12 Week Fat Destroyer: Complete Fat Loss Workout & Diet Program

This is a complete 12 week program to help you get ripped. Feature includes detailed diet plan and cardio schedule, along with a 4 day upper/lower muscle building split.

Workout Summary

Lose Fat
Full Body
Beginner
12 weeks
4
30-45 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Kettle Bells
Male & Female
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Workout Description

This workout plan is designed to help you shred fat and get in shape in only 12 weeks. This might sound like hype, but it's not. The following plan is not easy. It starts slowly, but builds rapidly.

Every detail of your diet and training for the next 12 weeks will be laid out for you. You will be told exactly what to eat, how much cardio to do, and how to weight train.

The goal is simple: lose fat, maintain muscle mass, get in shape and transform your physique as much as possible over the next 3 months. You want to not only look better, but have the fitness level and strength to match your new body.

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The course will teach you how your body loses fat, how to utilize workout plans on our website to maximize fat loss, how to eat for fat loss, how to supplement to lose body fat and how to track your progress.

Sign up below today to learn and ensure you get the most out of this workout program.

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12 Week Program Expectations

Over the next 12 weeks your goals and expectations are:

  • Fat Loss - To lose at least 10 pounds of fat.
  • Muscle Mass - To maintain, or even gain lean muscle mass.
  • Conditioning - To be in amazing shape; perhaps the best shape in years.

The 12 Week Diet Plan

Each week will consist of 3 different types of eating days.

  • High Carb Days - 1 day per week
  • Moderate Carb Days - 3 days per week
  • Low Carb Days - 3 days per week

You may structure these days in any preferred manner. I suggest keeping the high carb day for special occasions. That way you can attend family functions, or eat out with friends, and indulge a little more than normal.

It should be noted that calorie intake can be adjusted based on metabolism. The follow changes are recommended:

  • Men 40+ - Reduce daily calories by 300.
  • Men 20-25 - Increase daily calories by 300.
  • Women 40+ - Reduce daily calories by 200.
  • Women 20-25 - Increase daily calories by 200.
12 Week Eating Plan for Men
  • Week 1 - 3 low carb days with 2300 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2400 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 2 - 3 low carb days with 2200 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2400 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 3 - 3 low carb days with 2100 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2400 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 4 - 3 low carb days with 2000 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2400 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 5 - 3 low carb days with 2300 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2300 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 6 - 3 low carb days with 2200 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2300 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 7 - 3 low carb days with 2100 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2300 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 8 - 3 low carb days with 2000 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2300 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 9 - 3 low carb days with 2300 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2200 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 10 - 3 low carb days with 2200 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2200 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 11 - 3 low carb days with 2100 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2200 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.
  • Week 12 - 3 low carb days with 2000 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 2200 calories, 1 high carb day of 2700 calories.

Protein intake should be a minimum of 180 grams per day. If you are a bigger guy, or have a fair amount of muscle mass, then eat 200 to 220 grams of protein per day. If you eat a little more protein the drop your daily fat intake to make up for the calories.

Fat intake should be approximately 20-30% of your daily calories. Once you have determined your daily calories from proteins and fats, fill in your eating plan with carbohydrates.

Also, you are allowed up to 10% of your daily calories from dirty foods/junk foods. You do not have to eat any junk if you prefer. This option exists as a convenience, should you be battling a craving, or attending a social gathering where you would prefer to have a small snack.

12 Week Eating Plan for Women
  • Week 1 - 3 low carb days with 1500 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1600 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 2 - 3 low carb days with 1400 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1600 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 3 - 3 low carb days with 1300 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1600 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 4 - 3 low carb days with 1200 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1600 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 5 - 3 low carb days with 1500 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1500 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 6 - 3 low carb days with 1400 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1500 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 7 - 3 low carb days with 1300 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1500 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 8 - 3 low carb days with 1200 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1500 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 9 - 3 low carb days with 1500 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1400 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 10 - 3 low carb days with 1400 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1400 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 11 - 3 low carb days with 1300 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1400 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.
  • Week 12 - 3 low carb days with 1200 calories, 3 moderate carbs days with 1400 calories, 1 high carb day of 1900 calories.

For women, protein intake should be a minimum of 100 grams per day. If you are in good shape and have a fair amount of muscle mass, then eat 120 grams of protein per day. If you eat a little more protein the drop your daily fat intake to make up for the calories.

