"Muscle Beach Venice CA - World's Gym and Gold's Gym Venice"
Newsletter No. 8
Muscle Beach Venice CA is as much of a Historic place as it is Iconic! The Venice Beach Weight Pen was built in 1952 and has been operated by the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department ever since. The Original Venice Beach Weight Pen is long gone after the complete Muscle Beach Redevelopment renovation that took place in 1990, but the History, Memories, Stories and Photos will Live on Forever!
Joe Carrero at the Muscle Beach Weight Pen Venice in 1989
Joe Carrero at the Muscle Beach Weight Pen Venice in 2013
Venice California was not only known for Muscle Beach, but also the Original Gold’s Gym Owned and Founded by the Legend himself Joe Gold. Joe Gold later Owned and Founded World’s Gym in 1976. Bodybuilding owes this Man a Huge amount of Gratitude for what he did for the Sport of Bodybuilding and for his Contributions to the Gym Industries today. I say that a Monument of Joe Gold should be built somewhere on Muscle Beach Venice!
The Legend Joe Gold
Joe Carrero at World’s Gym Venice in 1990
One of my very fond memories / stories was my first ever workout at World's Gym in Venice CA in 1983 founded by the Legend himself Joe Gold. I had arrived in Los Angeles from New York a few days prior to competing in the 1983 Teen Nationals Championships with my brother Johnny and two of my friends. I wanted to get my last workouts in at World's Gym prior to competing. World's Gym in Venice CA was where all of the Best Bodybuilders in the World at the time trained. Joe Gold was very strict about his gym and his rules as this was a sanctuary for the Greatest Bodybuilders in the World to workout; no music, no BS, just the sound of Iron clanking together while the Best trained like Animals!
I remember very well pulling into the underground parking garage under World's Gym. It was a normal parking garage with the very visual exception of one of the parking spaces that read, "Reserved for Arnold Schwarzenegger"! This was 1983 so I have no doubt that Arnold was probably not too far away filming Terminator which exploded onto the movie screens in 1984. No one would dare park in the "Kings" parking space. Rightfully so. Arnold is the Greatest Bodybuilder of All Time.
I walked up the stairs into World's Gym and was greeted by the Legend and Gentleman himself, Joe Gold; Joe and I became friends as the years went by as I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles competing for a decade after this first introduction. As I began to workout like an Animal as I do to this day, I could not even begin to absorb what was going on around me.
In the center of the gym, Lee Haney was doing barbell rows for back. Lee had just placed third in his first Mr. Olympia. In the left corner of the gym, three times Mr. Olympia Frank Zane was doing dips for chest; as always Frank was ripped to shreds! In the right corner of the gym, Bertil Fox was doing alternate dumbbell curls for his massive biceps. On the gyms deck outside, Samir Bannout was moving from exercise to exercise while soaking in the great CA sun! Samir had just won the 1983 Mr. Olympia so he was at the top of his game. Needless to say, I had one of the most intense workouts that I can recall, at the young age of 19!
While I was training, Lee Haney took notice. My brother Johnny overheard him ask Joe Gold who I was. When he was informed by Joe Gold that I was only 19 years old and getting ready for the Teen Nationals Championships he replied, "He’s only a teenager!"
Lee attended the 1983 Teen Nationals Championships to watch me compete and we had some very in depth discussions before the night show. Lee told me, "I am here to see who the competition is going to be in the future and you're it!" This was one of the greatest compliments that I could ever receive! At the end of the day I placed a controversial third Overall at the 1983 Teen Nationals Championships, but this is definitely one of my favorite early Bodybuilding stories! After all, between Frank Zane, Lee Haney and Samir Bannout, they eventually had 12 Mr. Olympia titles combined! What a first Workout I had at World's Gym in Venice, CA!
Joe Carrero & Lee Haney Consulting at the 1983 Teen National Championships
During my many years as a USA Bodybuilding Champion I spent a lot of time at Muscle Beach Venice, World’s Gym Venice and Gold’s Gym Venice. This past July 2013, I visited my old stomping grounds and could not help but to have some fun by taking photos in the same exact places that I had photos taken of me more than two decades ago! While I was walking down the “Eccentric & Vibrant” Muscle Beach Venice near the Pen, a man called out to me and said, “Looking Good OG! Looking Good!” That was also one of the Best Compliments that I have ever received! For those of you that do not know what “OG” means, it is definitely a term worth researching! “OG” means “Original Gangsta”!
Joe Carrero in Front of Gold’s Gym Venice CA in 1992
(The Day After Joe Carrero Won the 1992 JR USA Light-Heavyweight Championship)
Joe Carrero in Front of Gold’s Gym Venice CA in 2013