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.

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!

333 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 10/04/2018 - 23:31
Josh

In the beginning it said you were going to tell us exactly what to eat, but there was nothing about what we should eat other than how many numbers we need to consume, but how does on portion or even count those calories? Any tips on meal plans or anything like that?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:37
JoshEngland

Hi Josh,

That's a toughy because everyone is so different. I'd recommend the following:

Start Here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Go Here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-calculate-perfect-macros

Finish Up Here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 09/28/2018 - 02:31
Noor jamal

Hey josh
Is this workout good for fat burning
My weight is a bit 72kg and I take 2800 calories per day so how much calories should I cut for fat burning. Thnx

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 09/28/2018 - 09:22
JoshEngland

Hi Noor,

Yes, this workout can help you burn calories to promote fat loss.

For nutrition tips:

Start Here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Go Here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-calculate-perfect-macros

Finish Up Here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

Hope this helps!

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Posted Mon, 09/03/2018 - 12:37
Shawn

your recommended supplements, when and how should i take it?

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Posted Sun, 09/02/2018 - 08:49
Ryan

I know this is gonna sound dumb but should the cardio and the weight lifting be done on the same day

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Posted Mon, 08/27/2018 - 11:02
Steel Phoenix

What is considered low carb and moderate carb amounts? And what should those carbs consist of specifically day by day?

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Posted Sun, 08/26/2018 - 02:13
Abdullah

Everything seems nice, but I just wanna know when to do the cardio? Right After the workouts? Or early in the morning?! Or night time?
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/27/2018 - 08:50
JoshEngland

Hi Abdullah,

I'd do it either in the morning or right after your workout.

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Posted Thu, 08/23/2018 - 13:32
SA

What percent macros is appropriate for a low, moderate, and high carb day?

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Posted Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:43
Kelly

I'm almost embarrassed to ask but what is upper and lower A and B? I've only heard references to upper and lower body. Thank you!

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Posted Sat, 08/25/2018 - 13:54
Michelle Liebgo...

Upper and lower refer to upper and lower body. A and b are about what you do first (a) in the week and second (b) in the week.

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Posted Mon, 07/30/2018 - 09:42
Clint

Hi, Josh.

I'm a complete newbie at the gym and I don't have any clue how much weight I can start with. I hope this works and I will keep you posted! btw, Will this still work even if I work in a 500 calorie deficit? Thank you for posting this!

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 07/30/2018 - 15:09
JoshEngland

Hi Clint,

Use 75-85% of your working max for that rep range. You should feel as though you have 1-2 rep left in the tank after each set.

Yes, this program is meant to be performed in a deficit.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 07/20/2018 - 22:50
Nick

Just finished this program and it is a damn good one to jump back into the gym. I didn't follow the diet plan and just did the workouts and cardio and got significant change in strength and conditioning. The cardio conditioning is no joke I was struggling at the 20 minute days and then by the end of it 35 and 45 minutes even after an hour you feel like you can keep going. I toned up and lost about 15 pounds on this and I have no doubt if I was following the diet plan I could have easily lost 30+ pounds.

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Posted Tue, 09/25/2018 - 01:52
Jake

How do the cardio sessions work?
Like Week 1 3 sessions of 5 minutes, 8 minutes, & 5 minutes; does that mean 1 session of 5 minutes on Monday then off on Tuesday then pick it back up on Wednesday?? Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 09/26/2018 - 16:57
JoshEngland

Hi Jake,

Yes, I believe the example you have provided is correct.

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Posted Thu, 07/12/2018 - 06:39
Joe

So I don’t see a flat bench workout. All that is stated is an incline bench routine. Is this how it is supposed to be?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 07/12/2018 - 08:39
JoshEngland

Hi Joe,

Yes, that is correct.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 07/10/2018 - 13:54
Angelo

Hi I was wondering if my calorie intake should be modified. I weigh 190 pounds, am 5ft. 6, and am 18, years old.

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Posted Tue, 07/10/2018 - 13:45
Ulukan

Hey, i just want to ask that in which days of week we should do cardio ? Same days that we go to the gym? Thank you already.

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Posted Thu, 06/28/2018 - 15:27
Yomina

What do you recommend as a regimen after the 12 weeks (and at desired body fat percentage) for maintenance?
I don't have access to Leg Press, Leg Extension etc machines. What alternatives (free weight) do you recommend?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 06/28/2018 - 17:10
JoshEngland

Hi Yomina,

We have plenty of awesome and comparable routines in our workouts database.

