TOPIC: What Is The Best 12-Week Fat Loss Transformation Workout For Men?

Twelve weeks is a good time frame to set some short-term fitness goals. It's just enough time to be able to notice a positive transformation to one's physique.

What is the best 12-week fat loss transformation workout for men? Be specific.

How much weightlifting should be included in this fat loss program?

How much cardio should be included in this fat loss program?

How much fat can you expect to lose on this plan?

Bonus Question: Have you used this program and was it successful? Who would you recommend it to?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

  1. BuckSpin View Profile
  2. eXeCuTe View Profile
  3. Mfranke View Profile

Prizes: 1st place - 75 in store credit. 2nd place - 50 in store credit.

1st Place - BuckSpin

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How I Lost 70 Pounds In 13.5 Weeks

What Is The Best 12-Week Fat Loss Transformation Workout For Men? Be Specific.

From personal experience I have found a total body workout to be the most effective way to lose fat but not at the expense of muscle. This is especially true for either the 1st timer, the seriously overweight (over 40% BF) and/or someone returning to a healthy lifestyle after years of apathy.

This session should incorporate all aspects of general fitness - cardio, strength training, core training, etc. Within those perimeters it should also embrace the various styles of each, such as both LISS & HIIT for cardio, weight training, resistance band work & bodyweight work for strength, as well as static & dynamic work for the core and support muscles.

Keep in mind that most likely you are in some sort of beginning or returning stage to fitness and that your priority is to lose weight fast, specifically unwanted body fat. Do not get hung up on any various inabilities you encounter.

It's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get back up. Set small, reasonable personal goals. If you were only able to do 10 forward lunges before you had to stop, next time make it a goal to do 11. Then 12, and so on. Just make forward progress every session, make each and every workout a new Personal Best. No one can ever ask more of you than that.


A good routine could be the following (in order) to get a great 60-minute workout:

  • 20 minutes of cardio, starting with about 10 minutes of LISS, then 5 minutes of HIIT, then cooling down with 5 more minutes of LISS.

  • Two 10 minute sessions of strength training divided by a 5-minute HIIT cardio session. Break them up into various aspects of the total body. One day do your legs for 10 minutes, then go get that heart rate back up with some HIIT of your choice (say on the elliptical), then do some upper body for 10 minutes. The next time it could be 10 minutes of core, 5 minutes on the bike, then 10 minutes of arms.

    You do NOT need to utilize actual weights for strength training. Especially as you begin, you need to just develop a solid base in being fit. Resistance bands and your own body weight can provide a sweat drenching, fat burning workout.

  • 10 minutes of core work. I am a big believer in developing all of those underlying support muscles, many of which you will never see. If you have one, a Swiss/strength ball is a GREAT tool for core work.

Try to do various movements that are opposite each other. Example - if you do some pikes in a prone position, make the next movement from the supine position. If you are sitting for some form of crunch, make the next movement a standing one. Keep hitting different aspects of the core from different positions - it WILL burn fat!

That said, do NOT do any heavy lifting on a BOSU if you have access to one. While they are great for forcing you to really work core/support muscles, heavy weights have no place on an unstable surface. You are only asking for injury.

This session should be done 5-6 times/week religiously. Always give yourself one day to just relax and rest, but initially it's not asking much to devote 60 minutes of a day to your overall health.

And a lil' tidbit - I found that the right music helps IMMENSELY when training! Make a custom playlist that fits the session. When doing LISS have some good, steady beat music. When HIIT(ing) it crank up the tempo! When doing strength work make it thunderous, beat heavy tunes.

Also, for the over-35 fat loser, try a mix of tunes from "back in the day" when you had that body you are now trying to dig out from under years of apathy and blubber. It's amazing how turning back the clock on the MP3s can help those muscles "remember when" and really fuel a great session!


This is not complicated. If you take nothing else from this article, take this:


That's right. Do NOT diet. Make a lifestyle change. Diets are NOT the solution. They are typically bordering on some sort of radical macro-nutritional deficiency of some sort.

