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

Max Riley
Written By: Max Riley
May 17th, 2013
Updated: March 22nd, 2021
6.5M Reads
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

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.

Recommended: Need help losing fat? Take our Free Fat Loss Course

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 8 - 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

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

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

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

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

 

1K Comment
Veronique
Posted on: Thu, 05/26/2022 - 22:24

Hi, how long the rest between sets and exercise please ?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/27/2022 - 21:05

Hello, Veronique. Rest for 45-60 seconds between sets.

Ryan
Posted on: Mon, 05/23/2022 - 15:19

any guidelines for intensity on the cardio? Should I be taking it easy, going all out, HIIT, trying to ramp up the heart rate?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Thu, 05/26/2022 - 21:11

I prefer HIIT myself, Ryan, but if you need to alternate between that and moderate effort occasionally, that would be okay too.

Luis
Posted on: Sun, 05/22/2022 - 17:41

I’m 41 years of age and my BMR is 3250 calories. I know rule of thumb is to be in a a caloric deficit. I reduce my calorie intake by 500-1000 it is to be equivalent to 1-2 pounds of weight loss. With that being said my Carole intake should be between 2750-2250. Do I follow these guidelines for my calorie intake or do I follow the exact breakdown listed in meal plan?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Thu, 05/26/2022 - 21:08

I suggest starting with that 2750, Luis. Gradually work your way down by 100 every two weeks, and make sure you add a few minutes of cardio every two weeks as well. If you don't see progress after four weeks, go with the exact breakdown in this plan.

Rushil
Posted on: Sat, 05/21/2022 - 07:23

I am 31, havent been to the gym in the last 2 years and am looking to start now. I am 5'7 weighing 180 lbs. My goal is to get to 140-145lbs. Could you help me understand the caloric intake for this plan. I am not able to understand the same.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Wed, 05/25/2022 - 19:30

Hi, Rushil. This might be a surprise, but if you're just now starting back up, I don't suggest following this. It would be easier and less complicated for you to simply start transitioning into eating healthier foods on a normal basis. For the next four weeks, simply try to eat 5 meals a day that have protein, fats, and a small amount of healthy carbs. Drink water with each meal as well. During this month, get yourself back into a training routine. After that month, gauge your progress, and then you might be able to transition into a program like this.

Seriously, keep it simple to start with, and eventually the results will come.

Rushil
Posted on: Wed, 05/25/2022 - 23:37

Thank you Roger for this great piece of information. I shall to get back into routine slowly.

VERONICA JONES ...
Posted on: Sun, 05/15/2022 - 18:41

I am a 48 year old female, 130lbs, 5ft 5in, seeking to hain lean muscle and lose 15 lbs (in 3 months), I've gained in last two years. I'm plant based and a beginner to weight training and tracking carbs, proteins, etc. HELP, feeling super overwhelmed but REALLY want to start a program. I hike my local mountain 4xs per week, 90 mins & just joined a gym, but not sure where to start? Thanks so much.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:18

Hi, Veronica. The biggest issue we've found with people focusing on plant-based programs is finding protein sources. This should help.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/ultimate-guide-vegan-vegetari...

If tracking macros is that overwhelming, don't do it. Simply make sure you're eating 5-6 small meals a day that have a balance of protein, carbs, and fats. This article isn't going to be as beneficial for you because of how active you are.

As for the gym workouts, full-body training may help you more because of your activity outside of the gym. Try this one.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/best-full-body-workout-routin...

Hope all this helps!

VERONICA JONES ...
Posted on: Sat, 05/21/2022 - 04:59

Very helpful & thanks so much!

Malo
Posted on: Sun, 05/15/2022 - 03:45

Question:

The cardio for week 1 says 3 sessions, so does that mean I do cardio Monday, Wednesday, & Friday for week 1?

Also is it ok if I add home workouts or more gym workouts to the routine, if so how much more workouts is considered ok?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:13

Yes, Malo. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

I wouldn't do more than 1-2 workouts a week. Why do you feel you need them?

Jessi
Posted on: Sat, 05/14/2022 - 15:20

should I be doing the cardio sessions on the same days as the weight lifting?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:11

You can, but you don't have to, Jessi. Do them whenever you can, preferably after workouts if they are on the same day. Just don't skip them.

Raj
Posted on: Fri, 05/13/2022 - 13:04

If I'm 44 and doing this plan and doing 180 grams of protein per day. What should the numbers be for fat and carbs on low carb, moderate carb and high carb days? Thank you!

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:23

Hi, Raj. Fats would be in the 44-66 grams per day range. Carbs will vary from day to day, but it should be in the rough range of 200-280 grams. If you are still having trouble with the math, let me know and we will try to figure it out.

Raj
Posted on: Sat, 05/21/2022 - 18:45

Thank you

Leonard Torga
Posted on: Thu, 05/12/2022 - 00:10

is this giving me the option to follow the 12 week cardio and the 12 week gym workout split, or can i only pick one? thanks

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:10

No, Leonard. You are to do both on this plan.

Christopher
Posted on: Sun, 05/08/2022 - 21:14

Do the calorie counts in the article already include the added 300 calories for people from 20-25 (or a little older, I'm 26)? Similarly, for a 5'10" 26yo male weighing ~180lbs, if I eat 185g protein, the low carb day has me at like 255g carbs. Is that correct? That's with the 30% fat.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:10

No, the 300 added calories are not added, Christopher. Also, your numbers are correct.

Michael
Posted on: Sun, 05/08/2022 - 18:30

Hi, I’m 86kg but looking to get down to 70kg by the 24th august for my holiday which program could you suggest ?

Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:09

This one could be a great choice for you, Michael. How much training experience do you have?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Thu, 05/26/2022 - 21:05

No problem! Give this routine a go, and come on back if you got questions along the way. We want to see you succeed!

Michael
Posted on: Sun, 05/22/2022 - 14:45

Hi roger

Not alot to be honest mate, just starting to get into the swing of things..

Rachel Harding
Posted on: Sun, 05/08/2022 - 05:09

I am 31, 5”8 and weigh 165 pounds - for two months I’ve been on 1500 calories, 110g protein and doing strength training and cardio 4 times a week. My scale hasn’t budged and my measurements have only marginally changed. Will following the calories suggested on here kick start my fat loss? I don’t know where to turn.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:08

Hi, Rachel. It may take a bit to see the results, but yes, you should see progress on this plan. Give yourself a couple of days to satisfy cravings and treat yourself before starting this one. It will help mentally as well as physically.

Christopher
Posted on: Sat, 05/07/2022 - 22:27

Hi there. I’m a 26yo male (add 300 calories) at about 180lbs. If I use W1D1 as an example, I would add 300 to the first day for a total of 2600. I could have 185g of protein, 30% of calories as fat (780 calories) and the rest would go to carbs. If that’s the case, it would be like 270g of carbs for the low carb days. Did I do my math wrong here? It seems like a hell of a lot of carbs for the low carb day.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:07

Your math is correct, Christopher. If you're training hard and consistently, then those calories will get put to use. If you try it and find that you're not losing weight, decrease those calories. It should be okay for you, though.

Amisha
Posted on: Sat, 04/30/2022 - 12:03

It says
Women 20-25 - Increase daily calories by 200.
What do you mean by that? To reduce 200 calories from the recommended calorie intake mentioned in the program or something else? Please tell.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/20/2022 - 21:06

Hi, Amisha. That means to eat 200 calories more because your metabolism is working faster than older women, and you can use those calories to help you.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Wed, 05/25/2022 - 19:26

Correct, add 200 calories to that. It can be protein or fats. I suggest a combination of both.

Amisha
Posted on: Sat, 05/21/2022 - 01:15

So the 12 Week Eating Plan for Women you gave in that I should add 200 calories more?

Israa
Posted on: Thu, 04/28/2022 - 11:33

I didn’t understand the week cardio plan …for example in week 1
The 3 cardio sessions mean that I will do cardio in 3 days ? First day will be 5 minutes the second day will be 8 minutes and the third day will be 5 minutes of cardio ? That’s it ? If I’m Wrong please some one Explain to me…

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Thu, 05/19/2022 - 21:00

Not wrong, Israa.

Will
Posted on: Tue, 04/26/2022 - 16:17

I typically do 30 minutes of cardio a day, in addition to whatever I’m working on in the gym. Would it be best for stick with that with this plan, or to only do the shorter cardio times listed?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Thu, 04/28/2022 - 10:03

Hey Will, try the cardio as designed on this program. The change may serve you well.

Ryan
Posted on: Mon, 04/25/2022 - 09:27

Thanks for this. I have a torn rotator cuff so am sidelined for a bit. The walking/cardio though has helped burns some Covid fat. 13/3.2 gets me into target heat zone for the suggested cardio intervals. On week 10 down 10lbs. Thank you!

Paul
Posted on: Mon, 04/25/2022 - 06:56

This workout really worked for me.
But I think I am ready for a change.
What workout would you suggest I move onto if I want to continue to increase strength and fitness

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/27/2022 - 21:44
Pardis
Posted on: Sun, 04/24/2022 - 04:11

Hi, I am a 45 year old woman. With a height of 160 cm and a weight of 58 kg. What do you suggest for strength training at home? With dumbbells and mini loop. What is your suggestion for calorie consumption to lose 3 kg of weight?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/27/2022 - 21:47

Hi, Pardis. For the calories part of your question, consider reading this and coming up with a plan that will work for you.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/fat-loss

As for the dumbbell workout, go with this, and add your loop in where you see fit. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/3-day-full-body-dumbbell-workout

Hope this helps!

Amisha
Posted on: Sun, 04/17/2022 - 11:38

Hello Team,
Been following your workouts and they are great.
If I'm on and off in y journey and considering this plan as my first serious program which workout plan will you recommend that I should flow after these 12 weeks. I'm aiming for fat loss and obviously look leaner and slim.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sun, 04/24/2022 - 20:28

Give this one a go, Amisha. Hope it serves you well! Thanks for reading and supporting M&S!

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/8-week-fat-incinerator-workout

Savin
Posted on: Fri, 04/15/2022 - 03:51

Hi, I am 5'11 and 295 lbs. My work doesnt consist of any moment so i am doing a 2000 cal low carb diet.I want to start this workout. Can i follow low carb meal for the rest of the week or is it recommended to do a alternative low carb and high carb diet.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sun, 04/24/2022 - 20:27

Switching is recommended so your body doesn't adapt to either regimen for too long, Savin.

Lou
Posted on: Tue, 04/12/2022 - 09:32

I have been doing this program pretty strictly for four weeks now, I am 5'8" and 170lbs. When I started I was 176 (I feel like the 6 lbs. I lost were mostly water weight). I have seen significant gains in strength (added weight to all exercises more than once), and I feel great. My question is when will I see the scale start to change? I understand that muscle weighs more than fat, but could I really still be gaining more muscle than losing fat after 4 weeks?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sun, 04/24/2022 - 20:26

Have you had a bodyfat test, Lou? How are your clothes fitting? There are more ways to gauge progress than the scale. If you've lost six pounds in four weeks, that is a 1.5 pound/week average, which is actually a healthy pace.