With the all-you-can-eat buffets, never ending ice cream machines and late night pizza parties, freshman year comes with the fear and expectation of the Freshman Fifteen. I, for one, was determined for this not to happen to me. As I walked through the doors of my campus’ health and recreation center for the first time, the gym-phobia began to hit. I walked around not knowing what a single machine was used for. I felt discouraged as I struggled for breath on the elliptical while the track star next to me effortlessly ran laps. I quickly realized that maybe trying to make some friends at Zumba was not a good idea as I looked into the mirror and saw my sweltering, bright red face and horrendous sweat stains. I couldn’t find other girls to go explore the depths of the gym with me, and being embarrassed, I stuck to what I knew: the elliptical.
A few weeks into school, I stumbled onto a fellow freshman’s fitstagram and CHAARG Instagram. She had posted pictures with numerous girls all happily sweating together and promising to love their bodies. I did a little more research into what I discovered to be a campus organization and I found CHAARG’s motto: "liberating girls from the elliptical."
CHAARG stands for changing health, attitudes and actions to recreate girls. They focus on showing girls that health and fitness can, and should, be fun. Most importantly, it should be more than an elliptical. Welcome to all levels of fitness, CHAARG pushes a holistic view of health: mind, body and spirit. The organization is represented at 45 universities and colleges across the nation (with virtual chapters for schools without a CHAARG chapter) and they are ever growing. CHAARG provides a supportive community on and off of campus, as chapters across the nation support each other through shared fitplans and challenges, newsletters and virtual support through each member's personal fitstagram.
As founder Elisabeth Tavierne puts it, “While CHAARG focuses a lot on fitness, living a healthy life is so much more than the physical aspect. I hope all of our members grow to embrace a healthy and happy lifestyle. I hope that they find a supportive and encouraging community and that they meet not only workout buddies, but lifelong friends.”
Each chapter holds weekly workouts, or “small groups,” based on the female students’ availabilities. Sweating through it all helps create friendships with both older and younger classmates. Once a week, there is also a “studio spotlight” where CHAARG partners with local studios to lead a workout on or off campus. My campus has partnered with Cyclebar, CrossFit, Pure Barre and studios specializing in anything from resistance bands to pole-fitness dancing.
I highly encourage you to join your campus’ CHAARG or to bring CHAARG to your university. By empowering and encouraging women all across campus, CHAARG has created much more than a campus club. They have created strong friendships and even stronger women who clearly show leadership responsibility on and off campus. We grow together one bolt at a time.
Lead Image Credit: Erin Moody