Three years ago eight friends joined efforts to educate and motivate Marianna on fitness and nutrition. FitScript Fitness Center, located at 4215 Kelson Avenue, Suite F, provides a unique opportunity for all ages and fitness levels.

According to Karen Arunakel, the business developed when the group of friends, who enjoyed traveling to participate in marathons and bootcamp competitions, “decided to use their knowledge and offer a group fitness center”. The friends found their passion for fitness was held together by their ability to hold one another accountable.

Reuben Bontrager explained how all eight of the friends “worked together to complete the renovations,” which created even closer bonds among them. “We wanted to bring something to Jackson County that you would see in a bigger city,” Bontrager added.

Owners Dr. Chai and Karen Arunakel, Reuben and Carolyn Bontrager, Dr. Mark and Kathy Akerson, Jeremy Chance and Leslie Austin Chance each have different knowledge sets and certifications. In fact, when you work out at FitScript, you are likely to see some of the owners, who are approachable and excited about helping the community become healthier.

There are many opportunities available at FitScript. According to Marianna CrossFit Head Coach and Trainer, Bret Henry, the center is a “community fitness based mix of basic gymnastics, weight lifting and cardiovascular exercises.” The workouts include “long and short duration” activities with “task and time priorities,” Brett added. However, Karen explained that the exercises are scaled to “technique and ability level” with “trainers watching closely to prevent injuries.”

In addition to gym equipment and free weights, FitScript offers a multitude of group fitness opportunities, including but not limited to: cardio kickboxing, bootcamp, bar classes, yoga, stationary cycling, TRX band classes, Jiu Jitsu, self-defense, and CrossFit training. Future plans include Zumba classes.

For those wanting one-on-one assistance, two personal trainers are available by appointment. Brett continued “you are guaranteed to get a workout no matter your age, weight or skillset.” “You’ll feel accomplished when you are done,” explained Karen. “It’s a positive environment where people feel comfortable working on a healthier and more fit version of themselves,” she added.

CrossFit was designed to improve an individual’s overall health and fitness over time. With six certified CrossFit instructors members are able to achieve better health and balance in their lives. According to Bret “each CrossFit trainer’s certification includes nutritional classes.” Henry added, “The program is inclusive, but not intimidating.” CrossFit includes a competition element where members compete against themselves and other people of the same gender and skill set. More than half the CrossFit members at FitScript have participated in regional competitions. Last month the Beginner Females class placed first and the Coed RX class placed second in a competition in Dothan. The teams plan to participate in Pensacola.

While exercises at FitScript are geared to age and ability, Karen pointed out that “it is always a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning a new program.” To find out how you can become part of the healthy movement taking place at FitScript, call 850-372-4049, or stop by during general hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and see for yourself the movement taking place at FitScript. You can also visit FitScript online at, on FaceBook at “FitScript Fitness” and Instagram at “Marianna Crossfit”.

Visit the City of Marianna’s website at to learn more about new businesses. Shop locally and support Marianna businesses.

Kay Dennis, MBA, MPA, A.I.C.P., is the director of Municipal Development for the City of Marianna.

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