Picking Up The Pieces: Melissa's Story


Oh where to even start?….

In high school, I was a year round athlete. I was a swimmer and had a swimmers body, until I graduated and started college and became stagnant. Without my athletics, I didn’t gain the freshman 15; I gained the freshman 50. By the time I was 23, I weighed 180 pounds, a far cry from the 128 I weighed when I started college, and at 25, when I was pregnant with my daughter Morgan, I weighed 196 pounds at my first doctors visit. At delivery, I was at an all time high of 243 pounds. It wasn’t just the numbers on the scale, it was the complete disregard for my health and my body. It was not a priority, and that was causing havoc on me physically, and mentally. I hated the way I looked, I hated how clothes fit me, I hated going places and running into people I knew years previously.

I went through a divorce at 27, with a 15 month old baby, and needed an outlet to burn off my anxiety. I started running. I wasn’t aggressive or serious about it, but it gave me just enough of a release to stick with it semi-regularly. Soon, that fell off the priority list with working 40 hours a week, plus an hour or more commute to work each way.

I really started to take care of my body when I met my husband Joe. He was a marine, and when you’re spending time around people who are as physically fit as they are required to be, you take a good long look at yourself and it was the kick in the pants I needed. When he came home from that his deployment, I was the thinnest I had been in over a decade, and then, 3 weeks later, pregnant! Cash was born in March 2013, and I wasted no time getting back in the swing of things. I lived in San Diego County, so I was surrounded with healthy outlets like hiking, beach running, and plenty of gyms, making getting back into shape fairly easy.temp-post-image

My husband became injured in May of 2014, and I had to be his caregiver. He was completely non-weight bearing on his legs, and had sustained nerve damage during an operation that left him with foot drop, and the need to adapt to that, which left no fitness time.temp-post-image

He was discharged from the military, and we returned to Riverbank, and that’s when I found Get Fit. I went on a suggestion from a friend, and I was hooked from the first class. I joined March 1, 2016 and it became an essential part of my day. My 45 minutes to check out mentally and invest in myself after not doing so, for so long. In April, my father passed away from cancer, and my gym time became even more important. It provided me with tools to manage my stress, anxiety, and grief. 64 short days later, I suddenly, and unexpectedly lost the love of my life, and became a widow and the sole surviving parent to our son.

I took 4 days off, and went right back to my routine. Many did not understand how I could get up and go every day, and was even ridiculed for it, but I couldn’t NOT go. I knew maintaining the routine I had established would force me to get up in the morning, force me to get out of bed, force me to eat, and force me to shower and get dressed. It truly was muscle memory carrying me through those first few weeks, and I thank God for it every day.

I had signed up for bootcamp while Joe was still alive, and I had thought about skipping this round, but decided to continue on my path, and let that be something to focus on, to keep my mind busy and positive. It was the best decision I could have made.

I am in the best shape of my life, physically, and while I have struggles emotionally every single day, I know the one place that makes me always feel good is Get Fit. It’s not just the workouts, it’s not just the endorphins; it’s the people. Tara and Jonathan have the kindest souls, Kayla has been a great coach and a wonderful friend to me, motivating me when I need it, and reminding me to allow myself some grace too, and every single trainer has made me feel welcome to the Get Fit family. I do not exaggerate when I say Get Fit saved my life. I hate to even think where I would be, if I didn’t have this amazing community.