Catanzaro rose to the top as a fitness model and the news was devastating
What do you do when you reach the peak then the mountain turns to quicksand? What do you do when you work and work, and sweat, and toil, and the rules of the game change? What do you do when you’ve spent your life building your body into the epitome of the developed male physique, you’re crouched inside a cake on live television, waiting to pop out to celebrate Betty White’s 91st birthday, and the whole left side of your body goes stiff?
Anthony Catanzaro rose to the top of his career as a fitness model. He brought his body to a gleaming, muscular, Greek-statue, close-to-perfection nonpareil. He appeared in Playgirl and on the covers of countless fitness magazines. Then he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
This game-changer ironically works tirelessly to grind the body machine to a halt. It starves the brain of dopamine, the chemical that allows the body to move and movement is the very thing that builds the gleaming muscles that propel a bodybuilder to fame. Symptoms can include tremors, bradykinesia or slowness of movement, limb rigidity, and dyskinesia or abnormal movement.
So what did Catanzaro do? To this day, seven years after his diagnosis, he relies on an energetic, positive attitude to keep active, stay as healthy as possible, and continue to be a role model of health. As he said in a phone interview, “Fill the well. Drink from the well. Then everyone will drink from you.” He is convinced that his positive attitude, and doing what he loves, putting self first will allow him to be as healthy as possible. Fighting the disease with his mind will allow his body to heal itself.
He went through a period of depression and anxiety. That would seem natural after such a diagnosis but what is frustrating about Parkinson’s is that depression and anxiety are also symptoms of the disease. That’s a hard combination to beat. He tried mega-doses of the drugs commonly prescribed for the disease but they brought severe dyskinesia. He then developed a positive, daily routine of home workouts, cardio, sensible amounts of drugs, and surrounding himself with positive people. “You become your environment,” he said. “The comeback is always greater than the setback!”
He recently completed a book with photographer John Falocco filled with steamy pictures and soul baring poetry that chronicle his journey up the mountain and through the quicksand. The book does not disappoint one’s appetite for the developed male physique. His poetry is lucid and genuine. As he said himself, “The most important lesson humanity needs to learn is to appreciate, value, and respect one another.”
He chose the title Heat for his book, not only because the pictures are, well, steamy, but, in his words, “It’s important we maintain control of our inner fires because they can burn and destroy, if we’re not careful.”
He adds, “No matter what we face in life, it’s important we stay balanced and in command. You were created by Perfection. Why change?”