TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Twin Falls’s Jarred Aslett is setting out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, a five-month long trek from Mexico to Canada. Just a year and a half ago, a trek like this didn’t seem possible.
In the span of only 18 months, Jarred lost 235 pounds.
“It kind of hit me a couple of winters ago — I went snowboarding and I just realized I was too big. I only did a run or two and then I was just like, 'You know, you can’t do this anymore' and it struck a chord with me that this is something that I used to love. I used to work on the ski mountain I used to be up there every chance I could get and so it kind of clicked in my brain like OK we’ve got to do some thing about this now so we can get back to the things that we love,” said Jarred.
He used the COVID-19 shutdown as an opportunity to improve his health.
“When I first started this whole journey, this whole transformation it was coming from a pretty dark place. I had a pretty rough year and I just decided no one is coming to help me and I needed to dig out of that hole myself,” said Jarred.
His journey started with a text to his older brother Justin Aslett, a personal trainer.
“One day I just decided enough was enough my older brothers a personal trainer and I just texted him and said I’m ready to do this, and he said meet me in the gym in 30 minutes,” said Jarred.
Justin helped Jarred with his workouts and nutrition. Jarred’s younger brother Brandon Cary, who studied psychology in college, helped support Jarred on the mental health front.
“Under the care of a doctor, under the care of mental health professionals he did it the right way and I think the ‘how’ is really important,” said Brandon.
Jarred ended up sharing his fitness journey — and went viral. With over half a million followers on his TikTok account, @jaycrushesit, and over one hundred thousand on Instagram, Jarred has created a community for those with similar goals.
After gaining traction online, Jarred has been featured on actor Ethan Suplee’s podcast and has had his content shared by professional surfer, Kelly Slater.
“This vulnerability had always led to some good things for me in the last year, so I decided to go with it and in the first two hours I went from like 200 followers to 50,000 and it just kind of spiraled out of control since then,” said Jarred.
“The best part about it is the amount of people. He shows me messages all the time from people that are like, ‘You’re the reason I’m turning it around,’” said Brandon.
Among his supporters stands his day one — on four legs. Jarred’s golden retriever, Layla, has been his biggest motivator.
“It just kind of hit me, a dog’s world is so small it’s up to you to provide their happiness. So I just made it a point to every day, we would walk and at first it was a mile or two and now it’s five miles a day and it’s not an option anymore, because if we don’t go for a walk by two or three, she starts barking at me and nipping at me like, ‘Hey it’s time to go for a walk,” said Jarred.
Now, Jarred is embarking on his next chapter.
“Everything that I’ll need to live off of for five months fits in my backpack I’m using an ultralight system so… everything that I will be taking with me is only 15 lbs and then about once a week you hitchhike into town and resupply with food and then get back on trail and keep going,” said Jarred.
Jarred has been approved for a permit to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and plans to meet up with his family and Layla along the way.
“It’s definitely a new chapter for me and I’m very excited to get out there and just focus on myself for a while,” said Jarred.