Micro 15, Fezzik’s Workout

This is the fifteenth post in the series Microposts. Start reading at the beginning, Micro 15, Fezzik’s Workout.


Rocky coastline. The fog is washing everything out. Waves crash against a rock in the bay.

This is a color photograph. It was cold.


Hundreds of folded origami cranes in a sort of rainbow pattern, strung up and hanging.


Brightly colored puzzle pieces. The glossy printing is reflecting light. The puzzle is partially disassembled, and you can't really make out the subject, although you do see the roof of a building, lush foliage, and a flowering tree.


Dracula: What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets. But enough talk… Have at you! smashes wine glass on the ground

Me: Oh my gosh, oh my goodness nobody move, there’s broken glass. Can you get my shoes? Was anyone cut? Oh my gosh.


I’m reading The Princess Bride and I think I understand why everyone who reads the book asks if you have, and are disappoined when you say you haven’t.

They vaguely describe it as “different,” and can’t really recommend you read it, but they sort of want to talk about it anyway, but can’t?

I’m getting there too.


At Wrestlemania III, André René Roussimoff was billed at 520 pounds (240 kg).


The Cliffs of Insanity are a thousand feet tall (305 m).

“There!” The Sicilian pointed. “The Cliffs of Insanity.”

And there they were. Rising straight and sheer from the water, a thousand feet into the night.

Rather, the Cliffs are at least a thousand feet, but let’s just call it a round thousand for our purposes.

With that the Turk began to climb. It was at least a thousand feet and he was carrying the three, but he was not worried. When it came to power, nothing worried him.


Buttercup, Inigo, and Vizzini were not especially large people. Let’s keep things easy and say the four of them, plus whatever gear they had, might be something around a thousand pounds (454 kg).


Assuming perfect efficiency, the work done raising a mass mm in a gravitational field gg to height hh is m×g×hm \times g \times h joules.


The human body is not perfectly efficient. It depends on the activity, but exercise equipment might reasonably use 20% metabolic efficiency to figure out calories burned. Let’s call this value ηm\eta_m.


Thus, when climbing the Cliffs of Insanity, Fezzik would have burned:

W=m×g×hηm=454×9.8×3050.2=6785030 J=1621 kcal \begin{aligned} W&=\frac{m \times g \times h}{\eta_m} \\[15px] &=\frac{454 \times 9.8 \times 305}{0.2} \\[15px] &=6785030 \space \mathrm{J} \\[15px] &= 1621 \space \mathrm{kcal} \end{aligned}

Which is honestly less than I expected?


Just to be clear, a kcal, or capital-C Calorie, or “large calorie,” or “food calorie,” is the same Calorie unit that shows up on your nutritional food label (unless your food label uses kilojoules). Fezzik did not burn 1.6 million food calories.


I have a bag of kaki-pi snacks on my desk. The whole bag clocks in at 1870 kcal.

While looking into Fezzik’s workout, I ate more of this bag than I care to admit.