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Client Reviews

Fitness Results



I just got a report from my M.D., who is also a fitness expert. He actually won the national Body for Life bodybuilding competition!


The report shows that I gained two pounds of muscle mass in the past 90 days. What makes this so amazing is that he says most bodybuilders – who work out multiple hours a day – are happy with gaining five pounds of muscle mass in a year!


The credit for this totally goes to my work with my personal trainer, Mary Louise King!  And I’m amazed at how quickly the results occurred.


I’ve never been one to be excited about going to a gym, and I had been searching for ways to incorporate strength training into my life. I’d taken Mary Louise’s Pilates classes – and loved them! 


So, I thought I’d see about some private sessions with her to focus more on strength training. I feel like I hit the jackpot. She has created customized workouts for me - and she’s always mixing it up – so we work different areas.


She does the exercises right along with me, and she’s always mindful of modifying some of the moves to accommodate an old shoulder injury of mine. I love the way she explains the physiological changes that occur in the body with certain exercises as well. We often end up laughing after doing a hundred repetitions of a specific exercise – or holding a plank.


The best thing for me is that Mary Louise incorporates all elements – cardio, flexibility and strength training - AND approaches our workouts from the overall perspectives of mind, body and spirit – peppering the sessions with golden nuggets of information.


Her studio is so inviting, and her passion for finding joy through movement is contagious. I always feel better after a session with Mary Louise – mentally, emotionally and physically. And I actually look forward to working out.


Bring on the endorphins!

- Linda Arnold


Wedding Dance

“We knew we wanted to have a special dance at our wedding, and we are so fortunate to have found Mary Louise and Jim. They taught us several dance moves to go along with our first dance song we selected. They always took the extra time to work through moves or steps we needed a little more help on. They gave us the confidence and ability to adapt that we needed on our wedding day to help us just relax and have fun with our dance. We had a change of plans 10 minutes before our dance was about to begin that we would have to do it on the grass and uneven ground, not the smooth dance floor like we had practiced on. We were still able to perform our dance with ease thanks to the training we received through them. We cannot thank them enough and so many guests at our wedding commented on our dance. We will have that memory for the rest of our lives. Thank you!”


- Paul Stroebel and Morgan Bush

Father-Daughter Wedding Dance


When my daughter was growing, our favorite song was “Brown-Eyed Girl” because we each have brown eyes. We always talked about dancing to that song one day at her wedding. Well, Amy got engaged, so I knew that day was coming, but I am a lousy dancer. I looked online and found Mary Louise’s website, and it looked like something we could do as lessons were in the evening. From the first day we met Mary Louise and Jim, we felt so comfortable. They were so assuring to us even when I would make many mistakes. They provided demonstrations and one-on-one practicing and were always looking for ways to help us improve. Personally, they made me feel so much more comfortable doing our dance. I remember the last thing Mary Louise said at our final lesson was that everyone would love our dance and we would do fine. The day of the wedding, we practiced because this would be our first time dancing in a tuxedo and wedding dress, and we struggled. However, when the lights went up and we started to dance at the reception, it was like magic. We didn’t flub steps or hand passes, and the more the crowd cheered the better we seemed to do. This made my father-daughter dance so special, and we continue to talk about all of the fun we had that day. Since Amy is my only daughter, it was my only chance to get this right. We could never have realized such fun and satisfaction without Mary Louise and Jim’s guidance.


 - Michael Miller

Talented Musician Learns to Dance


As a professional musician, I have always wanted to learn ballroom dancing. I have been taking dance lessons for over half a year now, and I have had such an amazing time with Mary Louise King and Jim Wallace! Although I have a musical background, Mary Louise and Jim break down the dance steps in such a way that even a beginner can follow them.


Mary Louise always has a smile that is contagious. She brings such joy and enthusiasm to her dance lessons. It is obvious that dance is something she is incredibly passionate about. Mary Louise provides important feedback and provides the male dance student with the female dance partner’s perspective.


Jim keeps the dance lessons moving along at pace that is productive to learning. He gradually introduces new dance moves while reviewing older ones. Jim always knows when it is time to try a new dance move with music. He is knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions the student might have.


