The first time former Tulsa, Oklahoma native Paula Trickey had to put on her Lycra shorts and tight t-shirt - the snug uniforms worn on USA cable's "Pacific Blue" - her gleaming white smile turned to a frown. "I hate those shorts", says Trickey who plays bicycle cop Cory McNamara, one of the police officers who fights crime in an ocean-side California town. "Those are the most uncomplimentary pieces of clothing you can put on a woman's body. Bike shorts themselves don't make it, but when I put on the whole uniform, I feel athletic, lean and strong. I want to be a role model to young girls showing them you don't have to be Twiggy to be beautiful. I'm a sexual being without being a bimbo."

The 33 year-old actress has always been the strong, athletic type. Good thing, too. On the beach at 6AM in Venice, California, the set of the cops-on-bike action series, Paula has put in a full day of biking, swimming and sweating the heat by lunchtime - and there's another 7 hours to go. It's not all sand, surf and fun-in-the-sun. If Trickey imparts anything to young viewers, physical fitness must be part of the message. The role of a bike cop can be very physically demanding, though there are stunt doubles for the really difficult sequences. But the former Miss Oklahoma Teen All-American 1985 winner (who lost the national pageant to Halle Berry) names the various parts of her body that are bruised and scraped from spending 12-14 hour days chasing people on a bike. "The first weeks back from vacation, we are always so bruised and bleeding", she says. "We get scraped shins from the pedals. If you look real close, you can often see scabs and bruises on my legs. We have to stay in great shape", Paula adds. "You don't want to gain too much weight wearing those tight shorts." But the physically demanding role is not a problem for the former tomboy who grew up in Oklahoma. "I was such a tomboy. Riding bikes was all I would do", says the actress and local L.A. resident.

Trickey discovered acting in her own backyard. Like most children, she would perform plays and skits for family and friends. In school she pursued every play that was offered. "I always wanted to be an actress but went the beauty pageant way", says the 5'7", size four. "I have to admit, I was very paranoid about my weight and food back then because I would measure everything I ate." Since those days, Paula has learned to accept her body type as being muscular, fit and healthy. "I'm very happy with what I see in my mirror. I see a woman in her thirties who is maintaining a great health regime, good fitness routine and is confident in herself. I'm a very happy person."

Now in it's sixth season, Paula has turned "Pacific Blue" into the ride of her career. But while staying cool can be tough, staying slim is "no sweat", laughs Trickey, even though she admits to gaining 8 to 10 pounds whenever the show is on hiatus. How can she afford such a relaxed attitude, especially considering her TV wardrobe? "I never panic about my weight because I know how to get it off fast", says Paula who still can't resist foods like mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Gone are her old days of starvation plans. Instead she says, "I'm a creature of habit. On the set, I have a higher protein intake than when I'm not working." Breakfast is usually an egg white burrito with salsa on a flour tortilla with a cup of coffee. "I love putting potatoes in there, but when I'm losing weight, I'll cut those out." Other morning meals are a slice of melon, a 20 minute wait and then egg whites with some granola. "Or potatoes - I'm a potato freak." During the morning break, it's a piece of fruit. Lunch is usually a large green salad with two hardboiled eggs and Boca burger on the side. "If I'm lean and mean, I'll have some rice with the soy burger", says the fishetarian. "Afternoon snack is another piece of fruit or a good cheating snack is goldfish crackers. I'm a salt girl instead of a sweet girl." A Diet coke washes everything down. Dinner could be grilled fish, vegetables or a penne pasta with spicy marinara sauce. "Power Bars or a fiber cookie are also good treats."

Drinking 12-16 cups of water a day is a given for this 117 pound (during production) beauty. "I'm just not as hungry when I'm drinking lots of water. I'll have a glass before eating because it fills me up." Regular exercise is another commitment. "I normally work out three times a week so I maintain muscle tone", she says. But if she's on her get-skinny deadline, Paula hops on her treadmill five times a week." Exercise with light weights - such as bicep curls and shoulder presses - are also part of her regimen. "When I'm in my work trailer (which boasts a TV, microwave, VCR, bed, fridge, bathroom and shower), I'll do about 500 combinations of ab crunches and leg raises for my stomach - those are my absolute favorites." For good measure, Paula also adds fun calorie-burning extras like a round of golf or a quick swim. It's easy to see that Paula's discipline for her TV role blends into her personal life; she studies self defense and stunt classes, police bicycle training and extensive gun training to prepare for her role. Also crossing over the line between reality and TV, Paula includes gingko biloba in her supplements arsenal. "Gingko helps me memorize my lines and be more aware. Here I am riding this mountain bike with dual suspension and trying to say my lines - taking gingko actually helps me to have a bit more of an edge." Paula also takes Pyruvate "which boosts my strength and stamina to work out longer", an electrolyte supplement mix, and ginseng.

So how well does Paula's fitness and quick weight loss strategies work? Just ask her producer husband of three years, Richard Thurber who is always the first to notice. "He's the one who really sees me naked. When he starts complimenting me - honey, you look so firm and lean - then I hold myself up and stand a bit taller. I just feel prettier and I know my routines are really working."

They better be. Paula says there will be lots of bike stunts, chasing bad guys, running onto the streets and the Venice Pier "and wearing those bike shorts. I have five of the same outfits in case one gets dirty or we blow out our shorts. I can't tell you how many times that's happened. Plus, I have a tendency to spill food all over the front of me so I'm forever changing my shirts."