Follow Us

Client Testimonials

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed being a fitness professional… leading classes in Zumba, step, yoga, and more. I had no problems staying active, but I needed to kick it up a notch in order to meet my own goals and not simply maintain. I needed somebody who could really push me, expose me to new fitness regimes, and keep my interest long term. This proved to be quite a challenge. I went through several personal trainers, none of them lasting more than a few months. I was dissatisfied with boring … more »
 
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed being a fitness professional… leading classes in Zumba, step, yoga, and more. I had no problems staying active, but I needed to kick it up a notch in order to meet my own goals and not simply maintain. I needed somebody who could really push me, expose me to new fitness regimes, and keep my interest long term. This proved to be quite a challenge. I went through several personal trainers, none of them lasting more than a few months. I was dissatisfied with boring workouts and minimal results… that is, until I met Mark. I’ve been working with Mark for nearly 2.5 years now and I still love every minute of it. Thinking outside the box, he is always bringing in new and exciting ideas. The workouts are constantly changing, and are best described as fun, challenging, and of course, crazy! His knowledge of everything from Tabata to yoga to sandbags to Olympic lifting keeps it fresh. The strength I’ve gained is amazing, and yet at the same time I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds, and over 8 total inches. It’s unreal. I am undoubtedly in the best shape of my life and I’m continually improving. Mark monitors my progress with a long term perspective in mind; both the intensity and activities are purposefully planned within a larger framework. By now I’ve convinced several of my friends to work with Mark or attend his Saturday boot camps, so Asylum Fitness has become a social endeavor for us! His never ending list of partner exercises makes it all the more enjoyable even though we are often commiserating over how hard he is working us. Mark’s unyielding energy, not to mention personal attention, leave me feeling great after every session, no matter how grumpy I might be when I initially show up. He is approachable, offers encouragement, and really listens to you as the client. Mark has been a fantastic resource for new moves that I bring to my workouts at home or to the group exercise classes I teach, which have indirectly benefitted from my success with him. Needless to say, I’ve been very impressed with my experiences at Asylum Fitness... go see Mark yourself and start YOUR journey! less »
 
 
- Christy V.
 
Mark has a broad knowledge base in fitness and educates himself on an ongoing basis. In the past five months I've known him, he has traveled out of state twice for educational purposes. He is constantly looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of my workouts and seeks to make them fun, as well. He is the best trainer I've ever worked with and I look forward to continued growth. more »
 
Mark has a broad knowledge base in fitness and educates himself on an ongoing basis. In the past five months I've known him, he has traveled out of state twice for educational purposes. He is constantly looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of my workouts and seeks to make them fun, as well. He is the best trainer I've ever worked with and I look forward to continued growth. less »
 
 
- Pat P.
 
Personal health and physical fitness were never a focus in my home as I grew up. I became overweight at a very young age and remained that way until I was about 18 years old. Neither of my parents ever worked out or paid attention to the foods they ate and unfortunately I inherited these bad habits. Finally, after graduating high school, my mom decided to make some changes in her life by joining a local gym and making healthier eating decisions. As a result of her changes, my eating habits … more »
 
Personal health and physical fitness were never a focus in my home as I grew up. I became overweight at a very young age and remained that way until I was about 18 years old. Neither of my parents ever worked out or paid attention to the foods they ate and unfortunately I inherited these bad habits. Finally, after graduating high school, my mom decided to make some changes in her life by joining a local gym and making healthier eating decisions. As a result of her changes, my eating habits changed as well. I began to lose weight immediately because I was so overweight. At my highest weight, I was 265lbs. I slowly began working out here and there but I didn’t have the motivation I needed to get results. When I moved to Wilmington in August of 2010, I was introduced to Mark Smith through one of his current clients. She said nothing but great things about him so I decided to give it a shot. I began working out with him once a week and it was a major wakeup call! I realized how out of shape I actually was but with his constant encouragement and tough love I continued to work hard. I have always been intimidated in a gym setting because I had little to no knowledge about physical fitness. I love that the Asylum Fitness studio is separate from the gym and that he still has plenty of equipment to create the best workouts I’ve ever experienced. Working out with Mark never gets boring because he is constantly changing things up and introducing new exercises that he learns from different personal training conferences. That has definitely had a huge impact on my decision to continue working with him. He offers the perfect mixture of creative exercises, guidance on using proper form, encouragement, positive reinforcement, and comic relief to make workouts tough, but fun. I now really enjoy working out because I realize that I can do much more than I ever thought I could and I can see the results from my hard work. Every part of my body has gotten stronger because of Mark’s “whole body workout” approach. I now attend group exercise classes at the gym and I go running a couple of times a week on my own. Currently, I weigh 197lbs and I feel better than ever! Joining Asylum Fitness was the healthiest decision I've ever made. less »
 
 
- Brad P.
 
