Climbing for Weight Loss: Is Rock Climbing a Good Workout?

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Climbing for Weight Loss: Is Rock Climbing a Good Workout?

It's pretty obvious that climbing is a good work out. 

If you type "climbers" into any search engine and click images, you'll see pictures of strong-looking folks ascending impossible-looking mountain faces.

While these may look intimidating mind-blowing, we're here to tell you that you don't have to do runs like that to lose weight from rock climbing.

Keep reading to answer your question, "is rock climbing a good workout". Hint: the answer is yes, even for beginners!

Is Rock Climbing A Good Workout?

Not only is it a "good" workout -- it's a great one.

Rock climbing engages your entire body and is a suitable activity for people of all ages. 

Since we roped you in (pun intended) with climbing for weight loss, we'll give you some info on that aspect of its fitness.

We'll break down how weight loss works in the next section, but to give you an idea, weight loss requires a calorie deficit. This means that you consume fewer calories than you burn. 

So, exercise can help contribute to this deficit by causing you to burn more calories than usual.

Harvard Medical School published a chart of calories burned when participating in different activities for 30 minutes, broken down by weight.

For climbing, they included ascending (the upwards portion of a climb) and rappelling (the downwards portion).

  • A 125-pound person burns 330 calories ascending and 240 rappelling (570 total).
  • A 155-pound person burns 409 calories ascending and 298 rappelling (707 total).
  • A 185-pound person burns 488 calories ascending and 355 rappelling (843 total).

As you can see, climbing causes a decent expenditure of energy while building lean muscle.

It doesn't burn the most calories per 30 minutes of exercise, but it's fun and engaging. You're likely to form a long-term passion for climbing rather than a short-term fad activity that you lose interest in (*cough cough* running on a treadmill).

How Weight Loss Works

We briefly mentioned that weight loss requires a calorie deficit. 

To fully understand that, you should know your basic calorie needs depending on your age and activity levels. You can check out this chart from a government health program to get an idea of what yours is.

Height is also a factor, not included in this chart specifically.

Regardless, the idea is that your body requires a certain amount of calories every day to function and maintain weight. If you want to alter your weight, you need to eat fewer calories.

This sends your body into deficit mode, which causes it to take energy from excess areas of your body (i.e. fat). 

It's important to note all of this when discussing weight loss because exercise alone usually won't cause dramatic weight loss.

Instead, it's important to eat a healthy, lean diet. This doesn't mean a fad diet or a non-carb diet. 

It means eating plenty of greens, fruits, and staying away from processed foods and sugars.

A lot of research points to nutrition as 80% of weight loss, leaving the last 20% to exercise.

So, to reach your optimal weight and have a happy, healthy body, you should combine a good eating routine with a sustainable exercise, like rock climbing.

Get Moving

You don't have to summit Mount Everest or anything crazy. You can start off at home.

Answer the question, "is rock climbing a good workout" by trying it for yourself. If you combine it with healthy food intake, we promise you'll see positive results in how you feel and how you look.


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