Rock climbers have some of the most defined bodies out there, and often the image you get is that it is a sport for skinny people.
The last part is not particularly true though it may be one of the reasons people think about the sport when they want an exercise to lose weight.
This article will answer some of the questions you have about the sport and, more importantly, is rock climbing good for weight loss?
How Good is Climbing for Losing Weight?
Rock climbing is excellent for losing weight because it is a holistic exercise. It works out most of your body muscles and in different ways. No two moves are the same during rock climbing which gives you variation and optimum exercise. Strength training is also excellent since it combines both cardio training and strength training.
When seeking to lose weight, you need to achieve either of two targets. You can either reduce the number of calories you take in or increase the number of calories you burn.
A sustainable approach is to increase to adopt the two approaches, gradually increasing your workouts while limiting some sources of calories. You, however, should check out to ensure you are not underfeeding yourself as you pursue rock climbing.
The cardio you get from rock climbing is essential in getting you to burn more calories. On the other hand, strength training gives you a higher resting metabolism.
More muscles burn more calories when resting, which helps achieve the calorific deficit required to lose weight. So, rock climbing is an effective and excellent way to attain the necessary physical activity to burn more calories.
Why is Climbing Such a Good Workout?
Climbing is a perfect workout for the way it blends fun and effectiveness. It has an intensity similar to the demanding high-intensity interval training.
The good thing is that it is much more fun and in a less pressurized environment. It is also a low-impact exercise and one you can maintain your motivation for doing. Other attributes that make rock climbing a great workout include;
It is easy for beginners
If you have watched sports climbing competitions, they may give you the idea that rock climbing is not an easy thing to accomplish. But that could not be farther from the truth. First, rock climbing is an easily accessible sport.
It is also heavily reliant on technique, not just pure muscle, so you can advance more as your muscles develop with the right technique. There are also route variations and climbing options meaning everyone gets something they can tackle, providing sufficient challenge but not impossible.
It boosts your confidence and mental health
Climbing is also beneficial to your mental health and self-esteem. The mental aspect of climbing is not as appreciated as its physical benefits. There is plenty of creative problem-solving involved as you decide the best path and course of action.
Climbing, especially bouldering, calls for a present mind and your analytical ability to choose between pitches and holds, among other things. Every completed project brings with it newfound confidence and appreciation of your abilities.
You improve your general balance
Another reason climbing is a good workout; you can transfer the benefits to your day-to-day life. Slips and falls are increasingly common accidents, as is the lack of flexibility that results in sprains.
Climbing teaches you how to maintain balance and distribute your body weight at different angles. The range of movements gives the needed stretch to all your body muscles, improving your flexibility.
Advantages of Rock Climbing Training
There are different types of rock-climbing techniques, but fortunately, all of them offer the same advantages.
Whether you are a beginner or advanced climber, rock climbing presents significant mental and physical benefits, making it excellent as a weight loss exercise. The benefits of rock climbing include;
It helps burn fat
Rock climbing does a lot for your cardio needs as most of it is an endurance exercise. It makes your body burn fat to provide supply the energy you need to complete courses.
Sport climbing and trad climbing are especially great for burning fat as they place a demand on your cardio. Your body is almost ever in as active estate with all muscles engaged, particularly when multi-pitching.
Trad climbing may appear less dynamic, but the benefits are still the same because it takes longer to complete a course. You also have the added weight of your protective gear, which adds to the load you have to carry on top of your body weight.
It strengthens your core muscles
While it may not be obvious from the onset, rock climbing relies heavily on your core muscles. To keep the right body position and maintain proper foot technique, all engage your core muscles.
Even as an advanced climber, maintaining your balance and preventing your feet from sliding off the climbing wall all call for a strong core.
Thus, as you improve and take on more rigorous routes, so do your core muscles. Because they are some of the largest muscle groups in your body, working them burns more calories and increases the level of muscle tissue to fat tissue in your body. It also helps you advance on other exercises contributing to the overall goal of losing weight.
