I’ve been competing for five years now and there is nothing like the fear of being on stage in a teeny bikini (so small it fits in a Ziplock sandwich bag) as motivation to get lean.

You might not be a competitor. But, maybe you are getting ready for an event and you want your grand entrance to compel onlookers to say, “Holy sh*t, she got hot!”

Here are the three most important things you need to know about how to get to that lean, fit, OMG-Awesome look fast. And by fast, I mean as fast as you can lose it without the unwanted result of gaining it back plus a lot more.

But before I can tell you that, you need to answer these questions:

1. What’s your current conditioning? Kinda lean already or not even close?
2. What’s your timeline? Is your event next year or next week?
3. How motivated are you? Are you getting on stage in a teeny bikini like me or do you want to rock your new cocktail dress at your class reunion?

The 3 keys don’t change. Only the timeline. So, make sure you have a timeline that is proportional to the level of leanness you want to achieve.

Here are the 3 Keys:

1. BE A PROTEIN QUEEN!
Protein is by far the most important macro nutrient in your getting lean strategy. When you decrease your calories in order to lose weight you MUST increase the proportion of calories coming from protein. It is essential to maintain muscle while losing fat. Otherwise, you may risk screwing up your metabolism in the long run. And nobody wants to fight that battle.

How do you do it?
Here’s an example: You plan to follow a 1500 calorie per day nutrition plan and your target body weight is 120 lbs. Multiply your target body weight by 1.2g of protein. In this case we get 144 grams of protein per day. Multiply grams of protein by 4 to get calories from protein. 576 of your 1500 calories will come from protein. That is 38% of your calories per day from protein.

Nope. This isn’t a typical 40% carb/ 30% protein/ 30% fat macronutrient ratio for weight loss that so many people suggest.

The research on this is very interesting. If you want to read more about it, please check out Professor Stu Phillip’s paper on this in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition HERE.

If you also keep your carbohydrate at 144 grams (moderate carbohydrate), then fat will be at 20% or 33 grams per day. This is about a 40/40/20 ratio.

Keep track of these macros in a macro tracking app on your phone and you will be well on your way to getting lean.

And, guess what? Protein makes you feel full longer than fat or carbs. So, the added benefit is that you won’t feel hungry while you are getting lean. Not hungry = AWESOME!!

At the end of one week you will see a difference!

2. GO AS SLOW AS YOU CAN
This will be dependent on your timeline, of course. However, dipping below 1200 calories per day for anyone isn’t a good idea.

The rebound from drastically cutting calories is usually a large weight rebound with most of those pounds coming back as F-A-T. You know what I’m talking about if you have ever tried a very low calorie diet. When you “stop your diet” the weight comes back FAST. It’s like an Evil Fat Fairy decided to bestow you with all the fat you never wanted, over night.

3. MAKE SURE YOU ARE BOTH STRATEGICALLY AND MENTALLY PREPARED

Having what you need on hand is essential! Make sure that you have lean protein choices like eggs, chicken, turkey, fish and lean beef in your refrigerator and freezer. Have dairy proteins and supplemental whey protein powder on hand as well.

Fresh vegetables and fruits will be another staple of your plan. Keep them available in your kitchen.

Have grains like rice, oats and quinoa and additional starchy carbohydrates like yams on hand, too.

Mentally, you have to be ready to change. And to do that you HAVE to be ready to commit.

This is often the most difficult piece of the getting lean puzzle. Make a strong, positive choice and accept the fact that increasing your protein and decreasing your calories as well as eating whole foods will likely be challenging.

Fast food is easy. Chaos doesn’t take effort. Remember this when you start to feel that getting lean is too much effort.

Getting lean means making a change and that isn’t comfortable…at first.

Jump start your efforts with these three steps and you will be well on your way to the “Holy sh*t, she got hot!” body of your dreams!