Fat intake should be approximately 20-30% of your daily calories. Once you have determined your daily calories from proteins and fats, fill in your eating plan with carbohydrates.

Also, you are allowed up to 10% of your daily calories from dirty foods/junk foods. You do not have to eat any junk if you prefer. This option exists as a convenience, should you be battling a craving, or attending a social gathering where you would prefer to have a small snack.

The 12 Week Cardio Plan

It doesn't matter which form of cardio you use for these 12 weeks. Pick something that gets your heart moving, be it treadmill, elliptical, or swimming.

The first thing you will notice about this cardio plan is that it starts slow. That's ok. Right now you are out of shape. This program is designed to get you in shape over the course of 12 weeks.

Be patient. Trust the plan and stick to the plan. After the end of 12 weeks your level of conditioning may surprise you.

During the first 6 weeks take at least one day of rest between cardio workouts. After week 6 it is recommended that you perform cardio using a 2 days on, 1-2 days off pattern.

  • Week 1 - 3 cardio sessions. 5, 8 and 5 minutes.
  • Week 2 - 3 cardio sessions. 8, 10 and 8 minutes.
  • Week 3 - 3 cardio sessions. 10, 12 and 10 minutes.
  • Week 4 - 3 cardio sessions. 12, 15 and 12 minutes.
  • Week 5 - 3 cardio sessions. 15, 20 and 15 minutes.
  • Week 6 - 3 cardio sessions. 20, 20 and 20 minutes.
  • Week 7 - 4 cardio sessions. 20, 22, 20 and 22 minutes.
  • Week 7 - 4 cardio sessions. 22, 25, 22 and 25 minutes.
  • Week 9 - 4 cardio sessions. 25, 27, 25 and 27 minutes.
  • Week 10 - 4 cardio sessions. 27, 30, 27 and 30 minutes.
  • Week 11 - 4 cardio sessions. 30, 35, 30 and 35 minutes.
  • Week 12 - 4 cardio sessions. 35, 40, 30 and 45 minutes.

12 Week Gym Workout Split

You will be using an upper/lower workout during the next 12 weeks. Rep schemes are merely guidelines.

When a weight becomes manageable using the given set and rep schemes, add weight to the bar. For sake of convenience, use the same weight for each of the sets for a given exercise.

  • Day 1 - Upper A
  • Day 2 - Lower A
  • Day 3 - Off
  • Day 4 - Upper B
  • Day 5 - Lower B
  • Day 6 - Off
  • Day 7 - Off
12 Week Gym Workout
Upper A
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Bench Press 3 8-10
One Arm Dumbbell Row 3 10-12
Seated Barbell Press 3 8-10
Pull Ups 3 10
Skullcrushers 3 10-12
Dumbbell Curl 3 10-12
12 Week Gym Workout
Lower A
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 3 8-10
Leg Curl 3 12-15
Leg Extension 3 12-15
Leg Press Calf Raise 3 15-20
Plank 3 60 sec
Twisting Hanging Knee Raise 3 20
12 Week Gym Workout
Upper B
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 10
Barbell Row 3 8-10
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 12-15
Lat Pull Down 3 10-12
Cable Tricep Extensions 3 10-12
EZ Bar Preacher Curl 3 10-12
12 Week Gym Workout
Lower B
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Press 3 15-20
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 8-10
Walking Dumbbell Lunge 3 10
Seated Calf Raise 3 15-20
Cable Crunch 3 20
Russian Twist 3 20

Post your post-workout swolfies in M&S gear on IG and tag @muscleandstrength, #muscleandstrength, or DM them to us to get a shoutout on Muscle & Strength stories!

463 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 02/17/2020 - 21:54
Andrew

Would you suggest intermittent fasting with this workout plan or balanced spaced out meals? Thanks and appreciate it!

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Posted Thu, 01/23/2020 - 14:34
Perry Tankard II

Tomorrow will complete my 12 weeks. I have lost almost 30lbs. When i started i was 262 now im 233. My blood pressure was averaging 142 over 84 now im at 117 over 81. I feel great and my family and friends can see the difference. I will be starting a fresh 12 weeks with more intensity. This plan works!!!!

