His chiseled body and toned physique grace the cover of romance novels around the world. Now one Queens resident can add national reality TV star to his long list of fitness accomplishments.
Anthony Catanzaro, 41, called Tony by everyone who knows him, has been fitness training since he was a determined 15-year-old in Bay Shore, LI. He was drawn to training through his love of watching professional wrestling on TV, and the powerful image these athletes presented as role models for a fit and healthier lifestyle.
His hard work and dedication led him to become a successful competitive bodybuilder, most recently winning the NBF Natural NYC Middle Weight Championship in 2005, while continuing to focus and maintain a personal fitness, training and modeling career.
As a long time certified nutritionist, Catanzaro practices what he preaches. “If God made it, use it. If man made it, lose it,” he said, a mantra he takes very seriously. He encourages eating food from the ground; natural options that are not processed or come out of a can.
“People aren’t educated [about nutrition]; they eat what’s in front of them. They eat fast food and don’t realize all the chemicals that are in the food,” he said. “That’s what’s killing us, what’s aging us, giving us cancer, heart disease, cholesterol problems and other ailments.”
With his expertise, it’s no wonder Catanzaro, dubbed the “Superman of Fitness,” was hand selected via his website, anthonycatanzaro.com to participate on Country Music Television’s show “Bayou Billionaires,” the network’s most watched original series, according to trade and consumer publication, The Hollywood Reporter.
The reality program documents the rags-to-riches story of the Dowden family, who became wealthy after learning their home sits on one of the largest natural gas deposits in the United States. Catanzaro was flown to the Dowdens’ home in Shreveport, La., with the mission to improve the health and fitness of the family’s patriarch, Gerald Dowden.
As a native New Yorker, Catanzaro felt like he “stuck out like a sore thumb” in the slower paced, southern culture, but he used his fitness knowhow and the resources available to his advantage. “I had him pushing hay, a wheel barrel with me in it, chasing chickens,” he said. “It’s a comedy; I had to enthuse this guy somehow — it wasn’t picking up dumbbells.”
What surprised him the most was “how family orientated they are down there, very tight knit; it’s God’s land. Going to Louisiana taught me how to slow down and relax,” he said.
Catanzaro is passionate about his life’s work and knows that for fitness longevity, it comes down to one’s attitude as well. “I love to help people get into shape, that’s what I do, mentally and physically,” he said. “My goal is to not just be your personal trainer, but to be your life motivator as well.”
The excitement of the cable opportunity is also felt by his wife, Tina Catanzaro, who’s been married to her husband since 1999 and helps with his personal fitness career. “I was really excited for him. I know he’s the best personal trainer there is and I knew they’d love him,” she said.
The wife is most proud of her husband’s lasting impact on his clients and speaks fondly of his accomplishments: “People all over the world love him; they send him emails all the time saying how much he’s changed their lives with his positive thinking. I’m most proud of the way he’s changed people’s lives.”
Catanzaro’s fitness and training ideology is made up of four core principles and he offers this advice to Queens residents looking to kickstart a healthy lifestyle:
• Nutrition: eat the right foods; eat healthy foods.
• Weight training: on a daily basis, go to a gym, get some dumbbells. “Use your muscles, that’s what they’re there for,” he said.
• Cardiovascular Work: take a brisk walk in the morning; try jogging.
• Stretching: “Animals stretch all day long, not because they think they’re out of shape, but because it comes naturally,” he noted.
The Catanzaros plan to hold a viewing party in their Ozone Park home for friends and family when the episode of “Bayou Billionaires” airs on CMT, March 3. Though they plan on having healthy options to eat like grilled chicken and salad, the celebration may call for special treats, but of course in moderation.
“We’re programmed already in our soul, in our spirit, to know what’s good for us. It’s called our common sense,” the fitness guru said. “It’s the key to being healthy. I do this because I love it; because every day of my life I’m living to my full potential … all that matters is that I’m living every day at my very best.”