TRT Holdings Bets on Adam Zeitsiff to Grow the Gold’s Gym Brand

(Editor's Note: To hear more from Adam Zeitsiff, download the May 2019 Club Industry Podcast.)

Adam Zeitsiff is back at a brand that he loves.

“I love this company. I love this team here. I love this brand. I love what we do in the fitness industry,” he said. “And I think given the right opportunity, we could really evolve this brand, which is really my mantra here: How do we evolve this brand? We are in the middle of an evolution that started four weeks ago, and how do we become industry leaders and pioneers again?”

The company and brand of which Zeitsiff speaks is Gold’s Gym International, Dallas. Zeitsiff was CIO at the brand from February 2016 to April 2018, leaving to become CIO at Smoothie King. However, in February, he received a call from TRT Holdings, the company that owns Gold’s Gym and had been trying to sell it since July 2018. TRT Holdings shared with him that it planned to keep the brand and offered him the CEO position. So in February, just four weeks prior to Club Industry’s March 20 interview with him, Zeitsiff was back at Gold’s Gym, this time leading the company that he said is “the most recognizable brand in fitness.”

“I talked to my team here and reminded them that we work for the iconic brand, one of the founding brands of this industry, and we need to remember that,” Zeitsiff said. “We need to get back to some basics here and really grow this brand in a couple different ways.”

Zeitsiff insists he wasn’t brought on board to pump up profits for a bigger offer for the brand in the future.

“I didn’t come back here with any plan that said I only had two years and then they were going to sell this thing,” Zeitsiff said. “That is not the plan. The plan is to hold the business right now and look for the long-term growth.”

Instead, Zeitsiff has been tasked with using his entrepreneurial background and vision to help grow this brand. When his hiring was announced by TRT Holdings, President Blake Rowling said: “Adam’s entrepreneurial background, hands-on leadership style, passion for the fitness industry and proven ability to execute on accelerated growth plans make him the perfect fit to lead the brand’s evolution going forward.”

Zeitsiff founded a startup company in the video conferencing space that he grew to 150 people in nine cities before finding his way into the fitness industry in 2005 as an investor and then the president of EZ Facility. Jonas then bought EZ Facility, and Zeitsiff served as president of Jonas’ fitness business unit where he acquired new businesses and grew the business organically. Later, he joined Gold’s Gym.

TRT Holdings has given Zeitsiff freedom to try new things and take some chances, Zeitsiff said.

He is reviewing the company’s portfolio to determine how to make it the top franchise in the industry, growing internationally as well as in the United States, some of that growth potentially in new locations. He plans to invest in support for the franchisees as well as talk with some of the well-performing franchisees to learn about their operating and programming practices that could be transferred into other clubs.

Going digital will also be a part of Gold’s future, starting with the Gold’s AMP personal training app, something Zeitsiff spearheaded when before he left Gold’s in 2018.  

“We have a unique opportunity to take the brand that we have built here, to take the digital platforms that we have built here to leverage it and to grow that side of our business,” he said. “We all have agreed on this is where we want the company to go and what the goal is and what the end game is. It’s my job to come to them with how we think we are going to get there. Come to an agreement on it and then execute on it.”

To find out more about Zeitsiff’s plans for the company, the status of the relationship between Gold’s Gym corporate and franchisees, the future of Gold’s Gym as a mid-priced club, and more, listen to the May 2019 Club Industry Podcast, sponsored by Motionsoft, by going here.