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Posted Tue, 01/07/2020 - 15:34
Cory

Hi I'm 48 yo Male 5'11 1/2 weighing 203 but started the 12 week workout. How many calories should I be consuming in 1 day and what should those calories consist of?

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Posted Thu, 01/30/2020 - 07:28
John

What’s your body fat percentage?

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Posted Tue, 12/31/2019 - 08:18
Kal

Hey.
What do you recommend as warm up and cool down?

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Posted Thu, 01/30/2020 - 07:30
John

5 min on a treadmill or other pc of cardio equipment. 2 lighter sets of prescribed exercise followed by 3 working sets. Cool down with stretching.

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Posted Tue, 12/31/2019 - 04:58
Pete

Hi- Would you recommend doing the cardio work on the rest days of weight training? or is it best to do both cardio and weights on the same day and then rest totally? Thanks for the great articles.

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Posted Tue, 02/11/2020 - 16:15
Hank

Great question!! Response!?

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Posted Mon, 12/30/2019 - 17:42
Jay

Hi can you help if already got from 215 pounds to 175 just from changing my eating and more walking and starting to see my abs a bit just need help on getting as lean as possible as don't no what diet to do or workout so on if you can help that would be great my workout experience is ex army and used to go gym so know what does what so on kind regards jay

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Posted Thu, 12/26/2019 - 18:44
UJR

Hi, at 55 I've had a tough year fighting depression and on medication. Its swings and roundabouts, I feel better but have gained 12lb over the last 10 months. It doesnt sound a lot, but my waist was 34" now 38" Chest was 42" now 44" - I'm motivated to exercise but need a plan. Please help.

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Posted Thu, 01/30/2020 - 07:31
John

What are you looking for? Goals?

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Posted Thu, 12/19/2019 - 16:06
Youssef

HI
....with the carb cycling, can you help me with how many carbs on a low carb day and how many on a medium and high ??!

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Posted Fri, 12/06/2019 - 14:20
Charlie

I'm 41 years old, 5' 11" and 265 lbs. Recently finished up back to back rotator cuff surgeries (1 on each shoulder). I'm about 50 lbs. overweight since I have a bigger upper body from weight training normally.

Update #1 (5 weeks): I'm almost 5 weeks in and down 9lbs. on the scale. But in terms of fat loss off of my body I'm sure it's around 11-13 lbs. Upper body is doing very well as my muscles are coming back. I think the Upper A&B workouts are great if you apply yourself. I do 1 lower body workout a week instead of the 2 as designed because my elliptical I'm doing for cardio works my calves (I use balls of my feet) and quads are being worked very well. I focus more on dead lifts for hamstrings, glutes, and lower back and toe tosses for my 1 lower workout a week. The ramp up approach for cardio has worked perfectly for me, exactly what I needed. I use an app on my android to track my meals/calories. I think I'm killing that the most. For me I had to watch the fat % intake, calories are easy I think. I'm 1 notch down on my belt and can almost reach the 2nd notch down if I wanted. I look better and feel better through not yet even 5 full weeks. I'm currently on pace to lose 22-25 lbs. total through the 12 weeks (while probably adding 5 lbs. muscle), especially since cardio will be increasing in time and iterations.

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Posted Mon, 11/25/2019 - 12:51
Lakshay

What should be the rep tempo for lifting weights? Please clarify

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Posted Mon, 11/11/2019 - 17:44
Julia

I’ve just started this program and need some clarification on the weights portion please. Am I supposed to do each exercise 3 times and move on to the next exercise or do all exercises in a circuit 3 times? Thanks for the help.

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Posted Thu, 11/07/2019 - 00:25
Greg

Hey there,

Since everyone keeps asking this, I thought I'd share my results since I've completed the program. I'm a 32 year old male, 178cm height. I've stuck to the calorie values above, as well as the timings for cardio. Now, for cardio I went with cycling and I've always done it right after the weight training. I tried to keep my heart rate at around 135 throughout.
For the diet, it mostly consisted of Oats, sweet potatoes and pumpernickel bread for carbs, chicken, tuna, Greek yoghurt and whey protein for protein and nuts, olive oil for fats. I did stay away from any snacks apart from dark chocolate. Here's my results after 12 weeks.

Weight ~80kg to 74.5
Fat ~25% to 19.5%

Overall, it's a good program that will allow you to loose weight and burn fat at a steady pace, which is good. The conditioning works a treat as well, I'm quite surprised that now I can go on for 45 minutes with a steady 135 hr.

