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

Max Riley
Written By: Max Riley
May 17th, 2013
Updated: March 22nd, 2021
5.7M Reads
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

 

745 Comments
alexis
Posted on: Tue, 04/13/2021 - 10:40

Hey,
I'm 5'4, 22 years old and weigh 155. my goal is to lose weight while toning up my upper body and gaining a booty. Will this program work for me?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Wed, 04/14/2021 - 09:31

Hey alexis - I would suggest a program like this one: muscleandstrength.com/workouts/muscle-and-strength-womens-workout

Alexis
Posted on: Wed, 04/14/2021 - 10:03

Hey Abigail,

Thank you but will this program also help with my toning my stomach and waist?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Thu, 04/15/2021 - 09:16

Yes it should.

Saruman09
Posted on: Sun, 04/11/2021 - 18:58

Hey thanks for the guide. Im 25years and 200-220lb man. When i calculate my carbs for that guide, i need to eat 184gr on lowcarb days, 230gr on moderate carbs days and 320gr on highcarb days. I just wanna know is this normal? I mean can i really lose fat like that way? Or did you suggest me to decrease carbs intake?

zoe
Posted on: Fri, 04/09/2021 - 19:09

Hi I am just wondering are you suggesting to complete the weight training after the cardio session?

I currently havent exercised in 3 months but want to smash it out.

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Mon, 04/12/2021 - 09:01

Hey zoe - you'll do the cardio after your weight training.

Julio Manuel Dí...
Posted on: Wed, 04/07/2021 - 10:36

I want to include this program to my regular cycling workout. I'm currently cycling 3 times a week and I'm thinking 3 days of gym is a good fit.
Can I adjust this 4 day plan to fit a 3 day schedule? If so, what are things I should take into account?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Wed, 04/07/2021 - 11:10

Hey Julio - you'll probably benefit more from a full body plan like this one: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/total-package-workout.

Seb
Posted on: Thu, 04/01/2021 - 23:20

29 lbs down this plan has been great, 1 week left. Any recommendation for a very advanced program, available 7 days a week

Youngsub Lee
Posted on: Thu, 04/01/2021 - 00:43

Do you have any workout to replace calf raise? My calf feels so bad that I can't walk or run which disallows me to do cardio

Eeshaan Chawla
Posted on: Wed, 03/31/2021 - 19:25

Hello sir!
I'm 5'6 and I weigh 91 kgs....I'm 25 years old...My goal is to lose weight, I have gain 21 kgs in 7 months by my bad eating habbit....I'm trying to fit in this program, will it work for me ?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Thu, 04/01/2021 - 09:44

Hey Eeshaan - yes, this program can help you towards your goals. Your diet is the largest factor in losing weight.

Daniel
Posted on: Mon, 03/22/2021 - 16:39

I am unable to do a pull up and my gym does not have an assisted pull up machine. Is there another excercise i can do instead?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Tue, 03/23/2021 - 09:59
Daniel
Posted on: Tue, 03/23/2021 - 11:01

Thanks.

RDR
Posted on: Thu, 03/18/2021 - 21:53

I find this to be very effective and and can see results. Upon the completion of this routine, do you have any suggestions for moving forward?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Fri, 03/19/2021 - 09:43

Hey RDR - What're you looking for in your next program? How many days per week? What're your goals?

RDR
Posted on: Fri, 03/19/2021 - 09:52

Primarily fat loss, 4 days per week.

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Fri, 03/19/2021 - 09:56

This is a great one: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/4-day-power-muscle-burn-worko.... Fat loss occurs while you're in a caloric deficit so you can follow just about any program and as long as you're in a caloric deficit, you'll lose weight.

AJD
Posted on: Wed, 03/17/2021 - 16:40

I don't understand how the cardio schedule fits in. Is it done on the days when we are not lifting or with the lifting sets?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Thu, 03/18/2021 - 09:23

Hey AJD - the cardio schedule is completely independent of the resistance training schedule. 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.

Gareth parkinson
Posted on: Fri, 05/07/2021 - 00:12

So do you do the cardio on the same days as you workout ?
Or do you do the cardio on the rest days from your weight training days

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Fri, 05/07/2021 - 09:39

Hey Gareth - cardio will sometimes fall on your workout days and it will sometimes fall on rest days. The cardio schedule is completely separate from the weight training schedule.

collin
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 13:03

Do you have to follow the diet exactly as shown, or can you do a similar diet and still see results?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 14:30

Hey collin - yes, you can do a similar meal plan and still see results.

Vadim
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 10:07

Hi there.

