First person: Built to compete

Courtesy photo Clovis resident Dennis Gutierrez has been body building since 2004 and is training his son for his first competition in April.

Clovis resident Dennis Gutierrez won the New Mexico State body building competition by placing first in the lightweight class and Masters over 50 class. Gutierrez, 50, was a competitive powerlifter for 30 years before turning to body building to take it easy on his body. He and his son Cameron Gutierrez take to the weights together. Gutierrez said his 16-year-old son has caught up with him in the gym after only a year of coming to body building.

Build it: I’ve been body building since 2004. After being a competitive powerlifter for 30 years, I gave up in 2004. I couldn’t lift without hurting myself. I switched from powerlifting to body building simply because my body was aging. I got into it back in high school. I was the puny kid who got sand kicked in my face, so I did something about it. I started lifting weights at 18. I used to be able to squat 600 pounds when I was in my early 20s.

Grow up: I grew up in Trinidad, Col., but I’ve been here 10 years. I’ll be moving to Roswell next month.

How things change: I like getting ready for a competition. I like to see how my body changes. It takes four months. You diet hard and get more defined, more solid, more muscularity. You work out all year long. You’re going for a low body fat, under 5 percent. It’s a whole different lifestyle. I eat very low fat foods. No junk food, lean red meat, poultry, fish. For the last four weeks before the competition I eat only tuna and broccoli. I don’t miss the junk food at all. It’s a lifestyle. You get yourself in a mindset. If you don’t have it periodically, you don’t miss it.

Staying young: I feel it’s worth it. I’m in as good a shape or better than a lot of guys half my age. It maintains youth. People tell me I don’t look 50. It’s an anti-aging technique. Every day is goal-oriented.

Like father like son: My youngest son of four, Cameron, is building with me. His first competition is in April. It’s a dream come true to have him build with me. He’s the only one who showed any interest in what I do. We train together. He jumps in with both feet. He works as hard as I do and doesn’t complain about the work. I want to help him take it as far as he can go.

Building benefits: Body building builds self esteem. It gives you goals. It disciplines you. Cameron is disciplined at home, he’s a good student and he’s always doing what he needs to do in the gym. He knows what needs to be done and organizes his time to get it done.

Showtime: We go to body building shows. We’re going to Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas. It helps Cameron see what he’s going to do. And these guys are our rock stars, our idols. These are the guys that inspire us.

Gutierrez also placed first in the lightweight class and second in Masters over 50 class of the Mr. New Mexico contest.

— Compiled by CNJ staff writer Liliana Castillo