- Hi Carlo. For the record, how tall are you, how old are you, and what are your contest and offseason weights?
I'm 5'3". I'm 34 years old. I step on stage at 170 pounds and in the offseason I'm 190, 191.
- What are some of the highlights of your bodybuilding career?
I used to compete as a lightweight but then I moved up to the middleweight class. I was the 1993 and 2000 New Jersey State Champion; the 1994 and 1996 East Coast Champion; the 2000 Suburban Champion; the 1993 and 2001 New Jersey Physique Champion; 1996 New Jersey Gold's Gym Champion. I placed second in my class at the 2002 Jr. Nationals and fifth place in the middleweight class at the 2002 USA. My next show is going to be the North American Championships on September 4, 2004.
- One man goes pro at the North Americans. So, theoretically, you can win your weight class but not take the overall and just go home with a nice trophy and no pro card. So, I've got to ask you, why the North Americans? Why not the Nationals two months later?
There are two reasons. For one thing, the North Americans have a welterweight class which I think I am going to fit into very nicely. It's a 165-pound limit. I plan on getting down to the welterweights for the weigh in and then I'll carb back up to 170. I'm confident that I can do that. I feel I have the shape and the structure to do that and to do very well.
The other reason is this. The pro cards are nice, and competing at the Nationals and becoming a "National Champion" is nice, but I'm not sure whether my desire is to become a pro bodybuilder. As a matter of fact, I am sure that my desire is not solely to become a pro bodybuilder. I think that the accomplishments for me at this point are personal. Sure, I would like to have a National victory. I'm not afraid to compete at the Nationals. But at this point in my life it just isn't the most important thing to me. There are other priorities.
- Where does bodybuilding fit into the overall scheme of things in your life?
Bodybuilding is a distant third. I have a business that I run and my family and personal relationships which are numbers one and two. Those are the most important things in the world to me. Bodybuilding is something I began doing because I had free time and the free time I had coincided nicely with the schedule one needs to bodybuild. With the work schedule I had back when I began, bodybuilding was probably the only extra-curricular activity that I could perform given the time frames that were available to me. You can't play basketball at eight or ten in the morning. When you work from 10 in the morning until 10 at night, you basically can't do anything. Your schedule is pretty much shot. You can't do group activities; you can't play group sports. Certainly you can get up early and play tennis, but that wasn't what I was interested in back then. It is, however, what I am interested in now.
- So you're not going to kill yourself to be Mr. Olympia and you don't see yourself following in Arnold's footsteps to Hollywood and political office?
No. I'll never be Mr. Olympia. If I'm ever the North American Champion, my dreams will be fulfilled. I said for years that I would love to win the USA and I came pretty damn near close. At this point, any national victory would be a great one. I would like to win a national championships and be able to say I was a national champion.
- Tell us about Angelo's.
Angelo's is my restaurant located in Fairview, New Jersey. A lot of the top bodybuilders stop in to eat when they're in town. Richard Jones stopped by for a meal two nights out from the Night of Champions. My very close friend, Victor Martinez, often drops by. Ronnie Coleman visits when he's in town. The good thing about Angelo's is you can eat there whether you're a day away from a contest or in the offseason. We can feed you either way. I obviously know a little bit about dieting. Fitness girls and fitness models come by often and they enjoy the food. Still, with all the bodybuilders and fitness athletes, Angelo's is a mainstream restaurant that caters to those who enjoy fine Italian food. I took over Angelo's 7 and ½ years ago. I've been cooking pretty much ever since I was a child beside my mom. But to be honest with you, the restaurant is getting a little tiring also.
- What are your future aspirations outside of the restaurant and bodybuilding?
You're not going to believe this. I would like to return to college and finish my associates' degree. Once I've done that I would like to apply to chiropractic school. I began my education as an accounting major but I got really bored with accounting and I think that's how I wound up eventually in the restaurant business because I was very bored with the accounting curriculum. I've met with several friends who are chiropractors and they've been very encouraging. At the very least I would like to become a registered dietician.
- You write the new "What's Cooking" column in MuscleMag every month. What can readers expect from that in the months ahead?
What I like about the column is its not just a bodybuilding thing. It's a general column that can benefit everybody, from the competitive bodybuilder to the everyday person. Readers can expect a different array of recipes which will benefit them in their quest for happiness as far as their overall physique is concerned. People who come into the restaurant or talk to me at shows always ask what do I eat, how do I season it, how do I prepare it. In the column I answer those questions. I give the readers anywhere from 2 to 5 recipes a month. I usually provide an offseason meal as well as a precontest recipe. I provide all the nutritional information they need and how to prepare the meals. The feedback I have received has been positive. People are enjoying the column.
- Who is the attractive woman with you in the picture?
That very attractive woman is Debbie Cole. She's a Jr. USA Fitness Champion. She's a very special person. Debbie is a violinist who played in the Kansas City Symphony. She recently relocated to New York. She's a very, very special and dear friend of mine.
- How can fans reach you?
They can e-mail me at MuscleChef@aol .com and visit my web site at www.eastcoastmusclechef.com. If they're ever in New Jersey, they can stop by Angelo's at 11 Anderson Avenue in Fairview.