Dallas — It has been quite a summer for Gold's Gym franchisee Blair McHaney. His Gold's Gym in Wenathcee, WA, won the Gold's Gym Challenge, a 12-week contest among members of participating Gold's Gyms nationwide, and one of his members, Patsy Mugg, was the female grand champion of the challenge. Plus, McHaney opened a new Gold's Gym in East Wenatchee, WA, that was converted from a former high school gymnasium. And to top that off, McHaney represented Gold's Gym franchisees as president of the Gold's Gym Franchisee Association at the annual Gold's Gym convention last month in Las Vegas.

Mugg joined Tom Johnston of Redmond, WA, as grand champions of the Gold's Gym Challenge. Johnston lost 58 pounds — about 17.5 percent in body fat — and Mugg lost 45 pounds, decreasing her body fat by 21 percent. Each received $14,000.

“Not for one minute did I believe that I would have come this far,” Mugg says. “Being a part of a team and an amazing experience like the Gold's Gym Challenge helped me reach levels I could never have accomplished alone.”

Mugg earned more money as part of the winning team from Wenatchee, which consisted of five females and five males. Combined, the Wenatchee members lost 514 pounds and 124 inches from their waistlines. The team was awarded $42,000, or $4,200 per participant. Combined with special in-club earnings, Mugg took home nearly $20,000 from the challenge.

Fourteen Gold's Gym franchisees representing 40 Gold's Gyms were involved, says McHaney, who created the contest in 1998.

“It went really well,” McHaney says. “We wanted to create this team spirit. For some people, they were running it for the first time. The people that have been doing it for a long time have really leveraged it into a community thing. You're stressing everything in your club. It gives you this 12-week opportunity to see just how good you are at your operations.”

Perhaps the members of the new Gold's Gym in East Wenatchee, WA, will try to knock off the Wenatchee club next year. The new 22,000-square-foot Gold's Gym has 35-foot ceilings and dozens of pieces of cardio equipment. The old locker rooms of the stand-alone gymnasium were completely gutted and replaced with new lockers as well as lounges with Wi-Fi Internet access. The entire gymnasium has been repurposed, along with most of the old hardwood floor. The former concession stand, entrance and public restrooms were converted into a group cycling room, an upscale private training studio, and a repair and maintenance room.

The cost of the renovation was$3 million. Some of the artwork in the lounge area consists of photos from old Eastmont High, which had its first graduating class in 1958 and was later used as a middle school until six years ago.

“You don't find buildings like this to do a gym in,” McHaney says. “The building had just great bones to it. It's just a phenomenally solid structure and has just a huge amount of history. It's been nice to recycle the building, to honor the history of the building and to listen to the stories when people come in.”

The new club has 800 members and could grow to as many as 3,000 members, McHaney says. A lot of the members went to Eastmont High and have fond memories of the old gym.

“We had two members walking around, and she said to her husband, ‘Do you remember when we kissed over there?’” McHaney says. “They've been together since junior high school, and that's where their first kiss was.”