Brad Byrne

The World's Most Successful Gym - And How They Got There!


In this blog, we talk about what is widely regarded as one of the most well-known gyms in history. The place that is known as the Mecca of bodybuilding, Gold’s gym. We have compiled some of the things Gold’s did to put its name on the map. 

Build a culture:

This is the single most important thing a business can do, the thing that makes customers come back is their own personal investment in you and your business. This means they believe in the cause you stand for and support. Building a culture isn’t a single piece of advice but rather the desired outcome from the accumulation of the below tips to establish yourself as a pillar in the fitness community. 


Support your customers in as many ways as possible.

We see this today with modern leisure centres offering everything from pools to weights to tennis clubs and yoga sessions. You don’t have to have a massive facility, Golds was a small gym but was big enough to become the mecca for bodybuilders. It did this in part through supporting the sport it stood for outside the gym through activities such as sponsoring events which we talk about next. What you can do is be the provider/facilitator for the sport in your community.  What exactly does that mean? Be the business that sells everything related to the sport, if its powerlifting sell wraps, knee and wrist support. If its bodybuilding stock a selection of supplements in house, as well as offer, tailored training for events. If you are a GAA based gym, offer 1 on 1 training. This will have two main benefits. Firstly you will be the first place that new or aspiring people will come to as you have such a comprehensive offering you are the best one-stop-shop. Secondly, you are establishing multiple forms of revenue for your business and becoming more stable in the long term. 

Hold/ Sponsor Events:

Be the reason that your customers become excited about learning a craft. Be it Bodybuilding, CrossFit, Yoga or any abundance of other activities. The size/style of these events can range dramatically depending on the scale of your business and what you hope to accomplish with them. A few examples of events may include:


  • A barbeque for all of your customers 
  • An invite-only weightlifting competition 
  • Charity fun run 
  • 60-day step challenge 


The main goal of hosting events is to facilitate the passion that your customers have for the sport. By giving them something to compete in and work towards you indirectly are promoting your business as a source to achieve these goals. This approach is used in a wide variety of businesses across the globe. The Michelin tire company in its early days started a magazine featuring the must-see locations at the time which all coincidentally happened to be extremely far away from each other. Michelin knew this would mean people would want to see these locations, therefore they would drive the required large distances and as such would need new tires for their cars more often. That is the approach you can aim for with hosting events, inspire people to use your facility by creating a need for it. 

A great way to grow any business is through collaboration, partnerships and pulling from others with talents. This is something that is at the core of the LegitFit brand, the idea of decentralized fitness industry. We want to promote co-operation where possible. That's exactly what Golds did by creating the iconic movie ‘Pumping Iron’ they created their own hype. They got the public's interest and grew the brand through this. These partnerships are designed to boost your business using people who have skills in areas you lack and are often mutually beneficial for both parties. For Golds, this was making use of professional filmmakers while the filmmakers got a chance to film some of the icons of bodybuilding even today. Some examples of other partnerships that may prove beneficial to you and your business may include:


  • Hosting a ‘demo day’ for fitness brands in which manufacturers can display a range of products. Customers get to try bespoke products before they buy and the manufacturers get access to a captive market. 


  • Hosting a ‘Photo Day’ for local college students who study photography. This gives any willing customers the opportunity to have some high-quality pictures taken to show off their hard work while benefiting local students by helping them build a portfolio. 


Make use of celebrities:

This was crucial to Gold’s success, the use of celebs in particular Arnold  Schwarzenegger. Now we know that not everybody has Arny on speed dial so what we mean by making use of celebrities is relative to you, your location, the type of gym you operate. If there are any particularly influential people in your area that have become notable, invite them in for a free session. The value they hold isn’t through their own payment for use of the facilities but rather to give your facility popularity within that given community. Once you have established yourself as the ‘mecca’ for your local area that is when you can begin to charge and establish a customer base.

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