Ben Tatar: Tony, the Superman of Fitness, you recently have had to face Parkinson’s disease. For those who don’t know, can you tell us briefly about what Parkinson’s disease is?

Tony Catanzaro: Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder which mainly impairs movement. This is due to a lack of a vital neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine which is responsible for smooth coordinated, controlled body movement. It’s also very important for motivation and reward. In other words, if you don’t have enough dopamine, you pretty much turn into mashed potatoes.

BT: What is your advice for others who are going through a tragedy like this or a near death experience themselves? Or people who are going through a near death experience with a loved one?

TC: Well Parkinson’s is not a death sentence, although I would have to admit having it sometimes makes you feel like you want to die. It takes a lot out of you mentally, physically and spiritually. For people who are going through a near death experience of a loved one or going through the experience themselves, the best possible thing you can do for yourself or for your loved one is to think positive because everything good or bad begins and ends in the mind.

BT: What have you done to stay positive as you are going through Parkinson’s disease? What mental strategy seems to help? And which mental approach seems to not work so well?

TC: Tina had found a gentleman by the name of Howard Shifke who has cured himself of Parkinson’s disease within 9 months without the use of any drugs or supplements. He did it through a 3-part recovery process of the body, mind and soul. Parkinson’s is an imbalance of these 3 vital key components of life. He has taught me everything he knows about Parkinson’s and I believe I am on my way to full recovery. A mental state that does not work whatsoever is a negative mind state as when I get negative thoughts, my symptoms of Parkinson’s increase dramatically so yes, it is mind over matter.

BT: How has God inspired you as you are going through Parkinson’s disease?

TC: Well, I’ve always felt that I have been blessed by God. He has given me endless blessings my entire life so why would he stop now? I don’t know why this has happened, but I know that God has the answer and if I just continue to trust in Him I will have my miracle.

BT: How have your fans inspired you as you are going through Parkinson’s disease?

TC: I just announced it to the world one week ago. I kept it under cover for a couple of years as I felt my friends, fans and followers would question my creditability. I mean how can I the “Superman of Fitness” develop such a terrible disease? I soon found out that I was totally incorrect and that everyone embraced me and gave me hope and courage that I can cure myself of Parkinson’s once and for all.

BT: What are the blessings in disguise that you have found going through such severe adversity?

TC: First and foremost, the bond between my wife Tina and I has grown stronger. I have always felt that Tina was my soul mate and getting Parkinson’s has taught me that Tina will stick by me no matter what!

BT: How did you get the name “Superman of Fitness?”

TC: I got the name “Superman of Fitness” during an infomercial I was shooting for my own DVD workouts called Tony C’s Pure Power workouts. In the video, I explained how much I care about people and that it makes me happy to see them healthy and at their very best. So the president of the company who sponsored the commercial looked at me and said “You are the Superman of Fitness!” I like this because I am a big fan of Jack La Lane and he was called “The Godfather of Fitness”! So, I am happy and proud of the name.

BT: You have lived your dream and beyond. How does your mindset see your achievements today compared to how your mindset saw some of your achievements years back?

TC: Well, I feel I have a lot more to do, a lot more to accomplish. Yes, I definitely lived my dream, but my dream is not over! My mindset today is set on my full recovery that is pretty much all that is on my mind. But I am beginning to realize that for me to return to my old self, I need to have the mindset of my old self. I have always said that your mind is your most powerful tool you will ever own but if you do not know how to use that tool, it is useless.

BT: What aspect of being the super man of fitness was the most difficult? And why? Which aspect best? And why?

TC: Being the Superman of Fitness means a lot more than dumbbells and barbells. It means complete health and power from within. It means unleashing your best potential, it means staying true to yourself and to others. I guess that was the most difficult part in getting people to realize what I truly stood for. Anybody can teach you how to exercise, but not everybody can teach you as to why. I believe I let people know why.

BT: Why should one workout?