Follow These Tips:

  1. STOP eating processed foods. The more commas in the ingredient list, the more likely it's not the best choice nutritionally.
  2. The further a food source is from its natural source, it's probably not the best nutritional choice. Oranges are good, orange Oreos ... not so much.
  3. DON'T drink your meals!!! This is a HUGE mistake. EAT!!! There is nothing more anabolic or metabolic than food, plus liquid meals will digest much faster than non-liquid meals, leaving you hungry again. EAT!!!
  4. DON'T (frozen diet meal in a box) MICROWAVE yourself thin! EAT! COOK! It's a lifestyle change.
  5. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. All the natural/non-processed foods are typically there.
  6. Eat lean proteins, complex carbs & good fats. A good starting point is to find your BMR, then eat a few hundred calories below that daily. Your exercise will add to that deficit.
  7. Use a diet high in protein & low in carbs. Use good fats to round out your daily calories.
  8. Water. Drink it. Lots.
  9. Finally, use common sense. You know if it's a good choice or not. Don't rationalize that "I only had one slice of Grandma's pie!" when you typically would have had two. You are only lying to the person in the mirror.


How Much Weightlifting Should Be Included In This Fat Loss Program?

If you mean utilizing actual weights, not much if any. That said, I am a huge believer in strength training being an overall metabolic enhancer that will burn fat, but as you get started your own body weight (which to be honest is probably a good sized load to begin with!) will provide ample resistance.

I cannot begin to convey enough how a few thousand bodyweight squats & lunges (especially lunges) will work your total body, really burn fat and allow you to start to develop your muscular & connective (ligaments and tendons) system to the point that you will be ready to - once you have, "torn your house down to the bare studs" - "remodel & add on" with some serious weight training.


How Much Cardio Should Be Included In This Fat Loss Program?

A good deal. I would say at least 50-66% of it should be cardio in one way, shape or form. Keep in mind that body weight & resistance band work can be cardio intensive if done intensely and correctly. It's easy to work the body out of an anaerobic form of exercise into an aerobic one via effort & repetitions. Remember - you are trying to lose weight and burn fat. Always keep that in mind and make it your goal.

Also, make the cardio portion goal oriented. Say you could only go 15 minutes on the rower or could only make it 17 minutes into that DVD, or could only last 1:45 into a 2:00 cardio interval. Next time make it a priority that you WILL go at least 16 minutes on the rower, 18 minutes into the DVD and you WILL make it those last 15 seconds into that interval. Every session do your absolute best to set a new Personal Best.

Fat Loss

How Much Fat Can You Expect To Lose On This Plan?

Using this approach I was able to lose, from a starting weight of just under 270 lbs, 57.5 pounds of body weight in 11 weeks, but also lost almost 78 pounds of fat (based on pre and post body fat readings taken with the same device) as well as over 36 inches of body measurements. I lost a YARD of me!

Bonus Question

Have You Used This Program And Was It Successful? Who Would You Recommend It To?

I would NOT recommend anything I have not done, or would be willing to do, myself. I lost 70 pounds in 13.5 weeks doing this. It works.

2nd Place - eXeCuTe

View This Author's BodySpace Here.

12-Week Fat Loss Program

Supplements To Buy Before Embarking:

  • Whey Protein Powder: Recommendation: Cytosport Whey Protein @ 90 cal and 17g of protein per scoop
  • Light Protein Bars: Muscle Milk Light, Myoplex Lite, Apex FIT, anything under 200 calories with a good amount of protein (12-20g) and lower sugar, or Fiber One Bars
  • Multivitamin
  • Fish Oil: Fish Oil for week 10+, because despite its usefulness in many aspects, it is still oil which is fat (EFAs, but still fat) which you don't need in your first ten weeks.

