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

Max Riley
Written By: Max Riley
May 17th, 2013
Updated: March 22nd, 2021
8.3M 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

 

1.5K Comments
M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:03
Michael
Posted on: Tue, 12/26/2023 - 21:27

How long do you recommend resting between sets?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:03

As needed, but 90 seconds max. If you can do 60, that would be even better.

Salma Abu zahra
Posted on: Fri, 12/22/2023 - 16:55

Hello I’ve been in gym for 2 months tho I didn’t notice any real transformation i have a lot of fat in my tummy and my lower body specially thighs , hips and calves so which workout routine could help my to lose weight and fat then build muscle but the idea is I wanna get leaner and get skinnier

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:03
Stevie Vitte'
Posted on: Thu, 12/21/2023 - 08:12

Hello, I'm 44 female, weigh 245lbs. I want to make sure I have the calories right. I minus 200 calories from what the daily totals are on each day. I just don't want to drop my metabolism. Currently my bmr is about 1650.

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:02

Correct.

Jaime
Posted on: Mon, 12/18/2023 - 15:59

Hello! I'm a little confused on the cardio portion of this workout plan. So if i'm starting at week 1 am doing 5 minutes of cardio 1 day, the 8 minutes another, then 5 minutes on the 3rd day. Also do I do the cardio workouts the same day as upper or lower workout or on a rest day?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:01

You have it right. You can do those sessions either after weights or on an off day.

Joseph Cho
Posted on: Mon, 01/08/2024 - 13:30

We do cardio after lifting weights?
I thought we do it before

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 01/09/2024 - 20:50

If you're going to do cardio separate from the weights, then you can do it before. If you have to do weights and cardio within the same hour or two, do weights first. You would rather your glycogen storages depleted with the weights because your body will burn excess calories during the cardio. Doing it the other way around will negatively impact the weight workouts.

Sam
Posted on: Fri, 12/15/2023 - 13:47

Hey I didn't understand the Cardio part. what means 3 sessions and when I will do these? After workout, before workout, off days?? Can you explain please thanks.

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:01

You can do those 3 sessions on separate days after weights or on an off day, whatever your schedule allows.

Chuck
Posted on: Tue, 12/12/2023 - 16:21

On what days should I perform cardio? Should it be on my off days?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:00

Off days or after weight training, whatever is best for your schedule.

Daniel Jack Howell
Posted on: Sun, 12/10/2023 - 16:54

Love this plan, quick question are there any replacement exercises that you suggest if we’re not able to make it to the gym? I have most of the basic equipment I have a bench press barbell and dumbbells I just don’t have a cable machine or leg press or a bar to hang on for the hanging twists

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:00

Hey Daniel, check out our exercises section for movements you can choose to swap in. As long as they work similar muscle groups, you should be fine.

Robert
Posted on: Wed, 11/29/2023 - 15:42

Hi I used the bmr calculator and my tee is 2900cals. Could you advise what cals I should use for low moderate and high days if not the same as the ones shown ? Thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 11/30/2023 - 20:36

For this specific program, they would be the same as the ones shown, Robert. This is a very intense program that is designed to achieve results quickly. So, the author would suggest going as written.

Jake
Posted on: Tue, 11/28/2023 - 06:55

What’s a good workout plan to follow up after this plan for toning?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 11/30/2023 - 20:35

This can help you find a new plan, Jake. Thanks for reading M&S!

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

Andrés
Posted on: Wed, 11/22/2023 - 18:51

Hi, i just started the workout routine and i have big muscle soreness. Should i wait until i recover? It bothers me losing maybe 2 workout days. But i have upper body tomorrow and i feel like i wont do nothing cause of the soreness, i cant even extend my arm completely. Thanks for the program.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2023 - 19:25

Hi, Andres. If you're not in serious pain and it is just muscle soreness, try to train but take extra time and caution with future workouts. If you're new to training, you're experiencing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It happens, but it will subside as you get more used to training. Hope this helps!

Isabella
Posted on: Sun, 11/19/2023 - 23:49

Hi Max, I needed some assistance from the expert please. I have been on a program and lost 20 kgs and now need to tone up . I would like to lose another 10kgs but would like to exercise to lose it not just diet as I have previously. I used to attend the gym and last time was 2 months ago so am not that unfit. Female , age 50. What do you recommend?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2023 - 19:23

Hi, Isabella. Leaving this up for Max to answer if he sees it, but if my input would be helpful, I believe exercise would be the key to getting that next 10 kg off. I would keep the calories you're eating as is and start working your way back into a routine. Once you feel used to training again, slightly decrease calories if you feel you need to.

Rich K.
Posted on: Mon, 11/13/2023 - 11:06

Question. Using a calorie counter via the web, not overly accurate it stats my calories for maintaining weight is near 2700-2900. Should i still use the above calorie scheme or adjust it some so it is not so extreme?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2023 - 19:20

Hi, Rich. If you don't think it is close to accurate, you can shift it as you need to. However you do it, just make sure you're consistent with the approach you use. Hope this helps!

Luis
Posted on: Sun, 11/12/2023 - 17:24

Hi, I did the 12 weeks and I lost 12 ponds actually, I feel fantastic! (I am combining it also with Intermittent fasting 20-4) Now, I still need to lose another 20 pounds to reach my goal. Can I keep doing this one and increasing weights until I reach my goal? I did a Strength routine for the last 3 weeks and I am not losing anything at all, so I need some advice now.
Thank you!

