Before we get into how to get skinny quick, there’s something you need to understand:

There are many ways to “get skinny,” but most won’t leave you looking the way you want.

That’s because the majority of the advice you find online about how to get skinny really fast will leave you looking “skinny fat”—and that’s probably not what you’re gunning for. 

Most people want to be lean but not skinny, toned and not flabby, and strong and not . . . well . . . weak.

However, getting a body like this requires a slightly different approach to weight loss than “get skinny by any means necessary.”

In this article you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to get skinny fast without sacrificing health, muscle, happiness, or sanity in the process. 

How to Get Skinny Fast

There are many tactics you can use to trim your midsection and get skinny arms, legs, and so forth, but the 10 most important pivots are as follows: 

  1. Maintain an aggressive calorie deficit. 
  2. Do heavy resistance training.
  3. Eat plenty of protein.
  4. Plan your meals.
  5. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
  6. Track your progress.
  7. Limit liquid calories.
  8. Do some cardio.
  9. Get enough sleep.
  10. Take the right supplements. 

And really, the first three points are the straws that stir the drink. If you get those right, you’ll get skinny (and build muscle) without a hitch. Do the other seven tactics too, and you’ll get there faster and more enjoyably.

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1. Maintain an aggressive calorie deficit.

Studies show that the only way to lose fat is to eat fewer calories than you burn.

The reason you’re carrying excess body fat is, over time, you consistently ate more calories than you burned. And the only way to get rid of that excess fat is to do the opposite: eat less than you burn.

When you do this, you’re in a “calorie deficit” because your energy intake is less than your body needs (what’s referred to as a negative energy balance). It must get that additional energy from somewhere, and so it taps into its own fat stores.

The larger your calorie deficit, the faster you’ll lose weight, but if you make it too large (by eating too little), you can shoot yourself in the foot by priming yourself for muscle loss and binge eating. 

We want to avoid that, but we also want to push the needle as much as we can to lose fat as fast as possible.

This is why I recommend that you set your calorie deficit at 20-to-25% (eat 20-to-25% fewer calories than you burn every day). This is enough to lose fat lickety-split without losing muscle or wrestling with excessive hunger, lethargy, and the other hobgoblins of low-calorie dieting.

2. Do heavy resistance training.

Lifting weights doesn’t just help you hold onto muscle while you’re dieting—it helps you lose fat, too.

If you want to maximize the fat-burning effects of weightlifting . . .

And if you want to minimize muscle gain while still using resistance training to gain strength and lose fat, doing heavy, low-rep compound weightlifting is a good option.

Research shows that you can maintain (but not necessarily gain) muscle and maintain or gain strength by doing just one short weightlifting session per week. The benefit of this is you can stay healthy and strong and boost fat loss while staying lithe and skinny.

Here’s an example workout you can use to maintain muscle and strength training only once per week:

3. Eat plenty of protein.

When we’re talking about body composition, protein is by far the most important macronutrient.

Studies show that eating adequate protein helps you . . .

The bottom line is high-protein dieting beats low-protein in every way, especially when you’re trying to get skinny.

Specifically, you should eat about 1-to-1.2 grams per pound of body weight per day.

And if you’re very overweight (25%+ body fat in men and 30%+ in women), you can reduce this to around 40% of your total calories per day.

4. Plan your meals.

It’s estimated that we make around 35,000 decisions per day. As the day wears on, and the number of decisions we make mounts, we begin to suffer from decision fatigue—the impaired ability to make decisions that are rational, pragmatic, and prudent.

That’s why it can be difficult to make healthy dinner choices after a long day at work, and why you often find yourself ordering take-out pizza rather than cooking the salmon you had waiting in your fridge. 

The easiest way to get around this is to take all the thinking out of it, and plan your meals ahead of time.

This way you’ll never have to spend time deciding how to prepare your meals when you’re tired, and you’ll always have healthy, nutritious food to hand that helps you reach your weight-loss goals. 

5. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.

Including fruits and vegetables with every meal helps you get skinny quickly because they’re low in calories and fat, which means you can fill up on large portions without overshooting your calorie target.

Some good vegetable options include:

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Carrot
  • Beetroot

And some good fruit options include:

  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Pear
  • Mango
  • Blueberry
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Apple
  • Banana

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6. Track your progress.

Tracking your progress is one of the best ways to keep yourself motivated to lose weight for two reasons: 

  1. It quantifies your progress in a real, tangible, rewarding way.
  2. It gives you real time feedback indicating if you’re on the right track or need to adjust course.

If you want to be successful with your weight loss goals, you need to track . . .

  • Your average weight every 7-to-10 days
  • The number of calories in all the food and drinks that pass your lips every day (if you’re following a meal plan, then this takes care of itself)

And if you want additional motivation and data to quantify your results, you should also measure . . . 

  • The size of your waist every week
  • The way you look every week (using progress pictures)

(Check out this article if you’d like to learn more about tracking changes in your body composition).

7. Limit liquid calories.

Alcoholic drinks, sugary sodas, and fruit juices don’t offer much in the way of nutrition and can increase your calorie intake by several hundred calories per day.

Likewise, cutting these out of your diet can also decrease your calorie intake by hundreds of calories per day and cause rapid weight loss. That’s why they’re best avoided when you’re trying to get skinny fast.

You don’t necessarily have to swear them off entirely (a few tablespoons of cream in your coffee or a glass of low-calorie fruit juice are fine from time to time), but these should be some of the first things to cut from your diet if you find you aren’t losing weight as fast as you’d like. 

