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

Max Riley
Written By: Max Riley
May 17th, 2013
Updated: March 22nd, 2021
5.9M 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

 

775 Comments
shaq donovan
Posted on: Tue, 09/14/2021 - 07:52

as far as the cardio plan is it 3 sessions per week or 3 sessions per gym visit as it says 5,8 and 5 minutes little confused thanks !

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 09/16/2021 - 15:59

Hi, Shaq! That is 3 sessions per week.

Francis
Posted on: Thu, 09/09/2021 - 11:21

Can you recommend an alternative to the pull-ups and hanging knee raises? As a bigger guy, I've never been able to do either exercise.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 09/16/2021 - 15:57

Hi, Francis. If your gym doesn't have an assistant, try pullovers with a dumbbell or on a machine. Swap in lying leg raises for the hanging knee raises. Hope this helps!

Veronique
Posted on: Fri, 09/03/2021 - 21:31

Hi,

How long should be the pause after each set and in between exercises ?

Thanks!

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 09/16/2021 - 15:56

Hi, Veronique! Start by resting 90 seconds between sets and exercises. As you improve, reduce the rest time by 5-10 seconds. Shoot for a goal of resting 45 seconds between each.

Chris G.
Posted on: Mon, 08/23/2021 - 15:06

Hi, is there any specific workout splits targeted for those coming back to the gym after lockdown?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 09/08/2021 - 16:10

What's good, Chris? Give this a go. It was specifically written for people returning to the gym.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/recommit-to-fit-2-week-plan

‪chen opr‬‏
Posted on: Sun, 08/22/2021 - 06:37

hi
I like the program
can I add a few more exercises for higher intensity?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2021 - 21:12

Hello. Give this program a solid four week run as it is. If you feel you need more movements after that, then add one movement for the bodypart you want to focus on the most.

Nick
Posted on: Thu, 08/19/2021 - 18:48

My bmr says 3200ish calories and now I’m confused. Do I the calories listed? I am an M and 22.

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2021 - 09:53

Hi, Nick. Yes, use the numbers listed in the article.

Paul Bowden
Posted on: Fri, 08/13/2021 - 01:38

Am new to this website and looking at the 12 week fat loss plan. Is the cardio and gym plan part of the same 12 week routine or are they performed separately. TIA.

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Marina
Posted on: Fri, 08/13/2021 - 09:25

Paul -

Cardio and gym plan are part of the same 12-week routine. You do them together.

Muha
Posted on: Wed, 08/11/2021 - 17:26

Hey!
Your BMI caluclator told me that i need 2647 Calories to Maintain my Current Bodyweight. So how much calories i will be consuming in high, moderate and low calorie dates?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 09/02/2021 - 12:44

Hi, Muha. The calories you eat depend on your goals. If you're looking for fat loss, then eat the calories that are listed in the article.

Tom
Posted on: Wed, 08/04/2021 - 14:00

Looks like a great program. Is this too much cardio, especially the last few weeks/

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Marina
Posted on: Wed, 08/04/2021 - 15:08

Tom -

Not at all. Remember, you just want to choose a form of cardio that gets your heart moving.

louise bennett
Posted on: Wed, 07/07/2021 - 13:24

I have been doing this am on week 4. Feeling fabulous! One question I use collagen Protein instead of Whey. I am 54 what are your thoughts?

Cedric
Posted on: Wed, 07/07/2021 - 08:49

Hey!
This blog is very informative. Few of the content which you have put out are very genuine and useful. Looking forward to more blogs like this.
Thank You.

Sean Delaney
Posted on: Sun, 06/27/2021 - 14:41

I'm starting week 7, and I have used the BMR calculator to modify the calories and macros to my weight/height and so forth. However, I have been staying the same weight the entire time. Is there something I may be doing incorrectly that I've made no notable progress through the entire first half?

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 06/28/2021 - 09:04

Hey Sean - the scale isn't always the best representation of progress. Have you seen physical changes like your clothes fitting a bit looser?

Richard
Posted on: Mon, 08/02/2021 - 00:49

How’s your diet and your sleep?

Sean
Posted on: Wed, 08/04/2021 - 17:51

I've been following the calorie and macro plan above. I usually go to bed at 10 and wake at 5:30.

Sean Delaney
Posted on: Mon, 06/28/2021 - 17:57

Not really. If there has been, it's not noticeable compared to where I was when I started this plan six weeks ago.

Zach
Posted on: Wed, 06/23/2021 - 10:08

I have a diet question similar to some others below but I am not sure I am understanding correctly. When I use the calculator that has been linked in other posts, it says I should consume 2717 calories per day to maintain my current weight. Is that 2700 to maintain what I should consume on my high carb day, which is 1x per week? If that is the case, then it looks like my numbers would match exactly as above for men but I wanted to make sure that the number the calculator is showing for maintaining is what I eat for the high carb day. Thanks!