Tone your muscles
Toning your muscles brings down the overall body fat allowing your muscles to appear clearly. Rock climbing provides a convenient way to tone your muscles as it engages most of them. These include your forearms, triceps and biceps, shoulders, calves, and much of your core.
Regular rock climbing will give your muscles a better definition which, besides helping keep your body fat low, boosts your confidence in your appearance, increasing your self-esteem.
The advantage rock climbing offers is that you do not have to split different days for different muscle groups. You thus get sufficient rest time in between long sessions of rock climbing.
Boosts overall health and strength
As you have learned at the start, rock climbing encompasses both strength and cardio training. You are carrying your body weight across the course and often with additional gear.
The strength and cardio components boost your heart and overall body health. You also increase your strength since varying techniques and route difficulties provide you with the incremental challenges you need to build your muscles steadily.
You achieve increased flexibility and joint health, which helps promote your bone health and increase efficiency in your daily activities. It is an appropriate alternative for most people when it comes to adding physical activity to your routine.
How Do People Lose Weight from Climbing?
Losing weight relying on only one aspect is a challenge, but it is not entirely possible. The fact that you will be adding a way to lose more calories will work in your favor. Rock climbing will work most of your body muscles and burn a significant amount of calories.
Because it also contributes to the growth of your muscles, you also end up burning more calories while resting than usual. The key to seeing these weight loss results and maintaining them is consistency with your rock climbing. You should also look to improve the duration and difficulty of your climbing sessions.
Tips on How to Effectively Lose Weight with Rock Climbing
Instead of just using rock climbing to lose weight, it helps if you combine it with other actions to create the required calorific deficit. In doing this, you can see results far much faster and ensure you work out every muscle. Some tips to consider include:
1) Change your diet
Abs are made in the kitchen, or so the saying goes. It may be gym banter, but matching diet to workout efforts will indeed give you faster. You do not have to get into a strict regimen but rather cut out the high calorific foods and replace your snacks with fruits and vegetables.
You only need about 3-5 g/kg/day of carbohydrates for your rock climbing, and any excess will be stored in your body as fat. Since you need to lose weight, you want the body to burn the excess fat cells for energy, so you should reduce carbohydrates by eliminating refined carbs from your diet.
2) Combine it with other exercises
To make the most of your gains and increase the number of calories you burn, you can combine it with other exercises you prefer. You have jogging, running, cycling, high-intensity interval training, and, if you like it, weight training.
Combining all these will avoid monotony or a rigid training regimen that often detracts people seeking to lose weight. You still will be getting the right physical exercise, and your body never gets into a comfort zone where you stop seeing gains.
3) Get some rest
You should heed your body signs, and if you are hurting beyond the normal weariness and first-time soreness, you give yourself time to rest. Target climbing two to three times a week as it leaves you enough time for resting and incorporating other exercises.
Like any other exercise, rest is part of muscle development. You need to give your body time to recover and grow. While climbing can be addictive and you should not turn it into an everyday exercise. You need to give yourself at least a full day of rest at the end of a rock-climbing session, or else you also risk injury.
4) Get enough sleep
Closely related to resting is getting sufficient sleep. You need to sleep at least 6-7 hours daily, both on your rest days and the days you are climbing.
Besides helping your body recover and your muscles grow, sleep has a direct connection to weight gain. Several studies indicate that lacking sufficient sleep can affect leptin and ghrelin.
These are the hormones that regulate your hunger. As a result, your appetite increases, and you also do not stay satisfied after eating, meaning you will constantly be eating, undoing the gains you have made in exercises.
5) Go climbing with friends
As this article has already covered, climbing can be an exciting social activity. Go out climbing with friends, or you make new ones from the climbing gym.
The good thing about climbing with friends is they make the whole experience fun ad it does not seem like a burden. They also challenge you to go further than you would usually go, and it also provides an accountability system for you.
