Can rucking really get you ripped?

Is rucking good cardio for fat loss?

Walking or hiking with a weighted pack is a great choice of outdoor cardio. But can it really be used for fat loss? And if you want to use rucking for fat loss, what’s the best way to add rucking to your fitness and diet routine?


Can rucking be used for fat loss?

Rucking might not seem like the obvious way to get ripped. But rucking burns a lot of calories and keeps you busy for hours – and gives you a mood-boosting surge of neurotransmitters that may help you make healthier food choices.

If you pay attention to your food intake, rucking can be a great way to stay in a calorie deficit, build muscle, and keep your metabolic rate high as you reach your fat loss goals.


Why does rucking work for fat loss

Rucking has its roots in military selection and training around the world. It always involves walking or hiking with external load – either a weighted pack (a ruckpack) or a weighted plate carrier.

You can ruck anywhere you like – as part of your regular commute, in urban areas, or off road on hikes. However you do it, rucking burns more calories than walking (thanks to the added weight) and helps build muscle in your legs, hips, and back.


Rucking burns calories – fat loss requires a calorie deficit, and rucking can help you achieve and maintain that deficit. Rucking burns more calories than walking. In fact, it can burn almost as many calories as running, but it’s low-impact and easier to sustain for longer.

Build muscle – during a fat loss phase, it’s important to do resistance training to maintain metabolically active tissue (muscle). Rucking achieves this in a way that walking and running don’t. This is because you’re carrying that external load.

Active for longer – when you want to lose body fat, you need to stay active to increase the number of calories you burn over time. Rucking is an enjoyable way to be active for long periods of time (long rucks at the weekend) and it’s a smart way to turn up the dial when you don’t have long (adding load to shorter walks).


Is rucking the best cardio for fat loss? 

Are you wondering what the very best choice of cardio is for fat loss? The fitness space is divided over HIIT for fat loss and steady state cardio for fat loss. The bottom line is, any cardio you can do consistently is great for supporting your fat loss goals.

Rucking is enjoyable, fun, and gets you outdoors where you can forget about time or distance and just keep moving. And who low impact, so you can do it every day if you want.

We don’t know if rucking is the 100% most optimal cardio for fat loss. But it burns calories, builds strength, and helps maintain muscle mass. If you enjoy it and want to do it regularly, it will be a better cardio tool than forcing yourself to do something you don’t really like.


Best rucking speed and distance for fat loss

There’s no magic speed or distance to ruck for fat loss, instead you should find the balance between challenging yourself and recovering properly. There’s no point pushing so hard or staying out for so long that you overeat once you’re back home. 

If you’re new to rucking, start with no more than 10% of your bodyweight in your rucking backpack or weighted ruck plate carrier. You can add more weight as you get lighter and fitter.

Try varying your rucks throughout the week, to include shorter faster rucks, and longer slower rucks. Use terrain, hills, and incline to make rucks harder. You can also incorporate intervals into rucks just like you would with running.


How to get lean using rucking 

1 Ruck regularly – every week, or 2-4 times a week, rather than sporadic outings here and there.

2 Choose varied terrain, hills, and inclines to challenge yourself and burn more calories.

3 Change a variable if your fat loss plateaus - add more weight to your ruckpack, ruck faster, or go longer.

4 Stay hydrated – don't let yourself get dehydrated on rucks as this could impact your nutrition choices afterwards.

5 Fuel up – it might sound counterintuitive when you’re losing weight, but eat high carb, low fat snacks during longer rucks so you don’t get too hungry and overeat once you’re home.

6 Keep an eye on your overall nutrition – focus on high protein, healthy choices, and high fibre meals throughout the week. Make sure you’re not eating back all the calories you burn on your rucks – a calorie deficit is key to fat loss.


Best rucking gear to get in shape

Force Fitness is a UK favourite for rucking backpacks and rucking plate carriers that are comfortable, durable, and rugged as hell. Check out our store for ruckpacks and plate carriers for rucking, running, and bodyweight training.

Shop now