As an added bonus Mary Louise and Jim invite their students to dances in the local area. This is a great way for dance students to enjoy what they have learned. I am very satisfied with the level of instruction that I’ve received from Mary Louise and Jim.


     -Christopher Engel, former Director of Music and Organist at Kanawha Church

Couple Pursues Longtime Desire of Learning to Dance


"My husband, Chad, and I had always wanted to know how to dance.  We envied people at social functions who could move together and not be afraid to take advantage of great music and a dance floor. Tired of sitting and not participating, we found Mary Louise and Jim in Charleston, West Virginia. We were naturally nervous to try something new, but Mary Louise and Jim made us feel so comfortable and warmly welcomed us to their world of dance. In a matter of a couple of months, we had learned how to dance to several kinds of music played at a wedding, party, or other social gathering. Thankful that we called Mary Louise, we continue to learn new steps and enjoy dancing.  If you have ever thought that you would like to learn or you are a partner of someone who desires to learn, don’t hesitate. You will not be sorry to try something new, and share Mary Louise’s joy of dancing.”

- Chrissy Kucherawy

Class Helps Her Recover from Loss


I love the classes that Mary Louise leads at the SC Recreation Center. After my mother passed away in October, I needed a community to help with the loss. So I was thankful to find the class and a group of women who were so welcoming. I always feel refreshed physically when I leave, but more importantly, I feel refreshed emotionally. Mary Louise is always so encouraging and uplifting. I hate it when I have to miss a class.


- Sherry Buckalew

Health Problems Decline with Classes


I have been taking the SilverSneakers Class at the South Charleston Rec Center. When I first began, I was very concerned because I have Fibromyalgia. I was afraid it would make my situation worse. What a pleasant surprise!  Not only has my Fibromyalgia improved but my Cholesterol numbers have improved. The classes are such fun that you hardly know you are exercising. Mary Louise keeps us on our toes with such fun and grace. I can hardly wait for the next class!

- Judy McClain


Classes Improve Her Health


I enjoy attending the YogaPilares and SilverSneakers classes that Mary Louise teaches, meeting new people and learning new active moves.   Since taking these  classes,  I am proud to say my blood pressure is down and my A1C is normal. I am much more limber and my balance has improved. When I wake up in the morning I am no longer stiff and I can now sit on the floor and get up easily. I am so happy that my overall health has improved thanks to Mary Louise.

- Carol Vandale


Classes Are Refreshing


Thank you, Mary Louise King​, for SilverSneakers classes at the South Charleston Recreation Center. The gym floor is covered with SilverSneakers chairs, socially distant throughout the room. Each participant has a basket of hand-managed equipment. Seniors perform tasks adapted to each one's ability. I use a walker for mobility challenges, but Ms. King suggests slight adjustments, so I can perform exercises and get the full benefits. The class refreshes me with the full workout.

- Connie Jarzynski

Mother-Son Dance Went Well

Mary Louise and Jim are fabulous! When my son and I chose music for the groom/mom dance for his upcoming wedding, nothing seemed to be right. That is, until we ran across the Toy Story theme, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” He grew up watching those movies, and the lyrics were perfect. However, I knew we couldn’t do the “penguin shuffle.” It was too fast. I found Mary Louise and Jim based on reviews, and I’m very happy I did.

Aside from their obvious expertise, they made me feel at ease from the start, and were professional, patient, and friendly. By the wedding date, they had me ready to go. My son was only able to attend two lessons, and he was a quick study. We were a success! Due to scheduling conflicts, he and his fiancé were unable to take lessons. It was fun and impressive to watch him effortlessly incorporate a few moves he learned into his dance with his new bride!

I’m very grateful that I could depend on Mary Louise and Jim for such a special occasion. They are great teachers and the real deal!Couple Pursues Longtime Desire of Learning to Dance


- Louida Wyner

Chair Fitness Students Improves Strength

“Love my class! Mary Louise is a top-notch instructor who gets us moving big time! We strengthen major muscles and improve our balance. We work on our core and range of motion. We strengthen our wrists and ankles. These exercises even seem to improve our thinking and memory! Just had to share the great benefits of exercising with Mary Louise. I guarantee this class will help relieve your aches & pains and get you feeling great again! Come join us!”

