Your body burns fuel at different rates throughout the day. Obviously, the highest amount of calories burned occurs during and immediately following exercise, when your body is using all that energy to power your muscles. The lowest calorie burning occurs at night while you sleep, as your body is in a low-energy state. But did you know that there are different times throughout the day when your body naturally burns more calories, even without exercise? So when do you burn calories most? Read on to find out!
First thing in the morning, our bodies are still recovering from a night of sleep, but we can often boost our metabolism with a bit of exercise and a hearty meal. If you start the morning more active or with a high-calorie breakfast, you’ll find that the morning is one of the best calorie-burning times of the day. Especially right after breakfast, you’ll end up burning a lot more calories as your body revs up for a busy day of work.
Right around lunch time, we tend to start getting sleepy and hungry. This is because we’ve burned through most of the calories we consumed in the morning, and our bodies are going into a low metabolic state. That’s why we typically end up eating around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. By having a meal at this time of day, we are able to refuel our bodies and replenish the supply of calories.
According to a new study, our bodies burn around 10% more calories during the late afternoon than in the morning. This is often due to the meal we’ve just eaten, but also because our bodies are gearing up for our afternoon workout. That slump you feel around lunch time will usually sort itself out once you have lunch, but even if you don’t eat, your body will naturally start burning more calories in the late afternoon.
Surprisingly, our bodies also consume more calories in the early evening than in the morning. This may be due to late afternoon workouts, or it’s just our body’s way of getting ready for a night of rest and internal repairs. You may find that your energy increases until your body’s internal sleep clock kicks in and triggers an increase in melatonin production. Take advantage of this extra energy to clean your house, play games, spend time with your family, or take a walk.
By the time it gets into the late night, your body is typically running on fumes or caffeine. Some people get a “second wind”, a rush of energy that keeps them awake if they stay up too late. However, this isn’t the metabolism, but the circadian rhythm keeping you up. If you miss the window to naturally fall asleep, it may take another 90 minutes for your internal clock to make the full circuit to help you feel drowsy again. This is why it’s so critical to follow an established sleep schedule. You can train your body to fall asleep at the same time every day, and it will be much easier to get to bed at night.
How to Burn Calories More
The secret to getting up your calorie burning is to start moving more! That means not just during your daily workout, but all through the day. Make it a point to stand up, walk around, take a stroll, climb some stairs, or do some office exercises. The more active you are, the more calories you’ll burn automatically throughout the day.