As the World Turns

Time never stops, never slows down and I want to shout “wait for me!” So much to do and I only two hands, one brain and a single heart.

My entire life I’ve been servant, a helper, a volunteer. I had no hobbies and gave freely of my time. Still I managed to fail as a husband, I struggle as a father. I’m very good at my occupation although it no longer excites me. It’s time for some changes!

Is it selfish to want more “me time”? To wake up in the morning and instead of a crisis to manage, how about a cappuccino to enjoy, a friendly voice to share the road?

“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Frank Clark

Two Weeks Post Contest

We had a great Greek cuisine at Mykonos Cafe and I had my first post contest wine! Feels great to be able eat a bit more, that constant hunger that one has during contest prep is finally gone!

My new fitness goal is to get to an elite level of strength and conditioning for a 30 day visit to Poland, Croatia and Italy in 2020. Starting a six week powerlifting cycle as I continue my recovery diet and increasing my caloric intake, yet maintaining my contest weight at 155.

Today I’m doing some shopping, need to buy some new clothes as everything I have is way too large!

Live long and live well my friends!

What’s Next?

I’ve had sometime this week to reflect on competing in a physique contest and where to go from here. At present, I’m feeling pretty good, eating about 200 more calories a day and as far as training, it’s been a light week. I am not reverse dieting because I have no intention of bulking up, instead I am hanging out around 156 and establishing that weight as my new fat settling point. I will spend about six weeks powerlifting before going back to a hypertrophy and mobility routine. I will then get down to about 150 pounds and that will be my year round weight.

Next week I hope to have my first meal out, I’m thinking Greek food and wine with a good friend who also appreciates fine dining! I seem to have totally lost my taste for junk food, I’m not sure that my body could even process that crap anymore!

My sister and her husband are doing a 14 Day Baltic cruise out of London next year and they want me to join them. It’s sounds fun but they are going with another couple and I would be the odd one by myself.

I am planning a full month in Europe in 2020, doing a few days in Krakow, Poland to see where my Grandfather grew up and visit Auschwitz as well. I hope to go through Croatia and spend a couple of days there before moving on to Italy where I’ll rent an AirB&B for three weeks. I’ve done my share of cruises but nowadays the thought of being on a floating shopping mall with 4,000 tourists is not my idea of fun.

I guess that my idea of fun is village life in Italy. Picking up fresh food from the local market and cooking it myself. Evening walks on the beach then popping into a local eatery for wine 🍷 and food. In the mornings, I’ll be working on my book and enjoying a cappuccino and scone.

Hurry up and get here 2020!

The Day After

Much to my surprise I placed 3rd and walked away with a trophy! Also much to my surprise, I enjoyed being on stage, I had not expected that. I did mess up on my quarter turns, lost points for that however I nailed the mandatories and my routine. Physique wise, my abs, lower chest and quads should of been leaner and I probably spilled over with my carbs and lost some vascularity. I did not need the judges to tell me that I should of been leaner, I knew this heading in and was determined to have confidence and stage presence and the edge that goes with that.

At this point, it’s to early to say whether I will compete again but I am definitely going to continue to improve my physique. My heart wanted to get back to the gym today but my body is exhausted and I’m sore all over from holding poses. Taking a few days of from the gym and will go back to eating at maintenance.

Older folks like myself require strength training to maintain their type II fast twitch muscle fibers, so I always power lift a couple of cycles a year and so I’ll be doing 5x5s consisting of squats, deadlifts, bench presses and standing over head presses for six weeks before returning to hypertrophy (bodybuilding).

Mentally and emotionally I feel pretty spent right now but will soon be transitioning my mindset and focus from competitive training to writing fiction and learning Italian!

“May the 2nd half of 2018 be the plot twist you’ve been waiting for!”

10 Days Out

This morning’s weigh in was my lowest yet at 157.5 pounds! I still don’t know what my optimum stage weight should be since I’ve never been there. Life will change after the contest as I will switch from cutting mode to maintenance mode and believe me, it’s much easier to maintain your body’s composition than it is to lose fat and gain muscle. I may be tempted to enter a NPC show October 27th in Albuquerque, just because they have an over 50 class in Classic Physique (my OPC contest only has over 40). One advantage of being lean and muscular year round is being in shape for anything I want to do!My next two priorities will be to publish my first novel by the end of 2018 and to start learning Italian. I haven’t written about these two new adventures because I’ve had to be single minded during this contest prep. Stay tuned for more!Two things: 1) Discipline equals freedom!2) There is no such thing as the perfect time so quit waiting and go for it!

Why in the world would I want to live in Italy?

There’s an Italian phrase that one often hears “piano, piano” and this means “slowly, slowly” however “slow down and take a breath“ would be an appropiate paraphrase. Such a good phrase to describe the Italian lifestyle!

Having spent most of my life in a stressful job, always on the go and usually in a rush I feel that it’s time to enjoy the moment. As we get older, time seems to go faster and we realize that time is not endless and thus each moment is precious!

I want to live in Italy because Italians believe that less is more and that’s totally in line with how I roll. I sometime feel the United States has become the land of over indulging. You certainly will never see an option to supersize a gelato in Italia, lol!

I want to explore Poland, where my Grandfather was born as well as Croatia, Switzerland and Romania as traveling within Europe is relatively inexpensive. Great system of trains and you can fly to most cities in Europe for $100 – $150!

And then there’s the food, which is awesome and much more than just pizza and pasta. Food is generally fresher, less processed than in the U.S. and I would be remiss if I did not mention the wine 🍷! Did I mention the 🍷🍷🍷🍷!

And finally, I want to write and then write some more. What an inspiring environment to knock out a novel or two, whether I find myself in Tuscany, Amalfi or perhaps on an overnight ferry from Bari to a Greek Island!


I want to retire in Italia!

I was 21, in the Air Force and stationed in the United Kingdom just outside of Oxford when our commander asked for volunteers to deploy to Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily. I volunteered for every deployment, so many that my nickname was “Hell I’ll Go”, a take on my surname “Hidalgo”. We were in there for 30 days and had enough free time to explore Sicily and to visit Naples, Rome and Florence.

I fell in love with the Tuscany countryside, the land of olives and grapes and I fell in love with Florence. I wandered through the piazzas, the alleys and back streets mingling with the locals in the eateries, bars and shops continuing the “travel style” I had developed when I was stationed in Asia and explored Manila, Tokyo, Busan, Bangkok, etc. I found that I was far happier traveling alone rather than in a group and that allowed me to avoid the tourist sites and to travel at my pace.

After 30 days, we flew back to the United Kingdom and I vowed to return. Little did I know that it would be 30 years before I again set foot in Italia!

My return to Italy came I took daughter there for her high school graduation in 2015. We were able to spend time in Rome, Florence, Naples, Sorrento, Capri, Anacapri and Fiumicino. I wanted to give my daughter a taste of the world and of course a taste of Italian food and wine as well as a sense of adventure. We also visited Spain and France but hey, it’s Italy that I’m writing about!

Our last full day was in Fiumicino and as we walked on the beach, the idea that perhaps I should move to Italy when I retired was birthed. I was thinking that it would be a great home base to explore the rest of Europe and I was totally enthralled by the way of life, the pace of life and lifestyle of Italy. Needless to say, it was very sad to leave.

Every great plan starts as just a thought. If it’s meant to grow that thought is watered by one’s passion. Please join me as my plan develops as I will be sharing updates here.