July 30th, 2011, I attended my 10 year high school reunion. I was excited to see some great friends from high school I had not seen in quite some time and simply catch up on what everyone is doing these days. Of course also wondering what people looked like 10 years give or take I had seen them last. In the back of my mind I knew that I had put on a few pounds since high school however I did still keep active with basketball, softball and volleyball at different times throughout … more »
 
July 30th, 2011, I attended my 10 year high school reunion. I was excited to see some great friends from high school I had not seen in quite some time and simply catch up on what everyone is doing these days. Of course also wondering what people looked like 10 years give or take I had seen them last. In the back of my mind I knew that I had put on a few pounds since high school however I did still keep active with basketball, softball and volleyball at different times throughout the year so I didn't really think anything of it. The night went great and I had a fantastic time. In today's world with social media, one can learn more than you wish to know about people and in this case….I learned more than I wished to know about myself. The next day a few pictures were posted via Facebook of the previous night's activities. This was the day that would change the way I view myself and would ultimately lead me into the right direction toward becoming fit. The next week after the reunion, the first thing I did was cut my hair…you know…long hair tends to add a couple pounds…or ten. I then went and bought a scale. I honestly had not weighed myself since high school and was a little tentative about stepping on that ledge and looking down at my fate below. If it sounds like I'm standing on the edge of a building it is by no coincidence…this was scary. Take deep breath…step up…close eyes…look down…yikes! 248! Two Hundred and Forty Eight Pounds…you have got to be kidding me! I immediately began to work on some plyometrics and sprint drills on my own at the nearest park. I began to eat a little better by not eating fast food so much and cutting out all soft drinks. In August I attended one of Mark's Bootcamp workouts. Let me just say that it did not go as planned. I figured that since I had been running a little, it wouldn't be so bad. I couldn't even get through some of the workouts. I was hot, I could barely breath, and was pretty embarrassed. I can say that everyone was very encouraging despite the disappointment in myself. By September I had taken Mark up on becoming a part of Asylum Fitness. Meet up with him one on one every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-7pm. By this time, I had gotten myself down to about 240 lbs. and had set a goal with Mark to lose 40 leaving me at an even 200. He felt that this goal was great starting point and quite feasible. The first few workouts were very very difficult but I knew the pain and sweat were worth it and before long I really looked forward to the workouts every week. Not too long after I began the workouts I also started running. Starting out with 1.5 mile runs and slowly building more endurance. Over the course of the next few months, I never missed a workout and took every advantage to attend any of Mark's bootcamps on the weekends. I was running an average of three days a week for 2-3 miles for each run. On February 23, 2012, I had officially reached my goal of 200 lbs. People at work and around town began to take notice of my weight loss. The kind words and support along with the great results I was having simply fueled the fire to work harder. I began to extend my runs to 4 and 4.5 miles and had now cut out all fast food, doings something active every day and focusing more on eating foods my body needed for recovery and staying fit. In May of 2012, I had dropped to 185 lbs. which is 1 pound lighter than my football playing weight junior year of high school. Mark and I felt this was a good weight to maintain and since then I have fluctuated from 180-185 lbs. every week. I stay focused on what I eat and when I eat. I look forward to exercising each day and now focus on building more muscle as well as becoming more toned.It's nice when you people see you for the first time in a while and they don't even recognize it's you. "You look so different!" To which I reply "Good different I hope!" It definitely puts a smile on my face knowing I'm changing for the better. The past year has truly been a life change for me as I am now living well and feeling great. I am always aware of the food I put into my body and will literally jump at the opportunity to simply just play and be active. This new lifestyle has given me more confidence in myself and a greater outlook on what lies ahead. Kyle Page less »
 
 
- Kyle Page
 
I have known Mark for a number of years at this point and write this to confidently support him as a person and his business. We first met while he was personal training at another gym before he opened his own business. His passion for health and fitness was apparent back then and it was no surprise to me that he would go on to build a successful business of his own. Mark and I have worked together professionally, sending clients and patients (I am a chiropractor) back and forth between so that … more »
 
I have known Mark for a number of years at this point and write this to confidently support him as a person and his business. We first met while he was personal training at another gym before he opened his own business. His passion for health and fitness was apparent back then and it was no surprise to me that he would go on to build a successful business of his own. Mark and I have worked together professionally, sending clients and patients (I am a chiropractor) back and forth between so that they may experience the benefits of a better life. Mark has a knowledge of movement and form unlike no other trainer I have met and has a gift at teaching others and inspiring them to action. The results he has gotten with patients I have referred to him has been astounding. He has even gotten results with patients with severe issues like disc herniations and spinal degeneration. I have watched Mark continue to expand his mind and his body over the past few years seeking out new training and am always impressed watching the videos and reading the publications that he puts out. If you are looking for a trainer look no further, you will not find a more knowledgeable, energetic guy than Mark. If you are a physician or healthcare professional, refer to Mark with confidence. His approach to training focuses on functional strength that transfers to his client's lives not just getting stronger for getting stronger's sake. I hope this helps you make the decision to get 'crazy results' with Mark! less »
 
 
- David Russ D.C.
 
