Image via Instagram/collinstark
Back in 1995, Aaron Schwartz was just 14 years old and best-known for his roles in movies like The Mighty Ducks and Heavyweights, with the latter seeing him star as the lead role, Gerry Garner, who, reluctantly, went to fat camp to shed some pounds over the summer. While the movie may have been a fictional comedy, as it turns out, the now 36-year-old Aaron is still impacted by his chubby kid upbringing — and we wanted to talk with him about how he went from fat to fit and everything in-between.
Anyone who knows me knows that I can probably quote both of Aaron Schwartz's best-known roles, with the Heavyweights movie, in my opinion, being one of the most underrated '90s comedies. I mean, who the hell doesn't enjoy seeing a deranged Tony Perkis (played by Ben Stiller), try to whip a bunch of heavyweight kids into shape, all while they try to overcome the villainous Camp MVP; a bunch of athletic kids who mock and tease them on a daily basis? Plus, fun fact, the movie was written by Judd Apatow, so there's that whole comedic genius aspect.
While Heavyweights is hilarious, the premise of the movie — being a fat kid who lacked confidence and struggled with his weight — has been a very real demon for Aaron, even today. After talking with him last week on the phone, he even told me this:
"Man, I'll be at the bar and my boys will be talking to women and all that good stuff. But, there are still times when I struggle with it mentally. Growing up being the fat kid wasn't easy, so it's still something I struggle with."
One look at Aaron Schwartz today, though, and you'd never expect such a candid reply. Hell, you'd probably never even guess he was the chubby kid from The Mighty Ducks and Heavyweights. That's because the dude has gotten completely shredded, going from fat to fit in his adult life by sticking to a routine that keeps him toned.
Naturally, with such a transformation, we wanted to know how Aaron did it, with the actor opening up about his childhood days, overcoming his weight problems and giving tips on how to stay motivated and turn things around.
FHM: You're Probably Best-Known As Jerry From Heavyweights, What Was It Like For You Growing Up?
Aaron Schwartz: "After The Mighty Ducks, I kind of knew what I was in for in regards to being recognized. But my character was the lead in Heavyweights and, to be honest, I didn’t even think about “fame” the way people do today. But I remember waiting at the bus stop near my apartment in Manhattan — on my way to school, which was about a week after Heavyweights was released, and at the bus stop was the poster for Heavyweights. Like, BOOM, RIGHT THERE! I’m literally standing next to my face and I notice the crowd of people slowly transform as they make the connection. I was there signing autographs for about 30 minutes and was late to school! It was surreal. But, oh so much fun!"
FHM: Even As A Child Actor, Did You Still Get Bullied For Being Overweight?
Aaron Schwartz: "During that period, I was in a school for other performing kids in NYC called Professional Children's School. Being there during that period, I think, saved me from a lot of bullying and being the famous fat kid because half the kids there were famous. But when I hit high school, oh boy... I was still pretty chubby and, yeah, I’d get picked on here and there. I think it’s kind of what spurred a lot of the weight loss."
FHM: Do You Think The Roles You Played Portraying The Heavier Kid Increased The Likelihood Of Being Picked On?
Aaron Schwartz: "Actually, I really think it did the opposite! I was being paid and put into the limelight mainly due to my stature. If anything, I actually noticed myself taking on the role as a mentor to a lot of overweight friends who were insecure about their weight."
FHM: Let's Be Honest, Man, You Were, What, 13 At The Time? What Kid At That Ages Doesn't Have Some Pudge On Them?
Aaron Schwartz: "Yeah... some pudge. But, dude, I was big! I wasn’t obese by any means, but papa had some serious fat on him."
FHM: At What Age Did You Become Serious About Getting In Shape And More Interested In Fitness?
Aaron Schwartz: "Well, like I said, high school definitely spurred some weight loss. But I’d say when I was about 18 I really started researching what I could do to shed the extra pounds. It’s been a long process. There were a good eight years after that where I was in my skinny-fat phase; looked skinny with clothes on, but, once I took that shirt off, here come the rolls. But I started to figure out my body and what I needed to do to look a certain way. By around 26 I finally felt comfortable with my shirt being off."
FHM: What's Your Normal Gym Routine? Are You An Everyday Kind Of Guy, And What's Your Diet Like Now?
Aaron Schwartz: "I’m there around six days a week doing about an hour of weights and 30-minute runs. I’ve really been into full body workouts recently. I’m not trying to get crazy jacked, so isolating muscle groups per day isn’t necessary. I start with a 30-minute run, then I hit every muscle group, doing about six sets for each, alternating different exercises to keep it interesting. And I never stop moving! Breaks between sets are no longer than 40 seconds."
FHM: Any Lasting Affects As An Adult With The Weight You Used To Have?
Aaron Schwartz: "Yeah, I still have a little stretch marks around my waistline near my lower back. Probably not super noticeable, but in my crazy head, they stand out. And my lower belly grows if I even look at carbs the wrong way."
FHM: We Could Imagine. As You Told Us Once Before, Those Formative Years Stick With You.
Aaron Schwartz: "Oh yeah, I definitely still have some complexes when it comes to my weight. I’ve learned to be healthy about it. But that voice is still there. Whether it’s building up the confidence to talk to a lady or taking off my shirt in public, I’m still that chubby kid on the inside."
FHM: What's The Reaction You Get When People See How You Transformed Yourself?
Aaron Schwartz: "I’ve been getting a lot of messages asking how I did it. And if I could help them. Which is something I love and I try to answer everyone."
FHM: Any Advice For People Struggling With Their Weight? It's More Than Just Physical, But A HUGE Emotional Battle, Too.
Aaron Schwartz: "It’s definitely more of a battle with your own mind than with your body. I tell everyone that it just starts with being nice to yourself. Staying positive. Yes, be diligent and don’t lose sight of the goal, but don’t beat yourself up! Saying, 'I’m going to starve myself and only juice for five days because I’m such a fat ass' is the wrong way to do it. Sure, you’ll start losing weight and look good for a week, but you’ll never maintain your goals like that. Create a healthy lifestyle. Try and eat as many clean and unprocessed foods as you can. Have a cheat day once a week so you don’t completely lose your mind. Exercise as much as you can; try for four days a week. And be nice to yourself. You might fuck up here and there, but so what?! Just keep going! Also, I’m in the process of starting a blog on fitness routines and nutrition, but with an emphasis on will power and keeping your mind right throughout the process. The best information in the world is useless unless you implement it, so I’ll share my tricks on how to stay positive and motivated."
FHM: Lastly, Any Regrets From Your Childhood Acting Days, Or Would You Do It All Over Again The Same Way?
Aaron Schwartz: "Oh, what a question! I mean, sure, you look back and go, 'Shit, if I just did that differently...,' but, no, no regrets. I love where I’m at in my life right now. I don’t know if I’d ever get to the positive mindset I’m in if I didn’t have some of the challenges I’ve had. Every 'failure' has just been a stepping stone getting me closer to success. Every road block is a lesson, so I honestly feel blessed for every second I’ve had on this earth."
Lead image via Instagram/collinstark.