Fitness exec loses weight, gains fame

This article originally appeared in the Honolulu Star Bulletin in June 2004
Fitness exec loses weight, gains fame (Honolulu Star Bulletin) - June 2004

By Erika Engle

Gold's Gym International has chosen Honolulu gym Assistant General Manager Dean Calibraro to feature in a new, national advertising campaign.

At 5 feet, 10 inches, Calibraro went from 240 pounds and 27 percent body fat to 185 and about 8 percent body fat.

"He's a very good representative of what Gold's stands for," said Mike Aimoto, general manager of Gold's Gym Honolulu.

Calibraro changed his lifestyle "and is a living testament to the fitness and health lifestyle he promotes," he said.

The television and print ads will feature "real life stories with real people and not just employees, but members," said Gold's publicist Dave Reiseman.

Reiseman said the theme of the commercials is, "Member Since ..." as in, "I've been a member since I got the invitation for my high school reunion, or since I saw the girl in apartment 3B."

Calibraro's since-moments included getting tired walking up stairs, wanting to get back to his high-school graduation weight of 190 and realizing he didn't need to be big anymore. He had played high school and semi-pro football, but "I'm just a mellow, geeky guy now," he said.

Reiseman attributed the campaign to Derek Barton, senior vice president for marketing.

"We did a nationwide 'ask' from our gym owners around the country ... and lo and behold we had Dean, and we thought he was such a great inspiration and a story that's real. A person that was overweight who focused and got his health together," Barton said.

Calibraro had worked in fitness before and then worked primarily in sales at companies including Pitney Bowes, Coast Products and Love's Bakery, but 14 months ago he returned to fitness, getting the Gold's gig.

He had already been doing cardio exercises, working out with girlfriend Carol Fulkerson, "but when I started working at Gold's it gave me more of an opportunity to work out, because I was always around it," he said.

Friend and trainer Eric Yamashita worked out with Calibraro and says in the last six to eight months Calibraro went from 210 to 185, with no drugs.

"I don't like ephedra at all," Yamashita said. He's also not big on fat-burning or other supplements.

The money one might spend on such things would be better spent on a "gym membership and good jogging shoes and healthy food. Plus, you want to check with your doctor first," Yamashita said.

The company flew Calibraro to Los Angeles for two days of shooting, and "he's become one of the most popular guys on the set," said Barton.

He will appear in what Barton called "hero shots" in the advertising. One shot taken of him, shirtless, through a window, shows "this adonis-type guy. It was our last shot of the day and everybody was amazed at how well he did." Barton said.

"He's got such a good look. He could be a Hollywood hunk, you never know. He's the leading man type," Barton said.

"He could be discovered after these commercials."

Calibraro has done stand-in and extra work in local TV and film projects in the islands, but says he was never featured or even "semi-featured."

He would love to get into acting and is taking classes and going to workshops, "trying to get better so that when the time does present itself, then I'm ready," Calibraro said.

"I can honestly say that I have some really good people as friends, from (girlfriend) Carol, (her daughter) Casey, Eric and his wife (Angela). They have been great. The people at the gym have been so supportive ... if nothing ever comes of this, it's been a really great experience," Calibraro said.