How many calories can you burn while rucking?

Are you tired of looking at a calorie calculator before every meal? Do you want to stop feeling guilty for eating a slice of cake filled with many calories? If so, we have the solution for you – it’s called rucking and it burns many calories. 

Rucking has its roots in military training. Roman soldiers would march for hours in rugged terrain carrying rucksacks filled with food and essential supplies.

Over time, everyday citizens saw the benefits of rucking.

Instead of running, they started to make rucking part of their weight-reducing workouts. This was because it was very cheap to ruck – all you needed was a backpack and an hour to spare.

Additionally, rucking was more effective at burning calories than walking or jogging. A few minutes with a calculator proved so.

So if you’re wondering: Does Rucking burn calories? The answer is absolutely yes. The next question is how many?

Let’s take a look.

How does rucking burn calories

Since this exercise is a similar task to walking, people often ask, “how many calories can you burn while rucking?” And the simple answer is that rucking is a low-intensity alternative to running. 

Therefore, it is also a form of cardio and burns several calories. You can calculate an estimated figure of how many.

Our body has to use energy to perform a task. This could be anything from walking to jogging or even playing chess. Logically, the same applies to rucking.

When you wear a backpack weighing several pounds and go walking, your body will have to break down and absorb considerable food to produce energy for the workout. This thereby burns calories.

Moreover, research shows that you lose the most fat through your lungs. This means that you will burn more calories if your physical activity uses muscles such that they require more oxygen. Doing so activates fat metabolism, your body burns calories, and you lose weight.

Additionally, rucking is bound to get your heart rate up.

Find the calories burned rucking with a calculator

You will see the results of exercising in two weeks. But that’s a long period of time. And most people have trouble consistently rucking until then.

Therefore, we’re giving you a formula that can get you answers earlier.

All you need is some information and a calculator. Then you’ll find out how many calories your body will have burned while rucking and how much weight you can expect to lose.

Here’s the math

Calories burned are equal to (basal metabolic rate x metabolic equivalent of tasks) / (24 x the number of hours you rucked).

A 2-hour ruck will be more effective than a 1-hour ruck. But that’s obvious. The tricky part is learning how the numerator of this equation links to how many calories you’ll burn.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR)

You burned around 50 calories an hour while sleeping. Every task requires energy, and the BMR is a representation of that.

Your BMR is the number of calories you would have burned if you were resting, for example, while sitting on your bed watching a new Netflix series instead of rucking. You can calculate it yourself.

Time to get a calculator

Women can calculate their BMR with:

(4.7 x your height in inches) + (4.35 x your weight in pounds) + 655.1 – (4.7 x your age in years).

Men can use the following formula in their calculator to determine the calories burned:

(12.7 x your height in inches) + (6.2 x your weight in pounds) + 66 – (6.76 x your age in years).

Metabolic equivalent of tasks (Mets)

The Mets for rucking is between 8 to 10. The specific number depends on your walking speed, the terrain around you, and the weight in pounds of your rucksack.

If you’re rucking with a backpack of 25 to 49 lbs, your Mets will be around 8. On the other hand, if you go beyond 50 lbs, the number increases to 10.

Put simply, your Mets increase with a heavier rucksack. Since this figure is related proportionally to the number of calories you burn, increasing it will cut down your body weight faster.

Walking and jogging have less Mets than rucking, which means it burns more calories than them.

Do remember that if the added weight in your backpack hurts your back, you should remove it immediately. Start with what’s comfortable and slowly build up the resistance. This is a journey of a thousand steps.

In the case that your exercise is too intense, you’ll hurt yourself and forgo any benefits.

Increasing calories burned rucking

Now that we’ve established rucking is an effective workout, here’s how you can maximize your output and burn more calories in a one-hour rucking cardio session.

Speed up your walking as you ruck

Increasing your walking pace is the simplest way to increase how many calories you burn. You’ll up your mph and the intensity of your workout, which boosts your metabolic rate.

The min rucking speed for the military is 4 miles per hour. And this is the pace you should aim for. However, doing so will be hard if at the start of your training, so it’s okay if you can’t maintain it for a long distance.

Boost the intensity of your ruck training

You’re free to ruck as you choose, but you’ll gain the most benefits by increasing the intensity of your exercise. For example, try doing cardio training on an inclined hill instead of a declined one. Choosing the former will burn more calories.

Try to search for hills you can ruck and then find a partner you’d want to affiliate yourself with. 

There are several social groups for rucking; you can put up posts on them. Share your calorie burn calculator and what you expect to get suitable matches.

Walk up as many miles as possible with a backpack while they drive your vehicle to the finish line. Once you complete your exercise, get in the car, drive back down, and cool off. Then do the same for them.

Driving down is better than rucking because if you choose to walk, your body will offset the many calories burned in the first half of your ruck.

To put it simply, a one-way uphill-only fitness routine will burn more calories.

Switch up your workout

When exercising, it’s important not to maintain a strict fitness routine. Switching up your rucking workout will keep you on toes, help you lose weight, and gain muscle.

For instance, if you ruck a mile with your pack on the side instead of on your back, you’ll make your body work against asymmetry. Alternatively, you could stop backpacking altogether and use the rucksack to make weighted lunges.

Increase the weight of your rucksack

Increasing the weight of the articles in your pack as you march up a hill will increase the rate at which calories are burned. This factor affects your Mets score in the calorie calculator.


The total number of calories burned by rucking is influenced by several factors. You control most of them.

The simplest way to boost how many calories you are burning is by increasing your mph. You can try running, and it will immediately improve the total calories burned rucking.

However, a lot of people add this exercise to their fitness routine as they want to avoid stressing their knees due to factors like age or joint pain, so this isn’t a viable option for everyone.

If this sounds like you, you can aim to ruck at 4 mph – the military’s min standard – and burn calories over the long term.

Other options to improve your calorie burn include increasing the weight of your rucksack, switching up how you use your ruck pack, and increasing the difficulty of your workout.

Remember to incorporate a strong recovery program for after you go for a ruck.

Good luck.