Earning Our Place in the History of Fitness

April 26, 2018

As the leading health and fitness franchise brand in the world, Gold’s Gym has developed a reputation for innovation and excellence that helps us keep growing. But how did the fitness industry become the vibrant and eclectic segment it is today? Turns out, Gold’s Gym is a leader in a legendary legacy of physical health that goes back to the beginning of human history.

The Beginning

While being physically fit hasn’t been considered necessary for human survival since pre-history, humans have continued to pursue physical exercise to promote good health for thousands of years. Some historians have traced its origins as far back as 3000 BCE, citing the practices of yoga in India and martial arts, or wushu, in China among the first exercise regimens used intentionally to prevent disease and maintain physical wellness. The birthplaces of the western world, including ancient Mediterranean civilizations like Rome and Greece, also understood and celebrated the benefits of physical fitness over 2,000 years ago and have been credited with developing some of the world’s first weight training equipment.

The Turn of the Century

More recently, the revolution that began in the late 1800s sparked a new focus on fitness. As higher percentages of the population entered the growing industrial and financial workforce and led less active lifestyles, people had to find new means of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. New advancements in medical research and technology solidified the link between physical activity and overall health, including notable benefits to the cardiovascular system. These changes in science and culture led to the development of several popular health and fitness clubs, group exercise programs and movements including the introduction of bodybuilding for physique and eventually including the first exercise-specific treadmill in 1952.

Enter Gold’s Gym

The history of the fitness industry changed forever in 1965 with Merchant Marine and fitness pioneer Joe Gold. Gold opened the first Gold’s Gym near Venice, California’s famed Muscle Beach, featuring homemade equipment and offering a place where bodybuilders could shape their physique. Only a few years later, fitness legends Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dave Draper stepped into Gold’s Gym and skyrocketed the brand – and the industry – to international fame, along with the release of the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron. It was Schwarzenegger and his cohort of bodybuilders that helped bring attention to bodybuilding and physique in general as Gold’s Gym has grown into a global icon.

Fitness for All

Since the turn of the millennium, the fitness industry has flourished – and it’s not just bodybuilders. For example, the number of runners who finish the New York City Marathon, the largest marathon in the world, has nearly doubled from the year 2000 to today, growing from 29,474 to 50,761. The fitness industry now exceeds over $84 billion in value worldwide – with over $25 billion in America alone – and with modern research and an ever-growing list of exercise options, the upward trend in growth won’t likely end soon.

With constant innovations appealing to every market, Gold’s Gym has continued to raise the bar of the industry and change the face of physical health. With the introduction of effective and hugely popular dynamic group training programs, personalized transformation plans and state-of-the-art equipment, Gold’s Gym has adapted to provide every member the space and equipment to help all people achieve their potential through fitness. And with other member-focused innovations like GOLD’S 3D™, GOLD’S AMP™ and our suite of boutique-style classes, GOLD’S STUDIO®, we’ve earned our place as the #1 fitness franchise in the world – and as the next big thing in fitness history.

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