Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines.
Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
In the right light, you can almost see how the 8,500-square-foot indoor soccer field, with its high ceiling and vast depth, was once a movie theater. Back then, it must have taken a lot of imagination to foresee the space as it is now—with painted stadium murals on the walls and competition lines drawn on the floor—but that's just how owner Miguel Garzon envisioned it. Today, the space is home to youth soccer lessons as well as adult leagues and tournaments. After all the soccer balls are put away, the facility spends some time each week as a salsa dance hall and a private event space for birthdays, club nights, and office parties.
Though there are many apparatuses inside the gym, the most employed tool at New Image Gymnastics is invisible. That's because it's positive reinforcement—the trainers rely on supportive comments and cheery attitudes as the key source of their students' motivation. This approach applies whether they're coaching toddlers through a padded obstacle course or helping teenagers perfect a competitive routine. Their classes welcome 18-month- to 18-year-olds, and the fully trained staff monitors each student as he or she builds strength, balance, and self-esteem.