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

Max Riley
Written By: Max Riley
May 17th, 2013
Updated: March 22nd, 2021
8.7M 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

 

1.6K Comments
Eric
Posted on: Tue, 07/09/2024 - 21:17

I was thinking about trying this 12 week program out,looking to get back in shape and lose extra bodyfat. I did day one, not too bad. I'm basically using my garage/home gym. I don't have a machine, but plenty of free weights, dumbells, a rig and bands. Is this the program I should use, are there any modification or substitute movements I can look at in place of machines?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 07/12/2024 - 08:38

Hey Eric, I think this is a great choice. Check out our Exercises section at the top of the site so you can find free weight versions of exercises to replace those with machines. Bands can be a great substitution for cables as well. Best of luck, and let us know how it goes.

Chris
Posted on: Tue, 07/09/2024 - 18:03

Hey guys I’m 38 5’11 and 369lbs I’m trying to lose this weight and any tips or advice would be great open to all ideas

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 07/12/2024 - 08:31

Hey Chris, this workout and the guide below can both be a great help on your journey.

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

Hope this helps!

Mitchell
Posted on: Sun, 07/07/2024 - 21:17

Sounds like a solid approach, however, I am one of those blessed / cursed individuals whose maintenance cals are 3200 or will lose weight too rapidly amd strength will tank / be lethargic. . How do I adjust this plan? 2300 calories off the rip and I'll be hangry all day; squirrels might look snackable and will ponder if a passerby will really miss that arm.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 07/11/2024 - 05:44

Going to be honest, Mitchell. If strength loss and hangry is a concern, then this may not be the one for you. If you were to take it on anyway, add enough protein that you think you will keep your strength close to baseline and not randomly bite people walking by.

Macka
Posted on: Sun, 07/07/2024 - 15:13

What’s considered low-high carb for a female?
Also should protein or fat be increased on days where it’s low to moderate carbs ?
For ages 30-35, which plan is appropriate?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 07/11/2024 - 05:28

Hi Macka, I can't speak for the author on this, but my personal suggestions would be 10-15 percent for low, and 35-40 percent on high.

Protein or fat does not need to be increased.

The standard plan as written would be what the author recommends for ages 30-35.

James
Posted on: Thu, 07/04/2024 - 10:53

Im looking to loose a bit of fat but mostly gain/be more lean. Is this workout 12 Week Fat Destroyer: Complete Fat Loss Workout & Diet Program the right one?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 07/08/2024 - 08:26

I think you got a great one here, James. Take it on with all you got.

Aanya
Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2024 - 03:01

Hey, if you're a teenager would you follow the 20-25 ages recommended calorie increase or have it lower?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2024 - 20:05

Hello, Aanya, I would suggest going with the 20-25 number. Hope this helps.

Dk
Posted on: Tue, 06/25/2024 - 10:28

How are the cardio sessions broken up?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 06/26/2024 - 19:45

Do them when you can, as long as they are not three days in a row.

Don Dons
Posted on: Sun, 06/23/2024 - 23:51

I have stayed this program today, loved day one, looking forward to seeing my 12 week results.
Thanks for such adorable program. I am a shiftworker and this program means Iam in and out of the gym without being there for hours.

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 06/24/2024 - 06:26

We appreciate the feedback and are here for support if needed along the way. Thanks for reading M&S!

Douglas Kitchen
Posted on: Tue, 06/18/2024 - 09:28

I run 3 miles 5 days a week. Should I stop this and follow your cardio program to a tee, or continue?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2024 - 08:07

Hi Douglas, how lean are you at the moment, or what is your goal for fat loss? That can help me better answer this question.

Douglas Kitchen
Posted on: Mon, 07/01/2024 - 12:09

Thank you! It does help.

Douglas Kitchen
Posted on: Sat, 06/29/2024 - 20:51

I am 6’0” 208lbs. Last year I was 255lbs. I’ve completed the 12 week dumbbell 5 day program with happy results. I would like to lose 10 more lbs of fat.

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 06/30/2024 - 08:01

I would say stick with the running you've been doing in that case. Your body is more used to the extended training, and this may not serve you as well.

Douglas Kitchen
Posted on: Sun, 06/30/2024 - 09:03

No problem. Just for clarity on my part, keep doing what I’m doing until I reach my goal? Or start the fat destroyer program and continue with my running routine?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 06/30/2024 - 19:53

Do the Fat Destroyer program, but instead of the recommended Cardio, keep doing what you're doing.

Hope that helps!

Khai
Posted on: Mon, 06/17/2024 - 05:44

Is it too little exercises for building muscle? I mean only 2 exercises for chest, shoulder a week, im confused

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 06/18/2024 - 08:39

Hi Khai, this program can help beginners get started for building muscle. Even though you are training with limited exercises, you are hitting everything twice a week. If you have been training a while, then you may need something a little more challenging. Where are you at right now, and where do you want to go?

