How I Got Healthy – Meet Aaron Hewitt
Four years ago, I was not healthy. I was eating pizza and burgers 3-4 times a week and drinking too much beer and soda. Sure, we like to indulge sometimes, but I was not healthy. I peaked at 190 pounds, which is a lot for me, after a Christmas vacation with my buddies – and I felt depressed about my overall health.
My aha! moment happened when I was putting on my socks and grunted like an old man. I was 33 years old and felt like I was 50.
I knew I had to make changes in my lifestyle. Working in healthcare, particularly sports medicine, I wanted to be more of an example to my patients, and live the recommendations I was giving to them. I began by eating better, fresh fruits and vegetables and other clean-eating foods, and cutting out processed items. I lost 20 pounds quickly. At the same time, I got into CrossFit and began gaining confidence. I could push, pull and lift more each week, and met so many new friends who had stories very similar to mine.
I can relate better now to the athletes I see every day as an orthopedic Physician Assistant. I understand what their bodies go through and why they do it, and what it feels like to get in shape and feel good about yourself. Years ago I wasn't an elite athlete, just played some high school basketball and ran track. Now I help a lot of CrossFit athletes and watch them get stronger, and I am proud of that. I think more and more people are becoming active and that's great, and I am glad I can help them from a medical perspective to stay healthy and reduce injuries -- because I have been there.
Because obesity is an epidemic, I've also taken a more active role in educating my patient population about their diets. I talk to people about getting some form of exercise 3-5 times a week (to the point they sweat) and eliminating processed foods and sodas.
Today, I'm 155 lbs, have 5.5% body fat, can back squat (almost) 300lbs, deadlift 425lbs, and can do a bodyweight snatch (that’s CrossFit lingo!)…and I wouldn't change a thing. There are so many forms of exercise, from gentle to intense to everywhere in between, and there is something out there everyone can do. Your health depends on it.
Aaron Hewitt, PA-C, is a physician assistant with OrthoCarolina Sports Medicine and is a former Assistant Athletic Trainer with the Minnesota Vikings (NFL).
Read more about Aaron at Aaron’s CrossFit Corner.
June is Men’s Health Month. Anchored by a Congressional health education program, the observance is celebrated nationwide with a goal to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encouragement of early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Watch for more men’s health stories this month, or share yours by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.