– Becky Sutphin

Learning to Dance Was Fun

MaryLouise and Jim are excellent teachers on their own, made even better by working together. We arrived at our first class stepping on toes, and left four classes later with a more than passable waltz! We felt relaxed and prepared for our first dance, and most importantly we had so much fun. Our wedding guests were impressed - weeks later we're still getting compliments. MaryLouise and Jim are very kind, flexible, and make it easy to learn. We wish we could have had more time together, and can not recommend working with them enough.  

– Roopa and Trevor

Pilates Rejuvenates Older Student


"Retired for several years now, working out at home, the gym, or in a group has been a part of my lifestyle for 30+ years. I would walk by the Pilates classes 'knowing' I was in better shape and would not be joining a class to be an 'X' among 'O's. But, after being hounded by someone I respected, I 'gave in' and tried a class. Then another, and a few more....So after giving it a 'try' for about 4 years, what did I discover? Could there be areas missed with just weight training? Without a doubt. Pilates benefits might be summed up....remember your 20s and 30s....would you like another taste?

– a male student

Chair Fitness Student Appreciates Pace and Approach of Class


“As a 16-year survivor of open-heart bypass surgery, I try to make every effort to maintain good health practices. Mary Louise makes exercise fun. Her energy and positive attitude are contagious, and she works every body part. With many in class being elderly, she gently encourages and allows each participant to work at his/her own pace and within each individual’s limitations. She is motivating, supportive and her approach is both instructional and educational, and I have personally benefitted from her class.”

– Dick Allowatt

Chair Fitness Seniors Improve Strength and Balance


“Mary Louise is such a beautiful lady, always wearing a smile along with her pearls. As a senior, I appreciate the kindness and concern she shows toward each senior in our class. She explains everything we do, always telling us what area of our body this exercise will help. We have been able to increase our weights. Our strength and balance have improved greatly.”

– Barbara and Phil Laughery

Student Gets Peace and Calm from Mat-based Exercise


“I've been taking yoga, Pilates, and ‘yogalates’ classes from Mary Louise for over nine years. I started taking the classes for exercise but soon learned that these classes were much more. Not only do you get a great workout but also for me a sense of peace and calm. Mary Louise is a wonderful teacher, very knowledgeable about her classes and very caring towards her students. Give class a try. You won't be sorry!!”

– Carolyn Menello

Doubter Becomes Believer in Chair Fitness


“My wife had to drag me to class the first time. Now I wouldn't miss it. I ‘pooh-poohed’ exercising in a chair (which is about 90% of it), but I urge any senior to give it a go. You'll be surprised. Mary Louise makes the exercising kind of fun. She explains the reason we do certain exercises. She watches the class and seems to know when we need a minute to catch our breath. She seems to find different muscles to work every session.”

– Paul Lowen

Student Improves Posture


“We both look forward to class with Mary Louise. Since beginning to take her class, my posture has improved. I have more stamina and just generally feel better. If we know we are going to miss a class, we find another location where she is teaching. She lives by her motto - "Fitness - Fun - Friends.”

– Jane Lowen

Dance Students Want More After First Lesson


"My wife, Trina, and I attended our first dance lesson after having taken some lessons 10 years ago. I learned the basic, foundational steps. Mary Louise and Jim explained the why behind the actions, and it was very helpful. We will be back for future lessons.


 - Clinton Arnold

Dance Expands Social Life for Octogenarian 


“Mary Louise King taught me to dance quickly, without a long learning period.  I joined the Charleston Area Shag Society and had fun twirling the ladies. They would walk across the floor and ask me to dance! Teach a man how to lead and a lady how to follow, and they will never feel lonely at a dance! It is great social fun! Thank you, Mary Louise”


- Howard (Skip) Teller

Chair Fitness Students Get Boost from Class


“It is a pleasure for us to comment on the skills that Mary Louise has as a teacher and demonstrator in our exercise program. Not only does she lead us in the various physical activities we do, but she also explains the benefits we experience in those parts of our body of each exercise. We have attended her class for several years and find her constantly cheerful and complimentary. In all these years, she has never, ever been critical of anyone's ‘performance.’”

