top of page
  • Writer's pictureCarlie Pipe

Cute for Crop Over: Getting Abs and Lowering Body Fat

Updated: Jun 18, 2019

Featuring myself and Corey McClean and Tennyson Harrigan from Base Fitness.

Intro theme "Crop Over Life" by Tanya Stephens and Simon Pipe.

Listen to this episode where we talk about getting abs (yes I know I'm abs-essed) and lowering your body fat.

Carlie: (00:15) Welcome back, to Runnin Bout! Through Crop Over we have a very special season "Crop Over Life" and it's supported by Base Fitness, distributors of My Protein products. You can follow them on Instagram @basefitnessonline. You can also check them out at Throughout this special edition, this Crop Over Life edition, we're going to be talking fitness, running and wukking up. Make sure you listen on iTunes. You can also check us out on the website and on my personal Instagram @carlierunsbarbados. You know me, I'm your host. I'm here with my regular, my regular degular Co host Corey McClean. Perfect, perfect. You can follow him at @that_mcclean_guy. He's a Revolution Running certified trainer, my running partner and that will never be disputed. We're also joined, very lucky to be joined by Tennyson. You can follow him on Instagram @master_Harrigan. He's gonna have to 'splain that one to me. He's a twice certified personal trainer. I guess that's like the black belt of personal trainers and he's also a power lifter.

Tennyson: (01:31) Yeah, that's true.

Carlie: (01:31) Any running to your name?

Tennyson: (01:37) No power lifters do not run. We hate cardio.

Carlie: (01:39) Welcome all the same. That's okay. Because today we're not talking about a lot of motion. We're talking about my number one organ of my body that I wish to have, which is abs see.

Corey: (01:59) You know they say there are two types of runners. Those that have abs and those that wish they had abs.

Carlie: (02:03) 100% I'm in the wish I had abs, like all my ideal body is like a jukking board of abs with a few arms and legs attached.

Tennyson: (02:14) Well, I've had abs all my life. I feel guilty to say that. I don't really care, but I can advise you guys on how to get them if you want them and what does not work if you try to get them.

Carlie: (02:29) Nice. Nice. So let's hear about maybe let's start with the three exercises you have to do in order to get abs. Actually, I want to know the difference between abs and core because we're talking about abs, but do we mean core? I mean abs because I'm very vain, but you know what's the difference between abs and core? Right?

Tennyson: (02:50) Most people who when they say abs, they're talking about the rectus abdominis muscles. That's what you see in the front of your stomach and that that forms up only a small portion of your actual core. Your core is the entire circumfrence of your torso, so the abs, your obliques, and also the lower back muscles. Those keep your torso upright and they stabilize your body from any lateral movements or side to side front to back, that's what is basically for, and you need your core muscles to do anything. Um, physical fitness wise, whether you're running, whether you're lifting weights, whether you're swimming, they form the foundation of a lot of things. So you need a strong core.

Corey: (03:33) I mean, you pretty much need your core to stand up, right? Your core, your core is literally the foundation of your entire body.

Carlie: (03:42) And I feel like core also is important for running because you're talking about all the lateral movement. You want to be staying as efficient as possible and you don't want to be losing energy going one side and the nights and doing a little wobble.

Speaker 3: (03:57) Right. Also too the running and core is where now we talked about this last season. We're talking about the kinetic chain, right? So like your core, um, when it is fully functioning, fully firing and activated, you are going to be able to utilize the ground reaction forces. So when you land, you hit the ground you'd be able to transfer the energy from the impact of the ground into forward motion.

Tennyson: (04:35) It's funny that you mentioned that because in powerlifting especially, force transfer is important. So having a strong core, just like Corey is saying, is something that's emphasized because physics, basic physics for transfers better accurately, a stiff, harder medium. So if your core is soft and wobbly when you apply force from the ground, it's not going to travel up your body in an efficient manner. So you lose power. It's the same thing when you're running as well. Actually, I used to do track and field I used to run the 100m and 200m.

Carlie: (05:14) So why did you forsake it?

Tennyson: (05:14) You know, I loved it and I pulled my hamstring one season and that was the end of it for me because I moved countries, so different reasons. Yes, but that refreshed my memory.

Carlie: (05:30) You needed to repress your Running memory?

Corey: (05:34) Don't worry. By the end of this whole season, we will hear about the one marathon you ran.

