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
download pdfDownload Workout

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.

Editor's Note: Make sure you’re doing all the right things you need to be doing to lose body fat. For those looking for a more in-depth resource to teach them how to lose fat, we’ve created a FREE 5 day Fat Loss Email Course.

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.

Need help losing fat? Take our FREE 5-part email Fat Loss Course!

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!

526 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 09/28/2020 - 03:48
Hossi

I start This program 28/09/2020 at the morning kl:08:11
H:171 W:73kg BF: 25%
Just 5 min cardio from week 1-6?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 09/28/2020 - 09:24
Abigail_M&S

Hey Hossi - the cardio is as follows:
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.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 09/28/2020 - 17:25
Hossi

Tanks
I train at the morning kl 08:00 till 09:00
How can I arrange my meal and supplement plan

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/29/2020 - 09:00
Abigail_M&S

Hey Hossi - use our BMR calculator to get an idea of your daily caloric needs: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Depending on your goal, you can adjust your calories accordingly.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 09/26/2020 - 08:20
Michael D

How much rest in between sets and in between each exercise?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 09/28/2020 - 09:27
Abigail_M&S

Hey Michael - rest between sets should be kept around 45-60 seconds. Rest between exercises should be around 2-3 minutes. Hope that helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 09/23/2020 - 22:30
Natalie Moore

This may seem like a silly question, but what are we meant to do after the 12 weeks is over? Is this a sustainable workout/diet program for longer than the 12 weeks?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 09/24/2020 - 15:06
Abigail_M&S

Hey Natalie - good question! It all depends on your goals after the 12 weeks. What are you looking to achieve?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 09/21/2020 - 06:42
Maria Moura

Are there alternatives for those without a gym? I had to quite recently because of money.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 09/25/2020 - 09:10
Abigail_M&S

Hey Maria - We have a large selection of home workouts! Check out this dumbbell only home workout: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dumbbell-only-home-or-gym-ful...

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 09/17/2020 - 16:46
Tan

What are the rest times between sets and exercises?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 09/25/2020 - 09:17
Abigail_M&S

Hey Tan - A good rule of thumb is 45-60 seconds of rest between sets. Time between exercises is 2-3 minutes or however long it takes you to set up for the next exercise. Hope that helps!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 09/16/2020 - 14:37
Amol

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.

Can you pls explain what does this mean?
I am doing cardio daily for 30 minutes with break of only 1 day during the week.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 09/25/2020 - 09:23
Abigail_M&S

Hey Amol - here's a breakdown of a sample week:

Week 1-6:
Mon. - Upper A w/ cardio after
Tues. - Lower A
Wed. - Cardio
Thurs. - Upper B
Fri. - Lower B w/ cardio after
Sat. - REST
Sun. - REST

Weeks 7-12:
Mon. - Upper A w/ cardio after
Tues. - Lower A w/ cardio after
Wed. - REST
Thurs. - Upper B w/ cardio after
Fri. - Lower B w/ cardio after
Sat. - REST
Sun. - REST

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 09/13/2020 - 06:12
Vali

Today is 13/09/2020. I am going to try this 12-week program and I will post my result.
Age 22, height 166 cm, weight is 87 kg.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 09/25/2020 - 16:15
Abigail_M&S

Hey Vali - keep us updated with your progress!

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 09/11/2020 - 15:12
Rafael

Hi there! I'm about to start this plan after a 12-week PHUL bulking phase. Should I deload before jumping in?

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 09/25/2020 - 16:16
Abigail_M&S

Hey Rafael - a deload week would be a good idea to give your body a bit of a rest before starting this program.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 09/07/2020 - 12:09
Fatemeh

I would like to start this program, but got some questions:
I do cardio 6 days a week for 30-45 mins up to 1 hour.
Can I stick to my own cardio days + using the weight plan mentioned above?
Ofc doing 3-4 days cardio in a week make me supper happy however, i'll feel a bit of backwards in my routine.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 09/25/2020 - 16:17
Abigail_M&S

Hey Fatemeh - it's recommended to follow the program as written

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 09/06/2020 - 13:01
Jason

I just finished my 7th week of this plan, and have seen good results so far. I have lost most of the fat around my mid section (I’ve been skinny fat for while now), I’m gaining strength and muscle tone, and my cardio has improved greatly. I plan on completing the program, but would like to continue with another plan of sorts. Something to help me build more strength and muscle, while remaining slim. Are there any other plans someone could recommend for when I reach my 12th week of this one?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 09/10/2020 - 11:57
Marina_M&S

Hey Jason - check out our Lean Mass workout here:
https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/6-week-workout-program-to-bui...

