CHAARG Journey Stories highlight our members’ amazing journeys through CHAARG — physically, mentally, + emotionally. Amal was one of the three winners of the 2017 CHAARG FitPlan. We are so proud of her for fully accepting herself + immersing herself into her CHAARG Chapter. Read Amal’s entire CHAARG Journey Story below!
Starting my freshman year of college, I knew what I wanted to care about, but I didn’t know how to get there. I loved the idea of holistic living, making the time to do yoga and meditation every day, + actually enjoying every single workout. The reality was holistic living is hard in college, class + homework don’t leave much time for yoga + meditation, + working out can be intimidating at its best + feel like torture at its worst.
I joined CHAARG to stay fit in college, but as I never played any team sports in high school, I didn’t understand the family or accountability that CHAARG preached. I worked out by myself, + I only dragged myself to the gym because it was necessary to stay healthy. I wanted to be that girl on Instagram with the aesthetic smoothie bowls + fancy yoga poses, + I thought that my fit journey was one I would take on my own.
The CHAARG Fitplan seemed like a great way to find a routine + the attain the lifestyle I had always imagined. On the first day, I was eager to work out + even more eager to do the day’s Instagram challenge. CHAARG Instagram was by far one of the best things about this FitPlan. It’s not hard to feel inspired to try a heavier pair of weights, try a healthier substitute, or even just get a workout in when there’s thousands of girls cheering you on with a quick double tap. Reading about everyone’s lives, how their day went, + their tiny wins was a shot of positivity as the weather became gloomier.
As the FitPlan continued, I continued to achieve more + more everyday, but even more so I began to find a home in my CHAARG chapter. I began checking my email religiously at 10PM every Sunday, so I wouldn’t miss the chance to attend the week’s Studio Spotlight. I loved the reprieve from the day they offered, + I was having fun working out with other people. Where I used to feel embarrassed to see people I knew at the gym, I began to love seeing my CHAARG friends killing it + making my workouts more enjoyable. I wasn’t all of a sudden a master at cardio + weight training, but I felt confident in what I could do, + it wasn’t so scary to admit what was hard.
That was the magic of CHAARG, the results were physical, yes, but mostly mental. It was a change in thinking + a desire to be more positive + try new things. I’ve tried everything the FitPlan has to offer, + I learned a lot about myself in the process. For example, no matter how easy the recipe, I don’t enjoy being in the kitchen [especially my tiny, old dorm kitchen!], + journaling is the perfect way for me to express myself while having me-time.
That being said, there were bumps in the road as well. The first time I missed a workout, I stressed over when I would get the chance to make it up, + I was diligent to find the small spaces in my schedule where I could quickly do the day’s sweat sesh before class. I would wake up sore from the previous day + wonder whether or not I should do the current day’s sweat sesh. But this led to my most important take away from the FitPlan: my fitness is not supposed to be compared to an Instagram influencer. It’s about how I feel + not how I look. Going to the gym shouldn’t always feel forced + a chore. We all miss a day + treat ourselves, but to beat ourselves up over these things is to let societal ideals that rest + balance is a bad thing. We aren’t taught enough the importance of accepting all the days. Even the bad ones. Or that it’s okay to give our bodies a break + say no sometimes whether it’s to a workout or going out. I’m still working on it, but I now know that I come first + I need to listen to my body. A workout is more effective when energized and excited, + my homework is not going anywhere [unfortunately!] so it’s okay to step back + think of my mental health.
From finding new friends to accepting myself everyday, the CHAARG FitPlan has been full of wins, little + big. I hope to continue focusing on myself + finding joy in fitness as I go forward. As I lace up my shoes for small group or a studio spotlight I’m excited to workout, + to see my CHAARG friends. My CHAARG family. I’ve finally found my team!
++ Amal [@amal_inchaarg]
George Washington University CHAARG