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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

CHAARG challenges fitness fears at CSU

Taylor+Wittwer%2C+student+ambassador+for+CHAARG+stands+on+the+intramural+fields+holding+the+group%E2%80%99s+first+social+event%2C+juice+and+journaling

Collegian | Milo Gladstein

Taylor Wittwer, chapter ambassador for Colorado State University CHAARG, stands on the Intramural Fields during the group’s first social event of the semester, juice and journaling, Sept. 6. “We’re a fitness club that’s about empowering women trying to find their fit, and we partner with local fitness instructors to try different workouts every week to help women feel more comfortable in the gym,” Wittwer said.

Samy Gentle, Staff Reporter

CHAARG, which stands for Changing Health, Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls, is a club at Colorado State University that is also present at over 100 other college campuses nationwide, according to Taylor Wittwer, chapter ambassador for CHAARG CSU. 

The club is beginning its fourth semester at CSU since being created in spring 2021, according to Wittwer, while the national organization “has been liberating girls from the elliptical since 2012,” according to their website

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“It really keeps you on track with balancing college (and) social life and also prioritizing your health.” -Grace Shoemaker, CHAARG vice president of media

CHAARG focuses on exposing members to new ways to stay fit rather than traditional cardio machines at the gym.

“We aim to try different types of workouts (every week) so that when (members) haven’t tried CrossFit or yoga, for example, we want them to feel … comfortable and proud of themselves for trying something new,” Wittwer said.

The $50 club membership fee includes 11 weekly workouts in a semester and small group activities. 

For its weekly workouts, CHAARG will be partnering with local fitness companies like Pure Barre, Fit5 Studio, F45 Training, CorePower Yoga, CrossFit DNR and Crunch Fitness, according to Grace Shoemaker, vice president of media for the club. 

There is more to the club than just fitness; another component of CHAARG is small groups.

“Small groups are a way to get to know other women in CHAARG better,” Shoemaker said. “You can do workouts together; you can go get coffee, go for a hike or go for a walk. … It really keeps you on track with balancing college (and) social life and also prioritizing your health.”

According to Shoemaker, there are 10 small group sessions throughout the week that are a recommended but optional part of the club, depending on how much of a time commitment members can make. 

Small groups are led by small group coordinators, such as member Katie Campbell, who will be overseeing five to six girls in the club’s weekly gathering.

I have loved doing small groups, and I have made some really good friends doing so,” Campbell said.

CHAARG at CSU is still growing.

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I know from my perspective with social media we’ve increased in followers a lot, and I feel like we’re creating a really good presence on social media in this community,” Shoemaker said.

“We accept everyone as long as you are about empowering women and want to work out,” Wittwer said. “If you just want to try working out, try new things or just want to meet new friends, then join us.”

I love that CHAARG is a group of powerful young women who all have similar interests and goals,” Campbell said. “I love how we all encourage each other to be the best us that we can be. I know that all of these girls have my back and will support me on my fitness journey.”

To assist with collaboration and growth, CHAARG has also “been reaching out to other clubs, and hopefully, we’ll start connecting with them,” Wittwer said. “(A hike with the Outdoor Club) was our first collaboration, and it was very successful, and we really liked it, and we hope we can work with them again.”

Another club on campus with a similar focus on women’s exercise and fitness is the Girl Gains club.

“I think we have different aims since they are more about finding gym buddies and going to the (Student Recreation) Center, and we are about finding different types of workouts you enjoy,” Wittwer said. “Since they are kind of new too, I’m hoping we can work with them in the future.”

CHAARG isn’t only interested in collaborating with other exercise-based groups on campus.

“I would really like to reach out more to the sorority community and Panhellenic (Association) and get more women who are in sorority communities to be joining,” Shoemaker said.

In addition to connecting with other groups at CSU, CHAARG connects with chapters of the organization at other schools. In its first semester in 2021, the club held a virtual Zoom workout session with the University of Colorado Boulder’s CHAARG chapter, according to Shoemaker.

Nationwide CHAARG members can connect through social media. Executive team members of all CHAARG chapters have a specific “inCHAARG” Instagram account name, making them easy to identify and connect with, according to Shoemaker.

“If someone else posted that they are doing a CHAARG challenge, … you could get their number and be an accountability buddy for them, even if they were at, like, (Pennsylvania State University), for example,” she said.

From a perspective as vice president of media, Shoemaker said possible improvements for CHAARG include “just continuing to grow our chapter and being inclusive with all of our socials. I think (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) things will always be something we can improve upon because we are constantly learning.”

Reach Samy Gentle at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samy_gentle_.

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