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
M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Tue, 04/16/2024 - 08:29

Stretching before and after, Carlos.

We do have a fat loss guide for you to use so you can figure out your own plan.

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

Carlos
Posted on: Tue, 04/16/2024 - 10:35

Thank you

Steve
Posted on: Wed, 04/03/2024 - 08:07

Hi, i'm looking to start this program, would like to lose some fat but mainly increase muscle and physique. When looking at the calories, for men 40+, i'm 42, it's week 1 for example being 2300, 2400 and 2700, but given everyone will be different weight, different intensity/effort in the gym etc is it still correct to follow the cals albeit reduce by the 300 as suggested or would it be more accurate to calculate your specific cals/macros etc. Many thanks for any advice

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Thu, 04/04/2024 - 05:49

Hey Steve, sticking with the amounts established is what the author of this one recommends.

Cyrus
Posted on: Mon, 04/01/2024 - 08:53

Hello. Thank you for the detailed workout. I have a question regarding cardio. The program starts with 3 cardio sessions and then moves to 4. How should these sessions be planned?Should I do all the 3 sessions every day that I'm working out? Or are these plans for the entire week? Like on the first day of training do 5 mins of cardio, on the second day of the first week do 8 min cardio, on the 3rd day of the first week do the 5 min cardio.
Thank you in advance

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Wed, 04/03/2024 - 06:55

Hi Cyrus, on the first day of training do 5 mins of cardio, on the second day of the first week do 8 min cardio, on the 3rd day of the first week do the 5 min cardio. This is the correct approach.

Cyrus
Posted on: Wed, 04/03/2024 - 06:58

Thank you so much

Travis
Posted on: Sat, 03/23/2024 - 09:48

I just had a quick question I've been working out 4 to 5 times a week for about about 7 months now . Im 43 years old I started out between 350 - 360 and I'm down to 275 . When you say take 300 calories off does is that off of the 2300 ,2400,and 2700 or off what your maintain weight is ?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Wed, 03/27/2024 - 07:59

Hi Travis, losing over 75 pounds is incredible! Well done and thank you for sharing.

For this one, the 300 is in reference to the 2300, 2400, and 2700. So, that means you would have 2000, 2100, and 2400.

CJ
Posted on: Thu, 03/21/2024 - 06:05

Thanks for the content. Between each set, how long of break would you take for the lifting portion?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Tue, 03/26/2024 - 07:15

Good question, CJ. 45-60 seconds between sets and up to two minutes between exercises. This takes time to transition into consideration.

Subham
Posted on: Tue, 03/19/2024 - 18:13

Can i continue it without any supplement?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Tue, 03/26/2024 - 07:14

You can.

Moises
Posted on: Sun, 02/25/2024 - 18:58

Thank you very much for the fat loss program, what I have done. I am finishing this second month. I weighed 273 pounds. Now I am at 247. I have 52 year old I ask you what you recommend that I continue with this same routine or should I start another one. Thank you in advance.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2024 - 18:27

Those are amazing results, Moises! Congratulations from everyone at M&S!

You can find your next challenge here. If you have any further questions, let us know.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-choose-your-next-train...

PB
Posted on: Sun, 02/25/2024 - 13:26

I’m 5’5, 160lbs, and 41y|o. What do you consider low/mod/high carbs? I use MyFitnessPal and I’m trying to figure out my numbers. I’m pretty good with cardio and will probably continue with 30-45 min/day. I use to lose fat pretty easily, but now it has become extremely difficult.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2024 - 18:29

Hey PB, if I was to ball park guess the carbs in your case, I would suggest 100, 150, and 200. That would be close to the percentages after the math.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sat, 03/23/2024 - 17:14

If the someone is a doctor that is aware of a health issue, then pay attention. Otherwise, I would suggest doing a body composition test to make sure you're losing fat and not muscle. IF you are losing fat, then keep doing what you're doing. I personally wouldn't drop as low as 1,000, but as long as you feel like you're recovering and you don't notice any health issues, go with what is working. The 1700 boost on Sunday helps, and don't be afraid to go up to 2,000 if you have the appetite for it.

