A Brief History of Iron Bodies Gym


In 1979, Nolan Barber, the ORIGINAL owner, founded the gym on Main Street in Santa Ana, California. Nolan called the business GOALS GYM, as a homage to Joe Gold’s original Gold’s Gym in Venice, California (NOT the fitness chain that, sadly, that Gold’s Gym has become).

Some time in the early 80s, another group of owners changed the name to GOLD MEDAL GYM.

Around 1986, another owner, Paul Burton, changed the name to the one that finally stuck: IRON BODIES GYM.

Joe Rodriguez, originally Paul’s junior partner, and Don Lyford bought out Paul’s remaining interest in the early 90s. Joe and Don managed the place together for several years until September of 2004, when Don left on-site management.

Joe’s easygoing personality made Iron Bodies Gym a great place to pump iron.

In October of 2006, the gym left Santa Ana for two better environments in Costa Mesa.

In May of 2012, Iron Bodies Gym returned to Santa Ana at its new location on Edinger Avenue.

While Joe continues to exude his charm at the new location as the General Manager, Don Lyford, the majority owner, monitors and oversees Joe on the gym’s overall management, marketing, and finances. Don also handles the gym’s Internet communications, surveillance, and digital marketing.

The gym also benefits from some great trainers, including Larry Brown, Marco Torres, and Latrice Smith.

For more information about our great trainers and other health professionals, please go to Trainers & Health Professionals.

For the most current updates about Iron Bodies Gym, please visit these social media links:

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