The Zeno

Zeno of Elea was a Greek philosopher who lived in the 400s B.C. He is best known for his series of paradoxes. The details vary but all are essentially similar to this example:

Imagine walking down a straight stretch of road. In order to get from any Point A to Point B, you have to first get to the point halfway across (H). But once you’re at the halfway point, you still have to get to the halfway point (let’s say H’) between H and the end (B) – this is one quarter of the total distance. But in order to get from H’ to B, you’ll have to get to the halfway point (H’’) between H’ and B – one eighth of the total distance. Since you have to cross infinitely smaller segments of road, it should take you forever to get to the end (B).

Logically, you know that Zeno’s paradox can’t be right, since you have presumably gotten yourself from one place to another before. It rattles the brain for a moment, though. Plenty of mathematicians and philosophers have since offered explanations, but I think it can be best illustrated with the visual interpretation of a summation equation.

Zeno suggests that with all of these smaller pieces added together, the road that you have yet to cover should stretch on forever. The summation equation shown below would be equaled to infinity.

However, if you look at the equation this way, you can see that 1) yes, you can keep dividing into infinitely smaller pieces, but 2) all of those pieces are contained within the original segment. The relevant summation equation adds up to 1, not to infinity. In other words, this particular “infinity” (or infinite series) is converging, not diverging.

T he Zeno Workout

Find a long space at home or at your gym. You’ll be going back and forth in (not quite) infinitely smaller increments. Start each wandering move at one end.

Walking weighted lunges – 16/leg across room, 8 in reverse direction, 4 in original direction, 2 back in reverse direction

Drill: Run suicides across room/hall 3X

Frog jumps – 16, 8, 4, 2

Drill: Crab-walk suicides 1X

Backwards walking weighted lunges – 16, 8, 4, 2

Drill: Running suicides 3X

Pushup walk – 16, 8, 4, 2

Drill: Crab-walk suicides 1X

Backwards pushup walk – 16, 8, 4, 2

Drill: Running suicides 3X

*Repeat 2X*

Cardio: Tortoise-and-Achilles Treadmill sprints

Achilles just can’t catch up with that . Do a quick warm-up, and then increase your speed to nearly sprinting. Lower speed by 1 mph every 30 seconds but raise the incline by 2 degrees. Once you’ve hit a slow walking pace (2.5-3 mph), return to sprinting. Repeat as many times as you like. Go for a full 20-30 minute cardio session, or just do one or two cycles to round off your workout.


Part inner nerd and part aspiring jock. Mostly inner nerd, though.

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