meals before my workouts. It's like gas tank of full, I'm going to go further. So it depends on your preference really.
It's totally on your own. Most people think it's bad to eat after working out. Actually you NEED to eat after working out so that your body has enough energy to regenerate. You can also go carbs within 30mins after training. Eating before is possible, but you won't do pretty good on the ab trainer when full - your body will need energy to digest (at least 1 hour) and you probably won't feel best. I suggest to have just a small energy boost beforehand (like e.g. a banana, but everything fast in energy is good).
But: all in all it doesn't matter when you give your body its nutrition. Compare it to a car: it drives well no matter when you refuel.
If it's just Cardio then you can do it on an empty stomach otherwise on weight training eat 30 to 60 minutes before a workout. I don't have a problem eating a minute before hitting the weights :p fuel your workouts for best results
It would provide be more beneficial for you to eat before a workout.
I usually work out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, but as my workouts are getting tougher that's not working anymore. Running on empty stomach doesn't work at all for me. So, my advice is a small snack before if you haven't eaten in a couple of hours, not working out on a full stomach and refueling right after your workout.