12 Week Cardio and Weight Training Routine

Get Fit or Die Tryin: 12 Week Cardio and Weight Training Program

What if I told you that in just 12 weeks you could improve your physique and conditioning so much that you feel like a completely different person?

I’m going to lay out a 12 week plan that will give you tips on your diet, lay out your cardio, a weight training routine, and tips to run this program effectively.

Program Goals

The goals for this program include:

Weight Loss: This program is going to help you lose that stubborn weight and help you trim down to a smaller size through resistance and conditioning training and diet.

Build Lean Muscle Mass: Whether you want to tone up and look fit or want to become a bodybuilder, this routine is the program for you. This program gives you the tools to increase your lean mass and create a balanced physique.

Improve Conditioning: Simply doing cardio is not going to improve your conditioning. Walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike burns calories, but you are not necessarily improving your conditioning. This program is going to plan out your cardio sessions as well as give you tips on improving your conditioning and getting your body more athletic.

Recommended Supplementation

Check out my product reviews page to see what I’ve used and be sure to check out other people’s reviews before you purchase something. Supplements are just that, a supplementation. Your program does not rely on the use of any supplements, but here are the suggestions I would use.

Healthy Whole Foods: Whole foods are a must if you want this program to work best. Eat a wide variety of fresh foods so you will be able to recover and grow muscle.

Whey Protein: Whey protein is an easy way to get some fast digesting protein into your body. Drinking a shake in the morning or post-workout are both effective times.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA): BCAAs are nice to have since they are healthy drinks you can have during your workout or throughout your day. This supplement is nice to have and most certainly not needed. Eating a balanced diet with a wide variety of different meats and vegetables will give you all of the amino acids that are found in a BCAA supplement. A bonus to a BCAAs are that most are great tasting and are a healthy alternative to soda.

Fish Oils: Fish oils are a great supplement for joints and overall heart health in your body. This supplement is not needed at all, but if you eat plenty of fish in your diet you will benefit the same as you would if you took the supplement.

Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine monohydrate is a proven, tried, and tested supplement shown to improve strength, endurance, and athletic performance. This is certainly not needed for most people and is just a supplement that is okay to use. Creatine monohydrate works and is cheap, if you are trying to increase strength and performance, this supplement is nice to have.

Fat Burners and Energy Supplements: Stimulants can be addictive and have adverse effects on your health, so please use these wisely. When working on a calorie deficit, you will have less energy. A fat burner or energy supplement will help you get through the days where you have no energy. There are many different supplements that say claim to burn fat, but please read many reviews and understand what you are putting in your body before you buy something. No fat burner will “burn fat” so beware of the supplements that say they will. A good cup of coffee a few times through the day will do just fine if you are low on energy.

Multi-vitamins: Any multi will help, I prefer Opti-Men vitamins.

Diet Tips

Eating whole foods and making the correct food decisions will be the determining factor if this program is a success or failure for you. Anyone can go to the gym to lift weights and do until they think they are dying, but you cannot out exercise poor diet.

Check out the health and nutrition of this site for articles on how to eat healthier and save money doing it. Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to cut out all of your guilty pleasures, but you must be conscious of them and realize how many calories you are eating.

For Women:

  • Cut calories by 200 per day
  • Follow the cardio and conditioning tips

For Men:

  • Cut calories by 300 per day
  • Follow the cardio and conditioning tips

A slow decrease in calories will keep your metabolism from crashing and will also force your body to start burning body fat for energy. You must eat consistently the same calories and the same general types of foods so your weight will not fluctuate. You do not have to eat the same thing every day but if you skimp out on carbs one day and the next day eat a bunch of carbs, you are going to bloat and hold a lot of water.

Always weigh yourself at the same time of day on the same day of the week. Only weigh yourself once a week to track your progress. Don’t get discouraged if you have not lost weight, give it 3 consecutive weeks of consistent diet and exercise before you adjust your diet again.

Diet Plan Guidelines

Losing weight is not complicated; simply lowering your calorie intake will help you lose body fat.


  • Men – Generally 120-200 grams of protein daily. The heavier you are, the closer to 200 you should go.
  • Women – Generally 80-140 grams of protein daily. The heavier you are, the closer to 140 you should go.

Eating enough protein will ensure you retain muscle mass while losing weight. Eat a wide variety of proteins from chicken, pork, beef, beans, whey, and other sources you enjoy.


Fat intake should generally be 20-30% of your daily calories. Fats do not make you fat. Eating heavily processed foods or carbohydrate dense foods with fats is what makes you fat. Some bacon will not make you fat, but a doughnut will. Drizzling some olive oil on your salad or using butter on some vegetables is healthy.

