After initially weighing in at 314 pounds, it was 44-year-old Ruben who literally danced his ass off by winning Oxygen’s Dance Your Ass Off. Ten weeks later, Ruben leaves the competition almost 75 pounds lighter and $100,000 richer.
After wowing the judges in the finale with a country and western freestyle and Paso Doble, Ruben beat out fellow competitors Pinky and Shayla with his perfect dance score for the later dance, and by dropping another seven and a half pounds from the prior week. His final combined dance and weight loss score of 12.53 ensured the prize was his.
And for more with Ruben and his amazing journey, click here.
Throughout the competition Ruben conquered adversity and dealt with the pain of having to leave his partner, John, who was recuperating from a battle with cancer, but admits it was all worth it.
While Ruben says he has lost more weight since wrapping the show, he’s not giving too much away for the moment. “The rest will be revealed on next week’s reunion show,” he laughs. “There is some remarkable weight loss. You won’t believe the changes in people.”
Since wrapping the show, Ruben has changed jobs and completed the Dance Your Ass Off home exercise DVD and he hopes it will inspire others to do what he did. “We did it and now people can learn the fox-trot, cha-cha and disco. I think it will be inspiring to be able to do the dances and lose the weight,” he says.
To see how Ruben and the other contestants have done since the show finished, watch the Dance Your Ass Off reunion special airing Monday, September 7, at 10 p.m. on Oxygen.
“I can actually take my shirt off at the beach.”
Q: How did the show change your life?
Ruben: It seems corny to say I went in and did this reality show and it changed my life, but it really did — and every other contestant’s, even if they left after just one week. I can see it in Angela, Pinky — it did right down to the end. I got a chance. I was the oldest contestant there by 11 years and I knew I would never get a chance like this ever again. I went in there fully committed to whatever was going to happen. Having doctors and trainers there for us, you don’t get to stop your life. I have a hectic life like most Americans and it worked. I am living proof.
Q: Have you kept dancing?
Ruben: I have. We had a week where we had to do a movie-themed dance. I did “Old Time Rock ’n’ Roll” with the fox-trot. I said, “What’s the fox-trot?” And now it’s one of my favorite dances, so I take fox-trot ballroom dance classes on Wednesday nights. Now I do it for fun and it’s not about competition for me. It’s 45 minutes when I can go and enjoy myself — that is what America needs to do.
Q: What was the hardest part of the whole process?
Ruben: Giving up sodas and changing my diet was rough and we were all ready to quit after the first week. But as the weeks went on, we were told after week four that our bodies would change. All we had to do was follow directions — no secret plan — and it did work. They kept adjusting my costumes each week as I lost weight every single day. I had more muscle mass than anyone in the house, so the weight kept flying off. The tough part was being away from family and my support team. And I got a chance to be with 12 people I would never normally get to experience. We all have this bond now. We were always helping each other.
Q: Is it hard to get back to reality after the whole experience?
Ruben: It was very, very hard and took me about four weeks to readjust to normal life. But the good thing is the weight kept coming off. I just had to fit the exercise in there. Now I exercise in the morning, as I am more likely not to in the evening after working all day. But I also didn’t go back to my old job. I put myself on the line, interviewed for a new one and got it!
Q: What will you do with the money?
Ruben: Well, the economy right now is tough, so I am going to sit on most of it. But I have always wanted that dream vacation — to do something for myself — and I never splurge. So when my partner, John, gets a little better, I am going to an exotic island. Now that I am in better shape, I can actually take my shirt off at the beach and am comfortable with the way I look. I am 44 years old and I have a 25-year-old body and am back in a size 34 pants!