Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to lead a couple of group workouts for the Illini CHAARG. In case you've never heard of it, CHAARG is a national group that 'aims to ignite a passion in college-aged girls for health & fitness'. One of their missions is to educate college girls on fitness beyond the elliptical AND empower these girls with the belief and mindset that fitness can be and actually is FUN! Throughout the year, the girls are exposed to variety of workouts, allowing them to try out different types of exercise to see what they like best. These various workouts allow the 'CHAARG girls to find their fit'. And, not only are they able uncover a new favorite workout, they get to do it with friends!
While, it goes without saying that working out is good for us and we should all do it. That's sometimes easier said than done. When it comes to working out, if we don't enjoy or find any fun in the workout, it's infinitely more challenging to make the time and priority to workout. Instead you have a lot more of 'Yeah, I should work out' rather than actually working out.
This is where friends can play a huge part in desire and willingness to make fitness a priority. Having a group of like-minded women supporting one another on the journey to improve health and fitness is amazing and super empowering. The CHAARG does exactly this! The organization combines friends and fitness all while educating the girls on new and different workouts that will help them feel become their 'happiest and healthiest selves'. The group strives to teach girls that fitness can and should be fun which is a motto I can absolutely stand behind.
No doubt that when I found out about the UIUC chapter, I absolutely wanted to be involved in some way or another! Friends, I had SO MUCH FUN leading back-to-back bootcamp style workouts for the girls in the Illini CHAARG chapter. I styled the workout as body-weight training to help educate the girls, much as I do my clients, that having access to the gym isn't necessary to get a really great workout. The workout they did can easily be done anytime and anywhere!
Both groups of girls showed up, ready and willing to try my workout. For some of them, the workout might have pushed them outside of their comfort zones and for others it might have been something they have done before. In any case, they gave it their all and finished with smiles on their faces!
I think we can all learn from this group of girls and their CHAARG mission to 'find our fit'. Try out different types of exercises. Find what you like. Workout with friends. And, most importantly, do what feels good to you. If spending an hour on the elliptical feels like torture, don't do it! You heard it here...permission from a trainer to not be a slave to all the cardio equipment. (Naturally, there is a time and a place for both of those machines so please don't take what I say as knocking them and their benefits.) There are a tons of excellent alternatives to get your cardio and fitness in without logging minute after minute doing something you don't want to be doing. Exercise should be FUN! It might not always feel it in the midst of a hundred burpees, but overall, it should be enjoyable and not feel like torture!
Another aspect of CHAARG that I love is the accountability and empowerment of working out with friends. Over the last year, I've taken a huge fondness for group exercise within my own workout routine while also implementing group sessions into what I offer in my own business. Finding your workout tribe is so helpful towards a developing a successful workout routine and fitness lifestyle. Knowing that you have friends with similar goals, mindset and a drive to better themselves alongside of you can make or break your desire to continue with your own wellness journey. Not to mention, a little friendly competition between one another during workouts doesn't hurt either! Or, alternatively, it's nice to have a friend to commiserate with when the instructor tells you to hold that plank for 30 more seconds. Either way, working out with friends always makes fitness more fun!
Okay, so while this post feels a little bit all of the place (I am having serious writer's block issues today!), I want to leave you with this....
Take some time to find your fit. Make exercise fun. If you don't like what you're currently doing, re-evaluate your routine and make some changes. Be willing to try something different (NOTE :) this also might mean stepping a bit outside your comfort zone to find that different thing). Grab a friend and take a new class. Seek out a new fitness group. Find a workout, or two or three that challenges you and give it a shot. It just might end up being your new favorite thing!
If you're local and are looking to find a fun workout tribe all while trying something new, please reach out! I lead small fitness groups and have friends that do similar things as myself. I've also visited a ton of local gyms and have excellent insight into what fitness offerings our community has available and what might be a good fit for you! Whether you work with me or someone else, know I am here, ready and willing to help you on your fitness journey!