TC: I often ask myself this question. I believe one should workout because it is a part of nature. Although animals do not workout or have gym memberships, they often play and run around they interact with each other, they challenge one another. They don’t know why they do this, but they know that they need to. This is why they enjoy it so much. When they play around with each other, they are working out. Human beings have been working out since the beginning of time. I believe one should workout because it is human nature. To workout is to live, to sit around is to die.

BT: What is your advice for the following lifters at certain ages?

Under 13- You should be playing outside getting involved with friends and family and discovering the true you.
Teenagers- Begin to work out with weights, stay drug free, eat plenty of good homemade cooking.
20s- Go out with your friends, date, don’t rush in finding your soul mate, allow them to come to you. Of course, keep working out!
30s- Get married, have a family and of course continue to workout.
40s- Enjoy your family, your children, your life and of course continue to workout.
50s- Enjoy what you have accomplished and never stop setting goals. Of course, keep working out
Senior citizens- Workout more than ever, socialize and get involved with life as much as possible!

BT: List us 5 big DO’s and 5 big DON’T’s when it comes to training.

1: Proper nutrition
2: Train with free weights
3: Stretch
4: Envision how you want to look constantly
5: Don’t obsess

1: Eat fast-food
2: Inconsistent training
3: Take selfies while working out!
4: Too much cardio
5: Negative mindset

BT: How do you want to be remembered?

TC: I want to be remembered the same way as I am living. As someone who is truly motivating and inspirational. To know that the only limits we have are the ones we create and although the mind is very powerful, the heart and love we have inside of us is even more powerful!

BT: If you have one message or five messages for the fitness world to remember what would those be?

TC: I guess my message is simple, I didn’t get into fitness and working out just to look good. I felt that I did it because it was a part of who I was inside. I wanted to share that love with everyone I came across! I wanted them to feel as good as I felt! I believe we are all brothers and sisters in this world and that the greatest gift we can leave is the gift of ourselves!

BT: What era of fitness was your favorite? What decade? Do you have a LEAST favorite fitness era?

TC: My favorite era of fitness was the 50’s. As much as I love the 60, 70’s and 80’s I have to say the 50’s because guys like Steve Reeves dominated not only the sport of bodybuilding, but let’s face it he was one of the best-looking men in bodybuilding! I’m all about shape not size. Bodybuilding is more than just muscles, it’s about looking good and healthy from head to toe! My least favorite fitness era is right now! Drugs have taken over the sport and I believe it is just too much!

BT: How do you see the future of the fitness world? In what ways will it be different than today?

TC: I think the future of the fitness world has begun to change already. I think I was before my time and I think that more guys are looking for that aesthetic look rather than your drug enhanced bodybuilder. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of aesthetic fitness guys out there who are on drugs as well. I did it naturally my entire life! That is what I hope to see more of in the future!

BT: How did you make it to the top? What did you do differently? How did you become the super man of fitness?

TC: I guess it was just because I am very driven. Plus, I wasn’t afraid to show what was in my heart. Being naturally confident, I knew that I can obtain anything I wanted by being confident and persistent. I don’t believe I became the Superman of Fitness, I believe the Superman of Fitness became me.

BT: What inspires you?

TC: Truly what inspires me is looking good and feeling good. Basically, functioning at your highest level being able to do whatever you want at any time. Having the freedom and confidence to soar like an eagle. This is why it is so important for me to beat Parkinson’s and fly like an eagle once again!

BT: What would you like to say to your fans?

TC: Thank you for always supporting me, thank you for believing in me and thank you for always being there for me!

BT: What were your favorite exercises and more importantly, what are your favorite things about fitness?

TC: My favorite exercises are the ones that I still do to this very day. Old school movements like pull-ups, barbell presses, dumbbell flies, barbell squats. I love the old school style of training! My favorite thing about fitness is: When you feel your very best, you feel like you can accomplish anything!

BT: Tony in closing is there any final big message you would like to send to the fitness world?

TC: I would like to take this time to thank you Ben, it is always a pleasure to be interviewed by you. You are truly an inspiration in your own right! I guess my closing message to the fitness world is that although fitness is still important, what’s more important is why you do it. For a true fitness champion helps others to become champions!

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By Critical Bench Reporter Ben Tatar