Thank you for this program.
I started it this week and am very curious how it will work. I am following the calories count you are recommending, but have a little doubt about it.

According to your calculator:
https://www.muscleandstrength.com/tools/bmr-calculator
Being 92kg, 196cm height, 38 years old and doing this program, meaning I am moderately active sports 3-5 days a week, I should cosume 3174 calories a day to maintain. Usually you should substract 500 cal to loose safely weight. That is how I went last year from 105kg to 90kg. However I still have some belly fat that needs to go now and I think I lost quite some muscle in the process.

Anyway can you please confirm that I still should follow the callories recommendations in the article, considering all I have written above?

Regards
Vadim

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 11:45

Hey Vadim - Are you still seeing weight loss with the calories you calculated?

Vadim
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 14:54

Well I'm following the calories you recommended. And today is the second day. So to early to tell. I'm just wondering what the starting point should be.
My main concern is not too lose more muscle.

Vadim
Posted on: Wed, 03/17/2021 - 04:58

Well it is to early to tell. I am only on the third day today.
My main concern is not to loose muscle. Ideally I would build muscle and loose fat at the same time.
But I would be happy to keep the muscle I have for now and loose only the fat.

Daniel
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 06:23

Can this program repeated after doing it?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 09:29

Hey Daniel - would you be including the diet portion of the program as well?

Daniel
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 09:57

Yes.

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 11:41

Yes it can be repeated.

Daniel
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 16:06

Thanks

Daniel
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 15:22

Yes.

Jathen Devereaux
Posted on: Mon, 03/15/2021 - 00:57

i am 18 and weigh 192 pounds and have a 35% body fat and need to get it down would you recommend this?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Mon, 03/15/2021 - 12:14

Hey Jathen - have you done any sort of resistance training before? If not, I'd suggest starting with a 3-day full body workout like this one: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/3-day-full-body-dumbbell-workout. Diet will play the largest role in losing weight. Prioritize good, whole foods, eat adequate protein, and stay hydrated.

C
Posted on: Sat, 03/13/2021 - 18:39

Hi.
I’m sorry if this has been answered...I’ve scrolled through lots of questions but can’t find. I currently cycle 3x a week no more than an hour. It’s a really important part of my week....can I keep this up as I don’t want to go down to 5 minutes?
Thanks

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 09:38

Hey C - yes, you can continue with your cycling.

Saeed
Posted on: Sat, 03/13/2021 - 06:24

Hi. Im 24 years old. my hight is 184 cm - 6 ft. I weigh around 115 kgs - 253.5 lbs. I've been going to the gym for the last month and a half now and im following a schedule i made myself. But i grew bored of it and im looking for something new and better for me. I've been wanting to try this workout but im not sure if it'll work for me. Should i go for it? Keep in mind my target is to lose weight.
Thank you in advance!

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2021 - 09:33

Hey Saeed - yes, this program is a great option.

Elia
Posted on: Fri, 03/05/2021 - 19:26

Hi. I wonder will this program help me if i want to go from 23 body fat to 15-12 %. I am 20 yer old and way 106 kg and 193 cm long. Please you can help me by answering thank you

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Mon, 03/08/2021 - 09:45

Hey Elia - yes it should work for you. Try it out and see how it goes!

Charleane Hunter
Posted on: Wed, 03/03/2021 - 08:06

Hi
Im 41, 164cm - I’ve gained 9kg over the last year or so. I’m just starting back gym after about a year off. Also, I currently cut my calories to 1700 (noticed a little difference in my weight loss) but the program suggests even lower ... do I need to go so low with my calories? Would you recommend this programme for a returnee or possibly something else? I want something sustainable with sessions taking around an hour as I don’t have much time in the evenings.

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Wed, 03/03/2021 - 09:55

Hey Charleane - I would recommend sticking to your current calories and adding in the workout from this program. Track your progress over 4 weeks or so and then re-evaluate your calories from there.

Charleane Hunter
Posted on: Sat, 03/06/2021 - 22:32

Thank you. Do you suggest still doing the low carb, high carb days as recommended in the program?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Mon, 03/08/2021 - 09:34

Yes

Chris Perzee
Posted on: Thu, 02/25/2021 - 17:56

Hi,
I was wondering what range my heart rate should be in for the cardio. Should I maintain a slower "fat burning" heart rate, a faster more "endurance" pace or doing both ways with HIIT?

Abigail_M&S
Posted on: Mon, 03/01/2021 - 09:36

Hey Chris - the cardio in this workout is moderate, steady-state cardio.

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