Gold’s Gym started way back in 1965 when bodybuilder Joe Gold, disillusioned with choice of gyms in Venice, California, decided to open his own training facility. Within a few short years, Gold’s Gym boasted a veritable who’s who of the bodybuilding scene with legends like Frank Zane, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu all in regular attendance.
However, and sadly for Joe Gold, Gold’s Gym was not the money-maker he had hoped it would be and in 1970, Gold sold his gym for $50,000. Over the next couple of years, Gold’s Gym changed hands several times until long time member Ken Sprague bought it.
It was Sprague who did what none of the previous owners could do – he marketed Gold’s and made it profitable. In 1973, Sprague commissioned the then training partner of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ric Drasin, to create the iconic Gold Gym’s logo that is known all around the world today. The rest, as they say, is history.
Sprague took advantage of every available opportunity to promote the gym by sponsoring bodybuilding competitions, advertising in bodybuilding magazines and having his members wear T-shirts emblazoned with the eye-catching logo on Venice beach and in photoshoots.
By the mid-1970s, Gold’s was a bodybuilding mecca and was featured in the classic 1977 film Pumping Iron – a documentary that detailed the epic battle between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou (the Incredible Hulk) Ferrigno for the 1975 Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia titles. Needless to say, such media exposure meant that Gold’s was well and truly on the map.
In the late 1970s Sprague sold Gold’s to Pete Grymkowski, Tim Kimber and Ed Connors who decided to take the Gold’s brand and expand it – initially domestically and then internationally. Today, there are over 700 Gold’s Gyms worldwide.
The list of other past and present celebrity Gold’s Gym members reads like a who’s who of Hollywood and includes the likes of Muhammed Ali, Pierce Brosnan, Nicolas Cage, Dean Cain, Kirk Douglas, Roberto Duran, Ralph Fiennes, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie Fisher, George Foreman, Mel Gibson, Whoopi Goldberg, David Hasselhoff, Hulk Hogan, Evander Holyfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Chuck Norris, Ron Pearlman, Keanu Reeves, Dennis Rodman, Mickey Rourke, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mark Wahlberg, and Carl Weathers.
The Gold’s Gym chain has gone from strength to strength and is something of a global phenomenon – especially considering its humble beginnings, and while it might not be possible for you to actually train at a Gold’s Gym, you can enjoy a piece of bodybuilding history by wearing Gold’s Gym workout wear.
All featuring the famous logo – a bald bodybuilder holding a bending barbell – Gold’s Gym workout wear includes:
- Stringer vests
- Zip-through hoodies
- Workout pants
Gold’s Gym is one of the most enduring and endearing brands in fitness and, after more than 50 years, shows no sign of slowing down.
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