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Abigail
Posted on: Fri, 06/25/2021 - 12:49

Hey Zach - great question! Ideally, the high carb days will still be in a caloric deficit.

Zach
Posted on: Mon, 06/28/2021 - 16:00

Thanks for the reply. So since I am 31, I don't need to adjust any of the daily caloric intake based on what I see above. Since my BMR is 2700, should I follow the numbers in this post exactly since all of them would be a caloric defect for me?

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Abigail
Posted on: Wed, 06/30/2021 - 09:41

Zach - yep, you can try out those numbers and see how your body responds! If you're not noticing changes after 4-6 weeks, you can re-evaluate your calories.

Zach
Posted on: Wed, 06/30/2021 - 13:07

I'm worried because my BMR, per the calculator, is 2,736 (I chose moderately active since I am following this workout plan as well). 2,736 is not far off from the 2700 for the high macro day and I know previously you said even the high macro day should be a deficit. Is it better to take the 2,736 and subtract 500 to get 2,236 for my high carb day? And then 1,936 for moderate carb day and 1,836 for low carb day? Does that sound correct?

Areeb Jan
Posted on: Wed, 06/16/2021 - 03:22

For the cardio sessions, is it alright to do one after a leg workout?

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Abigail
Posted on: Wed, 06/16/2021 - 08:50

Hey Areeb - yes you can do cardio after a leg session, but you might find it a bit grueling. If needed, you can move the cardio day.

louise bennett
Posted on: Mon, 06/14/2021 - 16:01

I am a little confused. My calories on the calculator to lose weight is 1770. Should this be what is considered the high carb day? and I adjust from there?

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Abigail
Posted on: Tue, 06/15/2021 - 08:43

Hey louise - yes, that'll be your high carb day caloric total.

Ashraf
Posted on: Wed, 06/09/2021 - 18:00

Hey I’m 18, 5’6 and weight 60kg. I’ used the calorie calculator on the website and it’s saying 2400. How do I calculate my calorie intake from there? Thanks

Mason Gast
Posted on: Mon, 06/07/2021 - 23:06

Can intermittent fasting be done with this plan? i have been doing it for a while now and dont feel like stopping.

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Abigail
Posted on: Tue, 06/08/2021 - 09:49

Hey Mason - yes you can do intermittent fasting on this plan.

Marty
Posted on: Mon, 06/07/2021 - 14:12

For weight loss should I do cardio before or after weights?

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Abigail
Posted on: Tue, 06/08/2021 - 09:48

Hey Marty - cardio can be done after your weight training.

James
Posted on: Thu, 06/03/2021 - 11:30

Hello, I'm 16 y/o and was wondering if I should lower the calorie intake for men?

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Abigail
Posted on: Fri, 06/04/2021 - 09:43

Hey James - have you used our BMR calculator to determine your daily caloric needs? https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator

Jason
Posted on: Sun, 05/30/2021 - 19:58

What can I sub for pull ups?

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Abigail
Posted on: Tue, 06/01/2021 - 09:36

Hey Jason - check out this article for 3 pull up progressions: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/pull-up-progressions

Jason
Posted on: Sun, 05/30/2021 - 19:52

Am I doing the cardio in the same sessions of the weights or on off days?

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Abigail
Posted on: Tue, 06/01/2021 - 09:35

Hey Jason - there will be some instances where weights and cardio will fall on the same day.

Emma
Posted on: Wed, 05/26/2021 - 22:57

I don't see where it is recommended to use the BMR calculator? Low carb calorie intake for women is 1200 - 1500 per day and then 40+ should reduce that further by 200? Or are these numbers just examples? My BMR is 2400...1000 cals daily would be starving.

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Abigail
Posted on: Fri, 05/28/2021 - 09:13

Hey Emma - those numbers are just examples.

Madara Thalduwa
Posted on: Sat, 05/22/2021 - 05:28

Hi! I do not have access to a gym due to restrictions. Hence, I am unable to do the following, 1. leg curl 2. leg press calf raise 3. leg press 4. seated calf raise. Could you please suggest alternatives? I have a small home gym a squat rack, an adjustable bench, a home gym machine, dumbbells, and barbells.

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 05/24/2021 - 10:01

Hey Madara - check out this article on lower body alternatives for gym machines: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/lower-body-alternatives-your-...

Marilyn Moore
Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2021 - 21:47

I'm 64 , fairly healthy . My body has been hit hard this past year which has been devastating to me . Overnite completely fatigued . Tests showed nothing but energy level slowly returning . Can i do this safely and is this eating plan good for my age group ?

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