Diet Plan

Treat all eating activity as a meal, do not waste calories on things that you really don't need. The key to this diet is that you are supplying your body with good amounts of protein (120-160g / day) and still providing it with carbohydrates which are necessary to give your body energy and the ability to process and regulate your protein use and fat metabolism. Calories will have to be increased as weight loss progresses, but this is a good starting point to build off of.

Morning Meal (7-8 AM):

Protein shake with 8 oz. of milk and a half or whole banana.

A good start to the day to bring yourself out of the fasting phase you are put into while you sleep. This contains sucralose, which will spike your insulin levels and in turn spike your metabolism.

Insulin indirectly stimulates accumulation of fat in adipose tissue. With a good amount of protein your body can slowly digest until your next meal (25-30g) and a very good carbohydrate count (a banana contains a surprising carb count of 32g).

Mid-Morning Meal (10-11 AM):

Protein bar or Fiber-One bar (12 oz. of water)

By the mid-morning, your body has started processing the protein you have taken in for breakfast, which make a protein bar a good (and sustaining) option. The fiber in a Fiber-One bar is also helpful, as soluble fiber slows the speed of digestion and can curb your appetite and help you feel satisfied.

Mid-Day Meal (12 AM - 1 PM):

Sandwich (lean ham, turkey, fish, or chicken mainly - steer clear of roast beef, salami, bologna and the like) on pumpernickel, rye or multi-grain. A large apple or other fruit and 12 oz. of water.

For a sandwich, pack it with as many cold cuts as you'd like (within reason) to achieve a good protein content. Mustard is a good option of condiment, while steering clear of butter and mayonnaise. If you'd rather have a wrap, Joseph's Flax Seed and Oat Bran Lavash Wraps are extremely good for you and for losing weight, and besides that, they are big and satisfying.

Mid-Afternoon (3-4 PM) / Pre-Workout Snack:

4 oz. of tuna or 3 egg whites and one whole egg or an array of cold cuts (12 oz. of water)

Something sustaining and low in calories is great for before your workout or just for the mid-afternoon. A somewhat recent study at UConn has showed us that the group eating whole eggs with egg whites rather than just egg whites had a decrease in body fat percentage and an increase in lean muscle gain. Tuna is always a good option for a snack also.


Scoop of protein powder and 12 oz. of water.

Post workout is one of the most important times to get protein and BCAA's into your system. It goes straight to supplying your muscles and thus leading to lean muscle gain. It won't taste great, actually, it will probably taste pretty bad but it will invigorate your body with protein after your workout. Chugging is an easy way to get by this.

Evening Meal:

Chicken breast, any (baked) fish especially tuna, salmon, or tilapia, or turkey. Any vegetables you please, and a half or a whole sweet potato.

More lean protein, ensure your ground meat is lean, and that all your meat is skinless. While red meat, pork, lamb, and ham can be fatty, it is okay once every so often. Vegetables will provide you with more dietary fiber that will satisfy you until your next meal and get you detoxified to some extent.

The reasons to eat a sweet potato with this meal are endless. Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbs, which will provide your body with energy to develop muscle and burn fat, have many vitamins, and are high in fiber content. Sweetpotatoes are also a good source of chromium picolinate which is essential in the body's insulin production.

Night Meal:

Anything that was for mid-afternoon, or yogurt with a scoop of whey.

Yogurt with one scoop of whey (strawberry-banana whey with this tastes good) and a little bit of milk is about 220 Calories and coming in close to 40g of protein. If you can't get yogurt I would stick to something from the mid-afternoon plan. Yogurt is rich in probiotics which can aid fat loss.

Depending on how your variation of this diet goes, you should be taking in around 1700-1800 calories, 120-160g of protein and 50-75g of carbohydrates. Your daily dietary fiber needs should be attained, and your vitamin intake is fulfilled.

Exercise & Activity Routine

For optimal fat loss results, you should do cardio every day, but this is unlikely and hard to achieve. Setting goals you can't achieve is setting up for failure. Build up your cardio. Experiment in the first week.