Check them out here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 06/17/2018 - 03:49
Duc Tran

How long does it take between the reps in a set?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 06/18/2018 - 08:45
JoshEngland

Hi Duc,

30-45 Secs should do the trick.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 06/14/2018 - 17:48
Michał

Hi Josh!

I am very grateful for the plan you have created. I am 20 years old, 75 kg weight and 183 cm growth. I've been trainging for a year and I've lost over 13 kg. I wanted to try something new. That's how I found your plan. My needs, including the caloric deficit, are approximately 2,300 calories. The same amount is entered in your plan, so it looks like it is created perfectly for me!
I have a question about the level of carbohydrates on particular days. Do I understand it correctly? I calculated the distribution of macronutrients and I mean mainly carbohydrates. Is this division okay?

WEEK 1

1. Low carbs days -> 180g P/60g F/260g C [2300 kcal]
2. Mid carbs days -> 180g P/60g F/285g C [2400 kcal]
3. High carbs day -> 180g P/60g F/360g C [2700 kcal]

Regards! :)

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 06/15/2018 - 08:58
JoshEngland

Hi Michal,

That is awesome! However, I did not write this plan :)

Your calculations look correct to me as far as a carb cycling plan goes.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:27
Michał

Thanks for the answer! :)

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Posted Wed, 06/06/2018 - 17:41
Josh

Hey, I want to do this workout 5-6 times a week looping the upper and lower days, is this ok? I want to optimize fat loss but I still want to build muscle.

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Posted Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:55
Baba

Hi!
I have a quiestion.
The calories which I burned during cardio, should I count to the daily calorie intake?
For example, if i Burned 300 calories durong cardio and I have to eat 1500 calories a day, is it allowed to eat 1800 calories?

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Posted Sun, 06/03/2018 - 16:53
Kassie

Hi, thank you so much for this great guide. I think I might be confused on the nutrition plan though. As far as I can tell you fill in the remaining calories minus 20-30% fat, and in my case 120 G protein with carbs to figure out your daily carb intake. On the plan, some of the days with lower calories say moderate carb, and the higher calorie day says low carb. Would you mind helping me clarify. Just making sure I didn’t miss a piece of information to help me figure out daily carb allotment on low carb vs. moderate and high carb days.. This is a great guide and I’m super excited to give it a try. I have been staying around 1200 calories for a long time and was doing a ketogenic paleo diet still unable to lose weight. I have hypothyroid and adrenal fatigue for which I am taking supplementation. I just worry if upping my calories could cause weight gain. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

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Posted Wed, 05/30/2018 - 17:29
Jay

Hi josh if I don't eat that much during a day how can I do a cutting diet I eat like a bowl of rice crispy and drink bout 20 cups of tea i weigh 15 stone and I'm 5.8

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Thu, 05/31/2018 - 09:21
JoshEngland

Hi Jay,

I'd recommend reaching out to a licensed and practicing dietitian in your area. They'll be able to customize a diet based on your individual needs to help you achieve your health related goals.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 05/20/2018 - 18:59
Danny

Hi,

Would it be okay if I added my own personal abs programs to this workout? I like to do a couple of abs workout right after I finish the basic program. Would that be over training?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Tue, 05/29/2018 - 12:00
JoshEngland

Hi Danny,

Sure, that should be fine.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 05/20/2018 - 17:19
Jeremy

Cool, so I'm going into week 10 and results have been pretty good. Not amazing, but good. I didn't expect to come out looking like mark wahlberg or anything lol. I started at 204lbs and now I'm hovering around 198lbs but the recomp is evident. I see the calories are slowly coming down overall while the cardio is ramping up so I'm interested to see what happens in the next couple weeks. I haven't deviated at all. I'm using eatthismuch.com to plan my meals, drinking plenty of water, and I'm doing my cardio after lifting on m, tu, th, f). I'm sure lack of sleep isn't helping (only getting about 7-8 hours of so-so quality sleep).

For cardio, I'm just doing some low impact hamster wheeling. 3.5 mph on the heart rate mode so that it keeps me in the 80-85% max zone for the duration of my session. So that's around 140-145 bpm for me. I feel like 142 is the sweet spot. 145 starts to grind my joints a bit.

Couple questions:
- Does that cardio routing seem adequate? I can't really do HIIT or anything, and I don't think I'll have to start running to keep my heart rate up for a few more months probably.
- What would you suggest I follow this 12 week plan with? I'm culminating this 12 week plan with a week trip to Hawaii, but when I get back, I'm probably only going to take a couple days rest before wanting to hop back in. Should I just do this plan again? Cut? My instinct tells me to keep the same plan but start changing up the exercise implementations (e.g. switch stiff leg DL for regular DL; switch dumbell presses for barbell presses, etc.) Recommendations or a solid followup plan would be great! Thanks!

