Melissa Herring / Personal Trainer and Owner 

I am a Christian, a wife, a mother of two, an athlete, and an avid runner! I was not always a runner or an athlete. Truth be known I was for most of my life what I call "skinny fat." I was skinny to look at but all fat and no muscle. I was lazy if I am being honest. Then when I was in my early 20s I like 80% of all Americans suffered a low back injury from my sedentary lifestyle. This injury led me to surgery that surgery went wrong and left me in pain. I lived 8 years in pain until I had a BUT God moment. God challenged me to run, but not just a normal little race. No God challenged me to run Spartan. He dangled healing like a carrot on a stick and dared me to run for literally the impossible. Here is my story of healing. My story of life change. This is the beginning of my path to better health.

For the past 6 years, fitness has become a part of my everyday life. I wake up at 3:00 AM every day to get to the gym and bank my miles and weight training so I can be home before my kids wake up.

My story started in 2004 long before I had ever heard of this race called "Spartan". Long before I even owned a pair of running shoes

My Story

A Surgery That Changed My Life

In October 2004 I was lying in a hospital bed waiting for what would become a life-altering surgery. Just a week before this I was a healthy 20-year-old newlywed with dreams of the life my husband and I would have.

At that time I had ruptured my L5/S1 disk. There I was drugged up and clueless as to what back surgery was going to do to me. Something went wrong in the surgery and the surgeon had to remove 75% of my disk, leaving the left side of my spine to be bone-grinding bone.

I was in bed for three months and my husband became the groomer and caregiver. It was awful and humiliating—not how I wanted to start my marriage. 


Years of Pain and Limited Movement

The pain was like nothing I had ever felt before. I lost all feeling down my left leg and the left side of my foot. I saw doctor after doctor, but there was nothing anyone could do but prescribe medication to help me

manage the pain.

My life went from that of a carefree young woman to a life run by pain management. I could no longer walk up and down the stairs without feeling pain and holding onto a handrail. I could not ride a bike or go for a walk. I could not even sit on the floor to play with my dogs.

Over time I was able to push past the pain and return to a limited life. My new normal was handicap, broken, and living life on the sideline. Eight years went by and being handicap became part of who I was.

I endured two very high-risk pregnancies and I was not able to be the mother I felt my kids deserved. I was not able to chase them in the park or teach them to

ride a bike.

When my oldest was two I tried to rake her a small pile of leaves to jump in when my back went out. I collapsed on the floor and for several hours I laid on the ground in my backyard until a neighbor heard me yelling for help. My two-year-old had to fend for herself for hours until help came.

My baby girl had to spend her early childhood taking care of me. She would help me on and off the couch, holding my hand while I cried in pain. There were no camping trips, no family bike ride, even a beach trip was painful. It was an awful feeling to think that you could be the reason your kids’ childhood is being cut short.

On New Year’s Eve in 2012, my doctor called and said that they'd found a mass on my thyroid and that I need to see a specialist for testing to see if it was cancer. I hung up the phone and prayed. I told God I trusted Him to see me through.

After the holidays, I went for testing and learned that it was not cancer but that my thyroid was dying and I was about to gain a lot of weight which would affect my back and cause me to have even more pain and limitations.

Learning About the Spartan Race

Shortly after this visit, an acquaintance told me about this thing called Spartan. It sounded like hell on earth. No part of it sounded like fun, and I thought this woman was crazy. I went home and showed my husband a YouTube video of a Spartan race, and we made jokes about how stupid it was. 

A (Crazy) Message That Would Turn My Life Around

That Sunday at church, God spoke to me. I knew it had to be God because it was such an outrageous thing to ask, and it could have only come from the God who dreamed up our world. “Run Spartan and I will heal you.”

I told God that was stupid and wondered if He had seen the same video I had seen. But again God persisted. Not one to argue with the King of the world, I submitted and told God I would do it knowing full well that it was going to kill me, and my healing would be found in heaven.

