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How Many Calories Do You Burn While Rock Climbing?

By Fitoru | 17 January 2019
lady rock climbing without helmet

As we start the new year with new fitness goals and weight-loss plans, we are all looking for creative and fun ways to burn more calories. Rock climbing’s popularity continues to grow as more people find they love a whole-body workout that produces dynamic muscle activation, excitement, and adrenaline. But how many calories do you burn while rock climbing? It depends.

How Many Calories Do You Burn While Rock Climbing?

The number of calories burned while rock climbing depends on whether you are climbing indoors or outdoors, the length of time you climb, and your skill level. People that are just learning the ropes, so to speak, will burn fewer calories than intermediate or advanced climbers. It is generally accepted that rock climbing burns somewhere between 500 calories and 900 calories per hour depending on skill level and the technical demands of the route.

Can You Lose Weight Rock Climbing?

Sure! But you still have to create a caloric deficit or reach ketosis to lose weight and inches. I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “Abs are made in the kitchen,” and most researchers agree that your diet does account for at least 80% of weight loss. And some researchers believe the balance is closer to 90% diet and 10% exercise.

Does this mean you shouldn’t exercise? Of course not! The health benefits of exercise above and beyond weight loss include:

  • Reduction in cardiovascular-related death
  • Prevention of type 2 diabetes
  • Management of blood glucose levels
  • Prevention of specific cancers including colon and breast cancer
  • Prevention of osteoporosis
  • Improved balance
  • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Reduction of depression symptoms

If the new year has brought on renewed vigor for getting in shape and losing weight, making your diet a priority is critical. The keto diet receives a ton of positive buzz, and it has been proven to help you burn stored fat fastIntermittent fasting is another tool you can employ to help you lose weight, along with a sensible fat-burning diet and exercise. Additionally, adding healthy fats like MCT oil and fat-burning helpers like garcinia cambogia may spur more significant weight loss while boosting your energy levels and performance as well as taming your appetite.

5 Benefits of Rock Climbing

Let’s get back to rock climbing! Rock climbing can help you lose weight, but it also offers other benefits for your body and your mind!

1. It’s Fun!

Rock climbing is the ultimate low-impact cardio workout that burns calories at a similar rate to running at a moderate pace of 8 to 11 minutes per mile. But rock climbing is an adventure every time you step into your harness. Rock climbing tests your physical acumen and your mental strength, and you can make your climbing routine different every time.

Diversified training is imperative to keep you engaged, excited, and persistent. Activities that you enjoy more, that give you a burst of adrenaline, and that require a total commitment of your mind and body are easier to stick with than boring laps around the track.

2. Decreases Anxiety

Researchers in Rome have identified that three months of supervised fitness training or rock climbing significantly reduces anxiety and improves mood scores according to a small trial published in the international journal Perceptual and Motor Skills. Participants in the study were divided into two groups: rock climbing or fitness training. Both groups experienced similar results and improved physical fitness, as well as decreased anxiety and depression.

3. Builds Muscle

Is rock climbing a good workout? Yes! Rock climbing works virtually every muscle in your body, including your heart. The muscles in your arms and upper body are engaged every time you pull yourself up to the next hold. The muscles in your legs engage with each new step. And your core has to remain engaged at all times to keep you stabilized. Rock climbing is a true full-body workout that increases functional muscle ability and improves muscle memory.

4. Boosts Problem-Solving Skills

Rock climbing is 50% a physical challenge and 50% a mental challenge. Yes, when you are in an indoor rock climbing gym or you are on a class 5 free-climbing grade, your muscles are being pushed, but so is your brain. Rock climbing requires your total focus and superior problem-solving skills—especially when you are dangling from the face of a mountain. Climbing can improve memory and bolster brainpower!

5. Improves Mood

Reaching a “state of flow” activates a relaxation response according to an article from Indiana University in Bloomington. The state of flow improves mood, relieves depression, and acts as a strong motivator—and the author of the article notes that physical activities, including rock climbing, yoga, and dancing as well as mental activities like chess and hypnosis, can move you into a state of clarity and relaxation that improves overall mood scores.

Does rock climbing help you lose weight?

Get the Most out of Rock Climbing

If you want to learn how to rock climb, chances are there is an indoor rock climbing gym near you. The gym will have coaches and trainers available to teach you basic techniques and secrets to successful rock climbing. Moving forward, employ these tips to keep climbing exciting and safe.

  • Learn everything you can about each piece of equipment and how to fit climbing harnesses properly.
  • Climb several times a week in an indoor rock climbing facility nearby, in addition to more adventurous outdoor climbs on the weekend.
  • Be as consistent as possible in your training. Even short sessions help to keep your muscles tuned for dynamic response.
  • Find a rock climbing partner who is as adventurous as you are!
  • Join a local rock climbing group to find new outdoor rock climbing gems off the beaten track.
  • Warm-up properly before hitting the wall! Heidi Wirtz from Yoga for Climbers recommends 10 minutes of yoga poses, including several rounds of sun salutations and dynamic lunges, to warm up the muscles before climbing and then again once you get off the wall to prevent stiffness and muscle fatigue.

Does rock climbing help you lose weight?

Does rock climbing help you lose weight?


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We’re putting the delicious back in dieting, so that, as your body kicks into ketosis, you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing anything…not taste, not enjoyment, and certainly not fulfillment.

  • 5-10% Carbs

  • 15-25% Protein

  • 65-75% Fat

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