Happy Holidays!

Just wanted to send a quick Happy Holidays message to my readers across the world! May you spend time reflecting and enjoying life with family, and may the New Year bring you blessings and joy!


I like to use the Christmas season as a time to reflect and to look into what’s coming.

For our family, the past year has been something completely unexpected…sometimes, I think that’s one of life’s greatest gifts! I’ve learned to slow down, to appreciate every single moment and to find joy in every situation. In the past year, we’ve:

  • Decided to move our family across the country to somewhere new, complete with three trips to Asheville, NC, selling our first home, purchasing a new home and everything that comes with a move.
  • Seen John enjoy some great success at work, which he truly enjoys.
  • Watched our boys grow every day. Our oldest has become quite the thinker, who loves to build things and to analyze everything that goes on around him. Our youngest has found an appreciate for music and loves to figure out how the world around him works…with lots of laughs thrown in.
  • Taken numerous trips: Atlantic City, DC, AVL, Disney World and a few places in between.
  • Spent time building relationships with new and old friends.
  • Welcomed a new niece…and looked forward to the addition of a few new family members to spoil and love on!
  • Found our own rhythm and set some big goals for the New Year!

It’s been an adventure…and I hope it has been one for you as well. Think back over your year…what are your highlights? How would you sum up 2014? Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year!


Just a reminder to all of my readers! I’m currently in the process of trying to raise money for New Hope Academy for Team Toby Mac and the Nashville Half Marathon…if you feel compelled to contribute, please visit my fundraising page!


Kettlebell Finishing Circuit

Want to add a little resistance to the end of a cardio workout? No problem…just grab 3 Kettlebells (1 heavier, 2 of the same weight that are lighter; think 30# and two 10#’s, 35# and two 15#’s or 40# and two 20#’s) and a bench (or sturdy, flat chair, curb, your choice!).


The circuit is pretty straight forward and can be completed for time, but doesn’t have to be. If you decide to complete it for time, make sure your technique is strong – if you’re not sure, ask someone like a trainer at your gym – and that you take adequate breaks in between sets. Plan on completing 3 sets.

Kettlebell Finishing Circuit

1. 10 Kettlebell Swings (with heavier weight)

kettlebell swings

2. 10 Left Leg Step Ups (holding one of the lighter weights in each hand)

3. 10 Right Leg Step Ups (holding one of the lighter weights in each hand)


4. 10 Kettlebell Squat Catch and Lifts (with heavier weight)


5. 10 Walking Lunges (holding one of the lighter weights in each hand)

walking lunges

6. 10 Kettlebell Loaded Squats (with heavier weight)


7. 10 Crunches

8. 10 Pushups


Have at it, be safe, ask questions when you’re not sure and have fun! Remember, don’t tackle any new workouts until you’ve checked with your doctor.


Just a reminder to all of my readers! I’m currently in the process of trying to raise money for New Hope Academy for Team Toby Mac and the Nashville Half Marathon…if you feel compelled to contribute, please visit my fundraising page!


Running for Redemption: Trying Something New

For those of you who have been following for some time – or who know me personally – you know that this past year has been a little different than I planned. You also know that I went from an active, competitive runner, to someone who was wrecked by my past 2 distance attempts, leading to a scratched full marathon and a serious decrease (okay, halt) in all things running.

It’s been rough. However, over the past few months, I’ve had lots of time to think about WHY it’s been so rough. At first, I thought maybe it was the competition side of it. Anyone who knows John and I knows that we are competitive. It’s not a secret, and sometimes it’s a lot of fun. But, sometimes, it can be a serious negative.

This is what running became to me. Regardless of my health and other life issues that needed to come first, I put running first instead. I loved races and I loved being able to be competitive in those races. However, this was seriously detrimental…physically AND mentally! Some things just aren’t worth it.

You’re probably wondering why I’m following this series of statements with a race announcement. But, bear with me for a second. During the past few months, as I’ve thought about things and prioritized, I’ve been able to step back a bit. I came to realize that what I miss most about running isn’t running. It’s the feeling of inclusion…of belonging to something bigger than myself. For someone who stood on the sidelines for a long time, I have watched communities of runners band together to do great things. That’s what I enjoyed being a part of…that’s what I miss these days!

I then began to realize that being part of that community can be completely separate from being competitive. Being a part of that community means showing up, putting the right things first and looking for causes that matter…things that are bigger than just me. That’s why, as a part of this race, I will be participating for FUN…that means some serious walking, and training to do so. The finish time is irrelevant…with medical clearance to do so leisurely, I will be following doctor’s orders while finding a way to give back.

One of my goals for a long time has been to fundraise for a cause. About 2 years ago, I learned about Team Toby Mac and the Nashville Half Marathon. Toby Mac is one of our family’s favorite musicians. We’ve attended concerts and love the message of HOPE and LOVE that his music spreads. However, there’s more to Toby Mac than his music. During the St. Jude Children’s Hospital’s Nashville Half Marathon, team Toby Mac members raise money (not only for St. Jude, which I have made a contribution to), but also to New Hope Academy. The mission of New Hope Academy and Team Toby Mac is as follows:

Run for Hope is on a mission to turn racial division, class segregation, and spiritual poverty into community, possibility, and hope.  The runners and walkers of Run for Hope will compete in this year’s Country Music Marathon (Full Marathon, Half Marathon, or 5K) on April 25, 2015.  We are comprised of fans of our Artist Partners, like TobyMac, members of numerous area churches, as well as individuals from the community.

With every dollar raised, the course of a child’s future is changed forever through the work of New Hope Academy – The school that sparked a cultural movement. Dramatic cultural transformation may start small – with children and a school – but that is only the beginning.  New Hope Academy is a school on a mission to set people free.

