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Does climbing help weight loss?
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Snowbat


Feb 26, 2014, 3:46 AM
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Does climbing help weight loss?
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This may seem a stupid question, but I've been wondering.
99% of the people I see at the indoor gym that climb regularly, are in shape. Most of them are not fat.
I'm wondering: is it the climbing itself that keeps the fat gains at bay (provided they have a healthy diet) or is it needed to do some cardio outside the gym to keep fat levels low?
I always thought climbing was mainly strength and barely cardio?


camhead


Feb 26, 2014, 4:05 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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You're right that climbing (except for high volume mountaineering and peak bagging, and maybe El Cap speed ascents) is more strength than cardio, and it really does not contribute to direct weight loss the same way that running or cycling do.

However, I do know plenty of people who have dropped a LOT of weight by while climbing regularly and changing their diets.


lena_chita
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Feb 26, 2014, 4:58 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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I have seen some people with excess weight drop some of that weight by climbing only, but it was usually the case of people who went from completely inactive lifestyle to discovering climbing, so just climbing at the gym couple days a week, in itself, was enough of the increase in their activity level to shed some pounds.

For most people, climbing is not a weight-loss exercise. BUT, climbing can be a powerful motivator to change your diet and add more calorie-burning exercise to the mix.


funintheslots


Feb 26, 2014, 8:28 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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My personal experience. Climbing (mostly bouldering) is 90% of my exercise.

That, combined with higher quality + less quantity foods has helped me to lose more than 50 lbs.

So I won't say cardio is necessary. That doesn't mean it isn't helpful.

Best of luck...

Climb ON, Rick


dagibbs


Feb 26, 2014, 12:03 PM
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Re: [Snowbat] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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Generally speaking, exercise helps with weight-loss, and climbing is exercising. Beyond that... there is so much mixed-information about what does/does not help/work for weight-loss that it is really REALLY hard to give good solid answers.

It can be argued that climbing, while not strongly cardio, does tend to build muscle mass -- and muscle mass is correlated with higher base metabolic rate. Now, this may not actually result in weight loss -- in fact it may result in weight gain due to muscle being denser than fat.

From a motivation point of view, climbing is an activity where you tend to notice extra weight that you carry around with you -- like a trad rack -- and motivate you to lose it -- say by sport climbing or bouldering.


Whitewalls


Feb 27, 2014, 12:12 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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It certainly has for me - but then I went from very little exercise to climbing indoors at least twice a week and outdoors whenever I can. I think what has helped the most is that some of the crags are nearly two hours from the nearest car park - carrying all the gear in for that amount of time/distance surely must contribute?


Partner cracklover


Feb 27, 2014, 11:51 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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Snowbat wrote:
This may seem a stupid question, but I've been wondering.
99% of the people I see at the indoor gym that climb regularly, are in shape. Most of them are not fat.
I'm wondering: is it the climbing itself that keeps the fat gains at bay (provided they have a healthy diet) or is it needed to do some cardio outside the gym to keep fat levels low?
I always thought climbing was mainly strength and barely cardio?

It's mostly two things:

1 - Self selecting population. Climbing favors those with a high strength-to-weight ratio. Those on the other end of the spectrum are more likely to drop out. You're only seeing the people who keep coming back.
2 - Motivation. Weight affects performance. Climbing doesn't cause you to lose weight any more than jumping out of an airplane causes you to have a parachute in good working order strapped to your back. But it sure does provide you motivation to do so.

GO


jb2100


Feb 27, 2014, 3:49 PM
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Re: [Snowbat] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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I've been climbing for about 5 years now pretty regularly, 3 - 4 times a week, usually 2 or 3 hours at a time, and I'm by no means a bad climber. I have gained weight since I started climbing, mostly muscle but I've actually gained fat as well! I don't weigh a lot to begin with, only 150, but that's with about 10 lbs of fat on the belly region, I'm talking about pinchable, jiggly fat too, not just normal healthy weight. I've been carrying this around for about 2 years or so, and most of it is due to the fact that I don't have the best eating habits (I like junk food and beer) and I don't do any exercise other than climbing. Having said that, having a little extra fat hasn't stopped me from climbing (I've sent up to 5.13a and V7 so I'm not climbing weak exactly), but if you are looking to actually shed fat (not necessarily weight but fat) you probably need to do like everyone else has said and make good dietary decisions and incorporate cardio.


majid_sabet


Feb 27, 2014, 9:05 PM
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Re: [Snowbat] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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Snowbat wrote:
This may seem a stupid question, but I've been wondering.
99% of the people I see at the indoor gym that climb regularly, are in shape. Most of them are not fat.
I'm wondering: is it the climbing itself that keeps the fat gains at bay (provided they have a healthy diet) or is it needed to do some cardio outside the gym to keep fat levels low?
I always thought climbing was mainly strength and barely cardio?

best way to burn fat is eat less and keep the body core temp low so your system is actually burns fat in a slow rate to maintain proper core temp. You can see this when you climb in high alt where you eat like a pig everyday and loose so much fat over time cause your body is working very hard trying to maintain that proper core temp and balance energy for you .

take a 60 days hiking trip in to himalayas and come home lean like stick.


