CHAARGed up for female health

Fitness group works to empower, educate women

Weekly+workouts+for+CHAARG+in+the+Rec+Plex+engage+girls+in+a+variety+of+strength+training+activities.
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CHAARGed up for female health

Weekly workouts for CHAARG in the Rec Plex engage girls in a variety of strength training activities.

Weekly workouts for CHAARG in the Rec Plex engage girls in a variety of strength training activities.

Photo by Matthew Serafin matthew.serafin@marquette.edu

Weekly workouts for CHAARG in the Rec Plex engage girls in a variety of strength training activities.

Photo by Matthew Serafin matthew.serafin@marquette.edu

Photo by Matthew Serafin matthew.serafin@marquette.edu

Weekly workouts for CHAARG in the Rec Plex engage girls in a variety of strength training activities.

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Forty sad minutes on an elliptical doesn’t have to be the limit of female fitness. CHAARG, an all-female exercise group on campus, is working to combat stereotypes at the gym.

As CHAARG heads into its second semester at Marquette, the organization is continuously working to “Change Health, Actions, and Attitudes to Recreate Girls.”

CHAARG is a national organization that was started by Elisabeth Tavierne, a student at Ohio State University. She initially attended the school on a swimming scholarship, but quit because it dominated her college experience in a negative way and she didn’t love the sport like she used to.

Her first time at university’s recreation center after quitting, she noticed a clear divide: guys lifting weights, and girls running on treadmills. In swimming she did it all. She did not understand why girls confined themselves to the cardio machines.

She decided something needed to change and started CHAARG at Ohio State in 2013. In four short years, it expanded across the country with chapters at 45 universities.

Courtney Kruggel, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, was inspired to start a CHAARG chapter at Marquette in the fall of 2016 because she believes that women can go above and beyond just an hour of cardio at the gym.

CHAARG focuses on a holistic approach to health and fitness and emphasizes that there are many different ways for women to be healthy and happy while in college.

“You should work out because it’s something that can make you feel good, not just because you ate a ton of pizza,” Kruggel said.

The group has two main events each week. Every Tuesday night, the whole chapter gathers for their weekly “studio spotlight,” and either travel to a fitness studio in Milwaukee, or have an instructor come to campus and teach a class. Classes range from yoga, cross fit and kickboxing, to more unique workouts like barre, belly-dancing and pole-dancing.

Sam Esworthy, a CHAARG member and freshman in the College of Communication, said she feels these workouts are a fun way to spice up her routine.

“Last semester we went to a kickboxing studio in downtown Milwaukee, and my roommate and I liked it so much that we joined and still go a few times a week,” Esworthy said.

The other main weekly event is a small group workout, led by one of the CHAARG executive board members like secretary Shania Brandt, a junior in the College of Health Sciences.  The six board members each pick a time and day to lead a workout and girls sign up for the one that works best for them.

“The small group workouts are a great way to build community and promote accountability,” Brandt said.

They ask that girls stick to the same group each week so that they can motivate each other and get into a routine with their peers. Brandt and the other leaders seek to introduce new things into their exercise routines and teach them how to enjoy working out.

“A lot of the time, small group workouts turned into vent sessions,” Esworthy said. “In the middle of an ab workout, someone would say ‘you’ll never believe what this girl said to me!’ and we would get caught up talking.”

Esworthy loved her group of 10 girls that met each week last semester and said the workouts brightened her week.

Along with the workouts, CHAARG hosts social events every month that carry the spirit of sisterhood outside of the weight room.

Membership fees for CHAARG are $45 a semester, which is less than a semester fit-pass at the Helfaer Recreation Center.

“It would cost $170 to try all of the studios that we do through CHAARG, so it’s awesome that we get to do them for almost half the cost,” Kruggel said.

114 girls have joined the Marquette chapter since the group was established and Kruggel is hoping the organization grows even more with the coming semesters.

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