New Hope Academy is a remarkable and inspiring place, one that provides an academically rigorous and Gospel-centered education to children who come from varying economic conditions.  New Hope Academy offers an excellent education to children from low-income families, creating a ripple effect of hope and opportunity far beyond its walls.

I think this message rings ESPECIALLY true right now, with the country especially focused on race and class issues. I’ve been looking for a way to do more, and I think this is my opportunity to do so.

This morning, I signed up to be a part of the team. While my fundraising page is still being set up, in the next few months, I’d like to ask you to consider donating to this amazing cause. I’ll post the link as I have it. But, I’d ask you to start considering this worthy cause now!

Thanks for your support. I am excited to try something new, to stop the competitive mindset and to join this amazing team.

I have received my fundraising page! Please visit: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/LauraPyne/runforhope2015teamtobymac or click here if you’re interested in donating! Thank you!

Ways to Overcome the “New Girl at the Gym” Blues

I can’t say I remember the very first time I walked into a gym. I say that because my relationship with the gym began as a complicated series of ups and downs that began in high school. I’d go for a little while. Use the elliptical in the dark theater room where no one could see me, then hurry away. Due to a lack of results (due to a lack of structure and effort in general), an abundance of intimidation and an overwhelming sense of frustration, I’d stay away for months. Then, I’d get motivated, jump back in, only to have the same result. I didn’t go anywhere and as a result, my overall fitness and well-being suffered.

I understand the roller coaster ride that a gym membership can feel like, I’ve been there. But, I’ve also overcome it…below are a few tips if you’re in the same place!

Stop Worrying About What Everyone Else Thinks

other people at gym

I spent so much time worrying what I looked like while exercising. I thought I looked silly, someone bigger trying to do activities that I perceived as being meant for a smaller, more in shape population. I felt like the regulars probably thought I was a joke. Here’s the thing: I was wrong.

You see, people at the gym  – for the most part – are there for their own results. They’re so focused on what they’re doing and how they look while doing it that they don’t have time to pay attention to the form or heavy breathing of the people around them. Most importantly, they haven’t always been gym junkies, they had to get their start somewhere as well! If they actually had the time to focus on what you were doing, they’d probably commend you for it and want to be a support; I know I feel that way. Stop worrying about the people around you and focus on yourself.

Eliminate the Intimidation Factor

gym equipment

Gyms and the equipment inside them are only intimidating when they are not understood. Remember my years-long relationship with the elliptical? It existed because I was scared to try out the machines. I wasn’t sure how they were supposed to work, I didn’t want to do them wrong and therefore I was intimidated. It made my gym experience stressful and inadequate.

If you’re new to a gym, or want to add a little variety to your workout experience, ask for help! Whether you approach someone using a machine – who, in most cases will be happy to answer any questions, ask an employee for help or sign up for a new member orientation – even if you’re not new at all. Take the time to learn about the machines and weights and to do a little research at home about why they’d work for you. When in doubt, ask a trainer or consider signing up for individual instruction to maximize your workout potential.

Find What You Love and Commit 


You’ve probably heard it before, but that’s because it’s true. If you don’t find an activity that you love, that you see or feel results from, you won’t stick to it. Find what you love, rowing, biking, running, lifting, yoga…anything. Make it a staple of your routine. Make a commitment to stick to the activity of your choice or sign up for something in the future that leaves you no option but to stay on track – a 5k, a walk-a-thon, anything…your choice. Visualize the benefits of your chosen activity and don’t loose sight of the reason you’ve started your new routine.

Mix it Up

Rock wall

This might seem like it’s in conflict with finding what you love and committing to it, but it’s not. Doing the same thing day after day without a break in the routine leads to a lack of results and the feeling of being dragged down; it works against what the idea of total fitness really is. One or two days a week, find a way to mix up your routine. If you’ve taken the time to familiarize yourself with different machines and options, this should be no problem. Incorporate some lifting or core work, get outside for a family walk or jog, try out that rock wall or rowing machine and set a distance goal. Whatever you do, add some variety to your routine. Your muscles and mind will thank you and you’ll have the stamina to continue for the long run.

Fitness is a journey that starts with that first – or many first – steps. It’s something that has ups and downs and something that’s so different for everyone. The one common factor? We all had to start somewhere. That’s where my fitness journey is the same as yours and everyone else’s, at the beginning. Get out there, forget about negative experiences in the past and think about what drives you. Are you hoping to accomplish a specific fitness goal? Want to look better for swimsuit season? Hoping to be able to keep pace with your kids or grandkids? Want to live a healthier, fuller, longer life? Don’t let factors that can be easily overcome hold you back. You deserve the best, you deserve to find yourself and to live an active lifestyle. Think about the tips above and get started today. Most importantly, keep going; you’ve got this.


Hill Interval Treadmill Workout


Steady pace, varied levels…something to pass the time. That’s what I look for in a treadmill workout. Running a single pace and incline for an hour? It’s draining, tiring and hard to maintain, even with the best movie or entertainment right in front of you.

This workout focuses on a steady pace, but varies the incline. It’s simple, straightforward, and helps the runner focus on smaller time segments instead of a long count. Tricking myself is essential for getting the work in inside…see if it works for you!

Remember. I am not a doctor. Before trying any workout routine, talk to a professional to find out what’s the best plan for your activity level and health. Do not embark on a fitness plan without medical guidance!

Incline Interval Treadmill Workout

Pick your distance pace and stick with it throughout; this workout focuses on incline.






Easy warm-up



Take it up!






Back up!



See the pattern? Relax







Longest interval lowest incline





Start to build again











Relax! You finished. Way to go!