This fall is a defining moment for the University of Central Florida. This semester marks the beginning of a new national fitness organization on campus. “CHAARG” is an all-female organization that aims to encourage, inspire, and promote wellness, activity, and an overall healthy lifestyle. I had the opportunity of speaking with Jill Jernas, the first founding president of the organization.

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What does CHAARG stand for?:

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Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions, to Recreate Girls. We’re a health and fitness organization here at UCF.

What is the purpose of CHAARG?:

Our goal is to liberate girls and to make fitness fun. We meet up twice a week to work out together. We’re overall trying to be the best versions of ourselves.

Would you consider it a sorority, since it’s all girls?

We have been compared to a fitness sorority. However, we do accept everyone. There’re no penalties. You don’t have to attend every event. But we are a nationwide sisterhood, so in that sense, we’re similar to a sorority.

So is it just fitness? What else do the members of CHAARG do?:

We focus on the total body and total wellness. Although we do work out a ton, we focus on eating better. We focus on mental and emotional health. Taking time to check in with the rest of your body and the rest of your being. So we do have socials to get to know each other. We have nutritionists talk. We do have fun outside of fitness because we believe in community.

How can CHAARG help people reach their fitness goals?:

Every Tuesday we have studio spotlights. At studio spotlights, we try out new workouts such as Barre, yoga,  Cross Fit, and during these, it’s an opportunity for girls to try out workouts that they’ve never done before. Workouts that they might end up loving. Now in small groups, that’s where you have that accountability built in. You learn new workouts as well.  We’re also a national organization, so we have national fit plans, running challenges, things like that…

Can you give me more details on how healthy eating is incorporated?:

We have a blog on chaarg.com and on this blog there’s a ton of recipes. We also have nutritionists, and once a semester we do a wellness event. This semester we will have a nutritionist from the RWC (Recreation and Wellness Center) talk to us about portion sizes and eating right. We also have a huge presence with CHAARG Instagram, they repost recipe ideas and give girls tools and information to eat healthier.

What’s your favorite part about CHAARG?:

Absolutely the community. I’ve never had a group of girls that care so much about me and my success with my fitness and health. Girls are constantly checking in whether its Instagram, texting, or seeing each other at events… It’s really cool to have the kind of support that I’ve never really had anywhere else.

So how often do you all meet?:

Once a week we have Studio Spotlights and we also have small groups. There’s nine small group slots for girls to choose from. It’s the same time and day every single week. We do have socials and retreats that would be additional. But on a normal week, it’s twice.

How can someone be a member of CHAARG?:

Since we are a national organization, we have a national website called chaarg.com if you click the join button, and the University of Central Florida, you can access it that way. We also have a Facebook page where we can give you more information that way.