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Does Rock Climbing Burn Fat?

author image William McCoy
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.
Does Rock Climbing Burn Fat?
Rock climbing is a challenging workout that can burn hundreds of calories. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

After a day of rock climbing, you might move a little gingerly as you nurse your tired body. Although this workout provides a challenging workout for your muscles, it also burns calories to contribute to fat loss. Rock climbing can help you keep your fit body or work toward shedding a few pounds, provided you also consume a healthy diet.

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Higher Burn as You Climb

Rock climbing has two central elements: ascending the rock face and rappelling down it. The extra effort you must expend during the ascending part of the activity generates a higher calorie burn. A 185-pound person burns approximately 488 calories during half an hour of ascending, compared with about 355 calories during 30 minutes of the rappelling phase, according to statistics from Harvard Medical School.

Climb Toward a Calorie Deficit

Calories and fat are closely linked. One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories; thus, if you burn about 1,750 calories during your rock-climbing workout, you'd burn about half a pound of fat. Burning this many calories, however, doesn't mean you'll be half a pound lighter at the end of the day. To burn fat, you must put your body in a calorie deficit state, which is the result of consuming fewer calories than you burn. If you consume too many calories on the day of your rock climb, the exercise won't lead to the loss of any fat.

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