I started training with Mark Smith in the fall of 2010, before he had a studio, before he had a business, and before he had more than a few kettlebells to his name. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Mark and his business, Asylum Fitness (AF), is evolution - the gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. I think of the evolution of his teaching methodology and fitness philosophy and the evolution of my own fitness training … more »
 
I started training with Mark Smith in the fall of 2010, before he had a studio, before he had a business, and before he had more than a few kettlebells to his name. The first word that comes to mind when I think of Mark and his business, Asylum Fitness (AF), is evolution - the gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. I think of the evolution of his teaching methodology and fitness philosophy and the evolution of my own fitness training and philosophy. Before I met Mark, I approached “working out” as a necessary evil – a means to an end in order to live the life I wanted to live outside the gym: eating and drinking liberally while still fitting into my jeans. For me it was more about weight maintenance instead of health maintenance. After working with Mark I eventually was able to transform my shortsighted fitness goals from “I want to lose XX lbs by XX time” to lifelong fitness goals focused on longevity of my health and happiness. Mark has taught me that fitness is not necessarily about how you look, but about how you feel – how you feel today, how you will feel tomorrow, three years from now, and thirty years from now. From my three years working with Mark, I have learned that fitness is a lifelong pursuit of skill development, mental and physical awareness, and increased movement, strength, and confidence. In other words: never stop learning and never stop playing! There are plenty of opportunities to practice this philosophy in the supportive and friendly atmosphere of AF, whether at the movement workshops around Wilmington, playing in AF’s Das Woods (all natural outdoor jungle gym), the Saturday morning UNCW track boot camps, or the annual 12 days of Christmas workout. What I respect most about AF Coach Mark is his commitment to learning and teaching new, research-based fitness approaches, techniques, movements, and ideas. As a scientist, I know how much time and dedication it takes to constantly be learning. There is always new fitness and health information being shared through new technologies and to be as knowledgeable about it as Mark is, is truly reMARKable (ha!). And because Mark is always learning, it means his clients are always learning and being challenged both mentally and physically. Even though I will not always be able to train at the AF studio in Wilmington (as I am moving on to Davidson, North Carolina to pursue my teaching career), I know I will always be a welcome member of the AF family and I will carry the AF philosophy with me wherever I go. less »
 
 
- Leigh Anne Harden 9/1/2013
 
Asylum Fitness is a great place to get your body moving. I have been training at Asylum fitness for just over a year, and have felt a great improvement in my performance over the months. Coach Mark Smith provides personalized workouts and he makes sure that we are being challenged and getting a good workout in a safe manner. Even in group workouts, we receive individualized assessment and adjustments. Before joining Asylum Fitness, I was an active person, but more often than not I would … more »
 
Asylum Fitness is a great place to get your body moving. I have been training at Asylum fitness for just over a year, and have felt a great improvement in my performance over the months. Coach Mark Smith provides personalized workouts and he makes sure that we are being challenged and getting a good workout in a safe manner. Even in group workouts, we receive individualized assessment and adjustments. Before joining Asylum Fitness, I was an active person, but more often than not I would get some sort of injury from exercising. I used to blame that simply on an aging body. Ever since I became part of the Asylum Fitness family I have been moving more efficiently and have not had any injuries since - Thanks to Mark's coaching!! I am even able to perform movements that I didn't dare try before, when I was still in my twenties. Coach Mark promotes a fun, challenging but uplifting workout environment! If you are the type of person who hates boring or crowded gyms, you will LOVE Asylum Fitness. And the Saturday Movement Camps are also amazing! They are a great way to keep moving and challenging yourself while having fun with an awesome group of people. less »
 
 
- Carolina P., 38
 
I have been actively working with personal trainers since 1996 and this year has proved to be a pivotal year in my continued pursuit for the ultimate health and wellness. I had been working hard trying to increase my cardio and endurance by taking up running a few years ago and Mark has provided me with not only the skills to make my running form better but the training to not ruin every joint in my body by training improperly. He is focused on the individual well being of each client … more »
 
I have been actively working with personal trainers since 1996 and this year has proved to be a pivotal year in my continued pursuit for the ultimate health and wellness. I had been working hard trying to increase my cardio and endurance by taking up running a few years ago and Mark has provided me with not only the skills to make my running form better but the training to not ruin every joint in my body by training improperly. He is focused on the individual well being of each client since everyone is at different levels, strengths, and more importantly ages. We can not all train the same way and training does not mean increasing weights till you injure yourself. It is all about knowing your limits and pushing to the next level. At Asylum Fitness we do not compete with one another, we are working towards a lifetime of flexibility and strength with healthy outcomes. The environment to do this is not your traditional gym, it is a perfect mix of tools to make it challenging without any boredom. I have never done the same routine twice and I am amazed at how I am able to improve after each session. I have never been one for the "gym".. I don't like the crowds, the smells, and the sounds. I have only a great workout at Asylum with the sounds of nature all around! If you are serious about your fitness, there is only one place in town you should be... Asylum fitness with Mark as your lifetime coach! less »
 
 
- Tracey G.