Member Spotlight: Elliot Ward

by Lisa Maguire

“No one really considers how much high school sports keep you in shape,” laughed HAC Member and client of Damon Marable, Elliot Ward.

Just two short years ago, Elliot had been in such great shape, he really didn’t have to think at all about his activity level or what he was eating. He swam recreationally on the weekends and during the summers and had played tennis and football for The Tatnall School.

He graduated in 2016, excited to start college in the fall at Dickinson, a private college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was excited but nervous for his first experience away from home, on his own as an adult. He prepared with clothes, books, and furnishings for his dorm, but he wasn’t prepared for the emotion he’d experience just a couple weeks in.

His parents had been showing signs of unhappiness, but not to the point that he thought they’d split up.  Without having made new friends yet and notwanting to burden his younger sister with his emotions, Elliot turned to food.“It was comforting,” Elliot remembered, “there weren’t always the best choicesin the student cafeteria, and sometimes I’d go a little overboard. The snackingwas the biggest problem.”

As time went on in his first year, Elliot continued to become more sedentary, more depressed, and more focused on food as a solution. By the Spring, Elliot had put on nearly 50 pounds. He and his girlfriend of a year and a half decided to call it quits, and by summer when Elliot came home, he’d decided he was done with college and needed to take some time to figure out what direction he wanted to head.

Elliot and Damon

“I got a summer job working for my dad, but I was still really depressed and didn’t have any self-esteem,” Elliot recalled. He wanted to get back in shape but was intimidated to come back to the gym because he didn’t know where to start. “In the fall of 2017, was talking to a good family friend, Haley Cairo, who’s a HAC member. She suggested I get a personal trainer and start working out. When I asked who she thought I should talk to, Damon was her first choice for me.”

So, to HAC he went. He met with Damon, and that’s where his journey began. “It would have been really easy to quit in the beginning. I was overwhelmed and physically and mentally exhausted. The workouts were hard. The changes were hard, but I didn’t want to go back to where I was. That dark place. After the first 10 pounds came off, I was really committed. The great thing about Damon – you know, what makes him really special – is that he doesn’t treat your goals like they belong to you. He takes them and makes them his goal too. He’s so motivating, and he’s really good at establishing relationships with his clients. I look forward to meeting with Damon, he keeps me accountable, and we’re always pushing the boundaries and setting new goals.” 

In just twelve months, Elliot has lost 70 lbs of weight, but gained a ton of self-esteem. The depression that wasonce holding him back and being treated with medication has been replaced witha healthy lifestyle, positive relationships, and of course, exercise. “A yearago, I felt directionless. But now I’m even back in school. I was undeclared atDickinson, but now I’m going for Criminal Justice.”

While Elliot feels there’s no way he could have come this far this fast without Damon, he’s a true testament to the power of the mind. Elliot’s commitment to himself and his health is a true inspiration to us all in the spirit of resolution season – half the battle is showing up and not giving up.


Hockessin Athletic Club opened its doors on June 10 2007. Boasting over 100,000 sq. ft., a 5-pool aquatics complex, and over 200+ weekly group and aqua fitness classes, it is Delaware's premier fitness destination. 100 Fitness Way, Hockessin, DE ·

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply