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Although the basic premise of a gym is still the same as it’s always been, the fitness industry has shifted from what it used to be.

Moving away from outdated stereotypes and the ‘Pumping Iron’ competitive nature and more into the mainstream. 

With more and more people wanting to use gyms, owners have to be savvier and find ways to entice new members, whether that’s 24-hour use with an access control system, promotions, or having the latest equipment and classes.

In this guide, we will be running through Gym Access Control and giving a crash course on how the fitness industry can benefit from utilising these systems.

  • Gym Access Control Introduction
  • Features of Gym Access Control 
  • How Gym Access Control works
  • Benefits of Gym Access Control 
  • Gym Access Control Conclusion

What is Gym Access Control?

Gym Access Control encompasses a few different areas and can be implemented in a manner of ways, but for the sake of simplicity let’s look at the overarching themes.

In short, access control systems for gyms allow you to control who can get in your gym, and stop members or outsiders from accessing secure areas of your club.

There’s a range of benefits from using an access control system in your gym, from theft prevention, better guest flow, higher security, and wider access hours.

On top of these benefits, you also gain access to member data which can help you improve your gym, interact with your members, and understand how people are using the site.

Types of Gym Access Control 

Deciding how you set-up your gym’s security has a lot of factors you need to account for, so each location will have to decide what the best option is for them.

With this in mind, here are some of the main examples of Gym Access Control and how they are used in the fitness industry today.

Key Fob / Card Access  - members will be given a fob or card which allows them to tap to enter and even use on lockers. This is a fairly common method used by a wide variety of gyms.

Biometrics - a more advanced option, this is using member characteristics to gain entry. A good example would be a fingerprint entry system on the front gate.

Access Code / Password - often used by 24-hour gyms and ones with extended opening hours. This means your members can create their unique code and gain access to the gym outside of standard staffed hours.

QR Codes - this is a way of generating a unique ‘key’ for your members every time they access the gym, the scanner will read this form of barcode and grant access.

Understanding how to modernise your gym without alienating some demographics can be a challenge if handled poorly. Ensuring you have a smooth transition and helping your members get used to the new access control system is a sure-fire way to improve perceptions.


Gym Access Control Features 

Customisable - as we discussed at the beginning of this article, there are different methods you can use to implement access control in your gym. Which means you can choose the best set-up to suit your budget, needs, and location. 

Free Up Staff Time - with your staff not having to wait by the reception you can improve your member interactions and keep the gym looking presentable. You can schedule in time for people to be on the floor, front of house, or tidying the gym.

Give Members Freedom - allowing your members flexibility on when they do their workouts will improve their perception of your gym and also increase their likelihood to recommend your gym to friends/family. Having happy members is a great way to improve membership numbers.

Control Your Admission - countless gyms have issues with entrance fraud or members sharing their key/credentials to give access to non-members. Implementing an access control system will effectively eliminate this issue.

Keep Your Members Safe - creating an added layer of security for your gym has a ripple effect; from limiting non-member access to a more secure environment, to knowing how many people are in the gym in case of emergency.


How does Gym Access Control work? 

As we alluded to earlier in this guide there are a plethora of types of access control for gyms, so we will cover the overarching points of how access control works for the fitness industry. 

Gym Access Control basically allows you to monitor, manage, and control who has access to your gym and when. Depending on the system you use this can be as simple as a key fob tap at the entrance or a 24-hour system that grants access to your members all times of the day.

Regardless of what system you use, they all function in the same base way. Your member will present their token (e.g. card, fingerprint, key fob, password) and upon successful scan/input they will be granted entry into the gym.

These access control systems mean you can have a better understanding of who is using your gym, at what times, and any abnormal patterns that occur. 

Having a system in place for your gym helps with everything from security to membership, to maintenance, to keeping costs down. 


What are the benefits of Gym Access Control?

Understanding how an access control system can benefit your gym or fitness centre is half the battle. So with that in mind, we have compiled a few different benefits that gym owners will get when installing access control for their gym.

These are just some of the broad examples, each system will have its own features, benefits, and usages. We have broken it down into three core categories; Security, General, and Member benefits.

Gym Access Control Security Benefits 

Stop Gym Fraud - unfortunately, this happens more than you think, members give someone else access to your gym, this can happen in a few different ways. Regardless of how it happens, this is fraud and costs your business money. Installing an access control system will all but eliminate this issue.

Limit External Access - a lot of gyms have changing rooms or lockers available for members to store their valuables or clothes while they work out, but this can create additional risk. Removing the ability for anyone to walk in off the street will keep these areas and your members safer.

Keep Areas Secure - being able to keep different areas of your gym secure adds to the overall security of your site. This could be from lockers to staff areas, to cleaning cupboards, and so on, meaning you can control who can access certain areas.

Gym Access Control General Benefits

Safer in Emergencies - using an access control system in your gym normally gives you the ability to know who is in the gym, this can be instrumental in an emergency. Knowing you have ‘x’ amount of people if there is a fire or a security threat will help your gym become safer.

Guest Admission - if your gym has guest passes or trial offers then you can easily set up a person’s access to be limited, be that a day-pass or short-term access. This has a host of benefits and uses.

Better Understanding of Your Members - whether it’s knowing when the gym is busy, when it’s quiet, how often members are using the gym, or when to clean/staff the gym; a Gym Access Control system gives you the bigger picture of your gym.

Gym Access Control Member Benefits

24-Hour Access - utilising a reliable access control system will allow you to offer extended hours to your members. We have seen a lot of gyms in the past decade move to the 24-hour model or limited staffing hours. 

Flexibility - being able to control who comes in and out of the gym at any time grants the benefit of flexibility for your members. They will no longer be restricted by the hours you are open nor have to work out at the busiest periods.

Higher Perceived Value - having an access control system in place may help you keep members or even obtain new members. With a highly saturated market, most people have options for their gym membership so giving extra value is a good way to differentiate


Gym Access Control Summary 

Ensuring your gym or fitness club is secure and easily accessible to your members is often an overlooked factor that is instrumental in running a successful operation. Not only does it benefit you, but it helps your members too.

Despite this, implementing the wrong type of access control for your gym could be detrimental, so it’s important to understand what is right for your size, members, and demographics. 

To help with the adoption of new access control systems, make sure you have a member of staff nearby to alleviate any teething problems members may have at the start. 

This way you can help them with ease, this shouldn’t be a big issue with most gyms as the reception/office is often next to the entrance.

There is no one size fits all for Gym Access Control and the systems you need will require a little research but will pay off in the long run.

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