Calculating Your Calorie Burn: Ultimate Guide to Rucking Workouts

Benefits of Rucking

Diving into the many Benefits of Rucking can reveal why it’s growing in popularity among fitness enthusiasts. Here are some compelling reasons to start rucking.

This fitness trend does not just burn calories; it provides a full-body workout. When you’re rucking, not only are your legs working hard to move you forward, but your shoulders and back muscles are also engaged, carrying the weight of your pack. This full-body involvement enhances muscle tone and strength.

Additionally, rucking improves your cardiovascular health. The effort you put into hiking with a weighted rucksack elevates your heart rate, improving your heart’s health and endurance over time.

Unlike many workout routines, rucking has a low entry threshold. It doesn’t need a gym, fancy equipment, or complex moves. All it comprises is a rugged trail and a weighted backpack – even the beginner fitness enthusiasts can start rucking with ease.

Moreover, rucking can also be a mindful activity. Being out in nature, maintaining a steady pace, and focussing on your step can help reduce stress and increase mental clarity.

Lastly, rucking is an excellent outdoor exercise for those who prefer fresh air to stuffy indoor gyms. Not only does this help to maintain a connection with the natural world, but it also offers a wide range of terrains and scenes, preventing workout boredom.

In reality, the benefits of rucking go way beyond an impressive calorie burn. The extent to which rucking can improve your cardio, strength, and mental wellbeing is incredible. In practical terms, it means better overall fitness, higher endurance, and improved mental health. And if you’re the type who prefers to exercise outdoors, rucking can be an excellent option.

Ultimately, with rucking, be prepared for a challenging, enjoyable workout that caters to all fitness levels. With all these appealing aspects, it’s no surprise that more folks are strapping on a backpack and hitting the trails to reap the potential benefits. Remember, your adventure is only a rucksack away.

How Rucking Burns Calories

As you delve deeper into the realm of rucking, you’re likely rooted in a common question: how does rucking burn calories?. It’s simple, the energy required to move a certain mass over a particular distance is directly linked to weight. The more weight you carry in your backpack, the harder your body needs to work, hence burning more calories.

Your body, adjusting to the stress of carrying extra weight, boosts its metabolic rate. This isn’t restricted to just the duration of your rucking session, it continues afterwards. It’s a phenomenon termed as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). Basically, your body still burns calories even after you’ve halted your rucking workout.

To add some numbers, let’s assume you weigh somewhere around 155 pounds. If you do a rucksack march for an hour at a pace of 3.5 miles an hour, you’ll burn a little over 400 calories. Now throw in an extra 50 pounds into your backpack – your calorie burn initially hovers around 600 for the same time and speed!

VariablesCaloric Burn (3.5mph speed, 60 mins)
Weight: 155lbs without backpack~400 calories
Weight: 155lbs + 50lb backpack~600 calories

Rucking, therefore, enables you to burn calories effectively. And, the flexibility to increase or decrease the weight in your backpack makes it an adaptable fitness strategy. So, whether you’re a novice, someone rehabilitating, or a seasoned athlete wanting a tougher challenge, you can tailor the caloric burn to your fitness level and goals. But remember, always consult with a medical or fitness professional before starting any new exercise regimen. They’ll help you avoid unnecessary injuries and ensure that you’re on the safe path to fitness.

In the next segment, we’ll talk about other key factors influencing the number of calories burnt during a rucking session.

Factors that Affect Calorie Burn

There’s a range of factors that can impact how many calories you burn during a rucking session. Let’s take a keen look at some of these key influencers.

Your Weight

Your body weight plays a significant role in calorie burn during rucking. Generally, the more you weigh, the more energy your body has to use to move. Consequently, you burn more calories.

The Weight You Carry

The weight of your backpack is another significant factor. A heavier pack requires more effort to carry, and as such, burns additional calories. Make sure to start with a weight that challenges you but is not so heavy that it risks causing injury. Adjust the weight as your fitness improves.

Your Speed and Distance

How fast you go or how far you walk are also determinants to consider. Rucking at a faster pace or over a longer distance can result in a higher calorie burn.

The Terrain

Don’t overlook the terrain you choose to ruck on. Hilly or uneven terrain demands more from your body in terms of balance and strength and can contribute to an increased calorie burn.

These are just a few factors to keep in mind if you’re looking to increase the calories burned during your rucking workouts. Remember, always consult with a fitness professional before noticeably increasing the intensity of your workouts.

Note: The calorie count you’ll burn through rucking is not set in stone. It can and will vary based on the factors listed above. For a more accurate estimate of calories burned, consider using devices or apps that track your workout stats. They take into account your specific weight, the terrain, speed, and the weight you carry to give a more personalized figure.