Try something that you do for 25 minutes and it doesn't leave you completely depleted but still worked out. Slowly build this up to 40 minutes per day on days you don't weight train, and 15-20 on days that you do. Take the weekends off if you want to, as long as you aren't binging or excessively cheating on days that you take off.

Any cardio machine that you find fitting is suitable, if you wish to try alternative methods of cardio like kick boxing, or punching bag work go for it, just make sure it is constantly elevating your heart rate.

Try something like this:

  • Monday: Chest, Biceps, Triceps - Cardio for 15-20 minutes
  • Tuesday: Cardio
  • Wednesday: Legs - Cardio optional, because many cardio machines will work your legs such as bikes or treadmills, and it would only be wise to do cardio if you are up for it and it won't completely deplete you.
  • Thursday: Cardio
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: Off
  • Sunday: Back, Shoulders, Triceps - Cardio for 15-20 minutes

Try starting out weight training with high reps and low weight to get and keep your heart rate up. Progress and by the 6th week be using weight in the first set that will fail you at 10 reps, 8 for second set and 6 for third. Keep it fast-paced and challenge yourself. Lift under control, don't throw the weight around.

Be sure to rest at least 1-2 minutes in between sets, especially on sets that bring you to failure because your muscles will be expending their stored ATP and since you won't be taking anything like creatine because you're cutting, you have to restore it as fully as possibly.



  • Start off for the first two or three weeks with flat bench press and dumbbells to work your stabilizer muscles, then switch to barbell.
  • Do the same with Barbell/Dumbbell Incline Press
  • Dumbbell Flyes and Cable Flyes


  • Lateral Raises
  • Front Raises
  • Shrugs
  • Overhead Barbell Press

Biceps & Triceps:

  • Barbell Curls
  • Dumbbell Curls
  • Reverse Curls w/ EZ-Curl Bar
  • Reverse Flyes
  • Triceps Pulldown
  • Kickbacks


  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Leg Extension and Curl
  • Leg Presses
  • Calf Raises


  • Lat Pulldowns
  • Seated Cable Rows
  • Dumbbell Rows

After the second or third week assess your weakest body part, and do bodyweight exercises throughout the day to increase your strength for over time, do this especially on days when you don't go to the gym.

For Example:

Your bench press is lacking and your chest isn't strong. Start out doing 15-20 pushups at a time and get at least 100 in every day. Be doing 150 per day about 2 weeks into this, and 200 at about 5 or 6.

Bodyweight squats are good for legs, pullups (if you have a bar or something you can use) for back, sit-ups for abs, etc.

Final Note

I have tried this, and am currently using this diet. I have lost nearly 60 pounds and nearly doubled my lifts in about 6 months. I lost about 25 pounds in the first 12 weeks. I started at 255 pounds with little muscle, and am at 195 with decent lifts right now. I recommend this diet to a truly dedicated person, who will push himself to his limits in order to achieve what he wants.

The long-term pleasure of being in shape and not being fat far outweigh the short-term pleasure of eating things that are detrimental to your health and not having women take a second glance at you. This workout and diet plan is probably best for someone who needs to lose fat rather than tone down or cut.

3rd Place - Mfranke

View This Author's BodySpace Here.

12-Week Transformation For Men

The Best 12-Week Fat Loss Transformation

To maximize fat loss and maintain muscle mass in a 12-week period, you must utilize all three components of weight loss:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Weight training
  3. Cardio

All three components must be given 100% of your focus and attention if you want to make a truly amazing transformation.

1 Nutrition:

I believe the best nutritional approach is dependent on body type. If you are an endomorph (gain fat easily), a low to moderate carb diet works best.