PB
Posted on: Thu, 03/14/2024 - 16:44

Thanks for your reply! I've already started seeing results with weight loss, and I'm not quite finish with the 3rd week. Pretty cool! I'm pretty excited about that.
Question: So, I do a ton of cardio on top of the weight training program, and I also follow your diet recommendations. In terms of cardio, I vary between 30min-60min/day of cardio, AFTER strength training. I also run about 4-12 miles on my non strength training days. Someone told me today that I should increase my calories, due to this, but I'm worried I'll stop seeing results. My M-W calories is currently 1300 (decreases to 1200, 1100, 1000 on the 4th week). My max on Sunday is 1700 calories. I was told to increase my M-W to at least 1700. Thoughts?

Amy
Posted on: Thu, 02/22/2024 - 10:18

What does this mean?
Women 40+ - Reduce daily calories by 200.
Women 20-25 - Increase daily calories by 200.

Is this age or BMI? If it’s age then what is the 26-39 range? Thanks!

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2024 - 07:56

Numbers are based on age. If you're 26-39, you stick with the numbers as recommended.

Amy
Posted on: Thu, 02/22/2024 - 10:13

So I generally follow a low calorie diet on a regular basis, about 1200. I work from home and can be pretty sedentary so I’m starting to increase activity and I have a cable machine. I want to lose fat and build muscle. Wouldn’t eating 1200-1900 (more than my current intake) inhibit my ability to lose fat? I’m 5’8” and 170lbs.
Also, you recommend doing the 4 day split as back to back A, A, rest, B, B, rest, rest - would it make a difference if I did A, B, rest, A, B, rest, rest?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2024 - 07:55

Hey Amy, thank you for reading M&S!

I would suggest focusing on the fat loss but keeping protein high so you can protect the muscle you have overall. Since your calories are already low, this one may not work for you. Are you allergic to any foods or are there any health issues you're dealing with? If not, I can offer suggestions on this.

Training: A, B, rest, A, B, rest, rest. The different workouts make a difference.

Greg
Posted on: Wed, 02/21/2024 - 16:56

I am reading through the 12 week fat destroyer program and a bit lost.
I am new to the gym and trying to understand it all.
Looking at the cardio portion of this program: When do you fit the cardio portion into the weeks workout schedule?
You are showing 3 cardio sessions and 4 cardio sessions.
When are these sessions fit in?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2024 - 07:21

Hey Greg, thank you for being a part of the M&S community.

You can put them in wherever you like, but I suggest keeping it simple and doing them after training sessions in the gym. You could also do them first thing in the morning. This part of the plan is flexible, and you can set them up based on your schedule.

Michelle Woods
Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2024 - 05:45

Hi!
Great program! Question: For women 40+ it says to decrease calories by 200 so for example, does that mean when it says eat 1200 calories, I should adjust to 900 calories? That seems really low. (My calorie deficit is 1400 calories by my calculations).
Thank you!
Michelle

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2024 - 07:17

Hi Michelle, the 200 calorie decrease would be 1,000. But yes, it is really low. Keep in mind that on the other days you would eat more calories. That said, if you're not comfortable with it, don't do it. Stick with your number if you feel it's helping you.

Rakesh
Posted on: Mon, 02/19/2024 - 14:28

Hi, Thanks for the plan.
Could you please tell me what days are cardio scheduled for based on the plan provided here?
Thank you

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2024 - 07:15

Hi Rakesh, do the cardio on whichever days you can. You can set that up based on your individual schedule. Most people do them on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Jordan
Posted on: Fri, 02/16/2024 - 21:08

Hi,

My knees are to bad to do them walking lunges, I keep trying and knees just can’t handle it. Any other suggestions on different workouts I can do to replace it.

