Ed Connors – Going for Gold’s

Ed Connors is primarily known for his role in the development of Gold’s Gym into a global brand. His journey in the fitness world is not just a story of business acumen but also of passion for bodybuilding and nurturing talent. His impact is difficult to measure, other than to say that many thousands of pro and amateur athletes have benefitted from his career in one way or another.

In the Beginning

Ed Connors started his career as an architect, but soon turned his attention to the fitness industry. His architectural background played a crucial role in designing and enhancing the layout of Gold’s Gym facilities, making them more functional and appealing to fitness enthusiasts. This act may have been the single most powerful influence on the way gyms and fitness centers look today, all over the world.

In 1979, Connors, along with partners Tim Kimber and Pete Grymkowski, purchased Gold’s Gym, which at that time was just a single, albeit iconic, gym in Venice, California. This acquisition marked the beginning of a new era for Gold’s Gym and for Connors himself. Neither one would be the same again.

And then there was Growth

Under Connors’ leadership, Gold’s Gym expanded rapidly. He was instrumental in franchising the brand, turning it from a single gym into a global phenomenon. The gym became synonymous with bodybuilding, attracting enthusiasts from all over the world and becoming a well-known brand even among those outside of the sport. At the time of this writing, there are an estimated 700 Gold’s Gyms in over 30 countries around the world.

Connors had a vision of creating a community around fitness and bodybuilding, and through Gold’s Gym, he achieved that on an unprecedented scale. The gym’s association with the “Golden Era” of bodybuilding in the 1980s and 1990s helped solidify its legendary status, with Connors at the helm.

It was an impact that endures even today.

More than Business

Connors was not just a businessman; he was also deeply embedded in the bodybuilding community, and the impact he made on individual careers was as powerful as the one he made in the industry.

He had a keen eye for talent and was known for spotting and nurturing future stars in the industry and the sport. Many of today’s renowned bodybuilders and fitness personalities were once under his mentorship. His commitment to the sport went beyond just running a successful gym chain; he was a mentor, a guide, and sometimes even a financial supporter of young athletes.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Connors’ contribution to the fitness world is his role as a host. He opened his home to hundreds of aspiring bodybuilders, providing them with a place to stay as they pursued their dreams in California. Staying at Connors’ house became a rite of passage for many in the bodybuilding community, and his home was fondly referred to as the “bodybuilder’s hostel.” This unique form of support helped many athletes focus on their training without the burden of high living costs in Venice, where Gold’s Gym is located.

Life in the House

Being one of Ed Connors’ house guests was an experience that many bodybuilders cherished. It was not just about having a place to stay; it was about being part of a community that shared a common passion for fitness and bodybuilding.

Connors was known for his hospitality and his willingness to help young athletes navigate the competitive world of bodybuilding. Guests often recounted how Connors would take a personal interest in their training, offering advice, and sometimes even managing their careers.

Boosting Careers

The impact of Connors’ support system cannot be overstated. It provided a stable foundation for many athletes, allowing them to train effectively and make the necessary connections in the industry. This nurturing environment contributed to the success of many champions and helped sustain the bodybuilding community through its formative years.

All Rounder

Ed Connors’ legacy in the fitness industry is multifaceted. He is a visionary business leader who transformed Gold’s Gym into a global brand, a mentor who guided many athletes to success, and a generous host who supported the dreams of countless bodybuilders. His contributions have left an indelible mark on the fitness world, shaping the direction of the industry and the careers of many of its stars.

Plus he’s just a nice guy.

The Book

If by chance you want to channel Ed’s successful and friendly vibe, you’re in luck! Ed has a new book out, called The Three Muscleteers. It’s the story of Gold’s Gym and its seminal part in the development of the fitness industry. But it’s more than that.

It wasn’t long ago, after all, that most mainstream athletes – football, baseball, and basketball players, for example – didn’t lift weights as part of their training. Not at all. Coaches, trainers, doctors, and other stakeholders were opposed to it as a safe and useful form of training, especially for women. It took Pumping Iron (featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger), Joe Weider’s magazines, and Gold’s Gym’s colossal success to push the sport into the spotlight and show what weight training could do for athletes across the whole range of sport.

The Three Muscleteers highlights the importance of taking risks, creating the perfect team, and never giving up. As Ed says, life is half fate and half what you do with it.

What will you do with yours?

Ed at Hidden Gym

We were honored to have Ed make the trip to attend our Grand Opening in Dallas. Jeff Dwelle, one of our trainers, was once one of Ed’s “house guests,” and his own career reflects the multifaceted, high-level kind of training and mutual support that Ed is famous for. Coincidence? We think not.

That kind of thinking lies behind everything we do here at Hidden Gym. It’s not about just one aspect of fitness, or a tunnel-visioned way of looking at a particular sport or athlete – it’s about building a community of athletes and support staff who elevate skill, increase success, and help to build careers and better lives through commitment to athletics and athletes. We each lift others up and drive them on, and in turn are lifted up and encouraged ourselves.


Ready to take your fitness game to the next level? If you live in Allen, Dallas, or Plano, make sure to get your free day pass to join Hidden Gym! Become a part of the most motivating place in the DFW area that will help you live a healthier life!

Check out Ed Connors’ book, The Three Muscleteers, here, on Amazon.