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 11/19/2023 - 19:28

Congrats on the results, Luis. I would suggest taking a break for a week before getting back after it, but I see no reason why you couldn't do this again. Thanks for reading M&S!

Keshawn
Posted on: Sat, 11/11/2023 - 11:54

I’m confused on the calorie intake, i weight 215lbs I thought I should be eating around 1700-1900 Cals a day to lose weight but you have me in the 2000s should I increase my caloric intake?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 11/19/2023 - 19:27

Hi, Keshawn. If you're very active, then the 2000s would be accurate. Start there and reduce if you don't notice results in a couple of weeks.

Braven
Posted on: Mon, 11/06/2023 - 23:40

I’m 5’8 176 workout 3-4 times a week and in my feet about 10 hours a day working. I need help on macro percentages.
So I can accurately calculate my food and diet best for me.

M&S Team Badge
Roger
Posted on: Thu, 11/16/2023 - 21:16
JB
Posted on: Sun, 10/29/2023 - 16:19

I am a 36 year old female, 300lb and 6 feet tall. I have been lifting for 9 consecutive months now and been focusing on zone 2 cardio. How many calories would you suggest following this program? Thank you.

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 10/30/2023 - 18:06

Hi there. Do you know how many you have been taking lately? That could help me make a more accurate estimation of what you need.

JB
Posted on: Mon, 10/30/2023 - 18:09

2500-3000. Weight has been very consistent this year.

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 10/30/2023 - 18:11

I suggest sticking with 2500 and upping your activity slightly for a week. Drop it 100 a week and slowly add a little more walking if you can. You can also slightly decrease your rest between sets to keep your heart rate up as well. Good luck!

Gary
Posted on: Thu, 10/19/2023 - 15:37

I am a 40-year-old Male trying to cut down on body fat. I am intermediate level and regularly go to the gym. I have followed this plan for three weeks and can see noticeable results. There is so much fluff on the internet; Max nailed it spot on and provided a perfect plan that includes everything (exercise plan, diet plan, supplements plan) one needs to get going and transform their body. If I were to hire a trainer (which I did earlier this year), this information would cost a minimum of $1,500+ that Max laid out for everyone to use. The only change I have made to this plan is adding fasting 16:8 or 18:6 on the low-carb four workout days, which helps me greatly as I don't feel hungry. Because of the shorter eating window, the low-cal low-carb food feels enough and filling. I train fasted towards the end of my fasting window, and I take BCAA (flavorless with NO sugar/sucrose) before and intra-workout to preserve muscle.
Thank you so much, and god bless you Max Riley!

Alberto
Posted on: Sun, 10/15/2023 - 12:06

Hi, I have a question. Im suppose to do cardio and weight lifting on the same day or in separate days?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 10/20/2023 - 08:31

Hi, Alberto. You can do either, but if you do both on the same day, do cardio after weights. Hope this helps!

Tim M
Posted on: Mon, 10/09/2023 - 16:12

If I am tracking the carbs and protein.. how much should I worry about the fat content?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 10/20/2023 - 08:31

I wouldn't completely disregard it, but you don't have to be too concerned. You should have some fats, but you shouldn't be in the triple digits on it.

Ahmed
Posted on: Mon, 10/09/2023 - 03:59

Me and my friend started this program 5 weeks ago and we love it. I have always hated the gym, now I love it. We dont follow the diet, however we are restrictive of what we eat and try to consume proteins. We both are seeing great results visually, but not in the scale. That is ok, as long as we keep doing this, eventually the scale will change. Thanks for awesome program.

Syed
Posted on: Sat, 10/07/2023 - 20:51

Can I follow a keto diet plan with this workout. Thanks?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 10/20/2023 - 08:30

You can, but I suggest monitoring your recovery, Syed. If you notice adverse effects such as decreased sleep, low energy, etc. , then you may need to make a change. However, I think you would be ok.

cuongnguyen
Posted on: Mon, 09/25/2023 - 12:11

Hi,thank you for the program, i am struggling to understand the cardio session, did you mean 3 sessions a day and separately throughout the day right?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2023 - 13:58

Those are three different sessions for the whole week. This was written for the person completely out of shape that needs to start slowly.

Giuseppe
Posted on: Thu, 09/21/2023 - 12:13

I just started out this great workout but I would like to have a clarification on the suggested daily calorie intake.
I am 29 and weight 70Kg, low muscle mass as I have not been doing any physical activity for more than 10 years and spend the majority of my time sit at a desk cause I work from home. Following the suggested 2300Kcal per day looks too much for my current physique. Should I reduce the calories?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 09/24/2023 - 19:27

I would suggest starting with the recommended calories for at least the first few weeks, Giuseppe. If you don't notice any changes, then reduce them 200-300 for a week and go from there. Hope this helps!

Patrick S
Posted on: Mon, 09/18/2023 - 07:32

Hi, I’m just checking that Lower B leg press is meant to be 15-20 reps right at the beginning of the workout & it’s not a typo? That seems like high volume to start a workout with given that every other day starts with 8-10 reps..