Let me know if this is something you're interested in - or if you're looking for another recommendation.

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 09/12/2020 - 18:35
Jason

Hey Marina,

Thanks for your help. This routine/plan looks great. I think it’s exactly what I’m looking for. :)

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 09/12/2020 - 20:46
Marina_M&S

Awesome! Let us know how it goes!!

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/31/2020 - 05:37
Sara

3 weeks into this program, weight hasn’t changed but I notice my stamina / endurance has picked up during my cardio hours (I am horrible at jogging, which is what I’ve chosen to do for my cardio option). Cravings and hunger is also way down, and I am also significantly less bloated and am now able to fit into shorts that were way too tight mid-quarantine. Excited for the remaining 9 weeks! Thanks for this!!

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 09/01/2020 - 15:33
Daniel_M&S

Sara - great results, nice work!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sun, 08/16/2020 - 02:20
Thomas Mac Queen

I was just curious on what you are supposed to do in the cardio days, I’m confused on what I’d do on a treadmill for those days

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/19/2020 - 10:49
Yoshi

Hey Thomas

If you're starting with a treadmill I recommend starting with a brisk walk (fast enough to get your heart rate up a bit) and working up to a light jog.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 08/28/2020 - 17:46
Coach Claude

Hey Thomas,

You get on a treadmill and walk/jog/run on it for 10-30 minutes if you're a beginner, and 30-60 if you're not a beginner.

Hope this helped!

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 08/12/2020 - 04:00
Mo

i am doing intermittent fasting. I always train before I can eat. Would this be fine with this program too

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 08/11/2020 - 16:01
Giulietta Latva

What is a low carb day for example? Moderate carb day?

I'm pretty sure peanut M&Ms dont qualify.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 08/11/2020 - 16:17
Yoshi

Hey Giulietta

I've answered this question below, check the other comments. Let me know if there's anything else you need help with!

No Profile Pic
Posted Sat, 08/08/2020 - 22:55
Tim

What would be considered low carb, moderate carb, and high carb? Is there a gram threshold to stay under?

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/10/2020 - 10:13
Yoshi

Hey Tim

That is all going to be contingent on your BMR and what your daily intake looks like. Here's a rough example of a ratio of your fat:carbs:proteins

High Carb - 1:6:4
Medium Carb - 1:5:4
Low Carb - 1:4:4

These are rough examples, but I hope this gives you better understanding.

No Profile Pic
Posted Fri, 08/28/2020 - 17:48
Coach Claude

Low carbs are veggies
Medium carbs are sweet potatoes/rice
High carbs are junk food

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 08/06/2020 - 10:42
Lel

im going to try this 12 week program and post results. Only problem is eating right for some reason i cant stop eating junk food.
Age 28, height184 cm, weight 121kg

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/10/2020 - 10:06
Yoshi

Hey Lel

I know breaking the junk food kick is hard, but that ultimately comes down to willpower. Throw out the junk food you keep stocked that's tempting you. Get some almonds to help with snack cravings.

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 08/03/2020 - 22:41
Posso

I am going to try this 12 week program and i will post my result.
Age 45 ,height 172 cm, weight is 98 kg and i have a big belly.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 08/04/2020 - 10:07
Yoshi

Excited to see your results Posso!

