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The Mecca – Gold’s Venice – Not Just a Bodybuilding Gym?

While the fitness industry is growing at an incredible rate, there has been an unfortunate amount of negative energy between different communities. In the past, athletes got along really well and were considered a clique (in high school, college, etc.) but now people can’t even agree over who is an athlete and what is a sport. Different kinds of athletes (Olympic/sport, martial arts, strongman, powerlifting, endurance, CrossFit, etc.) have all become increasingly hostile and instead of supporting other groups, they put others down in order to lift themselves higher. Since there is no clear competitive comparison of any of the different communities, it all comes down to subjectivity and trash talking. It’s a shame since everyone working towards a healthier lifestyle should continue to motivate one another. While I won’t get into anything in-depth about the can of worms I just opened, I will get back to the topic at hand. Let’s talk about (arguably) the most famous gym in the world.

Gold’s Gym – The MECCA of Bodybuilding – Venice Beach, CA – Since 1965

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These are various pictures of me wearing Gold’s apparel…the gym’s in the background are NOT of Gold’s

Ever seen Pumping Iron starring Arnold and Lou Ferrigno? A lot of that footage was shot at Gold’s and Muscle Beach. (Lou was in NYC) Watch Mike O’Hearn‘s YouTube videos? Mostly at Gold’s yet again. Pictures from your favorite bodybuilders on Instagram? Venice! The Mecca has always been the place to be for bodybuilding and it has become even more popular than it was when Pumping Iron came out, despite the rise in competition. (I’ve been to a lot of good gyms across the world and I am sure you have too!) There is no question that the weather, members, posters on the wall, and equipment scream “come here to be a pro bodybuilder” but let me approach this with a different angle. Is Gold’s not just a bodybuilding gym? 

When we moved (back) to L.A. (Santa Monica) recently, I told myself I need to join a new gym because I cancelled my YMCA and 24 Hour Fitness memberships. That gym needed to be 1) open late, 2) have amazing equipment, and 3) be able to motivate me in some way. Well, Gold’s was open until midnight, had dumbbells up to 200 lbs, and was full of extremely hard-working and passionate people. Whether they were big or small, strong or weak, natural or not, these people were giving it their all and I love that drive, since I DO NOT HAVE IT. But we all know one thing… I am NOT a bodybuilder! So the final question was, is this gym good for someone like myself? Someone who does not have any concrete goals but just works out because he/she enjoys it. Someone who has participated in sports and martial arts their whole life, using concepts and exercises from every community to become the best athlete possible. And that is precisely why I ended up a member at Gold’s. Because of the following that make it NOT JUST a bodybuilding gym.

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(The following is a random list of things that I love at Gold’s, that a bodybuilding gym does not NEED, but this one has them anyway!)

1. Jacobs Ladder – Not one, but two! These are amazing machines and some of the only cardio equipment that I use. Jack up the speed to work on your eye-hand-foot coordination. It helps you maintain relative strength while you build absolute strength.

2. Plyo-Boxes – One that is actually tall. 48” and A TON of them. Different models with one that is just insanely tall. This is one gym where I don’t have to stack boxes on top of each other dangerously to get those high box jumps.

3. Sleds – Multiple sleds in their outdoor workout area. With a countless number of plates to load onto them. Amazing way to build explosive speed and strength in your lower body, while elevating that heart rate. 

4. Endless Rope Machine – There are very few gyms in the world where I have seen one of these. It helps you get a full upper body workout, while working on rope climbing turnover technique, grip strength, and elevating your heart rate. And it’s fun!

5. 200 lb dumbbells – And everything in between. If you are a strongman or powerlifter, heavier weights are necessary for your workouts. You can’t do singles, doubles, and triples with 100 lb dumbbells if you want to make it to the top of the mountain!

6. Cambered Squat Bar – I’m impressed when gyms have 100 olympic barbells. Even more so when they have multiple model hex bars. But when you throw a rackable cambered squat bar into the mix, that makes my day. I love the little things!

7. Olympic Platform – It’s often locked up, but it’s a full Olympic platform with bumper plates, chalk, and no mirror! Olympic lifts are not recommended for bodybuilding so for them to have this platform means this gym is for other athletes too!

8. Kettlebells – Oh, we’re not talking about 12 lb ones. They have 40 kg kettlebells… matching! So you can do your front squats, snatches, and walking lunges with a heavier load! They’re outside too so you can throw up in peace!

9. Punching Bag – Or full body striking bags. Heavy ones. That hang. And 4 of them, at least. These aren’t cheap bags either. Don’t tell anyone but I was testing these out the other night and they took a good beating from my legs.

10. A huge dirty wall – That’s right! A huge dirty wall in back. That way you can do wall assisted handstand push ups without having to take your shoes off, or getting yelled at for taking your shoes off, or getting yelled at for putting your shoes on the wall, etc. You can also do flips off the wall, or use the wall for assisted pullups, etc!

As you can tell, I can go on forever. But I will stop here and tell ALL ATHLETES that visit Los Angeles to stop by Gold’s Venice for a day and get a workout in not just for the equipment but more for the culture. It’s an experience you won’t forget. Plus, you might get to see some real monsters there.

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Disclaimer: Chris KING Tucci and Hungry & Fit LLC have NO AFFILIATION, personal, or professional relationship with Gold’s Gym Venice, Gold’s Gym, or any of its employees. This was written because I wanted to write it to get a few points across. As always, stay hungry & fit.