Not getting enough dietary fats in your diet is going to lead to hormone issues, loss of sleep, and more.


The macro nutrient everyone seems to hate. Carbohydrates are a good source of energy and strength athletes make great use of them. Carbs are important to performance; unless you can successfully do a low/no carb diet and eat plenty of dietary fats and protein, do not just cut out carbs.

Once you have determined your daily calories from proteins and fats, fill the rest in with carbohydrates. I suggest nutrient dense things such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and brown rice.

Once You Have Stalled on Your Weight Loss

Women: Cut an additional 200 calories.

Men: Cut an additional 300 calories.


A re-feed is a way to keep your metabolism going while you are cutting calories. Some people might call it a cheat meal or a cheat day. You will want to have a re-feed every other week. Plan a day every other week where you splurge and eat what you want. This will give you something to look forward to and a reason for you to stay on your diet.

When doing your re-feed day, make sure to enjoy the food. Don’t go so far overboard that you feel sick to your stomach from eating too much, but feel free to have the pizza and ice cream you’ve been wanting for the past couple weeks.

If you want this program to give you the best results you can get, eat your extra calories with whole foods or protein shakes. This is going to give you the nutrition and recovery you need. You would be surprised how much chicken you have to eat to equal a value meal at a fast food restaurant.

12 Week Cardio Program

Many people spend too much time on the cardio equipment and it is simply not needed. This program will give you plenty of cardio and will help you lose weight and get more athletic. You might not think the program has enough cardio, but adding more cardio to the program may adversely affect your results.

No need to add longer sessions or extra cardio sessions into this program, but feel free to be active outside playing sports, riding bicycles, etc. The goal is to make your life more enjoyable so don’t limit yourself to only exercising in the gym.

Spin bikes are a great way to get your cardio in, improve your conditioning, and will help with muscle endurance and work output.


For the first 6 weeks leave 1 day of recovery in between each cardio session and do 3 sessions per week. The last 6 weeks do 2 days on and 1 day off with 4 sessions per week.

Start week 1 and do 10 minutes of cardio per session. Add 2 minutes to your cardio sessions per week. On week 12 you will be doing 32 minutes of cardio per session.

Doing cardio post workout or in a fasted state when you first wake up are the two most beneficial times to perform cardio.

Workout Program

Strive for progression and you will make marked progress. I’ve had many clients happy with their results using this method.

A sample workout schedule would look like:

  • Day 1: OFF
  • Day 2: Workout A
  • Day 3: Workout B
  • Day 4: OFF
  • Day 5: Workout C
  • Day 6: Workout D
  • Day 7: OFF
Workout A
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Incline Bench 5 25
Lat Pull Downs 3 36
DB Shoulder Press 3 36
Pull Ups 3 36
Close Grip Bench Press 3 36


Workout B
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squat 5 25
Front Squat 3 36
Leg Curl 3 36
Standing Calf Raise 3 36
Curls 3 36
Planks 5


Workout C
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Barbell Rows 5 25
Incline DB Chest Flyes 3 36
Side Lateral Raises 3 36
Pull Ups 3 36
Skull Crushers 3 36
Curls 4 48


Workout D
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Light Squats 3 24
Barbell Lunges 3 36
Leg Press 3 36
Standing Calf Raises 3 36
Cable Crunches 4 48


This program focuses on using compound lifts and exercises that will give your body a balanced and athletic physique. This program works and will give you as good of results as you put into this. Work your ass off and you will the results you want.


As always, leave questions and comments below! Like us on Facebook and be sure to share with your friends so we can make a healthier world.

242 thoughts on “Get Fit or Die Tryin: 12 Week Cardio and Weight Training Program”

  1. Hey Cutty, Iove your site and thanks for this amazing plan! I have been floundering without direction and just doing whatever for awhile now and Im thankful for the blueprint! Due to equipment availability and injuries (I’m 44 a former Marine and 20 year police officer) I may have to do some workarounds, but this is great straightforward information. Thank you!

    1. John, thank you for your kind words. Sorry for such a delayed response, I’ve had a lot of family emergencies keeping me from getting on much. If you have any questions let me know. I promise I’ll be around more.

    1. You can do cardio whenever, but I suggested performing 3 days of cardio per week for the first six weeks and then 4 days of cardio in the last 6 weeks. You can do these post-workout, you can do them in the morning before you go to work. Find a time that is best suited for you. The only suggestion I have is to not perform long bouts of cardio before you lift so your body is fresh and not fatigued.


    1. Total. Basically, it’s a 5×5 set but if you still have reps in the tank you don’t stop. So in theory you could do something like a set of 8, 6, 4, 4, 3 and hit the rep goal.

      Hope this helps!

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