CHAARG Journey Stories highlight our members’ amazing journeys through CHAARG — physically, mentally, + emotionally. Ashleigh was the first place winner of the CHAARG Bootycamp 2017. Words cannot explain how proud we are of this girl + we are completely obsessed with the mantra she created during the FitPlan: I believe in the person I am becoming. Read Ashleigh’s entire CHAARG Journey Story below!
When I first joined CHAARG three years ago [wowza] in my sophomore year, I thought I was in peak health. I watched what I ate, I worked out everyday + I was a size 0. I joined CHAARG to get extra workouts during the week + meet girls who were passionate about *health* like me. Soon after joining, I realized my *healthy* habits were actually harmful — I was restricting myself of food, working out too many hours + I was at an unhealthy weight. My first fitplan was the CHAARG FitPlan in the fall, + I made new friends to workout with, learned about better eating habits, + started my journey of recovery. Over the past three years, I have participated in ten fitplans, but I never finished ANY them. Usually, I lost motivation//got too busy//made excuses + dropped off around week two or three. This summer with the CHAARG Bootycamp, I not only completed all six weeks of workouts, I also finished with 92 bolts ++ completed every insta challenge.
Each week I learned more about myself + what I was capable of doing. During week one, I overcame my fear of working out in the morning outside [weird, I know] + fear of being in the gym. The gym used to feel like a second home to me, being there for hours a week in the beginning of my college days, but after some weight gain, the gym was a place I started to fear going to. I was constantly looking at myself in the mirror + not liking what I saw while seeing girls that were much smaller than me, girls lifting much heavier weights, etc.
During week two, I *chased the sunrise* by working out before work in the mornings. Those 5:30AM wake-up calls were rough, but I was finally prioritizing my fitness + making sure I had time to complete my workouts instead of making *I’m too busy* excuses.
Week three was emotional since this was the furthest I’ve ever gone during a fitplan! I said yes to new adventures by going hiking [even though I’m afraid of snakes, insects, + basically all things outdoors]! This hike, along with a trip to visit family, had me behind on workouts + with this, the doubts started rolling in. I thought about how I’ll never be able to catch up, but thankfully I had my bolt babe, Leah Maxey, to keep me grounded. By chance, we both got behind on workouts, so we encouraged each other + both were able to catch up by the next week. During week three, I also gained enough confidence to challenge myself to go to my school’s gym again ++ I loved it.
To be honest, I had been nervous about week four’s meal plan the entire CHAARG Bootycamp. Having an eating disorder in the past caused a rough relationship with food + I was afraid about falling into old habits with structured meals. This summer, an article I wrote for the CHAARG blog talked about Intuitive Eating + after doing my research, I was hooked! I decided now was the time I was going to make peace with food so I went through the meal plan + chose foods I would enjoy eating — not just following the meal plan to a t. During this week, I tried new foods, like komubcha [not a fan], found some new favorite recipes ++ I started really enjoying my meals [ like smoothie bowls!].
During weeks five + six, I took time before bed to unwind without my phone + I started to schedule time in the mornings to sit, relax, drink my coffee, + journal. During the FitPlan, I made reading a priority for myself since I lost this love in the busyness of life [I’m currently on book five of Harry Potter!]. I was finding happiness in the little things that I had been putting off + was finally making time for myself.
When I say the CHAARG Bootycamp changed my life, I’m not exaggerating. During these short six weeks I found confidence [rocking a two piece on the beach], a love of food, happiness, + a love for myself. I finished every. single. workout. I’m not saying I didn’t struggle — these were the most challenging six weeks of my life as well, but, I modified workouts when I needed to, talked to Leah [my accountability bolt babe!] when I needed encouragement, ++ looked to fellow CHAARG girls for inspiration. My mantra I created during the fitplan was *I believe in the person I’m becoming*. At first, these just felt like words I was repeating in my journal, but now, I truly feel like I have a light inside of me, pushing myself to become the best version of myself — with the help of my bolt babe + CHAARG community of course <3
I’ve struggled for years with my health + fitness, but this FitPlan was exactly what I needed to start fresh with my journey + I cannot thank CHAARG enough.
++ Ashleigh Bowling [ashleigh_inchaarg]
University of Pittsburgh CHAARG