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

Max Riley
Written By: Max Riley
May 17th, 2013
Updated: March 22nd, 2021
6.6M 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

 

1.1K Comments
Andrew
Posted on: Tue, 09/20/2022 - 18:00

Thanks for the amazing article
I am 30 years, M , 92 KG and 168 height.
I used to be fit earlier some years before.
Now I gained weight only belly fat.
My target is to lose around 20-25 Kg , in a fast amount of time and to keep it up.
So as a start, I am not sure from your experience is it a good workout for me or you can suggest a better one ?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 09/24/2022 - 09:46

This would be a solid starting workout for you, Andrew. Won't guarantee that you'll lose 20 kg, but you will at least be well on your way. If you diet properly and recover as you should, then I think 10 kg would be realistic for this program.

Danial
Posted on: Thu, 09/15/2022 - 16:18

Hi I am 21 years old height 5’7.5 currently weight is around 78 or 79 KG . I play cricket on weekends. I was looking though your workouts but I don’t know which one is best for me as my body it’s not too fat I have love handles and like I would say a large layer of fat on top of my muscle. I am trying to get in shape like (have Abs and have good shape of body like loose love handles and have bigger arms). Can you please tell me which workout would be best for me. Thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 09/18/2022 - 10:33

Danial, I believe this workout program would be the best one for your particular goals. I feel you should give this a full 12 week run.

Also, extra comments asking me to answer your first comment only delays my time getting back to you. Occasionally it may take me time to answer your question because I have several more responsibilities, but they will be answered. Patience is appreciated.

Trisha
Posted on: Fri, 09/02/2022 - 19:04

I appreciate all y’all’s workouts & always switch them up after the recommended time. I love it & thank you. I’ve gone from a beginner to benching incline with 35s

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 09/02/2022 - 20:41

Love the feedback, Trisha! Thank you so much for supporting M&S!

Blake Aranda
Posted on: Tue, 08/30/2022 - 19:20

Cardio, can you give more direction on what that looks like for a guy?

Week 1 is 3 different days of cardio? Or three cardio sessions in one day?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 09/01/2022 - 20:27

3 different days of cardio. Follow the numbers for each week. Example: Week 1 - 5 minutes one day, 8 another, and 5 again after that on another day.

No difference between men and women. Find a form you like, and give it the best effort.

Jessica Johnston
Posted on: Mon, 08/29/2022 - 01:40

Good morning.
Im 50, female, 84kg, 173cm tall. Im starting week 7 now but no gains except improved cardio.
Average calories per day 1500
Training 5 days/week; Cardio every day
Im keen for advise and any tips please!

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 08/29/2022 - 08:28

Hi, Jessica. You said no gains. Are you trying to build muscle? This is actually a fat loss program. Let me know what your exact goal is, and we'll help you figure this out.

Christian
Posted on: Tue, 08/23/2022 - 19:56

I’m wondering what the time between reps is for both cardio and lifting. Could you shed some light on that? Thank you!

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 08/25/2022 - 10:51

Hey, Christian. The top of the article says 30-45 minutes. I didn't run it myself, though, so I don't know for sure. Hopefully someone who did can share some insight here. Thanks for reading M&S!

Eugene
Posted on: Tue, 08/23/2022 - 16:17

Do we do the workout as a circuit. 1 after exercise after another then back on the first exercise after the first rep. Or complete or 3 reps, then move to next exercise.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 08/25/2022 - 10:48

The original concept was to do all sets of an exercise before moving to the next one. However, if you have the capability and your gym allows it, you can do them in circuit fashion.

Jida Bourhani
Posted on: Sat, 08/20/2022 - 19:55

What app do you recommend for calculating our calories

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 08/21/2022 - 08:07

I don't think M&S has an app that they align with, but I personally use MyFitnessPal.

Jida Bourhani
Posted on: Sat, 08/20/2022 - 19:33

What is 35 , 40 , 30 and 45 minutes of cardio
Could you please explain more about it how many minutes a day?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 08/21/2022 - 08:06

Those are the minutes of cardio per day, and you can do them either in steady state fashion or in High Intensity Interval Training style, alternating high effort with low effort for 60 seconds each. One day you do 35, the next you do 40, and continue as the article recommends.

Denis more
Posted on: Thu, 08/18/2022 - 20:48

Hi, does 15-20 minutes walking to and from the gym count as cardio? Any changes for a semi regular gym goer approaching 70

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 08/19/2022 - 08:13

Hello, Denis. First of all, respect for still getting after it at 70. Hopefully I'll be doing the same.

No changes for the routine as long as you're overall healthy. As I tell everyone regardless of age, if you have any lingering issues, talk to your doctor first.

If you're wanting to lose weight, then you could add some intervals of jogging into that walk after the workout to make it count as cardio. That is up to you, though. Good luck and thank you for reading M&S!

Meagan
Posted on: Wed, 08/17/2022 - 21:36

I’d love to know what makes this program a fat loss program compared to a strength building one? Thanks!

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 08/19/2022 - 07:58

Great question, Meagan! If this was going to be a strength building program, then the weights would be heavier, the reps would be lower, and you would rest more between sets to recover enough for the next heavy set. The extra volume, short rest periods, and time spent training all help burn calories and keep your heart rate up, which will help promote fat loss. I hope this helps!

