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Joe Gold Bodybuilding Biography


Joe Gold Founder of Gold's Gym and World Gym

Joe Gold was born Sydney Gold on March 10, 1922 in Los Angeles, California and is considered one of the fathers of bodybuilding. He is also considered to be one of the influential people responsible for the fitness boom that started in the early 1980's.

Joe was the son of Max and Jennie Gold who at the time lived in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. Joe Gold started training as a bodybuilder at 12 years old which all began when he saw his sister-in-law make up an exercise in order to help strengthen her arms.

There was no such thing as exercise equipment in those days and she attached a bucket filled with water on each end of a broom stick and was using them to lift weights. Joe was fascinated by this and he and his brother Robert Gold decided to start building their own exercise equipment from pieces of metal they got from a scrap yard.

He qualified as a machinist after school and served in the United States Merchant Marine during World War II. He was injured during a torpedo attack and after recovery went straight back into action and served during the Korean War as well.

Joe entered a few bodybuilding competitions and also worked as an extra in movies as a bodybuilder appearing in movies like "The Ten Commandments" and "Around the World in 80 Days", both of these very successful movies were made in 1956.

Saving every cent he had Joe eventually was able to raise the capital to open his first gym in 1965 on Venice beach and he called it Gold's Gym. Because he was himself a bodybuilder the equipment that he stocked his gym with was perfect for any rising bodybuilder.

As a result Gold's Gym quickly became the place to be seen for all local bodybuilders. In those days the weights were rough and there was no carpeting or chrome. One could drop the rusted weights on the concrete floor and no one would notice.

Joe helped and advised all members of his gym despite his character of always passing a sarcastic jab whenever he saw bodybuilders do a movement incorrectly. He loved the gym atmosphere and would spend 20 hours a day helping people with their training and designing more machines.

His gym attracted the best of bodybuilders and to this day Arnold Schwarzenegger, now the former Governor of California said that Joe Gold was always a trusted friend and father figure to him. Joe continued to open gyms wherever he found the opportunity and continued to design exercise machines that had never been seen before.

In 1970 he decided to sell the Gold's Gym chain that he had worked so hard to establish and 7 years later launched the first World Gym in Santa Monica and later that year another branch in Marina del Rey. He owned and operated World's Gym until his death in July 11, 2004.


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