LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin businessman who moved away from home with untapped talents, an unhealthy lifestyle, and self-doubt, overcame the obstacles when he put his pride aside and returned to Angelina County to make a difference at the place he calls home.
Exuding confidence, an aura of geniality, and the physique of a fashion model, Lufkin-native Rudy Flores said those were not always qualities he possessed while entering adulthood.
"I never really knew growing up what I wanted to do as far as a long term career," Flores said.
Along with an unhealthy lifestyle, Flores battled the curse of owning untapped talent with little sense of how to channel it into the success he desired.
"I was overweight. I was 285 pounds at 18-years-old," Flores said.
He started his path of fitness and eventually a Zumba empire by doing something many young adults are reluctant to do - return home after moving off.
"I would say at about 23-years-old that I finally found out it was okay to take a step back in order to take three or four steps forward," Flores said.
He tackled obesity.
"I started to lose weight when I started to focus on me as a person. I started to realize that the dance aspect was a big part of who I was," Flores said.
It fueled him with the discipline and structure that would placed him on the path to becoming a business man.
"When I started this journey, I realized that physical fitness was going to be a big part, and that it obviously helped me to change my life in the sense of losing weight, building muscle, boosting my confidence in a way that I can't even describe," Flores said.
The sweat dropped while dancing Zumba with a passion.
"I still walk by mirrors and take a double look because I don't believe that I will ever get used to what my physical appearance is now. This is who I wanted to be when I was 285 pounds," Flores said.
Zumba intertwined his new found relationships with fitness and finding his niche in his own community.
"You have your GPS set and you know where you're going, but on the way you find this cool hamburger joint that you never knew was there. You find all these surprises along the way," Flores said.
Giving 100% energy, personality, communication, and drive, Flores has had a huge hand in benefiting his community. He said he is proud to have turned back around and do it all in the place dear to his heart.
"The fact that I was able to lose weight to be able to gain self confidence is what propelled me in my career. I can honestly sit here and say that I don't believe if I wouldn't have lost the weight that I would be what my community sees me as...a successful business owner," Flores said.
He encourages anyone waiting on that right moment, to act now on their dreams and goals.
If you too would like to make a life change, you may visit Rudy for Zumba classes at the Changing Lives Dance Center.