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She's got a passion for fitness
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Marilyn Ward, a personal trainer and nutritionist, teaches a health and wellness class at the Goodwill Job Connection Center. - photo by Photo by Crissie Elrick

“Get your mind right and your body will follow.”
That’s the message Marilyn Ward brings to the Goodwill Job Connection Center each Thursday during a weekly health and nutrition class she teaches there. She said she coined the phrase, and uses it when working with clients through her personal training and nutrition counseling business, No Excuses!
 “I see in other people how they give up in their minds before they’ve even tried,” Ward said of how she came up with the phrase. “They won’t come to a class because they don’t think they can do it. Then they come to a class and they think ‘Well this isn’t so bad,’ and I’m like yeah—you’ve got to try it.”
 Ward, a certified personal trainer and aerobics instructor, uses the skills and knowledge she learned while earning her Bachelor of Science in health and wellness from Kaplan University to help class attendees learn the most they can about nutrition, goal setting, stress management and more.
 Teaching the free weekly class is important to her because “our community needs to be educated on health and wellness,” she said.
 “We have a very bad obesity epidemic on our hands, especially with children, so if I can at least reach the parents, they can bring the information home to their children,” she said.
 Ward, an Air Force veteran, got her start in fitness after having her second child.
 “I was already out of the military and I was struggling with my weight from my second pregnancy,” she said. “Finally I just came to the conclusion that ‘OK this is it, I’m just going to be fat forever.’
 “And then I had watched the last episode of the first “Biggest Loser,” and I saw a girl on there and I’m like ‘Oh my gosh, she looks totally different, she doesn’t even look like the same person,’ and I thought ‘I can do this.’”
Ward soon after began walking, then running and working out. She later became a group fitness instructor and personal trainer at a ladies only gym in Warner Robbins at the advice of Kathy Culpepper, the gym owner and Ward’s mentor.
 Teaching the class at the Goodwill Job Connection Center has been slightly different from what Ward offers in her boot camp and group fitness classes.
 “I teach daily fitness, so I love teaching the nutrition portion,” Ward said. “So when I’m teaching in my classes—the boot camp—I only teach 15 minutes on nutrition so it’s really short and condensed. Here (at Goodwill)… it’s pretty much 30-45 minutes of nutrition so I can fully explain how important the food is that we’re putting into our bodies.”
 LaDonna Cook, program coordinator at Goodwill’s Job Connection Center in Richmond Hill, said Ward’s class has been an excellent addition to the variety of classes Goodwill offers.
 “We look for ways we can reach out to the community and give them things they need,” Cook said. “I know (this class) teaches beneficial things people can use because being a parent, when I am able to come in the (nutrition) class, I learn different things to take home.”
 She described Ward as a “positive spirit.”
 “She is a very positive and enthusiastic lady and has a lot to offer,” Cook said. “And I was excited about her being a nutritionist and a trainer. I give her an A plus.”
 In addition to the classes at Goodwill, Ward is offering a summer boot camp at the park in Waterford Landing subdivision, where she lives. Ward will also host a family fitness program in J.F. Gregory Park during the month of June and a transformation boot camp in June at Awakening Yoga Studio in Richmond Hill. She also has a booth weekly at the Richmond Hill Farmer’s Market and offers body fat testing along with nutrition information.
 And though her first series of nutrition and wellness classes at Goodwill ends on Thursday, Ward said she plans to host more.
 For more information or to contact Ward, call 478-542-0454 or email
 For more information about classes available at the Goodwill Job Connection Center, contact Cook at 373-8423 or email

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