What is the time of day when you burn the most calories?
Your body’s internal clock plays a role not only when you are most alert or sleepy but also when you burn the most calories. People burn about 10 percent more calories in the late afternoon and early evening, compared with the early morning. It is possible that eating when your energy expenditure requirements are lower could make you gain weight. It also comes down to your metabolism. However, even though you are born with your individual metabolism, you do have quite a bit of control over it. Basic functions like breathing, digestion and circulation (your RMR, or resting metabolic rate) spend about 60% to 85% of the calories you burn during the day.
The rest of your calorie burn is split between everyday activities (walking, carrying things, running after the bus) and working out (going for a swim or to the gym). In general, people usually gain more calories than they burn. So what do we have to keep in mind to help burn off the excess calories during the day?
It is good to be aware of timing. We burn most calories in the late afternoon and early evening and the least in the very early morning. Most people burn about 10 per cent more calories between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Our body torches maximum calories at this time frame, regardless of what we do. It does not matter if you are sleeping, heading back home after work or doing anything else, your body will burn a specific amount of calories at this time.
However, the real struggle is when we burn the least amount of calories.
Our bodies burn fewer calories from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. Little side note: Did you know that as few as two nights of not getting enough sleep can slow your metabolism? So make sure you hit the pillow as early as possible and for long enough.
2. Eating Breakfast
Great news for breakfast lovers! Eating breakfast is essential to keep our system in sync. After fasting for the entire night, our bodies get energy from breakfast to keep going throughout the day. If you keep eating your breakfast at different times or sometimes skip it, then it can make your internal rhythms less precise.
What does slow your metabolism is eating too few calories. Even just a day or two of a very low-calorie diet can have this effect. So make sure you are taking in at least 1,200 to 1,500 per day. Try making breakfast and lunch your bigger meals. Research shows that people who eat the most of their calories later in the day tend to eat more calories, weigh more and have more body fat. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who eat 22 to 55 per cent of their total calories at breakfast gain 1.7 pounds over four years. That’s not bad considering those who eat 0 to 11 per cent of their calories in the morning gain nearly 3 pounds.
More good news – go for a fatty breakfast. Studies are showing that a fat-filled morning meal will jumpstart your metabolism for the day faster than a low-fat, low-calorie breakfast. However, before you go to the shop to stock up on bacon (nothing wrong with a slice here and there), here’s a quick reminder to primarily go for healthy fats like avocado, eggs, nuts, and the likes. These have tons of additional beneficial components, and their fats are a slow burner, which means they keep you full and energized, avoiding the munchies.
3. Scheduling your Exercise
We do burn most calories in the late afternoon and early evening, but this does not mean you should start exercising at this time to accelerate the calorie-burning process. You may or may not burn the extra amount of calories by exercising at this time of the day.
Fun fact: Stretching helps with weight loss!
You are going to burn calories with every second you hold a stretch. Stretching also builds muscles because different stretches target different muscle groups, which, when combined correctly, does wonders! What does that mean for your metabolism? The stretching poses bring your entire digestive system into a state of balance. And it doesn’t stop there: Stretching is proven to decrease stress, thanks to the calming quality of stretches. As a result, your body not only produces less cortisol, which in turn impedes the stress hormone to store fat, but it also relaxes the body and the mind, which makes stretching a wonderful way to wind down before going to bed.
To summarise, what to consider to help your body burn calories and lose weight in the process. Eat a large, healthy, fatty breakfast to keep your metabolism going and your calorie count above the minimum of 1,200 – 1,500 per day. Sit back and relax when your body burns 10 per cent more calories between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. In terms of exercise, it doesn’t matter that much. What is essential is to work out and stretch. Anytime that’s right for you will be better than no time.
Want to try an easier alternative to exercise? Stretching can help
Try our 7- day free trial – access all our weekly classes and attend as many live and replay sessions as you want to.