To the good people of M&S, what would you recommend next for someone like myself? Is there a point of another "cutting" program to drop to something like 15% body fat or is it better to focus on muscle mass now and cut again at a later stage? If so, what programs would you recommend?

Many thanks.

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Posted Sun, 10/27/2019 - 16:49
Fajer

I used the workout plan only 4. Weeks and I noticed it’s really work with me my back and legs got shaped more . My cardio was 30 minutes for first 2 weeks then I increased it to 40 Minutes. My intake was fixed calories with deficient 200 cals . I recommend this workout for beginners it will help you a lot. Thank u

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Posted Tue, 10/08/2019 - 04:55
Raqy

Hi i wanna know more about this workout because I started the 1and half week i lost 2,5 kg then on the this week i gained the weight back plus 1kg on.. I followed the program i do cardio and strength training together and it takes me to finish it about 1 hour and the time increase by the cardio time and it's irritated me that I push hard and then instead of losing weight I gain........ So a quick question
do i have to do a 12 week cardio and then do another 12 week weightlifting to see results ??

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Posted Mon, 10/07/2019 - 20:52
Joshua Lim

Hi, great article. I’m 17, not overweight but generally want to be more in shape. What should the daily carb intake be relative to my metabolism?

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Posted Sun, 09/29/2019 - 17:43
Cheryl

HI
....with the carb cycling, can you help me with how many carbs on a low carb day and how many on a medium and high. IM on a low carb day today but Int Fasting ( 1 meal a day) . thank you in advance.

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Posted Mon, 09/23/2019 - 20:40
Mike

Two weeks in, down 9lbs. I struggle to get the protein in some days though. I have added a two sets of pushups on the upper body days at the end of the work out. been running or biking(as long as the weather holds) for cardio.

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Posted Thu, 09/12/2019 - 17:38
Natti

Hi, probably a really obvious answer to this. But when you come to talk about cardio you listed it as:
Week 1 - 3 cardio sessions. 5, 8 and 5 minutes.
Week 2 - 3 cardio sessions. 8, 10 and 8 minutes

I beg your patience, but what does that mean? does it mean that in week 1 - you perform 3 cardio sessions. But in the - 1st session you do a total of 5 minutes, 2nd session a total of 8 minutes and 3rd session a total of 5 minutes of cardio?

Just need some clarification, thanks again. Great post. I look forward to starting this

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Posted Sun, 09/29/2019 - 20:44
Cheryl

I take that as
1st week 3 days of cardio, 1 day a 5 mins cardio, 2nd day a 8 min cardio and 3rd day a 5 mins cardio again.
It is slowly building people up to 4 days of cardio over the week and long sessions.

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Posted Sat, 09/07/2019 - 10:28
CSR

Great program! I lost 20lbs in the 12 weeks without doing the cardio. Highly recommended for beginners or anyone who has been away from fitness for awhile.

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Posted Sun, 09/29/2019 - 21:19
Cheryl

Brilliant

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Posted Tue, 10/08/2019 - 12:29
Qasim

Really? How much fat you lost ?

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Posted Thu, 08/08/2019 - 04:31
Robin

What should i do if i cant do pull ups? Im 175cm 104 kg around 30% body fat.. Is this program good to start with? Been off workout for almost 1.5 years. Or is there any other programs that are better?

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Posted Mon, 08/19/2019 - 08:03
Lusa

Trying using the assures pull-up machine and start with a weight that is difficult but possible. You should be struggling to do the last two almost impossible but able to push through

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Posted Mon, 08/19/2019 - 23:38
Pranjal

Naaa! This plan is bullshit
Try the gravity transformation fat loss program
It works!!!

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Posted Tue, 10/08/2019 - 12:30
Qasim

Is it free?

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Posted Mon, 08/05/2019 - 16:21
Daidipya Mane

I am 15 years old, 5'5" and weigh 67kg. Would you recommend this program for me or is this only for men? If not, I would really appreciate it if you hooked me up with a similar workout plan that you think would suit me.

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Posted Mon, 08/05/2019 - 15:41
Puck

Today marks the start of my 3rd week on the program; started out at 265; today weighed at 254.5. I've been trying to find a decent Ab routine - any advise? Thanks.

