The Art of War and Fat Loss: How the Principles of Ancient Warfare Will Help You Get Healthy

Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military general, is credited with the revolutionary military strategy book, ‘The Art of War.’

This book was influential in military strategy, but it’s principles also apply in any area where one is trying to accomplish a goal against resistance.

This includes getting lean, building big arms, or getting really strong.

Below are some gems from the book ‘The Art of War’, and how they will help you build a leaner, stronger body.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Whenever someone decides to shed some fat or build some muscle, they tend to attack their biggest, most challenging battles first.

This is like trying to hit a full speed sprint without warming up. You don’t perform too well, you may get hurt, and it usually turns out to be demoralizing.

Instead, take on those easy battles first, and get some wins under your belt.

This creates confidence, momentum, and allows you to work up to those bigger battles as you become better prepared.

An example of an easy win could be a workout schedule you know you can integrate into your life, or a nutrition habit that you are confident you can stick with.

Start with the guaranteed win, and build from there.

“If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of 100 battles.”

Knowing the enemy and knowing yourself means you understand which situations tend to get you into trouble.

Let’s say for example you go to a patio party.

While at this patio party, you drink a bunch of beers and get tipsy.

You know once you get tipsy, you have a tendency to eat an unfathomable amount of ice cream, but you drink the beers anyway.

You proceed to go home and eat 3 pints of ice cream in one sitting.

Confession: this isn’t a made-up example. This is something I did a couple weeks ago. Oops.

In this situation, knowing yourself means you can make a plan based on your tendencies, and execute against them.

Drinking just one or two beers so you don’t throw your discretion in the trash along with your diet plan would be a great start.

“The general who wins makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought.”

Intentions are great, but they don’t get you very far.

If you want to successfully change your body, real planning is what will get you there.

Scheduling time to workout, planning and preparing your meals ahead of time and implementing contingency plans for when things get crazy- this is how you win at fitness.

Too often we try to ride the wave of motivation to a leaner body. But no matter how good your intentions are, your goals will get crushed under the weight of real life.

Our lives move faster than a rocket full of monkeys. If you want to win at fitness, you will need planning and execution.

“Opportunities Multiply as they’re seized.”

This goes back to point number one.

Get the easy wins first, and watch them multiply.

Winning those easy battles first builds confidence to take on bigger battles later.

You know that voice in your head that whispers “you can’t do this” when you take on a new challenge? Winning battles shows that voice what’s up. You can do this, and you’re doing it right now.

As you get more wins, they begin to multiply as your confidence and momentum sky rockets.

Final Thought

Developing the habits and lifestyle you need to get lean and strong can be accomplished by applying the ancient warfare strategies found in ‘The Art of War’.

Win the easy battles first, understand yourself and your tendencies, and carefully plan your attack.

Oh, and if you go to a patio party, try not to eat 3 pints of ice cream in one shot.

Written by Mitch Heaslip


For those who prefer the movie over the book, here you are.