From Fitness Pioneer to Industry Leader
Today Gold’s Gym is globally recognized as the authority in fitness – but every industry leader had to start somewhere. It’s been an exciting journey to this point and we’re just getting started. This is our brand story.
Where We Started
In 1965, there were just three gyms for the 7 million people in the Los Angeles area and real strength training was nearly unknown. Enter Joe Gold, a Merchant Marine veteran with an impressive physique and film-extra roles in The Ten Commandments and Around the World in 80 Days.
He knew what lifters liked and saw an opportunity to improve the burgeoning bodybuilding community in what was known as Muscle Beach, just south of the Santa Monica Pier.
Gold purchased an abandoned lot on Pacific Avenue and erected a simple cinder-block building which he stocked with weight lifting equipment he built himself. Gold’s creations were superior to anything on the market and were precursors to the equipment now standard in any good weight room. The first Gold’s Gym was born and bodybuilders began to flock to it.
Perhaps Gold’s Gym’s most famous original member was Arnold Schwarzenegger. He and his “gang” led the bodybuilding movement into the ‘70s with Gold’s Gym at the forefront. Soon, the now iconic yellow Gold’s Gym T-shirts were everywhere, signifying those who wore it were part of something bigger. In 1977, Gold’s Gym hosted the Mr. America contest and that same year the movie Pumping Iron came out, featuring Schwarzenegger and his friends training for the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia contests. The movie was a hit and vaulted Schwarzenegger – and Gold’s Gym – to another level of celebrity.
A New Era
By 1980, Gold’s Gym ownership had changed hands a few times, landing with Pete Grymkowski, Tim Kimber and Ed Connors. The trio, nicknamed “The Three Horsemen,” set about spreading the core message of the brand to the nation. By 1981, many independent health clubs across the country were converting to Gold’s Gyms and the brand went international in 1985, opening in Canada. By 1993, there were 1 million members and in 1996 came expansion to Europe and Asia.
An evolution of offerings continued with the rise of the cardio age. Gold’s Gym began offering community-based fitness classes from yoga to Zumba to Pilates. The new face of fitness was not a massive muscle man but average men and women wanting to increase strength to be a better parent, overcome diabetes, or finish a first triathlon.
The Legacy Continues
TRT Holdings bought Gold’s Gym in 2004 and has invested heavily in the long-term development of the brand to ensure the Gold’s Gym legacy continues for decades to come. Under TRT’s ownership, Gold’s Gym has grown to become the largest full-service gym in the world.
Where We Are Today
gyms in 29 states & 28 countries
2015 & 2016
ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Health and Fitness Centers” by J.D. Power*
Gold’s members worldwide
Throughout its history, Gold’s Gym has provided an energetic and supportive environment full of all kinds of people who are committed to achieving their goals. Today, our mission remains the same:
Help people achieve their potential through fitness.
*Gold’s Gym received the highest numerical score among 8 fitness centers in the J.D. Power 2015-2016 Health and Fitness Center Satisfaction Reports. 2016 report based on 2,549 total responses, measuring experiences and perceptions of customers with health and fitness centers, surveyed in May-June 2016. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com