Amisha Shandilya
Posted on: Sat, 06/15/2024 - 02:10

I just completed this program. I wasn't very much consistent with my diet but still I was able to lose inches around my waist and 5 kgs. I can also see muscles in my calves, thighs, biceps and shoulders. And my cardio capabilities has also increased.
I loved this program. Completely beginner friendly.

Ashley
Posted on: Sat, 06/08/2024 - 05:31

If you had to choose 3 supplements to maximize weight loss, which ones would you opt for?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 06/14/2024 - 08:00

Hi Ashley, if you are over 18 and overall healthy, I would suggest l-carnitine, an energy supplement, and a quality whey protein isolate.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend individual brands, but if they are on M&S, they make good products. I hope this helps!

maryam
Posted on: Fri, 06/07/2024 - 02:47

Hello! Thank you very much for this comprehensive program! I will start tomorrow, wish me luck :) - my target is losing 10 kilos

I have a quick question, if I workout first thing in the morning, is it better to workout on an empty stomach or eat a pre workout snack? Also, I'm targeting stubborn belly fat, so should I do my mentioned cardio exercises before or after my workouts?

Many thanks!!!

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 06/13/2024 - 06:58

Hi Maryam.

Best of luck on the goal. Eating a small snack before training would be best. Cardio should come after weights. It will help you burn more calories that way. Keep us posted on how you're doing along the way!

Marcelle Bosch
Posted on: Mon, 06/03/2024 - 11:54

Hi. I started with this 12 week plan. When is the best time to do the cardio, before or after weight training?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 06/10/2024 - 06:48

Hi Marcelle, always do cardio after weight training. Your body uses glycogen for energy when doing intense activity. Using that glycogen for weight training will help you because when you do cardio, your body will resort to excess calories for fat loss.

Eric
Posted on: Mon, 06/03/2024 - 07:55

What if I can't do a pull up?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 06/10/2024 - 06:46

Are you training at home or in a gym, Eric? I want to offer the best advice possible here.

Amisha Shandilya
Posted on: Tue, 06/11/2024 - 13:58

I have the same issue...I can't do a pull up. I workout at gym.

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 06/14/2024 - 07:58

Hi Amisha, then see if the gym has a pullup assistant or if you can use a resistance band to hook your feet into while connected to the bar for assistance. If neither is an option, then go with pulldowns.

Allison
Posted on: Fri, 05/24/2024 - 08:08

Today is my last day of the 12 week program
I wanted to say thank you. As of today, I've lost 29 pounds. My strength has increased and so has my endurance. I truly love this program and it was exactly what I needed to get off the couch and get moving. Thank you so much!

Shabz
Posted on: Thu, 05/23/2024 - 09:30

I am doing workouts 4 times a week am 34 years women, with clean diet ,no outside food,cola or sugary drinks. I don't have any medical issue still am not looking a KG.i am 5 ft4 and weight 70 , I have broken cartilage so running is difficult. How am gonna get myself on this plan?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 05/28/2024 - 08:33

What kind of cardio can you do, Shabz? Have you used any other machines or cardio styles that has helped you?

Star
Posted on: Sun, 05/12/2024 - 08:12

Am 62 years old man. Weight 184 pounds. How do I use your program to lose fat and build muscle

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 05/20/2024 - 06:07

Are you new to training and fitness or have you been working out for a while?

Zack gauthier
Posted on: Sat, 05/11/2024 - 18:43

Can i do upper A on day1, lower A on day 2 than 1 day of than go upper b on day 4 and lower b on day 5 but only take 1 reste day than restarting the process ? So i'm Going 5 day perweek ?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 05/20/2024 - 06:06

I think you can do that, Zack. Best of luck, and thank you for reading M&S!

Milan
Posted on: Fri, 05/10/2024 - 14:08

Greetings

What would be ideal lifting weight to start for arm and leg exercises? I plan to start this program soon. So i want to know about what weight to start. I did not use the gym before. Just for the cardio trainings.

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 05/20/2024 - 06:05

Hi Milan, this plan may be a little advanced for you if you are new to the gym. I would suggest going with a routine like this first to get used to working within a gym and training consistently before taking anything else on.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/start-from-scratch-beginner-w...

After you finish that one, then come on back to this one and see if you are ready to take it on.

Milan
Posted on: Mon, 05/20/2024 - 06:55

Greeting

Thank you for recommendation, I will do like that.

Kind regards

Anand
Posted on: Mon, 05/06/2024 - 09:47

My body weight is currently 85
My BMR is 1818 and TDEE is 2800

Should I start with the given macros

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 05/20/2024 - 06:03

Hi Anand, you are asking this on the Fat Destroyer article, so my guess is you want to lose weight. If that is the case, then I suggest taking in 1500 calories so you are eating less than the BMR. This will help you consistently lose weight at a healthy pace without starving yourself.

Shanny
Posted on: Tue, 04/16/2024 - 23:39

Nice! Excited to try

Carlos
Posted on: Tue, 04/16/2024 - 07:21

Hi, I'm 47 years old. Can you send me an example of
what meals shall I have please.
Shall I do stretching before or after workouts? Thank you