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Posted Sun, 07/21/2019 - 23:00
moon

؟ Do I have to apply the calorie system in the program?

Or is just a clarification of the most
If I do not have to follow the calories in the program, how can I know my calories?
I'm girl
58kg
161cm
25% body fat
26 year

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Posted Sun, 07/21/2019 - 13:48
Lou

Who in real life have time for all those annoying calculations. If you have a job, a family and other responsibilities to take care of those are a real blunder.
Why you guy’s at M/S doesn’t do or post any nutrition and meal plan/ diet articles for busy people who want to train hard and eat right and with a limited amount of time to spend on numbers ?

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Posted Sun, 07/28/2019 - 18:05
david crossan

Lou

If you have time to read an article and make a comment you probably have more time than you think. Instead of watching the tv for one night or even 2 nights plan it our your meals. Simple stuff.

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Posted Thu, 08/29/2019 - 07:18
Cyan

SO TRUE

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Posted Wed, 07/10/2019 - 11:25
Chris LaBouve

I’m currently in the gym and eating pretty clean, even though I’ve lost about 150 pounds, I need to lose another 130-150. I’m 6’1” and 335 lbs. I have a terrible metabolism, would you recommend cutting my calories by 300 or more? Also I could use some help setting up my carbs for the low, moderate and high carb days, thanks!

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Posted Tue, 07/09/2019 - 05:21
nawa

hey... I expected to burn fat while gain muscle. is that good to take cardio as that long?

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Posted Thu, 07/11/2019 - 05:20
Jayden Edmand

I think it's mainly designed to burn fat and maybe you might gain some muscle along the way???

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Posted Mon, 07/08/2019 - 15:42
Jayden Edmand

Just started this yesterday looking foward to it and would like to know how other people have found it

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Posted Fri, 07/05/2019 - 10:00
Andrew

For Cardio, could I do Bulgarian Bag and kettlebell circuits?

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Posted Mon, 06/24/2019 - 12:56
Hasseb

Hey, I want to try this program as I'm roughly 15-16% body fat and want it lower. I'm 74kg and 5 "10" . I'm quite experienced in the gym already and can easily do the higher levels of cardio so shall I go straight to the upper end or start with the low minutes first? Also must I do the day's cardio in one sitting or can I for example do half before breakfast and half before workout?

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Posted Sun, 06/23/2019 - 11:15
Brenden Honaker

It says for men between 20-25 add 300 calories, wont that put me in a caloric surplus? I ask because typically I eat calories I burn to be in a net surplus or deficit so do I add 300 calories and not count what I burn instead?

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Posted Sat, 06/22/2019 - 14:38
Darren Maguire

Hi Josh,

If I were to attend the gym on a 5th day, what would you recommend doing? Looking forward to starting this plan on Monday, by the way! Still on holiday at present.

Also, my age is 27 & I'm a male. Do you recommend upping my caloric intake by 300?

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Posted Mon, 06/24/2019 - 11:01
JoshEngland

Hi Darren,

You could freestyle and perform exercises you enjoy or a body part specific workout for a body part you feel needs extra work.

It depends on your goals. If you're trying to gain weight, yes. If not, I wouldn't recommend a surplus.

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Posted Wed, 06/12/2019 - 22:52
Adam Dorathy

Should I decrease the amount of cardio if I walk 12-14 miles a day for my job? I am a mail carrier and walk at a moderate pace while carrying up to 30lbs of mail and packages or less.

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Posted Wed, 06/12/2019 - 12:24
John

Would I experience fat loss while building lean muscle mass if I followed this regime but didn't count calories? I count my protein intake, and have very low amounts of saturated fats in my diet, and try to keep my carbs moderately low.

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Posted Wed, 06/12/2019 - 15:04
JoshEngland

Hi John,

It's certainly possible, but a calorie deficit will be required to lose body fat regardless if you're counting calories or not.

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Posted Tue, 05/28/2019 - 19:00
Train

Not understanding how the calories are picked . I know we are supposed to use the calorie calculator to find out daily but are the moderate day calories set at a deficit or maintenance? Do I eat at small surplus on High carb days?

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Posted Tue, 05/28/2019 - 11:28
joe

i am 262 pounds bmr 3646 calories . I should only eat 2000 cal since i am 42 years old?