If you are natural it is important not to eliminate all carbs because this will inhibit your body's ability to produce the proper testosterone and growth hormone needed to achieve maximum results. A better option is to time your carbs to immediately upon waking and pre and post workout. All other times eat only protein and fat. Macronutrient breakdown for a 200-pound male would look like this:

  • Protein 300 - 350 grams
  • Carbs 50 - 70 grams
  • Fat 90 - 100 grams

If you are an ectomorph (fast metabolism) you will definitely need more carbohydrates to maintain your size. Your macronutrients should look like this:

  • Protein 200 - 250 grams
  • Carbs 200 - 250 grams
  • Fat 40 - 50 grams

Mesomorphs can also handle a higher carb load as well:

  • Protein 250 - 300 grams
  • Carbs 100 - 150 grams
  • Fat 70 - 80 grams

You need to choose the best options of food available during this 12-week period.

Acceptable Protein:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Lean beef
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs

Acceptable Carbohydrate:

  • Green vegetables
  • Green beans
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Sweet potato
  • Quinoa
  • Post-workout carb drink

Acceptable Fat:

  • Fish oil
  • Olive oil
  • Egg yolks
  • Avocado
  • Nuts

2 Weight Training:

I believe the best approach to maximum fat loss without muscle loss it a combination circuit-style training and heavy lifting.

The purpose of the circuit training is to produce an abundance of lactic acid buildup in the muscle. The body responds to lactic training with a surge of growth hormone. Growth hormone is the body's most potent fat burner! A side effect of this workout is also a great cardiovascular workout.

The second method of weight training is designed to help maintain your muscle mass while being in a caloric deficit. Many people make the mistake of doing lighter weight and more repetitions when on a diet. When you lighten the load you are telling the muscle, "you don't have to stay as big anymore, as I am only requiring you to lift lighter weight". Rep range in the 5-8 range is best!

Example Circuit Workout:

Upper Body:

  • Dumbbell Bench Press 15 - 20 reps
  • Seated Row 15 - 20 reps
  • Skull Crushers 15 - 20 reps
  • Barbell Curl 15 - 20 reps

*Repeat 4 times

Lower Body:

  • Hack Squats 15 - 20 reps
  • Seated Leg Curls 10-15 reps
  • Leg Press 25 - 30 reps
  • Romanian Deadlift 15 - 20 reps

*Repeat 4 times

Example Of Heavy Workout:

  • Incline Barbell Bench Press 4 x 6

  • Weighted Pull-Ups

  • Weighted Dips

  • Bent-Over Rows 4 x 6

  • Barbell Curls 4 x 6

  • Close-Grip Bench Press 4 x 6

3 Cardio:

I believe the body adapts quickly to cardio. Your body becomes more efficient the more cardio you perform. Therefore, it is necessary to steadily progress either time or intensity of your cardio. The best way to do this is to combine high intensity intervals along with steady pace aerobic work.

Here Is An Example:

  • Perform 3 days of 30 min. aerobic work and 2 days HIIT.
  • After 4 weeks increase duration of HIIT by 25 percent.
  • After 8 weeks perform 2 sessions of 30 min. aerobic work, one in the morning and one post-workout.

Here Is A Sample Week:

  • Monday: Upper body circuit training, 30 min. aerobic work
  • Tuesday: Lower body heavy training
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Upper body heavy training, HIIT
  • Friday: lower body circuit, 30 min. aerobic work
  • Saturday: upper body circuit, HIIT
  • Sunday: 30 min. aerobic work only

Fat Loss

How Much Fat Can You Expect to Lose On This Plan?

I know from experience you can lose one-percent body fat each week.

This equates to approximately 24 pounds in a 12-week period for a 200-pound person.

I started this program at a bodyweight of 205 pounds and at the end of the 12 weeks I was 183 pounds at five percent body fat. I competed at the Washington State Natural Bodybuilding Championships and took 2nd in my class.

I recommend this program to anyone who has set a goal with a specific time frame in mind. It is critical to set a date for achieving your desired results. Whether you are preparing for a show or getting in shape for a wedding, as you long as you stay focused and consistent you will make an amazing transformation!

About the Author

Workout Of The Week

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