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

Max Riley
Written By: Max Riley
May 17th, 2013
Updated: March 22nd, 2021
6.8M 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

 

1.2K Comments
Amit
Posted on: Sun, 11/27/2022 - 01:37

Hi
My weight is 40 and weight is 94 I have started gym 3 months back.
I want to reduce belly fat with heavy chest and biceps
Does this program work for me?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 11/27/2022 - 21:19

It will definitely help with fat loss. Focus on that first, then shift to making muscles bigger.

Ali
Posted on: Sat, 11/26/2022 - 15:37

Hi,

If I don't lose enough fat as I would have liked after running this program does it make sense to rerun for another 12 weeks or switch to another program for fat loss. Also at the end of the program would I implement a deload week or just restart from the beginning from the weights I left off from Week 12?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 11/27/2022 - 21:21

Hi, Ali. This is a great question.

It depends on what your goal was going in. If it was a big goal, and you made serious progress, then yes, run it again after a one week deload.

If you didn't notice significant results at all, then pivot. You can use this resource to help you find another program if you like.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-choose-your-next-train...

Michael Labib
Posted on: Sat, 11/26/2022 - 13:08

Hi, I would like to know how much weight do I need to carry if I will follow that program?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 11/27/2022 - 21:21

Whatever is challenging for you.

Alan
Posted on: Thu, 11/24/2022 - 14:12

Hi I'm just about to start this programme. I've trained on and off over the years but haven't been to a gym since the start of the pandemic. I'm 50 and a good 20-25lb overweight. I've lymphodema in both legs - it's well managed but means running at my current weight is a no no. I'm currently walking 8-10 miles a day, every day at a brisk rate. Heart rate around 110 - is that sufficient cardio or do I need to add more in and vary it in the gym?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 11/26/2022 - 12:51

That would be sufficient, Alan. You could vary it by doing rowers, heavy bag work, or other upper body focused cardio to change it up, though.

Alan
Posted on: Sat, 11/26/2022 - 13:58

Thanks for that - quite fancy a bit of bag work!

Tom
Posted on: Thu, 11/24/2022 - 08:06

So, based on my age - 31 and weight 160 lbs, how much calories should I eat?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 11/26/2022 - 12:49

You would follow the plan as written with no adjustments.

Narek
Posted on: Mon, 11/21/2022 - 16:57

Hi Roger. I need your help. please.
I am 32M, 6ft and weigh 180lbs.I used the BMR + DAILY CALORIE CALCULATOR, and it says that I need about 2600 calories to maintain my weight. Will this diet result in a caloric deficit at the end of the week?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 11/25/2022 - 21:04

I believe this will help you, Narek. Give it a solid run. If you ever feel like you need more calories than what is listed here, up the protein. Good luck, and thanks for reading M&S!

Jana
Posted on: Sat, 11/19/2022 - 17:58

Hello,
I am 35 y/o looking to start this program and am wondering if you have any recommends for protein powder supplement and when to use it (how long after work out and do you use only after a gym day or even on off days)? I have no special dietary restrictions. Thank you

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 11/25/2022 - 20:52

Thanks for reading M&S and the info to go with the question, Jana.

Whey isolate protein is going to be your best option. Unfortunately, I can't recommend a specific brand over another, but if you buy it here on M&S, you can be assured it's a good one. We don't sell bad supplements here. Take it post-workout or anytime you need a quick serving of protein. There really is no restriction on it.

Paul Gabriel La...
Posted on: Thu, 11/17/2022 - 07:11

I loss over 15kg with this plan

Kirsty
Posted on: Wed, 11/16/2022 - 10:27

Hi there,

Great plan! I am looking to start it as my current routine isn't getting the results I want!

I have limited time to complete workouts in my day and can usually fit one half an hour workout in before work and one after due to lack of car / locations etc.

Would it be possible to split up the training each day.

i.e undertake 3 of the 6 sets in each Upper/Lower in the morning and the other 3 in the afternoon? or would this not proove effective?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 11/22/2022 - 08:56

That likely wouldn't be as effective. Keep your rest at an absolute minimum and do the best you can during the first session. When you go back to the second, do the rest and add whatever you feel like you need more work on to fill that second session out.

Lloyd
Posted on: Tue, 11/15/2022 - 23:05

Hi there,

I do Karate 3 nights a week for 1 hour, can I use that to substitute for the cardio sessions?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 11/22/2022 - 08:55

You sure can, Lloyd. Let us know how this goes, and thanks for reading M&S!

Claire
Posted on: Tue, 11/15/2022 - 11:54

Should Casio come before, after, or hours separate (before or after) strength training? What would be best?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 11/20/2022 - 17:28

My guess is you meant cardio. If so, doing it separate is best, but if that isn't possible, do weights first, then cardio. Don't go all-out on cardio before weights because it will negatively impact your performance with the weight training.