– David and Barbara Koontz

Motivational Speaking


The legal profession lends itself to a sedentary lifestyle as we read, write, travel and sit through depositions and hearings. While virtual hearings may reduce the travel, sitting in front of a computer screen has exacerbated the lack of physical activity. Although there may be no time during the day for a workout at the gym, Mary Louise's motivational presentation – “Putting Order Back into Your Own Court: Keeping Fit and Managing Stress in a High-pressure Job" – during a State Bar continuing legal education session in the House of Delegates chamber offered practical suggestions on how to move at your desk! She provided inspiration for incorporating simple stretches into your daily work routine that lead to improved mental and physical health. Thank you, Mary Louise, for your insight! 


                                                               - Martha Hill, Charleston lawyer

Yoga and Pilates Ease Lifelong Pain


“To Mary Louise, Just wanted to take the time to thank you for all you have done for me! For those who do not know me, I am a male, 63-years-old, and was injured in a car wreck at the age of 19 years. The injury was to my spine & caused me severe back and hip pain. I have lived with this pain for years. But since I have been taking your Pilates and yoga classes, I feel they have helped me to be more flexible & they have also helped me with my strength & stamina! I no longer have the back pain now! Thank God and you, Mary Louise, for this! I also know without the help of your classes I would not be able to function and do all of the ordinary things in everyday life. I am also able to still get on the floor with my grandchildren & wrestle & tickle them! After all, that is part of papa's job! Again thank you.”

– Joe Sayer

Chair Yoga Has Lasting Benefits


“You could go through a hundred trainers and not find one more knowledgeable, enthusiastic, helpful, kind, upbeat and fun than Mary Louise King. She will do all she can to help you reach your fitness goals and make sure that you enjoy every minute of it. Highest recommendation for MLK! Mary Louise, I can’t believe how great I still feel hours after doing the yoga class today. May have to make that a weekly thing again. Thank you!!!”

– Cathy Grant

Non-fan of Exercise Learns to Love It


“I have been looking for an exercise class that would give me an overall workout. I am not a fan of exercise, but I knew I needed the exercise to help bring my blood sugar down and feel better. I started taking classes with Mary Louise and I loved it. Mary Louise makes exercise fun and she is so encouraging and motivating that I want to keep coming back. She has become a great influence in my life, and I am always wanting to strive to do better.”

– Kathylynn Atkins

Mom's Gift of Personal Training Helps Son


“I purchased some private sessions from Mary Louise King for my adult son as a Christmas gift this past December. Even though he hadn't exercised for a while, she had him working enthusiastically with her from the very beginning. She does a great job of customizing his twice-weekly routines to address his own personal fitness needs. He has benefited greatly and looks forward to each new session with her. Thanks, Mary Louise!”

– Gayle Panucci

Exercise Encourages Even More Exercise


“I enjoy my class every Tuesday and Thursday. Our instructor explains why we do a certain exercise and what muscle it affects. With her encouragement, I even walk 3 miles each day. I look forward to coming to class.”

–Janice W. Mosley

Three Reasons to Love Exercise Classes


“Mary Louise’s yoga/Pilates classes are fun, affordable and effective!”

– Harry Mills

Dance Lessons Work Wonders


"I took private ballroom dance lessons from Mary Louise, and she worked wonders. First of all, I am not a dancer in any way. Mary Louise was very patient and professional with her approach to teaching me the basics to get started. She is a great teacher, and I learned quickly by following her instructions. I would recommend her to anyone, from a novice who just wants to learn enough not to embarrass themselves, to someone that is accomplished and wants to learn more.”

– Doug Spaulding

Exercises Are Customized and Inspiring


 “Mary Louise is a model of professionalism whose enthusiasm for her work and joy for life are contagious. Her knowledge of human anatomy allows her to customize instruction to students of all ages, as she explains the benefits of each exercise and inspires them to improve. She warmly welcomes each new student, and because of her caring nature and genuine interest in her clients, she establishes a sense of community in her classes, which are routinely overflowing. Each participant leaves feeling valued and thankful to have had the opportunity to partner with her for better health.”

– Linda Andresen

Exercise Helps Address Arthritis and Vertigo


“I've been exercising with Mary Louise since November [2016]. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my neck, shoulders, and hips. Since I've been doing this class, I have no arthritis pain. I had vertigo also, and now it's gone. It's amazing what simple exercise will do.”