Partner cracklover


Feb 28, 2014, 11:02 AM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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majid_sabet wrote:
Snowbat wrote:
This may seem a stupid question, but I've been wondering.
99% of the people I see at the indoor gym that climb regularly, are in shape. Most of them are not fat.
I'm wondering: is it the climbing itself that keeps the fat gains at bay (provided they have a healthy diet) or is it needed to do some cardio outside the gym to keep fat levels low?
I always thought climbing was mainly strength and barely cardio?

best way to burn fat is eat less and keep the body core temp low so your system is actually burns fat in a slow rate to maintain proper core temp. You can see this when you climb in high alt where you eat like a pig everyday and loose so much fat over time cause your body is working very hard trying to maintain that proper core temp and balance energy for you .

take a 60 days hiking trip in to himalayas and come home lean like stick.

To bring this back to the practical world...

JT512 could probably speak to this with more authority than I, but I have read that there is a direct correlation between people who keep their thermostat set low in the winter and those with a lower rate of heart problems. It would make sense that the correlation could be due to the low temperature causing them to burn more calories, maintain a lower body fat percentage, and build less fatty plaques in their arteries.

GO


lena_chita
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Feb 28, 2014, 11:27 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
Snowbat wrote:
This may seem a stupid question, but I've been wondering.
99% of the people I see at the indoor gym that climb regularly, are in shape. Most of them are not fat.
I'm wondering: is it the climbing itself that keeps the fat gains at bay (provided they have a healthy diet) or is it needed to do some cardio outside the gym to keep fat levels low?
I always thought climbing was mainly strength and barely cardio?

best way to burn fat is eat less and keep the body core temp low so your system is actually burns fat in a slow rate to maintain proper core temp. You can see this when you climb in high alt where you eat like a pig everyday and loose so much fat over time cause your body is working very hard trying to maintain that proper core temp and balance energy for you .

take a 60 days hiking trip in to himalayas and come home lean like stick.

To bring this back to the practical world...

JT512 could probably speak to this with more authority than I, but I have read that there is a direct correlation between people who keep their thermostat set low in the winter and those with a lower rate of heart problems. It would make sense that the correlation could be due to the low temperature causing them to burn more calories, maintain a lower body fat percentage, and build less fatty plaques in their arteries.

GO

Finally, a validation for my preference of keeping the thermostat low, and further lowering it at night. Wink I should look for the actual study,


csproul


Feb 28, 2014, 12:45 PM
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Re: [cracklover] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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I seem to remember reading an abstract for a paper that said that people burn more calories while exercising in the heat than they do in the cold. THe reasoning was that if it is cold and you exercise, you bring your temperature up to a comfortable level. But when you exercise in the heat, you expend energy keeping your body temperature down.


majid_sabet


Feb 28, 2014, 12:53 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
cracklover wrote:
majid_sabet wrote:
Snowbat wrote:
This may seem a stupid question, but I've been wondering.
99% of the people I see at the indoor gym that climb regularly, are in shape. Most of them are not fat.
I'm wondering: is it the climbing itself that keeps the fat gains at bay (provided they have a healthy diet) or is it needed to do some cardio outside the gym to keep fat levels low?
I always thought climbing was mainly strength and barely cardio?

best way to burn fat is eat less and keep the body core temp low so your system is actually burns fat in a slow rate to maintain proper core temp. You can see this when you climb in high alt where you eat like a pig everyday and loose so much fat over time cause your body is working very hard trying to maintain that proper core temp and balance energy for you .

take a 60 days hiking trip in to himalayas and come home lean like stick.

To bring this back to the practical world...

JT512 could probably speak to this with more authority than I, but I have read that there is a direct correlation between people who keep their thermostat set low in the winter and those with a lower rate of heart problems. It would make sense that the correlation could be due to the low temperature causing them to burn more calories, maintain a lower body fat percentage, and build less fatty plaques in their arteries.

GO

Finally, a validation for my preference of keeping the thermostat low, and further lowering it at night. Wink I should look for the actual study,

I remember when I went on my hi-alt trip to himalayas, I was eating like a pig fatty foods prior to trip and when I returned, I ended up 20 lbs lighter. Two things I noticed were the increase in heart rate during sleep which in my case, it was above 110 per minutes and exceeded 150+ during hikes. With less than 50% in O2 per intake, the breath cycle was also higher and I personally felt I was running laps even during rest time and this was going every day round the clock. Few years back I completely shut down the heating system in my place and keep the room temp at ambient and went to bed with extra blankets and noticed over 6 months that my weight is slightly lower , I sleep better and have more energy in day time.