Calculating Calorie Burn during Rucking

Calculating your calorie burn during a rucking session may feel like a mathematical maze. But don’t worry, once you know the variables, it’s simpler than it sounds.

Primarily, calorie burn during rucking is influenced by your body weight, the weight of your rucksack, and the intensity of your ruck. Bodyweight is an important factor because the heavier you are, the more energy your body expends to move. It’s pretty much about the physics of movement.

The weight of your rucksack plays a similar role. Pushing a heavier load requires more energy, leading to a higher calorie burn. But be careful, increasing the weight too quickly can lead to injury. It’s always best to increment the weight progressively to let your body get used to the new intensity.

Beyond these factors, the terrain and distance covered can also impact how many calories you burn. Rucking through hilly terrain or soft sand will challenge your body more than a smooth walking trail. The distance covered, or more specifically how long you’re active for, can also play a role in calorie calculations. The longer you are on the go, the more calories you burn.

For a more precise calculation, you can use ruck-calculator apps or fitness devices. These tools incorporate variables such as walking speed, heart rate, and even the weather conditions to provide a more accurate estimate. It’s not a one-size-fits-all assessment, but rather a tailored calculation based on your context.

There are also general equations that can be used as a quick guideline for tracking calorie burn during rucking. These formulas take into account your body weight, rucksack weight, and duration/intensity of the rucking session.

Sure, it might take a bit more effort than a quick Google search, but being on top of your calorie burn can not only help you track your progress, but also allows you to adjust your workout to better suit your fitness goals. Remember, it’s not just about how hard you work, but how smart you work.

Tips for Maximizing Calorie Burn during Rucking

Want to make the most of your ruck workouts and burn maximum calories? The key lies in effective strategies that can optimize your calorie expenditure.

Increase the Weight of Your Pack

Remember, the heavier your pack, the more calories you’ll burn. But be careful not to overload. Your pack should weigh between 10% and 20% of your body weight to prevent injury and strain.

Rise Up the Intensity

Rucking at a higher intensity or faster pace also increases calorie burn. Try adding intervals or hills to ramp up your workout intensity. It’s beneficial to constantly challenge your body rather than sticking to the same pace and resistance level.

Vary Your Terrain

Next on the list: the terrain. Rucking on varied surfaces like gravel, sand, or uphill can significantly increase your calorie expenditure. It’s unlike rucking on flat surfaces – it requires further stability and effort, thereby leading to a higher calorie burn.

Extend Your Distance

The longer you ruck, the more calories you’ll burn. If you’ve mastered rucking a certain distance, try going a bit further. Your body adapts to regular workouts, so constantly adding more distance can keep it from plateauing.

Use a Ruck Calculator

Finally, a ruck calculator. This useful tool can help you calculate the exact calories burned, taking into account your weight, the weight of your backpack, the distance covered, and even the terrain.

These are some effective strategies that will not only enhance your workout but also amplify the number of calories you burn. With these tips, you can ensure your rucking routine is as rewarding as possible. But remember, everyone’s body is different. Keep experimenting to find what works best for you.


So, you’ve learned how to maximize your calorie burn during rucking. Boosting the weight of your backpack, amping up the intensity, and rucking on varied terrain can all help you torch more calories. Remember, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one person might not work for you. Use a ruck calculator to get an accurate estimate of your calorie burn based on your weight, backpack weight, distance, and terrain. Keep experimenting until you find what works best for your body. Keep on rucking, and you’ll soon see the results you’re aiming for.

1. How can I maximize my calorie burn during rucking workouts?

You can do so by gradually increasing the weight of your backpack within a safe range of 10% to 20% of your body weight, introducing variety with intervals or hills, venturing on different terrains such as gravel, sand, uphill, and increasing the distance of your ruck.

2. What weights should I consider for my backpack during rucking?

The safe recommended weight for your backpack during rucking is around 10% to 20% of your body weight. Always ensure to listen to your body to avoid injury.

3. Can the terrain of my rucking workout affect my calorie burn?

Yes, it can. Varied terrains like gravel, sand, or uphill can enhance calorie expenditure since your body works harder to stabilize and progress on these surfaces.

4. Does extending my rucking distance help to burn more calories?

Yes. Extending the distance of your ruck increases the duration of your workout, which contributes to burning more calories.

5. Is there a tool I can use to calculate my calorie burn during rucking?

Yes. You can use a ruck calculator to calculate the exact number of calories burned. The calculator factors in your weight, backpack weight, distance, and terrain.

6. How personalized should my rucking workout be?

Your rucking workout should be tailored to your body and fitness level. It’s crucial to find the methods that work best for you to ensure sustainability and prevent injuries.


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