A Professor’s Body Of Work

Rocio Guillen, 44, makes an impression at the gym when she squats 315 pounds— nearly double her body weight.

Guillen, an adjunct English professor at Miami Dade College Kendall Campus, entered her first bodybuilding competition two months ago.

She surprised herself by wining first place in the Over-40 category at the 2011 NPC South Florida Bodybuilding Championships Nov. 26.

“It’s amazing what you can achieve,” Guillen said. “I thought I would be shy, but it felt like a costume, almost, and I wasn’t embarrassed.”

Guillen thanks her husband Miguel Hernandez for her success.

“Miguel believes in transforming people,” Guillen said. “He’s a personal trainer.”

After Guillen’s victory, Hernandez was motivated to compete with her in her next bodybuilding competition in May 2012, at the Gold Coast Bodybuilding competition—a national qualifier.

“I thought it was going to be worse, going with my wife to the gym,” Hernandez said. “But it actually went the other way and our relationship has improved. We get along and understand each other better.”

Hernandez is now Guillen’s personal trainer. Their relationship has strengthened, leading them to create a health and fitness blog, 3-D Training by Miguel.

“The real focus of our blog is for people our age who really think they can’t do it, that they are too old to get into shape,” Hernandez said.

The blog’s name represents the “three D’s”: decision, discipline and determination. It is currently under construction.

Guillen teaches ENC1101 and ENC1102 classes at the Kendall Campus. She started working at MDC in May 2011.

“I used to be a high school English teacher, and it’s frustrating to see students hate [school], here [at MDC] students are more engaged,” Guillen said. “Older students bring their life experiences to the classroom.”

Guillen sees several connections between education and bodybuilding.

“Education is a two-way street,” Guillen said. “You teach, you learn, like any relationship.”

Guillen’s former students get her message.

“I’m into bodybuilding,” said MDC Kendall Campus sports medicine major Nelson Marin. “If you want something, she teaches you not to give up on it, and if you’re in her class, she makes you believe that you will pass it.”

After graduating with a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Miami in 1988, she returned nearly 15 years later to get another degree at MDC.

“I went back to school, and got an associate in arts degree in paralegal studies at MDC,” Guillen said. “Five years later I am teaching here.”

Guillen hopes to get a master’s degree in nutrition so she can teach health courses.However, she plans to continue bodybuilding.

“You can do anything with your body that you want,” Guillen said.