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Posted Tue, 06/12/2018 - 00:33
Scott Beauton

Hey Jeremy

I was browsing the comments section and came across your post. I’m in the exact same boat as you. Just heading into week 10 and not noticing much changes over the last couple of weeks. And I’ve added more cardio. I’m hovering at 205 and wondering how I can change things up and what my next step is. Let’s share tips to help us both get out of this funk [email protected].

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Posted Thu, 05/17/2018 - 22:57
Scott Beauton

I'm on week 6 and kicking some serious ass. I'm 38 and I didn't even know I had ABS but hey there they are. This plan is great and I'm still learning proper nutrition as some days haven't been perfect., Rather than just quitting because I've failed, I've used it as a learning experience and got right back on schedule. I've been taking weekly pictures and I can't wait to share my results. Thank you for this great post. I'm curious if you have suggestions on pre/postwork meals. I wake up at 5am for gym at 5:30am and usually have a whole white tortilla with a couple pieces of deli meat, or a shake consisting of 160calories:34% Carbs 17%fat 34% protein. 5:30 start plan of the day, cardio (yes I got bored with 3days :)). Done by 7am and usually have a protein shake consisting of 200 calories 20%Carbs27%Fat53%Protein. And then three hours continue on with my daily craze. This seems to work for me, but so did a large pizza and beer. .I'm I hurting my success by eating like this pre/post workout? Thank you again.

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Posted Thu, 05/17/2018 - 12:00
Tim

Are there any sample meal plans available?

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Posted Sun, 05/20/2018 - 17:35
Jeremy

Checkout eatthismuch.com. It'll take your targets and generate weekly plans for you, including the grocery lists. It can even optimize for simplicity and use stuff that you already have in your pantry.

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Posted Wed, 05/16/2018 - 11:47
Philip

Hi
I want to get back in the gym after 10+ years of being out. I have a lot of weight to lose. I found this workout to start with can I do this workout Monday to Thursday and make Friday to Sunday my rest days?

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Posted Sun, 05/13/2018 - 14:05
Pouyan

Hey , i complated this workout and i lose 9kg in total and i used CLA for last month
My stomach still has some kinda fats , im doing a deload this week , should i do continue workout with CLA or i should get an abs workout and do it ?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/14/2018 - 09:00
JoshEngland

Hi Pouyan,

Yes, continue performing this program if you're still enjoying it and seeing results.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sun, 05/06/2018 - 09:36
SE

I only have dumbbells and workout at home. Could you recommed any 12 weeks plan?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/07/2018 - 08:58
JoshEngland
JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 05/16/2018 - 10:22
JoshEngland

Hi Shaun,

Depends on your goals. If you don't have fat to lose and want to build muscle, increase your calorie intake. If you want to maintain your current physique, no need to change your calorie intake.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 05/15/2018 - 16:12
Shaun

Hi, I’m 31 and worked out my calorie intake to 2209. I don’t carry much fat , just around the stomach. Going to start the 12 week plan for the beech bod. Do I increase or decrease my calories to do this plan? It doesn’t say for my age range
Thanks

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Mon, 05/07/2018 - 08:58
JoshEngland
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Posted Sat, 05/05/2018 - 09:54
nav

i dont understand the cardio sessions still, can you explain it a bit more ?

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Posted Sun, 05/20/2018 - 17:42
Jeremy

I honestly think it's just about getting those sessions in. Since you monitor progress weekly, it's really just about those extra calories burned during the week. What I mean, is: it doesn't matter. Just get the sessions done sometime during the week. For example, do them in the morning and your lifting at night, or do them after your lifting, or do 3 of them on "off" days. Just don't do them immediately *before* lifting sessions or you're gonna have a trash lifting session...

I'm going into week 10. For a couple weeks, I was doing them on wednesday, saturday, sunday... so I was in the gym 7 days a week which got exhausting and you need to rest. Plus, when it ramped up to 4 days per week, I HAD to do at least one session on a lifting day. I recently switched to doing them all on lifting days to free more of the week up. It actually wasn't that bad. I'm in the gym for up to an hour and a half now, but it's fine. I thought doing cardio after lower body days (tues and fri) would seriously suck, but it's fine. As an added benefit, I read that you're basically burning out glycogen during the intense parts of your workout, meaning your cardio session afterwards is probably burning off more energy from fat.