Being in college has taken a toll on my body.

Before beginning my freshman year at Indiana University, I didn't really believe in or understand the "freshman 15" that everyone always talked about. I had played sports in high school and kept a relatively healthy lifestyle and workout routine, so I figured there was no way that that would change or that I would stop taking care of my body just because I was starting college, right?

Wrong. As much as I tried to get myself to go to the gym and eat healthy, I often found myself napping during my free time instead of going to the gym and picking the pizza line in the dining court. This string of bad habits continued through my sophomore year. Because of it, I often felt fatigued, exhausted, and unlike myself. I didn't know how to beat the vicious cycle that my unhealthy lifestyle had become.

Then I found CHAARG.

This semester, I joined IU's chapter of CHAARG (Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions To Recreate Girls). It is an organizational movement across college campuses that, according to CHAARG.com, "aims to ignite a passion in college-aged girls for health and fitness."

After only half a semester in CHAARG, I already have a community of girls that are constantly supporting me and encouraging me to push myself to my limits, try new things, eat healthy, and work out as often as I can.

Not only that, but it has shown me that working out can be fun. I have already tried a ton of new workouts from our events, things like yoga, Crossfit, salsa and pole dancing, HIIT, tabata, Zumba, ripped, #runchaarg, and barre, with many more to come for the duration of the semester--none of which would I have ever tried on my own. It has made working out that much more refreshing and enjoyable for me.

Another thing I love about CHAARG is being a part of a small group. IU's chapter of CHAARG is fairly large, and it would be hard to really get to know the girls in it without my small group. Every small group meets once a week at a set time and is lead by one of the girls on the executive team. Our meetings normally involve working out together, but sometimes, it is as simple as a study date. It is awesome to have an even smaller community of love within an already large community of support from the chapter, especially at a school as big as IU.

Finally, the friendships that form from being in CHAARG have changed my college lifestyle. The girls in my chapter are constantly planning to go to the farmers market together, get coffee, go on hikes, paint pumpkins, or even sign up for races and other events as a group. IU CHAARG has given me a group of friends who will always have my back and make sure that I am living my happiest lifestyle possible.

If I hadn't found CHAARG this year, I don't know if I would have changed my lifestyle on my own. Knowing myself, I would probably have stuck to my old ways, and I would have become even more unhappy as those unhealthy habits got worse. I cannot thank my awesome community of girls in IU CHAARG for changing my life for the better enough. They have lit a fire in me and helped me to remember why I loved to stay in shape and be healthy in the first place. Because of CHAARG, I am on my way to becoming the happiest version of myself possible.

Interested in joining your campus's chapter of CHAARG? Get more info at CHAARG.com!