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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CHAARG “Bootycamp” reflection

Happy Monday everyone! Friday was the last day of CHAARG’s summer fitness plan “CHAARG Bootycamp” and I had the opportunity to be involved with it this summer. I wanted to reflect on my experience in this fitplan as I gear up for another in October (which I get to help lead as an exec member) so why not do it here for the whole world to see?


I am and have always been very black or white. I either love you or can’t stand you (if I know you that is… if I don’t I can be indifferent), all in or all out, I work out every single day or not at all, etc. and that can be good and bad. With fitness plans, however, it’s usually pretty bad.

I’m not sure why I’m like this // how I can change this about me, but the day I take a day off (that isn’t already listed in the actual plan) I just stop with it completely. I feel like a failure even if I’m not (it’s one day, not every day haha) and can’t bring myself to get back in the swing of things.

I was doing SOOO good the first 2 weeks of the plan… and then I went to Ohio to visit some friends. While I was there I didn’t workout, I drank a lot, ate a lot, etc. and when I got home the last thing I wanted to do was workout, let alone make up the workouts I missed. So, I didn’t workout for a week-ish (seems pretty backward I know). Then I made up a few workouts, got overwhelmed, + took another break. I did, however, get back on track for the last week + did all 3 strength workouts but I still didn’t feel that great about not really finishing the fitplan, especially because I spent money on it.

I think this is mainly due to my planning, or lack thereof. The fitplan started the day after I returned from Florida so I didn’t really have time or energy to plan the next 6 weeks of my life when I had been in a car for 10 ish hours. I had one thing on my mind, sleep, and the last thing I wanted to think about was planning the next 6 weeks.

Due to this, I was off on the wrong foot to begin with and I did persevere through my unplanned workout routine for a week and a half but I desperately needed to and should have planned out my workouts. Until I have written down a time or carved it into my planner, nothing is going to happen and that’s exactly what I didn’t do. I knew this would happen and it did, so I can’t really be mad about it now. This is definitely my major takeaway from this fitplan going into my next. I need to spend a few hours of my life the days before the fitplan starts planning my workouts, my foods, etc. if I want to get it done. It’s not that fitplans don’t work // it’s that you don’t make yourself work + I know that in order to build muscle (I have the upper body strength of a newborn baby) I need to plan and stick to that plan to see the results I want.

I do want to share a positive thing about this fitplan! There was a 10 day meal plan included and it was so useful! I didn’t follow the meal plan but I did love trying new recipes that I’m definitely going to incorporate into my faily life!!

So, while this may seem like a “wow Alicia you suck” sort of post, it definitely helped me realize my faults + how I can improve them for the fall! I also will say that this week I am sort of starting fresh with these workouts and doing the ones I like the most so that I can say I did not waste my money!


Are you as black + white like me? Or is there gray area for you?

❤ Alicia ❤

High school ruined me

Hi all and long time no write.

I took a nice weekend trip to Ohio at the start of the month, and that paired with some family issues I’ve been pretty lackluster when it came to writing.

Something I’ve been doing quite a bit more recently is reading. I just finished The Happiness Project last night (more on that to come) and I started wondering why I don’t read more often. I love reading, I love writing, yet I don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like.

When I was part of my high school’s yearbook, I did almost exclusively design. I edited captions and stories, etc. but only because I was an editor and therefore it was my job (despite the thrill I got from turning a paragraph of spelling and grammatical mistakes into a perfect package complete with sparkly bow).

But, you all may be thinking… Alicia… you run a blog, you must like writing. And I do, I adore writing, immensely, it gives me a way to be creative without wanting to rip my hair out over my inability to draw anything better than a stick figure. So, then why did I refuse to write copy for my yearbook unless absolutely pressed to by my writing editor? Well, in my opinion, it’s because I was conditioned to believe I hated it.

School, high school, in particular, forced you to read and write things that you have little to no interest (or at least think you don’t) in and it is downright dreadful. Having to read books that you have no interest in, then having to write a 3-5 page essay in 45 minutes on a book you hated and therefore skimmed is almost worse.

I can remember being in elementary school after visiting the library that week, cozying up in my bed on a Friday night with Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty and staying up until the early hours of the morning to finish it because I WANTED to. No one told me to read the book, no one even recommended the book. I read that book because I wanted to. I read that book so many times and for a while, it was my favorite book… maybe it was because it was one of the only books with large font in my library… I’m a slut for large font. Whether I liked the book or merely the font size, there were many more books after that in which I read and loved doing so, but one day it stopped.

In 4th grade, I won a short story contest (and even got it turned into a claymation movie by my advanced class) with a 2-page short story called “Where’s Coco?” My sweet little white dog (based off of the American Girl Doll mascot Coco might I add) who went missing on Friday the 13th… in October nonetheless. While I can’t remember how it ended, I do remember that the title was written in a yellow polka dot angled Word Art font and that it was riveting to my entire class, which is why it won… obviously.

We were given a prompt to write a mystery story. Nothing more nothing less. I poured my heart and soul into that story because I am such a sucker for mysteries that I got that all done in one day (I do that with essays today but more so due to procrastination rather than passion). If I could muster up the idea of an American Girl Doll dog going missing and also find the dedication AND motivation to finish this story, why did I not write anymore? Why do I struggle to blog, when I adore writing? Why?

The answer to this is that high school ruined me. Plain and simple.

Something I always wanted to do was to be a teacher. I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher because I hated learning, or at least I thought I hated learning.

Something I love is learning. So, why did I hate learning if I love learning? Pretty contradictory don’t you think? I think something that myself and so many others my age have come to realize is that high school is not about learning anymore, it’s about getting grades satisfactory enough to get accepted into the university of your choice.

I cannot tell you a single thing I learned from my junior year of high school other than the fact that I can read The Awakening in 90 minutes. The 90 minutes before I had to write my final exam on that book I may add. I can’t tell you so many things I ‘learned’ in high school because I did not learn them.

I memorized them hours before I needed to know them, regurgitated them onto a scantron or scratch paper, and then one by one, they were discarded into my brain garbage can (told you I didn’t learn much in high school).

High school was never about learning, yet I didn’t realize that until much later. I thought I hated learning because high school made learning the last thing I wanted to do.

It wasn’t until my year off that I realized that learning was fun. I learned more from the 6 and 8-year-olds I nannied than in my entire AP US history class. I learned more in my time in Peru than I did Honors Physics.

Learning doesn’t always take place in a classroom. But learning should always be fun.

How fortunate are we to learn that the moon’s orbit affects the seas’ tides? How fortunate are we to learn that you really can start a sentence with And or Because?

I wish high school hadn’t ruined me. I wish I knew my passions 4 years ago. I wish I never thought I hated the things that set my soul on fire. But here I am, still undecided on my life choices with the same fire and passion I had for reading, writing, and learning but this time.. I know I have it.

Alicia