How Many Calories Does Rock Climbing Burn?
While there are many different numbers on the amount of calories rock climbing burns, it often comes down to individual factors. On average, though, the average person can burn 500 to 900 calories per hour when rock climbing.
A calorie is an energy measurement unit. In nutrition, it describes the amount of energy the food you consume will produce in your body. To achieve weight loss, you need to observe the ratio between the calories you are consuming and burning calories in physical activity.
The idea is to attain a caloric deficit which is a negative balance. It means burning more energy than what you are consuming, which will result in your weight loss over time.
That is because your body starts to burn fats stored in tissues to meet your energy requirements. Climbing increases the calories you are burning, and even if you maintain your current nutritional intake, your body has to find the extra energy somewhere.
On the other hand, if you make adjustments to your diet, you can observe faster significant gains as you cut out excess calories consumed while increasing demand through climbing.
You can reduce the extra calories by shedding out processed carbs and focusing on whole meals with fruits and nuts for snacks. In doing this, you achieve a sustainable and healthy calorific deficit.
Bouldering vs. Rock Climbing for Weight Loss
There is not much difference between bouldering and rock climbing in terms of calories burnt and effectiveness as a weight loss exercise. They vary in approach, where bouldering has short and intensive movements while rock climbing calls for longer intensive movements.
So bouldering will burn more calories in a short time, but you can only do it for a shorter period. Rock climbing goes on for a longer period which eventually matches the calories burnt when bouldering.
Unsurprisingly, the environment has a more significant difference in the number of calories burnt. On average, you will lose slightly more calories when climbing outdoors than indoors because:
- Outdoor climbing generates higher adrenaline;
- You spend more time on the wall on a multi-pitch in outdoor pitch;
- You have to move to the site, which is usually like a hike;
- On trad climbs, you get to carry extra weight;
The choice between bouldering and rock climbing comes down to which one is easily accessible and one you are most comfortable doing. With time, you will find that you can easily switch between the two.
Is There a Weight Limit for Rock Climbing?
There is no weight limit in rock climbing. The only area where weight issues matter is in rope climbing and weight considerations when climbing with a partner.
Another area where weight may have an impact is the risk of injuries during a fall. Heavier people have a higher risk of injuries in case of falls due to the force they generate. You may also want to consider your weight when purchasing gear.
Most of the gear has labels indicating the maximum weight they can support, guiding you on the appropriate item. This aspect is especially crucial for harnesses ad belaying equipment.
You should also not worry about your upper body strength. Usually, people who cannot do pull-ups worry about their success in climbing, thinking it is a significant part. The fact is your legs carry most of your body weight.
Your hands and torso largely aid in providing balance. The important aspect is the technique you are using which is easy to learn. You will build your strength with more climbing sessions, but it will not hinder your starting.
Rock Climbing Weight Loss FAQ
How do climbers get so skinny?
Not all climbers get skinny, and it often depends on the weight they are starting with. However, because climbing is a physically demanding exercise, it will lead to muscle development, loss of fat, and greater overall physical performance.
Is rock climbing good for weight loss?
Yes, because it combines both strength training and cardio, which burns fat and builds your muscle. It also works out most of your body muscles, and the variation of movements prevents your body from hitting a plateau.
Combining rock climbing with other lifestyle and diet changes will allow you to have an effective and sustainable weight loss plan.
Does rock climbing burn fat?
Yes, it increases your caloric burn, and when done regularly, it will prompt your body to burn fat to meet the extra energy demands.
How much weight can you lose rock climbing?
There is no exact weight since there are plenty of variations. It depends on the intensity of your exercise and your consistency. After the first few months, you will notice changes in muscle tone and significant boy fat loss resulting in weight loss.
Do you need good upper body strength to rock climb?
While upper body strength does help in rock climbing, it is not a necessity for starting. As you progress, you will get stronger and build your upper body strength.
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