The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
No offense to ya, Aristotle, but honestly for most of my life you kinda lost me on this one.
Seriously — how could adding up eight cherry slices possible be any less delicious than the entire pie itself? Pie is pie, right?
Well, maybe not.
After quite possibly the most indescribable 72 hours of my life, my weekend unexpectedly gifted me a change of heart — a new found understanding for the so-called synergy theory.
Along with killer sweat seshes and incredible + healthy eats, the last three days brought endless lessons + tears + blessings + laughs — now irreplaceable memories wishfully longing to relive the weekend all over again
I give you the CHAARG National Retreat.
If you’re a follower of mine on any social media outlet, or know me personally, you’ve without a doubt heard me speak about CHAARG — an all-female organization striving to ignite a passion in women to become their happiest and healthiest selves through physical, mental and emotional wellness.
Perhaps you just thought we were a fitness club — a bunch of girls who like to workout and eat healthy.
Or maybe you thought we were promoting “skinny” girls trying to fit into bikinis for the beach.
And if that is the case, allow me to show you this incredible organization through my eyes. And through not only the 50 incredible CHAARG ladies I spent the weekend with, but also the nearly 2000 others nationwide.
Nearly five months ago, I took on the responsibility of planning the National Retreat — a weekend of fitness, food and fun — a chance for girls from our 14 chapters across the country to come together and share what exactly makes us so unique and significant.
Not to mention, to sweat + eat (mostly eat) + inspire + grow — together.
Although busy with much behind the scenes work, I undoubtedly joined these ladies in a few amazing workouts + runs. After all, CHAARG girl’s gotta sweat right?
We ran a midnight mile + a sunrise 5K — both proving to me the strength + dedication these girls have within them.
One workout in particular. though, will remain with me as the most memorable.
The girls joined me under the rising sun for a beautiful morning yoga practice and the early light streaming through the trees provided just enough warmth to contrast the crisp morning air. I could feel each and every girl breathing + moving along with me through each relaxing pose.
And in that moment, nothing else mattered. Nothing else existed. Pure and honest perfection.
On the final day, I led my ladies in my favorite at-home sweat sesh — HIIT tabata — :20 seconds on + :10 seconds off — x8 for four KILLER minutes of work.
set one: burpees + mountain climbers
set two: tuck jumps + squat hold
set three: switch jumps + push ups
set four: breakdowns + hip dips
Watching these ladies push themselves through the workouts of the weekend inspired me speechless. And turning around I saw the determination + sweat that makes each CHAARG girls who she is.
Long story short, CHAARGIE = FOODIE.
And you better believe that if I’m in control, the food WILL be unbelievable. And if I do say so myself, it was nothing but.
I’m gonna hold my words and allow the photos to do the talking here — feel free to thank me for your drool later.
To put it simply, the weekend food menu was any health + foodie paradise. Enough greek yogurt + hummus + guac + veggies + fruit to last a lifetime.
Heaven on peanut butter covered earth.
While the mission of CHAARG heavily relies on physical health [killer sweat seshes + amazing healthy eats], the unapparent side of this movement lives in it’s promotion of emotional and mental health.
So throughout the weekend, we planned talks + discussions + activities designed to inspire each girl to recognize her remarkably unique qualities — those special characteristics (both inside + out) that culminate to her an essential piece of the CHAARG puzzle.
What makes her strong + beautiful. What makes her a CHAARG girl.
Girls heed the infamous reputation of pulling one and other down, but with each girl expressing what makes her beautiful + strong, those stereotypes slowly shattered until they no longer proved any worth.
The retreat mantra — ignite your passion — came to us early on in the planning. We wanted each girl to not only light a fire within herself, but also within each and every girl she meets.
We asked the girls to write letters to themselves — taking in the picture perfect setting and expressing her feelings + thoughts + goals. We asked them to finish the sentence I AM ____– a single word to describe themselves and their ongoing journey.
The outcome of this activity blew me away. Each girl so thoughtfully chose the word to fit her best. And I still cannot describe how overwhelmingly humbling each word was.
Looking around I could see myself in each girl’s eyes. I could see the strength + passion we have instilled. I could see how CHAARG has changed the way I see. I could see how CHAARG has changed the way I feel.
CHAARG is not about asking girls to change who they are but rather about pushing girls to grow + learn + evolve into the greatest version of themselves possible — and about realizing you do not have to embark on that journey alone.
I am without words amazed with each and every girl I met + sweat + ate + inspired with the past three days. And after months of planning, the three days flew by in one run filled + hummus covered blur.
And I couldn’t have been happier to celebrate the truest way I know how — a glass of cab + surrounded by my CHAARG team — the ladies who not only made CHAARG what it is today, but also made me who I am today.
Moving away from New York was perhaps the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but this weekend has undoubtedly eliminated that fear.
No matter where I go, no matter what I do, through every run and every mile — I have 2000 strong + beautiful + inspiring ladies behind me.
I have a community of girls — individually defining CHAARG in her own unique way, but coming together to create a movement that CAN and IS changing the world.
So I have to hand it to you Aristotle, because individually we are strong, but together we are unstoppable.
For now and for forever, CHAARG ON.
Run far, eat well, drink better.