AS the cooler months take hold, it becomes easier to justify staying at home wrapped in a doona, eating whatever Menulog has on special. After all, if you’re not dancing around the pool in your Speedos or relaxing at the beach, there is no point in exercise, right? Wrong.

“Summer bodies are built in winter” as the saying goes, and this six-month stretch of empty beaches, early nights and a barely-there social calendar gives us the perfect opportunity to really get stuck into our fitness. The gym, indoor pool, yoga and a whole plethora of other indoor activities suddenly become that little bit more attractive.

Rock climbing is another one of those fantastic indoor activities. It falls into the category of exercise, yet seems more like a social outing with friends. You barely notice how much work you’re actually doing.

This month, the guys at my boot camp and I decided to hit Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym at St Peters in Sydney’s inner west. The staff were super friendly and thanks to their clear and concise instructions we were clued up and ready to go in less than 20 minutes.

All-in-all, we ended up climbing for about two hours and let me tell you, if you’re looking for an all-over body workout that falls into both strength and cardio, rock climbing is for you.

PHOTO: Photographer Markham Lane (

PHOTO: Photographer Markham Lane (

The vitals

– Muscles worked: I felt all of them at some point or another, but would have to say my arms, shoulders, core and quadriceps (thighs) bore the brunt of the work.

– Calories burned per hour: As we are all different it’s hard to give a definitive number, but you’re looking at around 500 to 900 calories per hour on the wall depending on your weight and the intensity of your climb. Even at the lower end of the scale that’s a pretty impressive number.

– What to bear in mind: Rock climbing is a pretty labour-intensive exercise so a very basic level of fitness is required. You should also remember that you’ll be climbing up some pretty tall walls so a fear of heights is not desirable.


Liam Barrett is a professional personal trainer who has worked in the fitness industry for the last five years. He operates gay-friendly The Camp Fitness bootcamp in Sydney. You can also follow him on Instagram: Liam.lovesyou

If you’re interested in joining The Camp Fitness, every Star Observer reader can claim a free trial week at Click on “sign up” and type “Star Observer” into the message section.

PHOTOS: Photographer Markham Lane (

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