Ed Connors

Author, Entrepreneur, International Franchiser

“The Three Muscleteers”

“The Three Muscleteers”

About Ed.

“…I was there at the start of the health and fitness craze in America when the fitness industry was in its infancy. I was there at the beginning of women’s lib and started women’s bodybuilding with the first contest in 1979. I helped men’s bodybuilding take off and change the American culture regarding fitness and working out. I was able to shape the face of bodybuilding by picking and encouraging its winners for twenty-five years, like Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler and Ms. Olympia Cory Everson, along with celebrities in the wrestling and entertainment worlds like the Ultimate Warrior, John Cena, and Joe Millionaire.

I was able to sell the gym chain in 1999 during the dot-com era, even though a gym was the ultimate low-tech business. When I exited in 2004, Gold’s Gym was the largest gym chain in the world in 46 states and 26 countries. Its 704 locations had over 3,000,000 members and gross revenue exceeding a billion dollars a year.”  

About The Book.

When he was criticized for drawing on past architectural styles, American architect Philip Johnson famously said “You cannot not know history.” Anyone working in today’s fitness world needs to know its history more than ever as we enter a new post-pandemic era.

THE THREE MUSCLETEERS tells the story of the birth of what came to be called “the fitness industry” in America and ultimately the world. There was a time not too long ago when all the most popular sports—football, basketball, baseball—never used weights. The coaches and trainers were against it. They said it slowed you down. Doctors were against it because they said it was bad for you. Forty-five years ago, fitness was even more radical for women.

The movie PUMPING IRON, which made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star, was the catalyst that changed all that. The explosion of bodybuilding competitions in the ‘80s was bodybuilding’s “big bang” moment. That along with Joe Weider’s magazines, Arnold, and Gold’s Gym helped to change the culture regarding fitness.

In Ed’s view, life is half about Fate and half about what you do with it. Luck and persistence. Ed’s book hopes to inspire you with his story and the stories of others he met along the way. Ed had hundreds of visitors to his homes in California. They helped make Gold’s Gym the Mecca and the largest gym chain in the world. Their lives were also changed and some of those stories are in this book. It is also the story about the management and growth of Gold’s Gym which will inspire entrepreneurs. It’s about finding good people and letting them do their thing, creating a team.

What’s inside.


True Story

Behind the scenes look at a life changing era.


Making an Impact

Insight from top professional athletes.



Learn about the man behind the fitness craze.


Life Changing

Be insipred to follow in Ed’s footsteps.

Chapter 1

I was one merit badge short of becoming an Eagle Scout. It was, however, the hardest one to get–at least for me. It was the one for “personal fitness.” I was a fat teenager and struggling with my weight. The last requirement called for me to perform different strokes in the water. This being Nebraska in the late fifties in the early spring, the only indoor pool my Catholic scout troop could find was at the Jewish Community Center— the JCC— in downtown Omaha. What was I thinking? I had just jumped in the water and turned it green! I had dyed my hair for St. Patrick’s Day, and now it was all coming off in the pool. It wasn’t exactly Moses turning the Nile red. It was not appreciated, and I was asked to leave. 

Almost exactly forty years later, I’m on the 59th floor of the then Sears Tower in Chicago selling a gym chain I started to franchise in 1980 to a private equity group out of Boca Raton, Florida, for $44MM. Maybe it was all right that I didn’t get that final merit badge for fitness. But I get ahead of myself. 

Once, in what seems another life, I was one of the three owners of what became the largest gym chain in the world for twenty-five years. I was born before the end of World War II and grew up in the innocence and optimism of the fifties when anything seemed possible. In the sixties, I was part of the free-speech movement at UC Berkeley before being sent to fight in Vietnam, where I served my country for twenty-one months. I worked as an architect at the end of the International Movement in time to see the beginning of Postmodernism and eventually contextual architecture. I was involved in the design of a dozen major buildings, including three high rises in New York City and Los Angeles…

“My name is Ed Connors, and I was that self-conscious, chubby lad, and this is the story of how my two partners and I went on to change not just our lives but indeed the lives of hundreds, probably hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions of people.” 

Great visit from Ed Connors. Without him my life would have been drastically difference. He convincingly urged me to move cross country to LA.

Brad Browe

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Upcoming book Launch!

I look so forward to sharing my story with the world and I hope to inspire you to achieve the unthinkable for yourself!

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