Winner of the 2018 Global Franchise Awards Best Fitness Health and Beauty Franchise is Gold’s Gym. We talk to Ken Phipps, Director of Global Franchise Development

How would you describe Gold’s Gym? 

Gold’s Gym is a global icon with more than 700 locations serving three million people across six continents each day. We offer the most dynamic fitness experience in the industry, from state-of-the-art equipment and diverse group exercise programming to our boutique-style GOLD’S STUDIO® classes. Gold’s Gym combines coaching, community, innovative technology and more than 50 years of fitness expertise to help people around the world achieve their potential through fitness.
How did Gold’s Gym come into being?
In 1965, Joe Gold, a U.S. Marine and former bodybuilder, opened a tiny concrete floor gym in Venice, California, even making his own equipment. Famous names like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno helped bring Gold’s Gym into the national consciousness after being featured in the movie Pumping Iron. As the organization transformed from an entrepreneurial-led enterprise to a full-fledged business operation, the connection that Gold’s Gym made with members and the public at-large catapulted the brand into multiple locations that would eventually become the most iconic fitness brand in the world.
How did you develop the business?

Gold’s Gym perfected the business of transformation – both for members and in its own physical evolution to define the modern gym. What began as a gym for weightlifting and bodybuilders started attracting a more diverse and mainstream following. Overall fitness soon grew to embrace the overall public, and Gold’s Gym was in a leadership position to answer the demand by expanding to new locations, new cities, new states, and eventually across the globe.
When did you begin franchising and how successful has this been?

Gold’s Gym began franchising in 1980, and the success of the franchise business model has worked hand-in-hand with the increasing demand for fitness and healthier lifestyles. The Gold’s Gym business model has transcended geographic borders, language barriers, and a variety of socio-economic demographics. Meanwhile, what has sustained that franchising success over the decades has been the return on investment for franchisees. The quest to help people lead happy, healthy and successful lives exists for the franchisee and for members. And today, Gold’s Gym locations are open in 28 countries as a result. In 2018, Gold’s Gym was named the 2018 Global Franchise Award Winner in the category of Best Fitness, Health and Beauty Franchise. 
How would you account for this success – what did you get right?

Foremost, we practice what we preach. Today, as a franchisor, we operate 150 corporate-owned locations to prove the very business model we expect fellow franchisees and master licenses to follow. We do not ask any franchisee to do anything that we don’t do ourselves in our company-owned locations. In addition, we continue to create offerings that are innovative and provide our members with access to support and tools that will help them transform their lives, everything from GOLD’S 3D™, our 3D body scanning technology, customized fitness plans created by a certified personal trainer, to GOLD’S AMP™, our personalized digital coaching app, that provides our fitness expertise inside and outside of the gym.  The Gold’s Gym experience recently expanded to include BOOTCAMP as well as GOLD’S STUDIO® – which gives members access to boutique-style classes like GOLD’S FIT®, GOLD’S BURN™ and GOLD’S CYCLE™, all under one roof. We will continue to innovate in ways that deliver results. As a pioneer we launched an industry, and today we continue to redefine it.

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