Changing health, attitudes and actions to recreate girls — that’s what CHAARG is all about.
CHAARG started at Ohio State a few years ago but just made its Penn State debut in January 2015 and has been rapidly growing ever since. CHAARG challenges girls to step off the elliptical and find a workout that they really enjoy, and to keep trying new workouts every week. If you hadn’t heard of CHAARG before, you have now. But have you heard of Alyssa Ardolino?
Alyssa Ardolino is the founder and president of CHAARG here at Penn State. When she started CHAARG here, there were only about five girls on campus who had heard of it before.
“I’ve always been really interested in fitness but I didn’t know exactly what that meant or how I should go about it,” Ardolino says. She also adds that she struggled with body image issues in high school and had a very poor relationship with food.
Ardolino originally started blogging for CHAARG, but eventually decided that Penn State needed a chapter of its own. She contributes a huge part of her now-healthy relationship with food and exercise to CHAARG.
I never realized how much of an impact [CHAARG] would have. I can honestly say I’m not the same person I was before I found it. I don’t have as many self-esteem issues. I focus more on my physical abilities than how I look.
The fitness aspect of CHAARG is awesome, but what Ardolino really loves is the friendships she’s made.
“I spend a lot of my time working on the friendships that I’ve found and the community that’s here and helping other girls realize that it’s not about what you look like; it’s about positivity and joy and everything you can bring to the world.”
In addition to the larger events, CHAARG also has small groups so you can really get to know people.
“You really find people like you when you surround yourself with people who have the same interests,” she says. “The people and the community are the most valuable part but they’re also the hardest part to describe. When you’re physically there you can experience it.”
If you’re thinking about getting involved with CHAARG, Ardolino says you should feel free to reach out to anybody that’s involved.
“Everyone that I’ve met there has been so friendly and welcoming. Honestly, you can be at any stage. You can have never run a mile and you can join. There are no qualifications and there’s no time commitment. You don’t have to come to anything. You can come to whatever you want,” Ardolino says.
If you’re interested in joining CHAARG, hop off that elliptical and head over to CHAARG.com!