Thabks.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Wed, 02/21/2024 - 08:54

Hi Jordan, are there any other leg movements that bother you? I don't want to throw exercises out there only to create the same problem.

Ben
Posted on: Thu, 02/15/2024 - 03:37

Can i use a mass gainer for extra carbs? Unless i have got something wrong, on the high carb days my carbs macros are working out to 400g carbs in that day based on the calorie intake guide you have given +300 (age) which i will struggle to eat.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Wed, 02/21/2024 - 08:53

You can, Ben, but I found a way to do it without a mass gainer. I would do a simple protein shake but add several fruits with the powder and water in the blender. Every major fruit you like. You get natural sugars and vitamins/minerals whereas you may get artificial sugars from the mass gainer.

If you simply prefer the mass gainer for convenience, go for it.

Liam
Posted on: Sat, 06/08/2024 - 05:24

Avoid mass gainers if you can.

Sanaullah Faiz
Posted on: Tue, 02/13/2024 - 11:49

I haven’t worked out in two years. I am 6ft 240lbs. Should I keep the same calorie intake and workout plan?
Thank you so much

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Wed, 02/21/2024 - 08:43

I would stay with it starting out, then make adjustments as you need to.

Simon
Posted on: Fri, 02/02/2024 - 17:24

Hi. My worry is the diet. You break it down well but what dies that equate to in actual food? Is there a recipe section?
Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sat, 02/10/2024 - 12:45

Hi Simon, unfortunately, there is no recipe section. I'm not sure why there is no actual food section, but you can pick out your favorite healthy foods and do the math to reach your numbers.

Sriyani
Posted on: Sun, 01/28/2024 - 07:22

Hello Roger, I am 4‘11“ and 55 year old female weight 108 pounds. should I follow your calorie intake plan with this program given my height and weight and age? I want to lose about 5 pounds of fat and gain muscle?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Mon, 01/29/2024 - 19:39

Hi, Sriyani. What calorie intake are you following now? That could help me provide the best answer here. Short answer is no, I don't think you need to follow this one, but I don't know what you've done already.

Beto
Posted on: Fri, 01/26/2024 - 19:00

No calf machine,leg press or chin up bar dip station for leg twist.What alt. lift can I do?

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Mon, 01/29/2024 - 19:37

We have an Exercises section that you can find alternatives for based on the equipment you do have access to.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises

Jordan
Posted on: Thu, 01/25/2024 - 22:52

Hi,

What is a good way of finding out what weight to start with?

Ami am starting out and can’t do pull ups. Do I continue to just try or is there another workout I can do so I can get the right amount of reps for that workout?

Thanks

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Mon, 01/29/2024 - 19:35

Hi, Jordan. Simple trial and error. If you can do more than two reps over a rep range, go heavier, and vice versa.

You can do lat pulldowns if you like but try to do some pullups with a spotter, band on the bar, or assistant machine as well. Never hurts to try improving at them.

Safi
Posted on: Tue, 01/23/2024 - 21:56

Many trainers say not to do the same workout every single day for more then 1 month because your body gets used to it. How do you change that up in this workout?

Also if you are in a calorie deficit and doing this workout, will you get the same results (ex 1,800 calories)

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Mon, 01/29/2024 - 19:34

Not sure if I agree with those trainers, myself. You can alter rest times, use different weights, and add intensity boosters like rest-pause sets and drop sets if you like, though.

As long as you're eating enough for recovery and energy for training, you should see results.

Marco.A
Posted on: Mon, 04/22/2024 - 17:23

Could I ask what rest intervals is suggested?
Kind regards.
MA.

Marko
Posted on: Tue, 04/30/2024 - 22:06

Many thanks!
Best and kind regards.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Sat, 04/27/2024 - 20:42

Minimal rest. 30-45 seconds would be best. 60 is the max for this one.

Jordan
Posted on: Mon, 01/22/2024 - 22:47

I can’t do pull-ups. What workout can I do to replace the pull up sets I have to do for this program?