Carlie: (05:39) We can sign you up and you won't even know. Don't worry. Um, so is core more important to one sport than another or not really. It's kind of important to all.

Tennyson: (05:50) Everybody needs a strong core.

Carlie: (05:54) Can you have a strong core but not have visible hard abs?

Tennyson: (05:59) Yes. I actually think of short putters. Think of hammer throws. Those Power athletes that look big and heavyset. They have some of the strongest cores in sports and they don't have rippling abs. So core and abs - two different things. We need to make a distinction.

Corey: (06:17) So, um, so I want to be cute because it was summer, right? So how we getting these abs? Because I mean there are a lot of factors that go into getting these things, to pop out.

Carlie: (06:30) And listen, I'm counting down to Crop Over here to Kadooment Monday. So I need three effective super effective exercises that by the time I put on my costume.....No, no. I need six abs. Three effective exercises to get me six abs. Tennyson, go!

Tennyson: (06:47) These exercises will build your Ab muscles, right? So they will cause hypertrophy. The muscles will get bigger. However, however, for them to be visible, you need to have a low body fat, but we'll get to that.

Corey: (07:05) So, that's my question. So now, when you talking about we getting low body fat, what is low body fat? Because I've been through a challenge and you know, I lost a bunch of weight and my body fat plummeted to 14, 14.5%. And so I had not an ab. So what is low?

Tennyson: (07:34) Low is relative to everybody. Um, fat deposits on people's bodies, different places. That's determined genetically. There's nothing we could do about that. Some people keep fat on their stomachs. Some people keep it on the hips. It varies from person to person. So if you go down that low and you didn't see your abs, it just means that your stubborn fat is focused around your stomach area.

Tennyson: (08:01) Yeah, but building your ab muscles would help. Um, and that's where we get to the three exercises. So for me, I have learned that doing hanging leg raises, that's where you, you do equal to a pull up bar. Basically you hang down and you bring the knees up, keep them about 90 degrees hold for half a minute, drop down. If you do about sets of 12 to 14, three to four sets, those would really get your ab muscles actived and you'd get a nice sore mid sections. That's one. The second one is actually planks. There is not much motion involved in the plank. However, the fact that you need to keep your body stabilized. Um, whether it be a side plank, rear plank norm plank, that actually has your muscles firing at a very high rate.

Carlie: (09:00) Do we go until failure on that one? Is there a time that we should be aiming for like 30 seconds to 60 seconds ?

Tennyson: (09:12) Some people tremble after about 12 seconds. Um, some people get up to minutes, so it really is according to your threshold, but go until you feel like you need to drop down, take about two minutes rest and do it again. Three sets of that and you have a nice ab workout.

Carlie: (09:32) So that's hanging leg raises, planks number three?

Tennyson: (09:56) right. And um, one that is at a bit higher difficulty level but I mean if you, if you were building your, your, your core, you're going to get stronger and stronger. Um, actually I don't remember the name but I could describe it. So you lie down on a bench, you will secure, um, yourself with your hands on top of the bench and all you simply try to do is raise your body off the bench.

Corey: (10:22) Dragonflies!

Tennyson: (10:22) Those are amazing. And if you can master them you would be well on your way. Everything is up all the way up to the midsection. So you just try to keep your body as rigid and upright as possible. And if you could do, if you could move your legs a little bit when you up there, that's even even better. And some other ones are effective as well. "Spidermans" where you go on the ground, um, and you bring your leg to meet your, your hand. Um, those, those actually work pretty well. But yeah, those are my top three.

Carlie: (11:13) That's kind of like the Spiderman one is kind of also a little bit of like a almost a cardio too, isn't it? Would that help with fat burning? Wouldn't that get your heart rate, up?

Tennyson: (11:25) yeah, it does. Well I guess we could get into fat burning. Part of seeing your abs is fat loss and fat loss. You do that by getting cardio done, which could either be the type of cardio that Carlie likes, which is running for a very long time, which I hate. Or you could do high intensity interval training, which is a different type of cardio, more effective for men. Apparently women respond better to steady state cardio or some such thing. Yeah, but men respond better to hiit training. When you do short bursts of very intense physical activity.

Corey: (12:08) So you're talking everything from tabata all the way up to cross fit?

Tennyson: (12:10) Whatever gets your heart rate above 80%, 75-80% is potentially a hiit exercise. So if you did that for a minute, then the principal is, you either do a one to to one so you rest for a minute or 1 to 0.5 where you rest for 30 seconds basically. Um, you're active and you're rest for a period, you're active, you rest for period.

