Gold's Gym

Gold's Gym International, Inc.
Genre Fitness
Founded August 25, 1965 (1965-08-25)
Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Founder Joe Gold
Headquarters Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Number of locations
Over 700 (December 2011)[2]
Owner TRT Holdings

Gold's Gym International, Inc. is an American chain of international co-ed fitness centers (commonly referred to as "gyms") originally started in California by Joe Gold. Each gym features a wide array of exercise equipment, group exercise classes and personal trainers to assist clients. Its headquarters are in Dallas, Texas.[3]

Corporate history

The first Gold's Gym opened in August 1965 in Venice Beach, California.[4][5] Dubbed "the Mecca of bodybuilding", it was frequented by Arnold Schwarzenegger[6] and Dave Draper[7] and featured in the 1977 movie Pumping Iron. The movie brought attention not only to the gym itself, but also to the world of bodybuilding and physique in general. To this day, it is considered a landmark in the bodybuilding subculture,[8] and has achieved cult status.[9] In 1970, Joe Gold sold the chain.

Gold's Gym in Laredo, Texas

Today, Gold's Gym claims to be the largest chain of mixed-gender gyms in the world, with more than 700 locations in 37 U.S. states, the District of Columbia,[10] and 20 other countries.[11] Gold's Gym has a membership of more than three and a half million, split almost equally between male and female patrons. Gold's Gym locations are equipped with cardiovascular and strength training equipment and offer group exercise classes such as group cycling, pilates, Latin dance, yoga[12] and stretching through the company GGX (Gold's Group Exercise) program. Many gyms also offer basketball, swimming pools and boxing studios.

The company also licenses its name to products such as fitness equipment and clothing. The original Gold's Gym logo, a bald-headed weightlifter holding a barbell, was designed in 1973 by Ric Drasin, who was Schwarzenegger's training partner for four years.[13] Gold's Gym members have included such celebrities as Dwayne Johnson, Hilary Swank, Jessica Alba, Jim Morrison, Jodie Foster, Keanu Reeves, Morgan Freeman and Tiger Woods among others.[14] To this day, the original Gold's Gym in Venice is considered a sports landmark by on its list of the 100 most important sports venues.[15]

Corporate information

Gold's Gym in Cairo along the Nile
Gold's Gym Stride Trainer 300 Elliptical

Gold's Gym is privately owned. It was acquired from its previous owner, private equity firm Brockway Moran & Partners, by Robert Rowling's TRT Holdings in 2004 for approximately $158 million. Brockway Moran had acquired the company in 1999.[16] Corporate headquarters are in the Dallas metropolitan area.[17]

Since Gold's Gym opened its first international location in Canada in 1985, the company has expanded its global franchising program to include nearly 180 international gyms including operations in Russia, India, Australia, Costa Rica, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Peru.[14] In 2009, the company opened its first locations in Spain, Poland and Venezuela.

In 2004, the company introduced the Gold's Gym Fitness Institute to serve as a think tank on critical health and fitness issues. The institute's members includes Ramona Braganza, Robert Reames, Mike Ryan and Eric the Trainer among others.[18]

Gold's Gym operates a national corporate wellness program. Clients include Whole Foods, the U.S. House of Representatives, American Airlines and Exxon Mobil.[19]

In 2004, Gold's Gym became a national fitness sponsor of the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure. In 2006 the company became a National Strategic Partner of the American Diabetes Association, the ADA's highest designation for a corporate partner. Since their relationship began, Gold's Gym has raised more than $2.5 million to benefit diabetes research, education and awareness.[20]

In 2009, Gold's Gym partnered with video game manufacturer Ubisoft to create the "Gold's Gym Cardio Workout" video game for the Wii. The game received positive reviews.[21]

Gold's is one of two official health clubs of the AARP, where it offers month-to-month memberships, and is the official health club of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Gold's has begun offering online enrollment.[22][23][24]

Under a license agreement with Gold's Gym, Icon Health & Fitness designs, manufactures, markets and sells a full line of fitness equipment under the Gold's Gym brand name.[25]


