In celebration of Asian American Pacific & Islander Month, we had the honor of engaging in a conversation with Aric Lee, the tenacious owner of Evolve to Fit, where healthy lifestyles and resilience take center stage.

Aric’s journey begins in Queens, New York, as part of a first-generation Korean family. From his earliest days, he confronted difficult challenges, beginning with his own physical condition. Aric was born with gastroschisis, necessitating a two-month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

As he grew older, Aric encountered further adversity when he became a victim of an Asian hate crime after graduating college. He endured a brutal physical attack, sustaining severe injuries that compelled him to leave his construction job. Instead of harboring resentment, Aric courageously shares his story, raising awareness and promoting the rehabilitation of his attackers. He likes to believe his experience played a part in the federal law requiring a mandatory 5-year prison sentence for those found guilty of a “hate crime,” which was passed shortly after the attack.

Adding to his challenges, Aric was later diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Despite these hardships, Aric’s grit and resilience radiated through his experiences. Raised by a single father, he led a nomadic life, constantly moving from one place to another. Despite the transient nature of his upbringing, he deeply valued the significance of family, community, and friendship. He fondly reminisces about solo train rides and late-night companionship with friends, reinforcing the importance of human connection.

Following his educational pursuits in English and sociology, Aric embarked on a diverse range of career paths, including running a daycare, engaging in construction work, grant writing for a nonprofit organization, and serving as a firefighter/paramedic. Yet, despite these professional accomplishments, Aric felt unfulfilled, sensing that something crucial was missing.

During his 11-year tenure as a firefighter/paramedic & personal trainer, Aric’s health continued to vacillate, leading him to rely on potent anti-inflammatory medication, and was told by his doctor that he required a colostomy in order to alleviate any pain and have “quality of life”. The word “surgery” served as a wake-up call for Aric, and he made an unwavering decision to do something for himself. “That’s it, I am done. I am not going to be sick anymore,” Aric said.

Aric quit his job as a Firefighter after the sudden death of his Fire Lieutenant to an aggressive brain cancer linked to the firefighting profession. He kept his job as a personal trainer, something he had been doing as a side gig alongside his firefighter job. He shifted his life focus from emergency medicine to preventative medicine. After investing two years in research, business planning, and searching, Aric discovered the perfect location at 2501 9th Rd S #95, Arlington, VA 22204, where he founded Evolve to Fit in 2018.

Reflecting on his departure from the fire department, Aric shares his realization: witnessing repetitive visits to nursing homes, interpersonal violence, and people suffering from preventable illnesses made him recognize the limitations of his previous role. “I realized that the decade-long side hustle was precisely what I needed to be doing,” he says.

Evolve to Fit specializes in one-on-one personal training to help repair chronic pain/surgical issues. The group classes focus on bodyweight mastery. Classes like “Handstands” are offered side by side with classes like “Forward Head Posture.” If you have ever marveled at the amazing strength displayed by gymnasts, they offer classes in Adult Gymnastic Strength. They also offer comprehensive support that encompasses nutrition education, mobility training, and a holistic approach to empower clients and enable them to lead their best lives. Aric’s ultimate vision is to guide individuals to reach the age of 120 while maintaining independence. His services include corporate wellness, meditation, personal training, online nutrition coaching powered by Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach, small group personal training, group fitness, and workshops.

“At Evolve to Fit, we aim to promote self-care and self-love,” expresses Aric. The classes offered are designed to help individuals move in ways they may have overlooked, focusing on posture and proper movement. Aric emphasizes the importance of strength training and dietary adjustments as we age, striving to enable individuals to live independently well into their centenary years.

Remarkably, Aric hasn’t experienced a flare-up of his condition in over six years without undergoing surgery or relying on medications. He attributes his well-being to embracing a healthy lifestyle, focusing on nourishing foods, regular exercise, and effectively managing stress through mindfulness practices.

Beyond his journey, Aric embodies a multitude of passions and interests. He is an avid traveler, has actively participated in Ninja Warrior competitions, and once again, he is engaged in training. Aric’s story serves as an inspiration to all, a testament to resilience, self-discovery, and the pursuit of holistic well-being. Through his experiences, he vividly illustrates the transformative power of determination, compassion, and personal growth.

Visit Evolve to Fit at
2501 9th Road S, Arlington, Virginia 22204
Sígalos en redes sociales: @evolvetofit