After all, I can’t even walk around the park with my kids, and now you want me to run through mud? Are you kidding me?

Training for the Spartan Race

With my husband’s blessing, I went that Monday and joined my local YMCA. I even hired a trainer. I told her my plan and all of my health issues along with a long list of things I could not do. She agreed to train me because she said if she did not, she was scared I was going to hurt myself trying this on my own.


I started out going 3 days a week for about 30 minutes. Then I would go home and cry and curl up with a heating pad and pain pills. But I kept at it each day remembering that God said “run Spartan,” so He had to help, and so I called out each day for His help.

After a few months, I was able to walk faster, and I hurt just a little less. In time my walk became a jog, and by summer I was running with very little pain. I still had a limited range of motion and had no idea how I was going to be able to pull off a burpee.


But I kept at it. Day after day, week after week, I got up, prayed for help, and trained. By April, the mass on my thyroid had disappeared and the levels were perfect! That was such a big motivator to keep training; I could see how God was using exercise to heal my body. 

A Type of Pain That I Welcomed

I came home from the gym one day, and for the first time, I was not in pain. In early fall, after a run, I got a cramp in my left leg that brought me tears not because it hurt, but because I could feel it! The feeling in my left leg and foot had returned after 8 years.

That was the moment I know my life would never be the same.

If you would like to hear my testimony, please watch the video below, it is about 12 minutes, I hope it inspires you.

Joining the Spartan Race and Discovering a New Passion and Calling

n October 2013, I ran the Mississippi Spartan Sprint. It was more than just a race to the finish line. For me, crossing that finish line was crossing over from having a handicap to becoming a Spartan! I am now 100% pain-free, I have full feeling in my left leg and foot, and I also have a full range of motion.


I have gone on to run 9 more Spartan races and dozens of other races. I am now a Spartan World Championship Qualifier.


I run because it changed my life. I run because I am running proof that God still heals, and I run to encourage others never to give up and keep pushing for the impossible.

The other day while out for a 6-mile run, I asked God why he healed me. Out of all the people out there who are hurt, why me? And why Spartan? I believe this is why. I believe I am healed so I can share my story and give hope to those who may have lost it.


My injury and years of pain and now full healing have inspired me to dedicate my life to helping others find a better life through fitness and nutrition. When I needed help there was someone their to help me. Now I get to be there to help others. I truly believe that if you give God your all, and work your body the way He designed it to work, and eat the way He designed you to eat that healing and restoration will come. 

My Experience and Background

December 2017-Present: Owner and Trainer of Warrior FIT

Warrior FIT opened its doors in December 2017. At Warrior FIT, I work hard to be a positive influence on my clients and community. I provide one-on-one training, nutrition coaching, and group HIIT classes.

Warrior FIT is not a gym but a one-on-one fitness service. Because of this, I can be mobile and go to where my clients are if they cannot come to

the studio.

August 2013-May 2016: Homeschool

PE Coach

As a homeschool parent, I am aware of the need for structured physical activity. That is why I started the homeschool PE program for Foley. I created a safe and fun environment for kids from grades 1-9 to come and learn about physical fitness and try out new sports.

The focus of the group was to get the kids to be able to run 1 mile without stopping and to be able to perform a few basic exercise moves correctly. This PE group had about 20-25 kids coming each week to get fit.

April 2012-Present: Runner/Athlete

As a competitive athlete, I have competed in 11 Spartan Races, (3 Beast, 4 Supers, and 4 Sprints). I placed in the top 200 for my division and am a double trifecta holder for 2017 and a 2018 World Championship Qualifier.

I have also completed and placed in several local obstacle runs including the YMCA Get Dirty run, YMCA Triathlon, and Warrior Dash. I have also run in several 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons and am currently training to compete in the 2018 Tampa Ragnar race.


Credentials

 NASM Certification in the following fields:

Personal Training

Nutrition

Weight Loss Management

Corrective Exercise

 SHAW Academy Certification in the field of:

Sports Nutrition

Precision Nutrition :

Level 1