Niki
Posted on: Sat, 08/13/2022 - 18:14

This question may be stating the obvious, but the calorie number is the total each day? I am a 41 year old woman 173 pounds with a decent amount of muscle.
I have worked out forever, but all of a sudden my body is changing and not responding to lifting as much and responding TOO much to the occasional splurge of food. So low carb day would be 1300 calories all day?? And macros are 120 g protein? I feel like I will pass out! Haha. Thank you in advance for your help!

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 08/16/2022 - 09:56

That is correct, Niki. Your numbers are accurate. Good luck, and come on back if you have more questions along the way!

Ryan
Posted on: Wed, 08/10/2022 - 08:20

Hi, going to start this program. Should I add a warmup set to each exercise? Thank you.

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 08/13/2022 - 08:00

If you feel you need one to get your form right, then go for it, Ryan. If not, then you should be good to go after the first couple of exercises. Hope this helps!

Ryan
Posted on: Sat, 08/13/2022 - 19:12

Thanks for your help. Smashed upper A today and felt great! I'm doing this routine along side the 75 Hard Challenge (if you've heard of it).

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 08/14/2022 - 09:40

I have. Andy's challenge is very popular for good reason. Good luck!

Saint
Posted on: Tue, 08/09/2022 - 23:23

After the 12 weeks are up, what do we do after with our nutrition?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 08/13/2022 - 07:59

Give yourself a couple of days to splurge and enjoy those foods you were craving, Saint. After that, it depends on what your goals are. If you could pick one, would you rather lose more fat, or do you want to build some muscle?

Chris
Posted on: Sun, 08/07/2022 - 18:39

Am I missing something. At the top you say that this is a guide to complete fat loss and diet program yet the diet part as usual is very vague. No example to what each week would look like or even a suggested list of how to accomplish the "plan" provided. If you are going to say this is a great routine for beginners then the diet portion should be treated as such. Your workout section could have been vague but you decided to actually be clear and thorough on what exercises to perform and how much.

Alek Horsman
Posted on: Sun, 08/07/2022 - 14:33

Hi, I want to start your workout plan but was wondering if I could make the following adjustments and still see the same results: using DBs for scullcrushers, pull ups using the guided machine because i am 6”2 so pull are kind of hard for me and using DBs for the seated presses instead of using the bar??

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 08/13/2022 - 07:57

Hey, Alek. Thanks for reading M&S! Yes, you can make those adjustments. I actually prefer dumbbells for skullcrushers myself. Good luck!

Quinton Adams
Posted on: Thu, 08/04/2022 - 11:12

Will I gain muscle and lose body fat using this routine?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 08/13/2022 - 07:57

You may notice some muscle gains, but the main focus for this one is fat loss. If you need to get leaner, work on that first so you can showcase the muscle you have. Then, focus on hypertrophy.

anna panna
Posted on: Thu, 07/14/2022 - 08:10

Hi. I started this programme recently and go to the gym at 5am.i find i get tired during the day.is there any suggestions you may have for me on how to maintain my energy levels during the day?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 07/23/2022 - 19:40

You can supplement with caffeine or add fruit to your lunch so you have natural sugar to support you later in the day. Hope either option helps!

Robert
Posted on: Fri, 07/08/2022 - 08:21

So to adjust for the varying calorie intake days, can I just keep the same macros (45/35/20, C/P/F), and set each day to the appropriate calorie level so it'll add it up automatically, in order to accomplish that as it's intended here?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 07/18/2022 - 08:14

Correct, Robert!

Simon
Posted on: Thu, 07/07/2022 - 12:38

Could I do straight arm pulldowns instead of pull ups ?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 07/18/2022 - 08:05

You can, Simon.

Michelle
Posted on: Tue, 07/05/2022 - 12:49

Can I do some exercises while resting for others? Like planks between sets of leg extensions or curls.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 07/14/2022 - 08:25

You can, Michelle. You can also throw calf raises in if you like. Great suggestion!

kyrie
Posted on: Tue, 06/28/2022 - 15:38

I'm using a meal tracker app and It subtracts my estimated calories burned from my workouts from my intake. are the numbers provided the net calories or the calorie intake for the day?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 07/01/2022 - 23:26

Hi, Kyrie. This would be calories for the day, not net after activities.

Gary
Posted on: Mon, 06/27/2022 - 17:50

Is there only 4 sections to this plan which is repeated over 12 weeks?

So 12x 4 of the above workouts?

No change In workouts for 12 weeks - correct?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 06/28/2022 - 09:54

That is correct, Gary. Do the same workouts every week. Set goals of trying to get one more rep each week or add five pounds if possible to some of the exercises. These small increases will add up to serious gains!

Frank
Posted on: Mon, 06/27/2022 - 13:58

question do you have link for a recommended diet plan to follow based off this article.

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 06/28/2022 - 09:47

We have a fat loss guide that should help you out, Frank. Check this out.

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

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 06/28/2022 - 09:47

We have a fat loss guide that should help you out, Frank. Check this out.

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