Gold’s Gym

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.

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Gold’s Gym is known for its world-wide success in the bodybuilding community and has achieved “cult status.”  The original Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach was included on ESPN’s list of the 100 most important sports venues.


Although the brand is widely known through the bodybuilding community, the franchised and privately owned gyms offer much more than weight racks and are available to anyone 12 years of age and older who joins with a membership.  Today, a typical franchise Gold’s Gym contains basketball courts, dance cardio classes, and cardio machines. Many even include daycare, tennis and swimming pools in their membership, making them an exceedingly family-friendly gym.


Gold’s Gym now has locations across six continents.  In 2020, the parent company, RSG Group, reported that Gold’s Gym had 61 company-owned gyms and over 600 franchisee-owned gyms.

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