Exercise and fun can go hand-in-hand.When Carisa Huntwork started her fitness journey she was looking for something she could enjoy enough to stick with.One of the programs she found was MixxedFit. The program is described on their website, ilovemixxedfit.com, as a people-inspired fitness program that incorporates explosive movement and boot camp toning.It was the toning aspect and the explosive movements that made MixxedFit a good match for her. In time, she realized it was worth taking the training and becoming an instructor."I started enjoying going to the gym, even though I don't know how to dance, through dance fitness," Huntwork said.Early on in her fitness journey, Huntwork was more than 100 pounds overweight. When she made the commitment to lose weight and get fit, she incorporated running into her exercise regimen, which led to a runner's knee.According to an article posted on the Runners World website, runners tend to have strong hip flexors but weaker posterior hip muscles like the gluteus medius. This causes the femur to rotate inward, making the patella strike the edge of the femoral groove, causing pressure and pain. As a runner hits their stride, they add impact to a bent knee each time they leap forward.The runner's knee diagnosis stopped her from taking certain classes, but she kept looking at options. She found a class that incorporated more explosive type movements rather than focusing on the footwork associated with dance. The website described explosive movements as those that are big and exaggerated, which promotes optimal calorie burn."I found that these movements actually helped me because they were not so much about the feet. It was about the explosiveness," she said. "MixxedFit was something that I felt comfortable doing and it didn't leave me in pain, and I had a lot of fun. So, it was cardio that I got my heart rate up, and I was sweating and I was burning more calories."The added bonus was the attitude of the people involved in the class she was taking in Renton, Washington."Everyone was very supportive, very encouraging, very welcoming," she said. "I didn't ever feel like there is any competition. I didn't ever feel unwelcome. I just felt loved."When she moved to Fort Riley, she knew she would miss the MixxedFit community. When she learned there wasn't a MixxedFit class offered here, she took the instructor training. Not because she wanted to be an instructor -- just because she wanted to keep doing the program.She had gone from being overweight and sedentary to being fit and active and loving every minute of it. However, once she signed up for the instructor class, she was in for a rude awakening -- teaching would be very different than taking the class."I led my first song and I hated it," she said. "I absolutely hated it. And I was so nervous, and I was like, 'why am I here? I never want to do this.' But the more that I did push myself out of my comfort zone the more personal growth I felt.Take her love for MixxedFit, sprinkle in a little confidence and soon she moved from the back of the classroom to teaching, with confidence, in a new state. In her classes, she wanted to replicate not only the fitness success but also the feeling of community she had in Washington."No one ever leaves my classes without feeling good about themselves," she said. Regardless of a person's fitness level, they can fit into the MixxedFit class. Huntwork will show modifications so everyone can perform at their pace."It doesn't matter where you are in your life, whether you're male or female and it's not age dependent," she said. "It's people inspired. It's not about me, it is about the people who come to that class."MixxedFit meets at Whitside Fitness Center, 684 Huebner Road, at 1:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 6 p.m. Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, 5 p.m. Fridays and 3:30 p.m. on Sundays.#FitFirst