Recently, I visited my good friend, celebrity fitness trainer Grant Roberts, and before I knew it I had stripped down to my boxer shorts and was rotating on his Fit3D machine. I’ll be right back after these messages.

When I was at Gold’s Gym, I said to my colleague Neal Spruce, the head of our nutrition department back in the late 80s, “I wish we had a computer program that showed people how they look now and what they could look like with our help.”

No such computer program existed back then, but Neal was that human program who transformed the celebrities I brought to him into the bodies they needed for their particular movie part or athletic event. Gold’s Gym Venice, “The Mecca of Bodybuilding,” had a reputation for building the best bodies in the world. Neal was my go-to guy there. He did his magic by providing the best nutritional advice and custom workouts to our elite members who needed our help in a short period of time.

I knew what we were selling back then – dream bodies. No matter who you were or what goals you had, we had the fitness expertise to give you your ultimate dream body! We had the best trainers, the best equipment, and the best atmosphere to get you healthy and fit. Period. We took what we did seriously. Even our tagline said it, “Serious Fitness.”

People counted on us to kick their butt and get ‘em in shape. I used to watch with awe as Neal lectured to overweight and obese people. He would even give the women tough love when they would ask, “How do I get rid of cellulite?” “Cellulite is a polite word for fat,” he would answer. “You’re fat! Deal with it! Eat right and train right, and that “cellulite” will disappear.”

I would cringe at Neal’s honesty, but it was that tough love that people needed. He would end his seminars with, “You would gladly pay me anything if I could give you your dream body in 12 weeks. All I’m asking today is $295. The program is guaranteed. If you don’t see a dramatic change in the way you look and feel, it’s your fault, not ours!” Like children following the pied piper, all those overweight and obese people followed Neal in their quest for their dream bodies. And, Neal delivered. He still does today.

So does Grant Roberts, whom I met at Gold’s Venice when he brought in Hilary Swank to get her in shape for Clint Eastwood’s movie, “Million Dollar Baby.” Grant only had 9 weeks to get her in shape since another trainer before him had failed. The results were obvious as Hilary won the Oscar and Golden Globe, and thanked Grant in her acceptance speeches. It’s no wonder that Grant is great friends with Hilary and Clint today, and even trains Clint’s buddy Morgan Freeman and other celebrities.

Neal Spruce and Grant Roberts are still my go-to guys today when I need honest answers on health and fitness issues, both for myself and for my clients. They understand what they are selling. To them, it’s NOT about selling memberships, it’s about selling custom programs that are tailored to each individual in order to get them to their optimum levels. Grant always felt that health clubs should give away their memberships for free and just charge for the programs. It’s what he does at his private training studio in Beverly Hills.

When it comes to our health and fitness, we are all in denial in various ways. We all think we are in okay shape. We all think we can still junk out, and maybe tomorrow we’ll eat better and maybe do a little more exercise. We never do, and neither do your members. We treat our cars better than ourselves! We do the necessary routine check ups. Our mechanics tell us what needs to be repaired and the danger zones that lie ahead, whether it is worn tire tread or thin brake lining. We hate to, but we pay those maintenance fees to make sure our cars are in optimal shape so they don’t break down. We pay more money annually to maintain our cars than we do for our own bodies. What’s wrong with this picture?

THAT’S THE PROBLEM. We don’t paint the right picture for our customers. Grant painted me the right picture when I visited his Beverly Hills private training studio (paparazzi free) to show me his new 3D body composition machine. It was very cool looking, one that you might see on Star Trek, keeping Captain Kirk and his crew in shape.

I stripped down to my shorts, grabbed the metal handles, stepped on the metal footpads, and slowly rotated 360 degrees on his Fit3D machine. In less than 5 minutes, Grant had a complete read-out of all my vital signs. I saw my 3D image on his computer and knew in an instant what I had to work on. I immediately thought that this was the ultimate win/win tool for every health club on the planet. It’s what I had envisioned back in my days at Gold’s in the 80s. And now, here it was, 30 years later in all its glory.

I literally found out what I was made of. That Bodivis body composition test gave me a clear picture of my hydration, lean muscle mass, and bone and body fat percentage. It even identified imbalances in my left arm, right arm, left leg, right leg, and core. Grant explained to me that to optimize my health I needed to establish a short term goal of adding 3-4 pounds of muscle and losing 8 pounds of fat, and he gave me a timeline to get it done.

He gave me the vision of a healthier and fitter body for golf, skiing, and all the other extra curricular activities I love doing. The dream of driving the golf ball farther than my buddies and two younger brothers made me smile and inspired me to pass on the soda and candy that night at the movies. It also got me back to training seriously again. This past Saturday, I won my annual golf tournament. Better still, I was runner-up in the Long Drive contest. I got beat by a 24 year old. Barely. I’m still smiling.

Forget selling memberships! Sell the dream! We all have one!