Arctic animals do this all the time so IMO, fat itself is not a bad thing to have but maintaining it at proper level is the key.


Partner cracklover


Feb 28, 2014, 4:00 PM
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Re: [majid_sabet] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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Majid, you're conflating two different issues: altitude and cold.

There is an inverse correlation between altitude and BMI. Even people living at a relatively low altitude like Denver tend (all else being equal) to be thinner. Whether this is through a suppression of appetite or an increase in metabolism, I do not know.

GO


socalclimber


Feb 28, 2014, 6:57 PM
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Re: [Snowbat] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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All the other noise aside, here's the rule:

Climbing helps strength
Approaches and decent's help with weight and cardio

Go hit places like Yosemite and drag all your gear up a two hour approach and a four hour decent. Trust me, you'll lose weight.

Lather, rinse, repeat.


(This post was edited by socalclimber on Feb 28, 2014, 7:00 PM)


jt512


Feb 28, 2014, 7:55 PM
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Re: [cracklover] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:

JT512 could probably speak to this with more authority than I, but I have read that there is a direct correlation between people who keep their thermostat set low in the winter and those with a lower rate of heart problems.

I doubt that such a relationship has been demonstrated. First of all, if such a simple thing could significantly reduce heart disease, I think we'd all have heard about it. Secondly, I think that it would be very difficult to measure such an effect epidemiologically, since the effect would most likely be small, and difficult to separate from confounding factors.


USnavy


Mar 5, 2014, 10:30 PM
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Re: [jt512] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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I would not consider climbing as an effective weight solution, or at least not when compared to known-effective solutions. It can help keep your weight under control, but I would not use climbing solely as a way to "get in shape." If you want to burn fat and increase your overall physical condition, you need do throw in some difficult cardio and weight lifting (e.g. running and CrossFit).

That said, if we are talking about climbing 15-pitch 5.11s with lengthy approaches everyday, then sure you will burn fat effectively, but those types of climbs include way more than just climbing, so we are not comparing apples to apples.

I think part of the reason why you dont see fat people cranking in the gym is because from a physics standpoint, being very heavy and climbing dont mix, and people dont typically stick around doing something they suck at. Also, fat people arnt exactly known for doing physically demanding activities, hints the fatness.


(This post was edited by USnavy on Mar 5, 2014, 10:35 PM)


rocknice2


Mar 10, 2014, 12:25 PM
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The PC term is "Gravitationally Challenged"


GeetarAdam


Jun 7, 2014, 12:03 AM
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Well, there are a lot of factors involved. Firstly, naturally lithe people tend to excel at climbing, so they gravitate to the activity. That is one reason why you tend to see more people like that in a climbing gym. As to whether climbing is more strength or cardio oriented, I think it depends on your body type and experience. If you're overweight, then because you have a lower strength:weight ratio, climbing is going to be more about strength conditioning, as your muscles are under greater loads supporting your body. If you're slender and have been climbing for a while, then you may stay pretty active on the wall for longer periods. You can get a pretty good sweat going this way and definitely call upon cardio-vascular fitness. It's kinda of a catch-22 in that, in order to get to the point where you can climb long enough to make it a cardio workout, you've got to already be in pretty good shape and have a low fat percentage. Also, many people have probably learned that they love to climb and learned that they need to lose weight to climb better. That was the case for me. I never could just run for the sake of running, but when I got into climbing, I realized I needed to be more lean, so I started running seriously. I guess that the answer to your question is that, no, climbing alone won't make you lose a lot of weight, but it's a great reason to lose a lot of weight.


DouglasHunter


Jul 22, 2014, 4:09 PM
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Re: [Snowbat] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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What energy system one uses when climbing is a function of the intensity and duration of the climbing you do. Climbing can be done in a way so that the body relies primarily on the Oxidative energy pathway and therefore should be able to help with weight loss assuming the climber is not eating more calories than he / she is using while climbing.

If you are interested try this:

Do continuous climbing sessions lasting 30 minutes to an hour. You are going to up climb and down climb routes non-stop for the duration of the workout. The routes can't be very hard or you will pump out pretty quickly, you need to be at 50% of max effort or less for most of the workout. but don't get on super easy climbing if you can help it. Also keep moving, and move at a reasonable pace, if you are climbing super slow, or taking frequent rests it won't be very effective.

Use a heart rate monitor that also has a calorie counter as a way of assessing the workout. Granted these are not all that accurate but they give you a ball park number. My guess is that one can burn 500+ cals. in 45 mins to an hour of climbing this way. Granted one could burn more cals with a different form of exercise but this is more fun than a treadmill, and will help a great deal with climbing specific endurance.


ironmike


Jul 23, 2014, 4:53 PM
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Re: [DouglasHunter] Does climbing help weight loss? [In reply to]
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I agree.

I run a circuit of 20 to 30 boulder problems, non stop for an hour so . The routes alternate in difficulty, and if I limit the rests I get a good cardio workout along with a good pump.


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