Numerous customers have reported Gold's Gym franchises acting in dishonest and unscrupulous ways. They have reported advertised deals not being honored, billing irregularities, contract terms being fraudulently altered by sales staff after signing and problems canceling accounts or relocating.[26] A Gold's Gym in Provo, Utah, was successfully sued for fraud in 2006 for changing a contract after it was signed in 1999.[27] In November 2014, the same Provo gym left the Gold's Gym brand and was converted to Vasa Fitness.[28] Like many gyms, some Gold's Gym franchisees lure customers with free sign-up or gift certificates with fabricated nominal values, and then require long-term contracts that are very difficult to exit without paying cancellation fees and following long and inconvenient procedures (such as having to send a certified letter to their central billing office a month in advance).[29] In the past, gym websites did not give membership rates and the gyms would usually not tell customers the rate over the phone, asking instead that customers come to the gym to have a tour and discussion, which often included a heavy sales pitch.

Cardio Cinema

Gold's Gym has provided the "Cardio Cinema" concept since at least 2008. It features a cinema projector screen and feature-length films but has treadmills installed instead of seats. Gold's Gym has more than 50 cardio cinemas across the U.S.[30][31]


  1. Brown, Erika (August 7, 2003). "Investing In Obesity". Forbes. Retrieved September 24, 2007.
  2. "Gold's Gym Opens New Fitness Facility in Linglestown" (Press release). December 21, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  3. Gold's Gym. "The corporate offices are located at: Gold's Gym International 4001 Maple Ave, Suite 200, Dallas, TX 75219"
  4. "About Gold's". Gold's Gym. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  5. "Gold's Gym Celebrates 50th Anniversary; Inducts Arnold Schwarzenegger Into The Gold's Gym Hall... -- DALLAS, Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --". PRNewswire. August 26, 2015. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  6. "Seeing Stars: Where the Stars Work Out". Retrieved January 9, 2007.
  7. "Joe Gold's Dungeon". Retrieved December 21, 2011.
  8. Emery, Mike (January 2003). "Men's Bodybuilding: A Short History". Retrieved January 9, 2007.
  9. "The cult of the gym: The new puritans". The Economist. December 19, 2002. Retrieved January 9, 2007.
  10. "Golds Gym Memberships". Gold's Gym. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  11. "Locate a Gym". Gold's Gym. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  12. "Gold's Story". Gold's Gym International. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  13. Perine, Shawn (December 1, 2005). "Gold's goes bald.(HARD TIMES)". Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  14. 1 2 Smith, Stephen P. (2005). "America's Greatest Brands, Volume IV".
  15. Caple, Jim (September 19, 2008), "America's 100 Most Important Sports Venues",
  16. "TRT Holdings Inc. is new owner of Gold's Gym". Dallas Business Journal. June 15, 2004. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
  17. TRT Holdings (January 25, 2012). "TRT Holdings Announces Plans to Build New Headquarters". Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  18. "Pressroom: Fitness Institute". Gold's Gym International. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  19. "Corporate Wellness". Gold's Gym International. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  20. "2006 Annual Report" (PDF). American Diabetes Association. p. 13. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  21. "Press Release: Gold's Gym Partners with Ubisoft on New Cardio Workout Video Game". Gold's Gym International. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
  22. "Gold's Gym - AARP". Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  23. "". Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  24. "Axiom". Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  25. "Gold's Gym Announces Strategic Alliance to Market Fitness Equipment with ICON Health & Fitness". July 25, 2001. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  26. Gargulinski, Ryn (January 13, 2009). "Complaints against local gyms triple since 2005". Tucson Citizen. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
  27. Andreason vs. Felsted, Viertel, Peterson and Gold's Gym of Provo (May 11, 2006). Text
  28. "Goodbye, Gold's Gym; hello, VASA Fitness – The Daily Universe". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  30. "Movie theatre workout". KIVB. LIN Television. November 8, 2008. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  31. "Amenities". Gold's Gym. Retrieved September 28, 2013.

External links

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