On April 14th, 2002 the new Gold's Gym opened in Meridian. The new gym encompasses a total of 39,000 square feet, with 8,000 for the weight room floor. Gold's offers a number of services to include various free weights, machines, cardio equipment, a women's only weight room, a juice bar, day care, and tanning beds to mention a few. Gold's is open Monday through Thursday 24 hours, closing Friday at 11 PM, and is open 7 AM to 9 PM on weekends.
At any one time, Gold's employs approximately 25 people. This includes receptionists, maintenance, bookkeeping, and day care workers. 10 personal trainers are also employed at Gold's. To become a personal trainer, Gold's requires two national certifications. In addition they require an APEX certification, which covers nutritional counseling. The personal trainers use a program called Rapid Results. Rapid Results shows the would-be health nut what foods to eat and in what quantity, cardio and weight training plans, and what supplements to take based on the individual's goals. Gold's guarantees that in a six-week cycle you will gain at least 3 pounds of muscle, while dropping 3-4% body fat. Many popular classes are also available. These include various cardio, kickboxing, yoga, Body Pump, step aerobics, and group cycling, which so far has been the most popular.
There are some features strictly unique to Gold's in Meridian. One is the Women's Only weight room. Josh Wheeler, President of Gold's, and Eric Frensdorf, General Manager of Gold's in Meridian conceived the idea while visiting a gym in Arizona. They liked the idea of women being able to weight lift, without having to feel intimidated.
Another unique feature is the City Blends Brand juice bar. It offers a wide variety of post workout shakes for both hard gainers and those looking to cut body fat. Shakes vary in calories from approximately 200 to 2,000, and protein from 38 to 90 grams. "People have constantly said that they wanted a convenient way to put something in their bodies following a workout. And now they have that," said Frensdorf.
Lisa works the City Blends juice bar.
For parents who can't find a babysitter, Gold's offers it's own childcare center. All employees who work in the childcare center must be 18 years of age, have a police records check, and go through three separate screening interviews. Frensdorf says he cannot stress the importance of this enough. "This is one of the most important issues for us. Parents need to be able to bring their children here, and know that they will be taken care of."
Now that we've given you the "Dan Rather" version of the new Gold's, we're going to give you our takes both good and not-so-good.
Accolade: Juice Bar
Mike's Take: James and I both laughed when they put this juice bar in, and for good reason. What is up with the name "City Blends"? And the menu names are terrible too. "City Burners", "City Gainers", "City Builders". Is this Watts? Is it the 60's? I don't work construction and I never will. What a yuppie concept! I wonder how many guys order a shake every day just to talk to the cute shake girl. Is this a Gym or a Meat Market?
That having been said, I have used the yuppie juice bar because there are a couple of 2000 calorie drinks that don't make me sick to my stomach. Sometimes hitting 4500 calories a day is very difficult. Using the Juice Bar and Nlarge 2 from BodyBuilding.Com makes it much easier. Really guys, I'm serious, don't hit on the juice bar girls. They don't want you or me, they want James.
Accolade: Women's Weight Room
James' Take: I am impressed by with this idea. I think it's great that a woman can now work out without having some 300-pound behemoth slinging ungodly amounts of weight, screaming like a banshee, right next to her.
Accolade: Rapid Results Program
Mike's Take: I have a hard time with most programs out there for one reason... most programs assume there is only one way to achieve success in the gym. This is a selling tool and a farce. The only way to judge a program is to judge the results because, after all, that is what we are looking for. I have never personally used the Rapid Results program over a period of time, however, I have looked it over and believe it meets most people's needs. It helps with diet, which is key to success and difficult to master. It helps with a workout schedule, which is important as well. Lastly it will monitor a persons results. This ultimately proves a plan as a failure or a success and will be the determining factor when considering what the next step is. With this data gains can be made in a most timely manner.
James' Take: I will admit that I have always been turned off by dry saunas in the past. I mean, who wants to hang out in a small room with a bunch of fat sweaty guys? Once I got over the sometimes terrifying sight, I realized that the sauna offers the opportunity to relax, get a good stretch, and dream about the Juice Bar girl... uh, I mean reflect on the day's punishing workout.
The locker room and sauna at Gold's.
James' Take: If given the choice of listening to that damn techno/hip hop every workout, or eating broken glass, I'd have some serious thinking to do.
Mike's Take: How can you turn The Doors into hip-hop? Unreal. What I don't understand is why James listed this as a Smackolade. He always says he wants music that will make him angry when he works out.
NOTE: Two weeks after this article was published, they changed the music! It's still not hardcore, but it is at least listenable.
Smackolade: Weight room floor layout.
The large window and the weight room.
Mike's Take: The design error on this facility is obvious. There are huge picture windows facing the afternoon sun. Underneath these big windows are 2 squat cages. Squats are the one lift that can burn me out completely all by themselves. I don't need the sun beating down on me until my core body temperature is 106 degrees to help out. The second cage is too close to the wall to do military press. Bummer.
James' Take: Huge picture windows dominate the weight room, and give a commanding view of... the freeway?
Mike's Take: The best thing Gold's Gym has going for them is their staff. They are personable and easy to work with. They make you feel welcome and comfortable while working out. Eric, the General Manager, seems to be very open to suggestion and even plans on putting a suggestion box in so they can get everyone's take. I like the idea that what I think matters to Gold's. They also have a good training program for the beginner. If they could fix the problem with the summer heat frying the squat cages and kill the teen prom hip-hop they would be the quintessential gym. As is Gold's is still the premier facility in the Treasure Valley.
James' Take: All smack-talking aside, the overall atmosphere at Gold's is impressive. The average heterosexual male doesn't hold the music in high regard, which is the one thing that keeps it from getting the highest marks. For quality gym music, I'll have to go to The Dungeon in Venice, where you are accosted by the sounds of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Judas Priest. . .and the smell of dirty jock straps.
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