Carlie: (12:34) And isn't it also just short time period?

Tennyson: (12:36) So a hiit session typically might last for like 30 minutes and that's all you need. Um, and that actually keeps going for the rest of the day. And metabolism gets a huge boost from that. So you actually keep burning fat throughout the day after a really good hit session.

Carlie: (12:54) That's a good lunch time kind of idea, you know, like on your lunch hour, right?

Corey: (13:00) No. I usually like to eat lunch.

Carlie: (13:07) You want to be cute though, don't you?

Tennyson: (13:14) Right. I think fasted cardio is what most people know about. And so in the morning before you have breakfast, you go on a long run or you do a treadmill. And that seems to be very effective

Corey: (13:25) For me, I can do like I can go run, I can run, um, fasted. I cannot touch a barbell fasted its not an option.

Tennyson: (13:35) Actually I have a story. Yeah. I tried to go and do a heavy dead lift one morning after having I think a shake. And after my second set, I started seeing like literal stars, like people see stars. I saw stars in front of me and I was like, oh, okay, this is actually happening. And I had to sit down. And then when I came to, I didn't remember actually sitting down. It was amazing. And that was my first and last time trying to train without eating like three meals. Never going to happen again.

Carlie: (14:19) We're talking ABS. Um, specifically, even though we know that having a strong core is fundamental to everything for the aesthetic purposes. And I don't mind saying it. Um, we want some big strong abs we just went through a few exercises that we need to do. Hanging leg raises, planks, dragon flies, and we'll put all of this, um, down in writing for you so you can refer to this material

Corey: (16:04) and the professional podcasters say "in the show notes."

Carlie: (16:15) So to have abs actually be able to be seen. We also need to reduce our body fat. But let's be honest, six weeks or so. Is that enough time?

Tennyson: (16:25) No.

Carlie: (16:26) Ooh, lie to me.

Tennyson: (16:32) No, this is a difficult question. Uh, yes, you can dramatically drop your body weight in six weeks, however you are going to gain that back right after.

Corey: (16:44) I think too a question has to be where you're going from.

Tennyson: (18:07) To have something objective to refer to most men would see their abs between 12 to 15% body fat. Most women who see the abs around 17%, which is pretty low for a woman. Hmm. Um, that's Kinda like close to what the bikini fitness skills have to get to, to go on stage. And some of them still don't have abs. Um, fun facts. So yeah, if you're looking for a number, it's about 12 to 14 for men. And about 17 for women.

Corey: (18:39) Personal thing, personal preference. When I, when I look out a woman, if I just see those two lines at the side, now that is sexy.

Carlie: (18:50) You know, so I'll settle for line abs. Tennyson, can I get line abs by first Monday in August?

Tennyson: (18:59) Yeah. I'm pretty sure that you can, that you can accomplish that. Yeah. But let's get to how best possible. Um, we spoke exercise, you spoke cardio, we spoke hiit, but we didn't speak about diets, food. That's actually the most important thing when it comes to dropping body fat. If you train really hard and you eat bad, you are not going to get any results.

Corey: (19:27) You can't out train a bad diet.

Tennyson: (19:31) When you burning, if you're trying to burn fat, especially, yes, you have to be consistent with your macros. When I say consistent, I mean it needs to be an everyday thing. So if you calculate your TDE, which is your daily caloric expenditure at 1800, you want to see abs, you have to eat at least two to 300 calories below that everyday and keep your exercise up. But I mean, even if you don't exercise and you still hit your macro count everyday, you're still going to lose weight is still going to burn fat.

Carlie: (20:10) So what is a macro?

Tennyson: (20:11) All right. the macro nutrients, proteins, carbs and fats, those, um, other three macronutrients and they comprise food.

Carlie: (20:24) So, okay, so when we, when we say Macros, we specifically mean nutrients. OK like I'm thinking where the Micros, is there an opposite ?

Corey: (20:41) So micronutrients are what make you healthy macronutrients or what, you know sustain you.

Tennyson: (20:49) Right, so we not going to bother with the micro right now. You're looking at a micro was, um, contrary to what people think. You don't have to eat low carbs, you don't have to eat low anything. All you need to do is combine your macros in such a way that's your total caloric intake is lower than what your body naturally needs for the day. So everybody, if you lie down on the couch for the entire idea, you're burning up a certain number of calories, but just by virtue of the fact that you're alive, yeah, you need to find that out. Then you can, there are many things online that you could use to calculate that. Once you establish that, then from there you need to figure out in your diets, how to eat in such a way that the calories you intake are going to be lower than those required calories, two to 300 calories around that.