Tasos
Posted on: Sat, 11/12/2022 - 04:29

Is jumping rope ok as cardio?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 11/12/2022 - 10:57

Sure is! I love the jump rope.

yogesh
Posted on: Thu, 11/10/2022 - 06:52

Hello,
Really nice workout and diet plan. Thank you so much. I have a question. I have kidney stone and doctor suggested me to not eat more than 100gm of protein per day. as per this plan to reach to 1800 cal, I will need to consume 225gm of protein which I can't do as my kidney stone issue. Can you please suggest me what I can do?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 11/13/2022 - 21:42

Hi, Yogesh! Always, ALWAYS follow doctor advice. Because of the kidney stones, you have alternative issues, which require alternative solutions. Simply eat less calories or focus more on healthy fats and slow-digesting carbs if you need to get to 1800.

yogesh
Posted on: Tue, 11/15/2022 - 09:15

Thank you so much.

Chels
Posted on: Sun, 11/06/2022 - 23:28

Hello! So I want to try to do this 12 week program but for the Cardio plan, since I walk to the gym and back home can that be considered my “cardio”?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 11/12/2022 - 10:59

If your goal is to build muscle, then I would say yes. That was actually my cardio when I first started training. But for fat loss, you need to add some runs to it. Maybe do a HIIT workout with 1 minute run followed by a 1 minute walk. That will also get you home faster.

Joe
Posted on: Wed, 11/02/2022 - 22:14

I had a back injury and can’t do barbell squats. Also I don’t have a leg press. What 2 exercises could I do to replace those 2? Thanks!

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 11/08/2022 - 06:59

You can do dumbbell squats in place of the barbell version since the weight won't be on your back. You can do stationary lunges or split squats in place of the leg press. Hope this helps! If you need more options, check out our Exercises guide at the top of the M&S site.

Katriina
Posted on: Tue, 11/01/2022 - 10:31

Hello and thank you so much!

What kind of warm up you recommend before the weight training? The cardio is done according the plan after the weight training, right?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 11/07/2022 - 11:47

Got an idea for warming up here, Katriina. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/the-best-15-minute-warm-up

Yes, cardio after weight training.

Jake
Posted on: Mon, 10/31/2022 - 04:14

This might be a dumb question but, take a 2300 cal low carb day

20% carb = 115g
30% fat = 76g
Protein would have to be 50% (right?) = 287g

am i understanding that right?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 11/02/2022 - 08:23

Numbers are accurate, Jake.

Fathy Mohsen
Posted on: Sat, 10/29/2022 - 18:20

Question please. When should I do the cardio sessions. Between what excerxises. Thank you

Fathy Mohsen
Posted on: Sat, 10/29/2022 - 18:15

Which cardio do you think is the best for me. Im 185cm and 96kgs.

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 10/30/2022 - 14:40

Answering both questions for you here, Fathy. Do the cardio after your exercises, and I think the elliptical with moving arms would be a great choice.

Fathy Mohsen
Posted on: Tue, 11/01/2022 - 08:32

Im sorry, another question. So after workout in first weeek, should I do 18 minutes of ellipitical? Because I dont get these 3 phases 5.8.5. Thanks and the workout is wonderfull

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 11/07/2022 - 11:44

Believe it or not, those are the times for each workout. 5 minutes for 1 session, 8 for another, and 5 for the third.

Gowthamkrishna
Posted on: Fri, 10/28/2022 - 15:27

So in week 1 the cardio sessions are 5,8 and 5 minutes these cardio sessions should be done on the same day of gym workout or on the resting days??
And the 5,8 and 5 minutes are on the same day or in different sessions??

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 10/28/2022 - 18:55

Same day as gym workouts but on different sessions would be best. Do what you got to do if that isn't doable with your schedule.

Ashly Glover
Posted on: Sat, 10/22/2022 - 11:43

What amount would you consider low, medium, and high for carb count for a women?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 10/23/2022 - 11:21

Hi, Ashly! The gauge I recommend for people is 10-20% of your calories as carbs is low, 20-40 is medium, and anything over 40% would be high.

Hope this helps!

Will
Posted on: Fri, 10/21/2022 - 17:03

Thank you for posting this great workout. I’m just about to finish week 7, and I am thinking of continuing this after week 12 as while I’m seeing results the weight has not come down to a level I would like.

Am I okay to continue to this for longer, and if so am I okay to run the cardio at the same intensity as week 12 for as long as needed, or is that a little too much to be doing every week and therefore the amount should be reduced / built up to again. Thank you.

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 10/22/2022 - 08:21

Go with it as long as you continue noticing progress, Will. Congrats on the progress you've made already!

Erika
Posted on: Thu, 10/20/2022 - 13:54

Wondering what percent of calories is considered low/moderate/high carbs?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 10/22/2022 - 08:07

That was never established, Erika. I would go with 10-20 as low, 20-40 as moderate, and anything over 40 as high (all percentages).

Nick K
Posted on: Mon, 10/17/2022 - 02:12

Followed this program for the last 6 months on top of a very strict diet. I was able to lose 63lbs and 6.1% Body Fat. Thank you so much for proving this Information, made working out a breeze.

ali
Posted on: Sun, 10/16/2022 - 03:29

i need fatloss and lean muscle building workout plan intermediate level plz