– Randy Thomas

Older Student Benefits from Classes and Personal Training


“I am an 84-year-old man. Because of Mary Louise's class and private sessions, I have found muscles that I had forgotten that I had!  This is very noticeable going up stairs and getting out of a chair. I feel that attending Mary Louise's classes has helped to keep my blood pressure normal. My balance is much improved. The classes are a great mix of age and ability. Mary Louise keeps the classes light and fun. It is a great way for us seniors to stay social. Private lessons were helpful to improve different exercises. She is very careful that we do not hurt ourselves all the while pushing us to improve. I have recommended both classes and private sessions to several people and all have been pleased. Mary Louise must be doing something right to have the class that I am in grow from several people to over 45 people attending in just over a year. She explains how each exercise is helping each part of our bodies. Besides all that, SHE IS PRETTY.”

– Phil Moore

Ballet Teacher Loves Yoga Classes


I am a ballet teacher who has taken yoga classes all over the United States, from California to Rhode Island to West Virginia. I have never had such pleasant and effective yoga and stretch classes as I get from Mary Louise. Her classes help me stay flexible in my body and nourished in my soul. Mary Louise is an absolute precious gem of a person and instructor. You will not ever regret taking a class from her. 

- Kathi Curtis, 30-year dance teacher

Pilates and Chair Exercise Improve Leg and Arm Tone


I just want you to know how beneficial the upper body/arm/shoulders exercises, etc., were in the last SilverSneakers class on Tuesday. They so much help. Your classes are very encouraging - mentally, physically & spiritually. Actually, your classes promote overall well-being and promote a healing process to our bodies. I can testify for SURE that Pilates & SilverSneakers have increased arm & leg strength, especially for those of us students opening the door into our 70s & above -- U rate right up there with health care providers for our care & well-being -- without harmful meds. Sincere thanks & appreciation to you for all you do for seniors.

- Kay Hutchinson

Feeling Stronger Every Day from Pilates and Yoga


I just want to thank you for the positive influence you have been on my life. Eight months ago, I decided to make a change to become healthier. I started going to your Pilates classes, then your yoga/Pilates classes. Then when I could, I took two of your classes in one day. Ha! I have been on a mission! I'm happy to say I feel better and stronger than I have for a long time. You are an excellent instructor! Thank you for being you! You truly have touched my life!

Linda Pritt

Yoga/Pilates Fix Desk Job Damage


A desk job I worked at 27 years and my job now have done so much damage to my neck & back. If anyone else wants to feel better, and be more toned and flexible, you have to take a yoga/Pilates class. I'm only 6 classes in but it's unbelievable how it's helped me. I can't wait for Mondays & Wednesdays so I can feel better and get stronger. I would go every day if I could. If YOU have an hour, $5 and a yoga mat, come to South Charleston Community Center and give it a try. THANK YOU Mary Louise for being awesome and one of the sweetest ladies I know.

Kim Thaxton Thomas

Yoga Relieves Pain


I just want people to know how beneficial yoga classes are led by Mary Louise King. I've been practicing yoga for about 3-1/2 years and find that with regular exercise I have no aches and stiffness. Two times, I have hurt my back and have found yoga to relieve my pain and help my back to go back in place. (I have scoliosis and sciatica.) Mary Louise is always helpful and encouraging. She understands problems and has helped me to think what I can do to remedy the situation.. Thank you, Mary Louise.

Wanda Detinger

Chair Fitness Better than Cardio Rehab


Two years ago, my husband had to undergo an unexpected fourfold heart bypass surgery at St. Mary's Hospital in Huntington. He had a rough time for several months after that with breathing problems, but he has been doing much better this past year. We go to Mary Louise's SilverSneakers classes twice a week for exercise, and he says that has helped him more than cardio rehab following surgery. I want to thank all my friends and family who prayed for him during that difficult time for your love and concern and especially your prayers. I am so thankful to the Lord for sparing Fred, the love of my life, and I never want to take one day for granted.

Karen Robinson

Personal Training Soon Relieves Pain 


I had a neck and shoulder injury two months ago. I had been to a physical therapist in search of pain relief. When I asked Mary Louise for any suggestions, she immediately explained what exercises to do. Within one week, I am now pain free! Thank you, Mary Louise!

– Donna Carney

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