8. Do some cardio.

The best way to include cardio in a weight loss regimen is to do as little as needed to reach your desired rate of weight loss and stay fit, and no more. 

For best results . . .

  • Do at least two low- to moderate-intensity cardio workouts per week of 20-to-40 minutes each. 
  • Do one HIIT workout per week if you enjoy it (though it’s not necessary).
  • Don’t do more than 2-to-3 hours of cardio per week. You can do more than this, but this increases the chances of your cardio interfering with your weightlifting workouts.
  • Do your cardio and weightlifting on separate days if possible, and if you have to do them on the same day, lift weights first and try to separate the two workouts by at least 6 hours (check out this article to learn more about combining cardio with weightlifting).

9. Get enough sleep. 

Research shows that people who don’t get enough high-quality sleep while dieting lose less fat than those who do.

What’s more, studies show that getting enough sleep helps your body burn fat instead of muscle, and makes you feel less hungry while in a calorie deficit, which means you’re less likely to overeat.

So, the takeaway here is simple: if you want to get skinny as fast as possible, you need to sleep enough, and that means getting seven-to-nine hours of shut-eye every night.

10. Take the right supplements.

Unfortunately, no amount of pills and powders are going to help you get skinny overnight.

In fact, most fat-loss supplements are completely worthless.

But here’s the good news:

If you know how to diet to lose weight fast—following the steps in this article—certain supplements can help. (And if you’d like to know exactly what supplements to take to reach your fitness goals, take the Legion Supplement Finder Quiz.) 

Here are the best supplements to get skinny fast:

  • 3-to-6 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight per day. This will raise the number of calories you burn and also increases strength, muscle endurance, and anaerobic performance. If you want a clean, delicious source of caffeine that also contains five other ingredients that will boost your workout performance, try Pulse.
  • 0.1-to-0.2 milligrams of yohimbine per kilogram of body weight before training. This increases fat loss when used in conjunction with fasted training, and is particularly helpful with losing“stubborn” fat. If you want a 100% natural source of yohimbine that also contains two other ingredients that will help you lose fat faster, preserve muscle, and maintain training intensity and mental sharpness, try Forge.
  • One serving of Phoenix per day. Phoenix is a 100% natural fat burner that speeds up your metabolism, enhances fat burning, and reduces hunger and cravings. You can also get Phoenix with caffeine or without.

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FAQ #1: How do you get skinny legs?

Many guides on how to get skinny legs or how to get skinny thighs fast recommend you eat “special” foods and do specific leg exercises to lose fat on your legs.

However, this is a fallacy—you can’t “spot reduce” fat.

That is, there’s no such thing as a diet or exercise plan that will target leg fat specifically.

What you can do, though, is reduce your overall body fat percentage, which will also reduce the amount of fat covering your legs.

And the best way to do this is to combine the advice in this article with a large helping of patience. In fact, that latter point is really the key—instead of focusing on getting skinny legs fast, focus on sticking firmly to the plan, and let your body transform in its own time. 

As long as you’re losing fat and looking better every week, you’re on the right track, and there’s no reason to rush things.  

The good news is that women—who are predisposed to storing a disproportionately large amount of their total body fat on their legs—tend to lose fat from their thighs before they lose it from other parts of their body.

And men tend not to store much fat on their legs at all, so they’re less likely to have an issue with getting rid of leg fat specifically. 

FAQ #2: How do you get skinny arms?

Many guides on how to get skinny arms recommend you eat “special” foods and do specific biceps and triceps exercises to lose fat on your arms.

As with getting skinny legs, though, you can’t “spot reduce” arm fat.

Instead, the solution is the same—reduce your body fat percentage, and your arms will get skinny automatically.

And once again, the best way to do this is to follow the advice in this article for several weeks or months, or as long as it takes to get your arms to the size and definition you want. 

The good news is that your arms normally only store a lot of fat when your body fat percentage is high. As such, these areas are the first to get leaner when your body fat percentage starts to decrease. In other words, if you follow the steps in this article, your arms will get skinny fast. 

FAQ #3: How do you get skinny in a week?

You can’t.

A safe, healthy, and realistic goal is to lose 0.5-to-1% of your body weight per week, which is around 1-to-2 pounds of weight loss per week for most people.

If you push the envelope and try to lose weight significantly faster than this, you’ll run head first into the many problems associated with “starvation dieting” like fluctuating hormone levels, fatigue, irritation and depression, compromised immunity and others.

That said, the more fat you have to lose, the faster you can safely and healthily lose it.

People who are very overweight (men over 25% body fat and women over 35%) can often lose 2-to-4 pounds per week without issue.

Either way, seven days isn’t enough time for you to “get skinny.”

A more sensible approach is to allow yourself at least three months to reach your goal weight or size.

This is enough time to lose at least 12-to-24 pounds for most people, which should have a significant impact on how you look.

FAQ #4: How do you get skinny overnight?

Again, you can’t.

Of course, that doesn’t stop people trying.

The most common ways people try to “get skinny overnight” are to not eat, not drink, and do cardio.

And while they’ll sometimes look a little leaner the next morning, this is due to a loss of water weight, not true fat loss. The reality is that even if you don’t eat for an entire day, you aren’t going to lose enough fat to see a significant change in your appearance. 

What you will probably experience, though, is . . .

  • Hunger
  • Thirst
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue, weakness, and/or dizziness 
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Bad breath

Thus, it’s better to give yourself more time to get skinny. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, after all. 🙂

+ Scientific References