Dubbed as “the Mecca of Bodybuilding”, it was frequented by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dave Draper.
In August of 1965, Joe God started Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, California. Dubbed, “the Mecca of Bodybuilding”, it was frequented by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dave Draper. Over the years, Gold’s Gym has seen many different owners. Owner Ken Sprague purchased the gym in late 1971 and was the first owner to sponsor and host bodybuilding competitions.
Ken Sprague’s promotional skills and connection to the film industry played a huge part in Gold’s Gym becoming the most famous gym in the world. In 1975, Sprague painted his windows black and mounted a lighting grid in his gym to become the primary location for the docudrama, Pumping Iron.
Along with the movie’s release in 1977, Gold’s Gym sponsored the Mr. America contest, which had more press requests than the 1977 Academy Awards. To this day, Gold’s Gym is considered a landmark in the bodybuilding culture.
Ken Sprague sold Gold’s Gym in 1979. Following the sale, Gold’s Gym became one of the first companies in the health and fitness industry to franchise, starting in 1980. During this time, the company licenses the name to products such as fitness equipment and clothing.