Letter to a CHAARG skeptic

Hi everyone + Happy August 1st! Today is the best day ever because CHAARG memberships are officially open!! I stayed up until 11 last night [I’m usually in bed by 9 since I wake up early] to get mine + something I’ve noticed is that some people are hesitant to buy a CHAARG membership // think CHAARG isn’t for them. So, from one ex-CHAARG skeptic to a current, here’s why you should join CHAARG [or at least give it a shot].


Flashback to last August when I got yet another notification from the Ohio University Class of 2020 facebook group from an organization trying to get more people to join. However, this org was different… it was CHAARG. CHAARG is a health + fitness organization that aims to liberate girls from the elliptical + show them that fitness can ++ should be fun by creating opportunities to help them ‘find their fit.’

I like working out, I thought, so I clicked on CHAARG’s website to dive deeper. Reading about Elisabeth [CHAARG’s founder] to Sarah Clem [the director of expansion], + the rest of CHAARG’s story I was sold. A group of like-minded women being fit, hanging out, + enjoying the college experience together is what everyone wants… right?

Well, I somehow ended up scrolling through the OU CHAARG hashtag on Instagram + immediately began feeling anxious. The girls in this hashtag did CrossFit, lifted in the boy’s section of the gym, had run marathons, + more + what had I done?? I did the stair stepper [when the elliptical got boring] + the gym machines with at home workout videos when I was too anxious to actually go to the gym.

What if I didn’t fit in with these girls? What if they hated me? What if I wasn’t ‘fit’ enough? About 100 more what if statements flooded my mind until I was so overwhelmed that I closed my computer. Maybe CHAARG wasn’t for me? I’d think it over, of course, + put it on my to-do list before I left for school “Buy CHAARG membership ?”

After going back to that same hashtag probably a dozen times, I caved about a week after school started + bought my first ever CHAARG membership. Once I received the Welcome Packet on the 1st of September my nerves really started to set in. Those what ifs started to hit me like a train again but I couldn’t back out. I paid $45 so I was going to be a member.

That next week was sample small groups [a small group meets once a week for the whole semester with the same group of people on the same day + time to workout, grab coffee, etc.] + I was terrified to go to one. So, naturally, I went to the last possible small group that I was free for. Friday morning at 8:15 am. The night before I texted that small group leader Rachel to let her know I’d be attending + we designated a spot in the gym to meet.

That next morning, bright + early I walked to the gym, probably shaking so hard people could’ve asked if I was cold in the late summer heat.

However, the second I stepped into the gym + saw Rachel [who was probs wearing avocado patterned leggings] I knew I was going to be okay. Rachel [+ everyone else in CHAARG] is so kind, caring, + so positive it’s hard to not love her. We did an arm workout

Rachel + I at formal this past semester

+ ran on the treadmill for a while as we talked about anything from school, CHAARG questions, family life, etc. until it was 915 + she had to get to class.

I went back to my room, showered, + forced myself to go to a ‘meet the exec’ event at Front Room Cafe an hour or so later to meet Leah + Megan, the then event coordinators. Once again, I was still nervous, much less nervous after I’d met Rachel, but nervous nonetheless. I walked into frontroom, + immediately noticed Leah from the OUCHAARG hashtag + walked over to her + the others at the table. Leah, Megan + I talked about the sameish things I talked about with Rachel: school, CHAARG, home, San Diego, etc. I told Leah that I had just come from Rachel’s sample small group + she said that Rachel had put in their groupme that she met the sweetest girl at her sample SG that morning [ME] + I almost fell on the floor from flattery if I’m being honest.

At this point, I was in CHAARG. That next Tuesday was the CHAARG Welcome Party [which I get to plan this year.. CRAZY] + guess what ?!? I was nervous as shit AGAIN! I walked into whatever building, into whatever room + sat down next to an actual human. I didn’t sit far in a corner + I didn’t make sure to leave TONS of space in between me + another person, but I sat next to a person.

My first CHAARG event + photo

That person happened to be Sydney, my now CHAARG bestie. Sydney + I also made small talk as usual and took the picture you see to your left. Ever since that night, Sydney + I have sat next to each other at every CHAARG event I’m forever grateful I stepped out of my comfort zone because I met her!

Now, as I share all of this + while it seems that all of my nerves were calmed… they weren’t. I went to every small group that semester except 1 [?] + every social that I didn’t have a class conflict for, yet I didn’t go to a single studio spotlight [we contact studios in our area to come + teach class for our members to help in finding their fit]. I was terrified I wasn’t fit enough to do System of Strength + Pound. That I still wouldn’t fit in + so… I never went. I made up the excuse that I had a class conflict or I would get my Eventbrite ticket + cancel it last minute [I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to do that first semester… whoops].

My first semester, I applied to be CHAARG’s Treasurer [+ didn’t get it]. Naturally, I was pretty disheartened by it + I actually thought about not returning to CHAARG spring semester. I was angry that I hadn’t gotten the position + that I hadn’t gotten that life-changing or eye-opening CHAARG experience others had had… was CHAARG really not for me?

However, I knew I needed to try again. Just because CHAARG didn’t work out in my favor first semester didn’t mean I wasn’t going to give it another go. I bought my spring membership on Black Friday + made a promise to myself that I would go to EVERY SINGLE CHAARG event that I could because I was sad + upset that CHAARG wasn’t changing my life the way it changed everyone else’s + that’s just what I did.

Spring semester I realized one very crucial CHAARG fact that no one tells you: CHAARG can’t change your life if you don’t let it. I had to put in the effort with CHAARG in order to receive that life-changing experience in return

My first semester of OU sucked [I actually contemplated transferring again]. I only talked to my roommate, CHAARG girls but strictly at CHAARG events, + some work people. I didn’t eat. I only worked out during small group. I self-harmed time + time again for the first time in ages + I was all around not happy. It wasn’t OU’s fault but more so mine.

Syd + I post pound!

I was unhappy before OU so it’s no surprise I was still unhappy in Athens. I wanted CHAARG to change my life so dearly because I hated it but I wasn’t willing to put in the effort.

CHAARG changed my life 2nd semester because I made it do so. I went to every studio spotlight + found a love for Pound, Yoga + Zumba!! I went to every small group + social ++ I met so many kind + passionate people ++ I used CHAARG to my advantage so it did change my life.

I eat now. I workout now [for fun + not for a punishment]. I can walk in public without music or talking to someone on the phone. I can talk in front of people. But most importantly, I’m happy now.

are any of our eyes open? the world may never know

CHAARG isn’t this scary thing that only people who do CrossFit or participate in bodybuilding comps can be in. CHAARG is a place for anyone + everyone who have a passion for mental, phyiscal + emotional fitness whether you’ve just started this journey today or 15 years ago.

Remember this: CHAARG can change your life, but only if you let it.

❤ an ex CHAARG skeptic.

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Alicia

alicia. 21. chicago. athens. ou. vegan. blogger. college student. chaargie. intersectional feminist. future CEO. trying my best. lover of the color blue, no-chip manicures, and nitro cold brew.

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