After Fredonia native’s workout goes viral, UB player remains committed to team
For some people, having their faces plastered all over ESPN is something they can only dream about. For Jovany Ruiz, this dream became a reality.
ESPN, Sports Center, House of Highlights, Barstool Sports, Gym Grinds and Buffalo’s Channel 4 all became media outlets that featured Ruiz, an opportunity not many Fredonia natives have the privilege of obtaining. From long hours at the gym to long hours in the library, Ruiz balances it all.
As a junior for the University at Buffalo, Ruiz hopes to put his major in public health and minor in business management to good use by becoming a health administrator at a hospital.
When he isn’t in the library working towards his degree, Ruiz spends a great deal of time in the gym and practicing on the field. Standing at 6 feet and weighing 190 pounds, he plays wide receiver for the UB football team and plans to continue to play the next two years. During the season, the intensity of preparation is at an all time high.
“As a team, we work out every other morning for about one hour and a half. Later in the afternoon, we get together and go over film and playbook material for about two hours before practice. After, we practice for about two hours …We’re doing something involved with football for at least five hours (a day), Monday-Friday,” Ruiz said.
Last summer involved a football camp for members of the UB football team, featuring the same type of workout schedule as during the semester. Strength coaches often times would take videos and pictures of certain workouts to be posted on the team’s Twitter page, @UBFballStrength. One morning during these casual workout sessions, a video was taken and posted of Ruiz doing a specific drill. The aftermath of this video, however, was anything but casual.
“We did some sort of hamstring curl workout (Nordic Hamstring Curl) pretty much every day. I had been doing this workout with no hand support for a while now… but he [the coach] took a video of it and posted it like any other picture he would post on our Twitter page. Quickly the video gained a lot of attention and then it kind of blew up,” Ruiz said.
Twelve thousand retweets and 47,360 favorites later, Ruiz was a viral sensation. Prominent news outlets like the ones listed above covered the video, coaches from various schools reached out to the UB strength coaches about it, and small clothing companies asked Ruiz to model their brands, all due to a workout routine that led to momentary fame.
“All of it honestly didn’t hit me until professional athletes were commenting on it. When Tom Brady commented on the Barstool Sports Instagram page, I went crazy,” Ruiz said. “Also, I had a couple interviews about it, one being on the Channel 4 News, so it was fun to be part of that.”
Although the attention surrounding this video eventually died down, Ruiz has no plans of slowing down anytime soon and continues to progress as an athlete by staying in shape and staying focused on his goals.
“I still workout every day. We’ve been having a clear winter so far, so I go to the field and do cardio, as well as cone drills,” Ruiz said. “I do high interval training sessions every other day, where I’ll do full body workouts as well as cardio. I also play a lot of basketball.”
Being in the offseason might be a sign to take a break for some, but for Ruiz there is always room for improvement, not only for himself but for his team.
“I’m focusing on my explosiveness this offseason. I’m looking to be significantly stronger, faster, and better than this past season.” Ruiz said. “I want to make a difference not only by getting attention for working out, but by helping this team be successful on the field.”