Erica’s CHAARG Journey: Balance Is So Important [+ Overdoing It Will Make Me Burn Out]
College has been a rough transition for me. I moved three hours away from home, turned my four-year long relationship into a long distance one, + have been struggling to find myself in a sea of freshmen. After my high school sports career ended, I let exercise + fitness fall out of my life + gained about 15 pounds over the course of 10 months.
Before I left for college, I tried on my jeans from the previous winter + couldn’t even pull them over my butt. I had to go two sizes up, + I was devastated. At first I was in a state of denial: “American Eagle must have changed their sizes! I’m always a size 2!” + “My scale must be wrong. There’s no way I’m that heavy.” But as I became more + more obsessed with stepping on the scale + looking in the mirror wherever I went, I realized that my body really had taken a turn for the worse. I got to college feeling fat + out of shape. Not to mention I was separated from my whole support system: my boyfriend, family, + best friends. After the first two weeks of college I was already thinking about transferring schools. I felt like I had nowhere to turn.
When I joined CHAARG, I never imagined what a positive impact it would have on my new life. CHAARG saved me from falling into a dark place that I was so close to falling to. I saw myself looking forward to the weekly main events + small group meetings, + I couldn’t get enough of it. I was eating crap from the dining halls + feeling awkward + uncomfortable at the gym, so I decided to buy the FitPlan for motivation.
I expected to be introduced to some new workouts, but I got much more than just that out of it. For the first time ever, I was voluntarily working out 5+ times a week. There was no coach telling me I had to come to practice, yet somehow the FitPlan workouts were the most exciting part of my day, every day. The first week of the FitPlan, I experienced the magic of endorphins for the first time ever. I saw my happiness sky rocket + stress levels plummet. I pushed my body to extremes I never imagined possible + began to be proud of what I saw in the mirror.
I was so dedicated to the FitPlan at first, determined to see results both physically + mentally. For the first three weeks I didn’t miss a single workout or CHAARG event, on top of 2-hour club tennis practices twice a week. I was working out 6 or 7 times a week, sometimes twice a day, + it wasn’t long before it all caught up to me. By week 4 I was starting to get sick, + I was physically exhausted. I learned the hard way the importance of rest days + listening to your body.
For weeks 4 + 5, I made sure not to overdo it. If I had a CHAARG event or tennis practice, + I felt it was a sufficient substitute, then I would skip the FitPlan workout for the day [still working on all of my make-ups now + feeling great]. I realized that overdoing it was a good way to burn me out + would lead me astray from what I was working for in the first place. I wanted to keep my love of exercise alive, + that wasn’t going to happen if I let it consume my life.
One last thing the FitPlan helped me realize – it’s normal to gain healthy weight at this time in a girl’s life, + it’s okay. I had been upset about the weight I had gained before college, but I’ve realized I feel better about my body than I did before. The number doesn’t matter! My body is never going to be the same as it was in high school, + I’ve come to terms with that fact.
The support I felt from the CHAARG community was just what I needed whenever I was feeling alone or lacking support in other areas of my life. The FitPlan has completely changed my outlook on working out. I used to see it as a chore, but it’s now an essential part of my life that I think I would go crazy without. The FitPlan transitioned me to be self-motivated with my fitness + reclaim my sanity, ++ I am forever grateful for that.
#CHAARGJourney highlights our members’ amazing journeys through CHAARG — physically, mentally, emotionally. Maggie was one of the three winners of the CHAARG FITPLAN 2015. We could not be more proud of her for learning the balance of REST days [so important!] ++ we are so happy she found her support system in college [we are always here for you!] <3 We cannot wait to follow her journey through CHAARG!
Erica [@_erica_inchaarg], UC CHAARG