Looking for a workout plan that will kick-start weight loss? We tapped New York City-based CAFS personal trainer Ashley Rosenberg, a group fitness instructor at modelFIT NYC, to develop a four-day weight-loss workout plan to help boost your metabolism and build muscle from head to toe.

Follow this strength and cardio plan—but remember that to really see results, you also need to follow a clean eating plan.

“It really is true what they say—‘abs are made in the kitchen!’ I keep this mantra in my head all week long as I am making quick lunch and dinner decisions on the go,” says Rosenberg. “Our food is the fuel that keeps us going during the day and throughout our workouts.”

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When you don’t eat a healthy diet, you might feel too full, bloated, and sluggish, she says. Refined sugar causes that inevitable crash that zaps your energy and you won’t be able to perform as well when you get to the gym, Rosenberg says.

You can’t “outwork” a bad diet at the gym. “There is no special trick to losing weight—you simply have to create a calorie deficit,” says Rosenberg. You have to burn more calories than you consume so if you are eating an unhealthy diet you would have to kill yourself in the gym, all day long, to the point it’s no longer fun and enjoyable. Every workout should leave you feeling accomplished, and hopefully on an endorphin high.

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Eating the right foods helps give you energy and motivation to stay on track with your workouts, Rosenberg says.

A good diet motivates you to keep going, helps you sleep better so you have prolonged energy throughout the day, and keeps your body feeling lean and tight, she says.

“I follow the 90/10 rule: I follow my diet 90% of the time. I allow myself to fully indulge without regret when I am sitting down at a beautiful meal with my partner, friends, or family. It’s not about having a cheat meal, but enjoying the full experience with my loved ones,” says Rosenberg. “Because I know I have the freedom to indulge on those occasions, it’s so much easier to stay on track the rest of the week.”

Workout Day 1

Cardio: Jump rope intervals

Do 30 minutes of jump rope intervals. Start with 2 minutes on (jumping rope) and 1 minute of rest, working up to 3 minutes on the rope, 30 seconds of rest.

Strength Training: Arms & Abs

This exercise is pretty advanced, but you’ll really work your arms and core. Start in a plank. Bring your right knee forward while aiming for your right elbow. Hold the position for a second, pause, lower yourself into a pushup, push yourself back up, and then bring your leg back so you’re back in plank position. Repeat on each side for 10 reps. Rest 3 minutes, repeat for 3 sets.

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Alternatively, for an easier (but still challenging!) abs move, start in a plank, and bring your right knee forward while aiming for your left elbow, hold for a pause, then open right knee to right elbow, hold for pause, send foot back into starting position. For an added challenge, add a push up at the end and repeat on the other side. That is one set. Repeat 10x. Rest for 1 to 3 minutes in between a set.

Check out our superfast slim-down training program.

Workout Day 2

Treadmill Intervals

These are similar to the jump rope intervals. Do these treadmill intervals for 30 minutes. Starting by running for 2 minutes at a fast pace, then hop off to the side for 1 minute of rest. Work up to 3 minutes of fast running and 30 seconds rest of rest. (Try these calorie-torching treadmill workouts when you get bored with your running program.)

Strength Training: Thighs and Butt

Wearing 3lb ankle weights (Rosenberg’s favorite equipment), start on all fours on a mat. Pull your belly button up into your spine and tuck your hips forward so the back curves, like a cow position in yoga. Keeping your knee bent, raise your leg up into a 90-degree angle and pulse your foot up to the sky once. Slowly lower your leg back into the starting position with your knees lined up, not allowing your working knee to touch the mat. Repeat 20 times. Stop at the top on #20 and do tiny pulses at that 90-degree angle for 20. It’ll look like your flex foot is pushing the ceiling up. For an added challenge, drop to your elbows rather than using your hands. Switch to the left side and repeat.

Workout Day 3

Cardio: Repeat day 1 cardio.

Strength Training: Arms, Abs, and Butt

Start on all fours on a mat (wearing ankle weights for an added challenge).

Pull your belly button into your spine, and then lift your right leg behind you (straight knee, foot pointed). Keeping your left knee on the mat, lift your left foot off ground. Pulling your elbows back alongside body, rock your chest forward and down into a forward triceps dip (your arms should be hugging your rib cage). Raise yourself back up, keeping the left foot still lifted off the mat, and pulse your right leg up for one pulse. Repeat 20 times for 1 set and switch the leg sides.

Workout Day 4:

Strength training: Combine all the strength training exercises listed above—plank knee-ins, sky kicks,  into a circuit. Do each strength exercise at least 3 times and up to 5x for a full-body workout.

Rocked this workout? Check out our 12-week transformation workout plan.

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