How to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle has become a highly publicized topic.

CHAARG, a health and fitness organization, is building a community around this lifestyle. Women are able to learn about a healthier way of living while forming connections and making lifelong memories.

CHAARG stands for changing health, attitude and actions to recreate girls. It’s a national organization that aims to “liberate girls from the elliptical” through group exercise, health education and a supportive community.

“We get girls to do a variety of workouts instead of just hours of cardio,” Jamie Rapp, a junior broadcast journalism major and one of the CHAARG event coordinators, said. “It’s about a healthier mindset about fitness and knowing that there’s a variety of workouts you can do.”

With only 30 locations on campuses nationally, this university is fortunate to have its own chapter.

Started by Claudia Pagán in the spring of 2014, the University of Maryland chapter of CHAARG now has 191 members. Pagán heard about the organization through social media and worked through an application process and two interview rounds in order to become an ambassador.

CHAARG’s workout programs include cardio, high intensity, weights, yoga and bowka. The group also hosts nutritional talks with guest speakers.

But CHAARG is not just a health and fitness club, it’s an entire community. To help members get to know each other better and strengthen already existing friendships, CHAARG hosts formals and potlucks.

“There have been so many friendships that have come out of it. Girls become roommates and best friends,” Pagán, a junior multi-platform journalism major, said. “Just about every single friend I have on campus is from CHAARG.”

Female students working up a sweat and being liberated for the elliptical. (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Reporter)
Female students working up a sweat and being liberated for the elliptical. (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Reporter)

Thursday’s main workout began with girls clearing the Charles Carroll room in Stamp of all the chairs. As more arrived, the energy level rose along with the volume of the room. It was evident that the girls didn’t just work out together, they had formed friendships and connections with each other.

“It’s educational but also social,” Madeline Barnes, a senior community health major and CHAARG event coordinator, said.

“I like how social it is but you also get a good workout-and the workouts are intense,” Julia Conners, a sophomore communications major, said.

CHAARG hosts a main workout every Thursday evening led by a guest instructor and puts on smaller workouts throughout the week led by executive members. A newsletter is sent out each week for girls to sign up for their preferred workout sessions.

“There’s so much support from everyone here,” Holly Gearinger, a sophomore middle school education major, said. “Everyone wants you to do your best and they’re always here to motivate you.”

So how can you get involved in CHAARG? The organization accepts every woman who signs up. Members sign up by visiting their website and paying the $45 semester fee.

“It involves anybody who wants to be a part of it, we never have rejected any single person,” Niki Papageorgopoulos, a junior community health major and secretary of CHAARG, said.

CHAARG has brought a community of girls who enjoy health and fitness to the University of Maryland and helped form healthy mindsets and lasting friendships.

“I’ve gotten a sense of happiness from helping people and bringing CHAARG to the University of Maryland,” Pagán said. 

Featured Photo Credit: CHAARG’s workout programs include cardio, high intensity, weights, yoga and bowka. (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Reporter)

WritersBloc_Headshots_14Katie Ebel is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at

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