By Juliana Brannan
For The Diamondback

For some women on college campuses, including the University of Maryland, the gym induces anxiety. From the pressure of learning to use the weights to not knowing what exercises to do, the gym can be intimidating for anyone. Enter UMD CHAARG: a women-run organization aimed at empowering women while teaching them fitness.

CHAARG is a community of over 10,000 college women and has more than 100 chapters nationwide. According to CHAARG’s website, its mission is to “liberate girls from the elliptical” and to show them that fitness can be fun, especially with friends.

“I think it’s a great way to grow, whether you’re starting your fitness journey or whether you have been in the fitness community for a while,” said Julia Glasgow, the ambassador for UMD CHAARG. “It’s a great way to try a bunch of new things that you would never try and to meet people that have a similar mindset.”

CHAARG has different weekly workouts and fitness classes for its members every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Classes include zumba, yoga, boxing, cardio and dance.

CHAARG was founded as a women’s wellness organization, but the group is open to anybody who feels underrepresented in the fitness community, Glasgow — a senior marketing and operations management and business analytics major — said.

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“It can be really scary [going to the gym], especially if you’re an anxious person. Even if you’re not, it can still be very intimidating to go to a gym, especially by yourself,” said Grayson McCord, a CHAARG group leader and sophomore government and politics and French major. “CHAARG kind of gives an outlet not only to work out but also to find people to work out with … without being intimidated by being alone at the gym.”

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According to CHAARG’s website, they are the largest health and wellness community on college campuses. They promote healthy lifestyles and a supportive workout community.

CHAARG brings in many different instructors, usually women-focused, and includes a variety of different workouts.

“They’re of all different sizes and colors, and it’s so great to see the diversity in the fitness and health field,” said Ella McCloskey, a CHAARG member and freshman cell biology and genetics major.

Every semester, CHAARG has a sample weekly workout session, where anyone is welcome to come. These are usually held early on in the semester, but students who are interested can join any time.

When joining CHAARG, there are many other activities provided besides just working out. The group has socials, get lunch together and study together to build a healthy and inclusive community.

“It gives a more close knit environment as opposed to just being in the gym with a bunch of strangers,” McCord said.