There is a woman who drills volleyballs directly at her opponent. She is the same woman who simultaneously inspires and intimidates everyone in the gym. She has also achieved fitness levels men and women alike aspire to have. This woman is Katherine Ring.
Ring’s life could be described with one word: busy. As an 18-year-old junior, Ring oversees weight training for both the Bob Jones University Bruins women’s soccer and volleyball teams as well as plays for the volleyball team.
Her schedule is packed and planned out hour by hour with school, meetings, work and athletic and weight training.
She also plans to pursue active military service with the United States Marine Corps in the spring of 2021.
But Ring chose a different word to describe her life: redeemed. “That’s honestly the best word I could use, because that’s the only reason I’m even here today and able to share my story,” Ring said.
Ring, like so many others, struggled throughout her late teenage years with the side effects of being bullied.
She sat out from school for a year to figure things out, and during this transition Ring found her escape in exercising. She began running every morning and working out at home with her own equipment.
For her junior year of high school, she returned to Bob Jones Academy and began lifting weights there—two hours in the gym, every day after classes.
In the fall of 2017, Ring began attending Bob Jones University. She recognized her passion for fitness and people when she got to the University.
Her dad, Dr. Neal Ring, always told her to use whatever strengths God gives as a platform for ministry, and because exercise has been such a big part of her life, she wants to use it for her ministry to God.
Ring joined the Bruins women’s volleyball team and coincidentally was able to build a relationship with the team’s strength and conditioning trainer.
Through this relationship, Ring realized the impact a personal trainer can have on her trainees. She began to focus on using personal relationships through fitness training to minister to others.
A couple of opportunities came to Ring at the close of 2018. Before Christmas break, head volleyball coach Vickie Denny approached Ring and asked her if she would be willing to train the team in the weight room. Ring agreed.
In a similar situation, head coach Chris Carmichael of the women’s soccer team requested a strength and conditioning trainer for his team during the spring season. Ring was recommended for the position, and she agreed to take on another team’s strength and conditioning training.
Over Christmas break, Ring put in many hours reading and studying to create a fitness program for the volleyball team.
She created the volleyball program with workouts to strengthen specific muscles necessary for volleyball. For the soccer team, Ring uses an app that already provides soccer-specific workouts.
Ring also pieced together base-line tests for each team to measure current strength, speed and agility. These she came up with on her own, using the knowledge she gained from research.
Ring spends many hours developing her relationship with the teams during workouts.
On a given week, she spends six hours in the gym training the teams and making sure their forms are correct. However, this gym time does not count the hours she puts in for her own strength training as she prepares for the Marine Corps.
Since freshman year in high school, Ring’s dream has been to serve in the Corps. However, entry into the Corps has been hard because of the medical waiver from her high school depression and anxiety that needed to be approved. Every board she submitted the waiver to denied it, despite the approval from her psychologist and counselor.
But God sent help. Through the process, Ring met high-ranking military personnel who helped her along the way. Her major, a colonel and a general all helped get Ring approved for service.
Whether she is able to follow her dream and become a strength and condition trainer for the Marines or whether she becomes a personal trainer at home, Ring knows she wants to use fitness and athletics to invest in those around her.
Ring has seen how exercise reveals one’s true self. She knows that true character shows when the body is exerting itself and pushing itself to become better.
“Exercise can build people up and show them where they’re weak so they can become stronger,” Ring said.
Through trainer-athlete relationships, Ring wants her life to show that something is different. She knows that investing time to make someone better speaks volumes, and she wants to be the one to point her trainees to Christ.