This is a great program. If you stick with it you're gonna feel amazing at the end.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/30/2020 - 08:04
Bilal

I will have a week of traveling during week 4 of this program. What would you suggest as the course of action if I am not able to stick to this workout? Should I just get back and resume as normal or add another week?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/30/2020 - 09:51
Yoshi

Hey Bilal

Do your best to stay active while you're traveling! Hotel workouts or something. When you get back resume from where you left off.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/29/2020 - 14:19
Mano

would you explain how to input the cardio plan into the schedule as the the workout pattern is 4 days whlie the cardio (for example) the 1st 6 WKs the 3 session 1 day on 1 day off so, would you explain more.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/30/2020 - 10:01
Yoshi

Hey Mano

For the first 6 weeks you'll pick 3 of your 4 days and add cardio on to the end of your workout. Once you get to your 4 days per week cardio you'll just do it at the end of each workout.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 09/24/2020 - 15:46
Abigail_M&S

Hey Zuhaib -

Here's an example of weeks 1-6:
Mon. - Upper A w/ cardio after
Tues. - Lower A
Wed. - Cardio
Thurs. - Upper B
Fri. - Lower B w/ cardio after
Sat. - REST
Sun. - REST

Weeks 7-12:
Mon. - Upper A w/ cardio after
Tues. - Lower A w/ cardio after
Wed. - REST
Thurs. - Upper B w/ cardio after
Fri. - Lower B w/ cardio after
Sat. - REST
Sun. - REST

No Profile Pic
Posted Mon, 09/21/2020 - 16:14
Zuhaib

Hi,

I am still confused. Can you elaborate with an example of first week into cardio/ workout rotuine.

Thank you.

No Profile Pic
Posted Wed, 07/22/2020 - 20:52
Jason

Hello.

How necessary is it to consume the posted minimum 180 grams of protein each day. This seems like a lot. I was always under the impression that 1 gram per lb of weight is all that is necessary to build muscle. Is the 180 gram recommendation essential in helping remove body fat. I am 45, and weigh 165ish lbs, 5’11ish in height. I was a steady 150 lbs until the past few years and now carry the extra 15ish lbs in my mid section, so I would consider myself skinny fat. I would like to remove the fat I carry on my mid section, and have always wanted to gain a little more muscle and become fit(ter) and confident. Maybe I’m answering my own question here. That said, if I do experience positive results from participating in this plan, will I need to maintain the 180 gram intake of protein each day to maintain the muscle I grow and the fat I lose, or could I maintain my results by lowering my protein intake and following another plan that you might be able to recommend. Thanks in advance. :)

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/23/2020 - 15:46
Yoshi

Hey Jason

You'll want to stick to these guidelines to see the results. Trying to eat your way to your protein goal without blowing past your calorie can be a daunting task. I recommend supplementing with a good protein powder. The average serving size contains anywhere from 25-50 grams of protein. 2-3 shakes a day throughout the day makes hitting your numbers much more doable for most people.

No Profile Pic
Posted Tue, 07/28/2020 - 16:15
Yoshi

Hey Jason

You're doing a great job keeping on top of things! From my experience, and from what I've gather from other trainers and clients, a good many people prefer MyFitnessPal. It is a lot of information though and you've got to play with it quite a bit to be able to record things accurately.

As far as the number of daily calories goes, consider these numbers more as guidelines. Every person's body is different, so every person's calorie goals are going to slightly vary.

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/23/2020 - 18:33
Jason

Hi Yoshi. Thanks for replying so quickly. I have been taking in two protein shakes per day, equalling 70g of protein, on top of my food intake. Trying to stay away from beef and pork for now (trying to watch my LDL cholesterol intake), eating mainly skinless chicken breast, fish, canned tuna, legumes, low fat dairy as my main sources of protein. It has been a lot of work counting calories, carbs, protein, and fat since I started this program about a week ago. I have been using the MyFitnessPal app (free version) to help organize this for me. Do you have any tips on how I can use this app more effectively as I have noticed that there are so many food options with nutritional information that does not add up. Or do you recommend another source for this information?

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 07/23/2020 - 18:53
Jason

Also... How important is it that I reach the calorie allowance for the day. I have been able to keep under the maximum allowed calories, but do I need to reach them?