(21:44) Now the thing is moving around and exercising and all of that will increase the amount of calories that you burn. So you need to factor that in so they don't go too low. So say you're going to do a gym session. If you're lifting weights, you're going to probably burn about 300 calories. If you run in like Carlie does, you're going to burn a lot more. So you don't want to go too low because then you're going to end up with a broken metabolism. That's a different thing altogether, right? So aim to eat about two to 300 below.

Carlie: (22:13) Um, that'll help you reduce your body weight.

Tennyson: (22:18) Yes, you will lose muscle and fat.

Corey: (22:21) the opposite side of that is you being too low in your calorie intake and then you having the opposite effect.

Tennyson: (22:58) Well, yeah, that's why as I touched on metabolic damage, if you're eating, um, too low or not enough calories then your body is going to start to break into your muscles, um, is going to change your amino protein profile. You're going to start losing muscle. Even if you tried to correct it, you're going to end up in a body wasting state and nobody wants to lose muscle that's like precious to the body. Um, and when you tried to go back to normal, what you're going to find is that you going to put on fat faster because your body's like, oh my gosh, I nearly died.

Speaker 3: (23:35) So whenever you, whenever your body gets food, it's like, and I need to store all of this food. So you went into starvation. Yes. So you're going to store fat a lot easier after that. So you need to really keep things balanced, otherwise you're going to do yourself in an injustice.

Carlie: (23:47) Right. So we really do not want to go below the two to 300 deficit.

Tennyson: (23:53) And that's why people put weight back on very quickly after they go on these crash diets because they deprive the body of too much. Exactly. And then when you hit, when, as soon as you touch a normal meal again is going to just store everything as fat right away in the event that you did decide to starve it again. So that's, what happens in most cases after people lose their weight and then put it back on.

Corey: (24:14) So insulin spikes and not being hungry during the day. I mean, you're in a deficit. Yes. You're going to feel it, what tends to happen too is if you are, if you are hungry, if you go for an extended period of time without food, you know, you're, you're correct me if I'm wrong your insulin levels dip and then when you eat again they spike causing....

Tennyson: (25:12) it's a trick that body builders use and they actually inject insulin for that same reason. If your insulin spikes, then it tells your body, okay, tend to put on some weight. And that's basically what that does, um, does a little myth is myth that because you actually gain, you actually have an insulin spike whenever you eat. Right. People think that you only need to eat like sugar, something sweet to get an insulin spike. But that's not true. Um, but it's not a bad thing. It's typically just bad to wait until you're too hungry before you eat because you're going to eat more and that's really what happens. You eat more than you than you should because you're, your stomach doesn't like shut off fast enough .

Speaker 3: (26:01) The principal is tried to avoid getting too hungry before you eat if you're trying to lose weight. Um, and don't eat till your full and don't stuff your stomach. Yeah. People think they need to stop eating when they feel like, oh my gosh, I got to know it. Just eat a reasonable portion and stop. If you still feel hungry, just wait 10 minutes. It's going to go away.

Carlie: (26:22) Now is there some way to target fat as opposed to muscle? Cause that's what we really want to do.

Tennyson: (26:34) Well I know I said that macros didn't matter but in this case they do. If you're trying to keep muscle on a while burning fat, then you need to have the protein version of your macros, pretty high relative to the others. So I would sa yabout 55, 60% of your macros should comprise protein and thats spread out throughout the day and not just in one go. And that would preserve muscle and target the fat once you do the other things I supposed to be doing, like eating right and then treat it as simple as that.

Carlie: (27:07) Eat right, train hard, don't eat cookies, keep your protein up and you will be definitely ab heavy for crop over. That's my goal.

Tennyson: (27:18) The ideal thing is to do this all year round. Not just six weeks before

Corey: (27:25) Tennyson you're no fun dude.

Carlie: (27:37) Well look, I've really enjoyed this because abs are kind of my jam. They're like my dream thing, my goal thing. Um, but we got to go, we got a lot more topics coming y'alls way soon, so make sure you stay tuned to Runnin Bout: Crop Over Life where we will talk about Fitness running and wukking up.

76 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page