25 Years of Building Bodies and Building Community

Gold's Gym's “Jeff & Gina Show”: A Haven For Heroes, Housewives, and Everyone In Between

Article by Don Seaman

Photography by John Agnello

Originally published in Wayne Lifestyle

Jeff Mortman was never a gym guy. He’d been in shape as an E7 Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, but “Marine shape” is more cardio than iron pumping, so gym life wasn’t his. But it soon would be.

After 16 years, Jeff had left the Marines to lead the family business as a mechanical contractor in NYC. 14 years later, he sold the business, looking for his next passion. Meanwhile, his wife Gina. who had been a high-powered fashion buyer for Liz Claiborne and Donna Karan for years, was now a mom at home, but ready to take on more again.

With his business networking lifestyle, Jeff found himself up to 300 pounds and needed to make a change. The Wayne resident joined Gold’s Gym in Totowa for convenience - it’s literally at a Route 80 exit, so close to Route 23 and 46 that you can see it from their parking lot. Gina joined him shortly afterwards.

They fell in love with the place because of the spirit —camaraderie, purpose, community. As a facility it was desperate for reinvention. Jeff and Gina saw an opportunity to transform their devotion to the place to make it a showplace. They bought the franchise in 2017, throwing their energy and resolve into everything about it.

The potential they saw manifested itself into something transformational.

Gone was the old-school view of what a “Gold’s Gym” was, as they made it into everything they’d envisioned — and more. It became a modern, full-service health club with a true family atmosphere.

As their marketing and PR guru, Gina is quick to point out all that makes it unique. There’s an enormous amount of modern and classic strength equipment, dozens of new state of the art cardio machines, a full time cleaning staff that keeps things spotless and uber-sanitary, an indoor basketball court, a women’s only equipment room, a brand-new functional turf training area, and so much more, in a sprawling, 40,000 square foot facility. “It’s everything you can imagine a gym could be then some.”

“People think we’re a large, corporate business, but in reality, we’re a local, veteran-owned small business, just sitting in a ‘Big Box’ with a huge brand,” explains Jeff.

The gym’s been so successful in such a short time, they were honored as the "Best Gold's Gym in North America 2019/2020”. Typically, it takes about twenty years for Gold’s to bestow their top franchisee honor on a gym. They won the award about two years after they opened.

Much of the appeal of the gym comes from “The Jeff and Gina Show”. They banter like it’s their second home (it is), and Gina throws off a vibe of a real Real Housewife (she’s not).

As stewards of the gym, they’re an eternal presence there, taking the roles of the “mom and pop” shop literally. They throw all their passions into the place, from the giant flag in the parking lot to the pictures of their most successful members on a wall of honor. They’re proud of their patriotism, their community, their family. How they run their gym is a symbol of their gratitude and who they are.

“We made it into something for people. It’s about the members, making it a community base, family-oriented, younger, a place for women. It was important for us to add a whole new dynamic that made this gym flourish in a very short period,” Jeff says with pride.

As a veteran, Jeff understands the meaning of the word “hero”. The people who serve the community and the country have real value here - police, firefighters, military, EMTs, this is their home. It’s a genuine priority for them. Because of this commitment, you’ll see Jeff and Gina’s presence all over the area, at fundraisers, community events, you name it. That’s because it’s such a bedrock piece of who they are and what they believe.

Gold’s Gym as a company has been around for almost 60 years. This gym has been in Totowa for 25 years. Jeff and Gina have been at it more than five. During their time there, they’re redefining what that legacy brand can be, and the power of surrounding ourselves with heroes.

Gold’s Gym is at 18 Furler Street, Totowa, just off Exit 54 from Route 80 and the Union Blvd exit from Route 46.

"People choose a gym because it's convenient. Convenience is why I first came here. But you stay - and keep coming back - because of the vibe, the people, and what you get from it. Here, you get a family."

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