Whether you’re already in the fitness sector looking to progress your fitness career or your considering getting involved with the sector straight in at management level, this guide is for you!
We will break down all the management roles within gyms, how gyms management tiers differ from brand to brand, and the affiliated gym manager salary for each role!
You will then be able to visualise the ideal career path for you and know how much each company pays and see if it’s the right fit for you.
Sound good? - Let’s jump right in….
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Fitness Management Roles within Gyms
There are dozens of different roles within fitness management hierarchy, including cluster mangers, group fitness co-ordinators and operations mangers to name just a few. All of which come with different fitness manager salaries, responsibilities and functions within gyms.
The management tiers differ depending on what aspect of the market that brand is geared towards.
The best way to see what sports and fitness management salary you will earn is to break down the industry into four groups:
- The Budget Gym market
- The middle tier Gym Market
- The High-End Gyms
Then break down the company’s management roles and what health club manager salary comes with each role.
Let’s start with the budget gyms market…..
DISCLAIMER: Statistics pertaining to gym manager salaries used within this article have been sourced via a combination of job listings on sites such as Indeed, Glassdoor and Leisurejobs over a 6 month period and supplemented by salaries indicated on companies personal job boards. The numbers have been averaged out and should be taken as indicators as opposed to absolute. Please contact the respective gym chains for definitive numbers as structures change constantly.
What is the Gym manager salary for Budget Gyms?
They usually have one or two assistant managers and then an overall club manager. All the rest of the staff are personal trainers who maintain their facilities and running of day to day responsibilities. This is because they are very streamlined gyms in order to offer such low monthly gym fees. They are not burdened with receptionists, sales managers or even fitness manager salaries to facilitate the operations of their gym chains.
We have reviewed hundreds of job adverts from numerous companies to establish their average gym manager salaries from the last 3 months and broken them donw company by company:
- Pure Gym Assistant Manager Salary – 18K-19K outside of London and 21-22K in London
- Pure Gym Manager Salary – 28- 29K 19K outside of London and 31K-32K in London
- The Gym Assistant Manager Salary - 19K-20K outside of London and 21-22K in London
- The Gym Group General Manager Salary – 32K -33K outside of London and 35-36K in London
JD Gyms Assistant Manager Salary – 19-20k outside of London and 21-22k in London
JD Gyms General Manager Salary – 27-28K outside of London and 28-30K in London
Routes to Progression within the 24-Hour Market Gyms
Even though there are only one or two assistant managers and one General manager compared to some of the companies we will address later in this article, the route to progression is actually very promising.
Due to the enormous market share and volume of clubs that Pure Gym and The Gym Group have in particular, the opportunity for available roles to progress is quite high. Meaning, if you’re a PT at one of these sites already, you would not need to wait long or potentially travel that far for the option of becoming a gym assistant manager or general manager.
What is the Fitness Manager Salary & Club Manager Salary at Mid-Tier Gyms?
The reason I personally call these mid-tier gyms is based off their memberships fees, size of the companies within the UK market and their company structure.
Here is what I mean…..
Unlike budget gyms, where most of the gyms are structured on laser thin numbers of employees to fulfil the gym’s services. Mid-tier gyms like Sports Direct Fitness, Everlast Fitness and DW Fitness First have extra tiers of staff and therefore an increased management hierarchy within individual clubs. Here is how a typical club’s management structure can look within mid-tier gyms:
Here is a breakdown of some of the biggest gyms in the mid-tier section by fitness centre manager salary:
- DW Fitness First Fitness Manager Salary – 18-19K outside of London and 21-22k in London
- DW Fitness First Assistant Manager Salary – 19K-20K outside of London and 21-22k in London
- DW Fitness First Club Manager Salary – 27-28K outside of London and 28-30k in London
- Sports Direct Fitness Manager Salary – 19-20K outside of London and 21-22k in London
- Sports Direct Assistant Manager Salary – 19-20K outside of London and 21-22k in London
- Sports Direct Club Manager Salary – 26-27K outside of London and 28-29k in London
- Virgin Active Fitness Manager Salary - N/A
- Virgin Active Assistant Manager Salary – 27-28K outside of London and 28-30k in London
- Virgin Active Club Manager Salary –30K -32K outside of London and 33K-34k in London
Routes to Progression within mid-tiered gyms
These extra roles within management infrastructure can allow you to progress into a management-based position within your local club far easier than if you worked within a budget-based gym.
Additionally, switching between management roles within clubs is viable, for example switching from front of house manager to operations manager or fitness manager (this can be subject to interview). Normally, companies such as these have HR policies to give existing staff preference for roles pertaining to either transferring from club to club or role to role as long as it’s on the same level of management hierarchy. Please check with your companies HR department first though.
High-Tiered Gym Fitness Management Salary
Gyms that operate within this segment of the market are Nuffield health, David Lloyds, and private sporting complexes. These gyms have large numbers of on-site staff members including sports coaches, lifeguards, bar and concierge staff, on-site accounts, finance, operations and admin.
These types of gyms can have up to 70 employees at one site, which by contrast at a typical budget gym you will find around 15 staff members.
This increases the number of available options to becoming a gym manager and you can find additional roles on top of the ones listed previously for the mid tiered gyms such as:
- Member experience manager
- Racquet Manger
- Duty Managers
- Wellbeing Manager
- Customer Service Manager
- Food & Beverage Manager
- Swimming co-ordinator
- Health & Safety Manager
The role availability of some of these managerial positions varies from location to location, normally based off their facilities or size of that individual club.
The assistant manager and general manager salary is higher at these types of clubs as there are far more aspects to the business and staff to manage.
Take a look at the fitness management salary breakdown for David Lloyds and Nuffield Health here:
- David Lloyds Fitness Manager – 20k - 21k outside of London and 21-22k in London
- David Lloyds Assistant Gym Manager – 28k – 30K outside of London and 30-32K in London
- David Lloyds General Manager – 40-45k outside of London and 45-48K in London
- Nuffield Health Fitness Manager Salary - 19k - 20k outside of London and 20k -21k in London
- Nuffield Health Assistant Manager Salary - 27k - 28k outside of London and 28k -29k in London
- Nuffield Health Club Manager Salary - 39k - 41k outside of London and 41k -43k in London
Routes to Progression
Becoming a gym manager at one of these style companies is not considered equivalent to a club manager at a budget gym. Not just is the gym manager salary higher, but as there are more components to oversee and far more staff, it is widely considered a “promotion” to move from a GM role within a 24-hour gym to managing a high tiered gym.
Additionally, as there are far more managerial based positions found at these clubs than at other gym brands, the opportunity to move up the ladder within a set club is greater. One aspect to consider though is that clubs of this nature are fare fewer than the sheer volume of gyms within the budget market, thus competition can be rife from external sources for these higher paid roles.
Bonus Structures & How this links to Gym Manager’s Responsibilities
The fitness and health club manager salaries also come with some extra performance-based incentives. For most, not all management-based roles, there are financial rewards and sometimes physical prizes for exceling within your position which can affect your sport and fitness management salary.
Cluster or Regional Manager Salary Bonus Structure & Duties
Regional Gym managers and clusters managers are very similar to GM’s in many ways. The major difference being that they are responsible for the performance of multiple clubs within their jurisdiction. Depending on the brand, that can range from just 4 gyms through to 20 gyms. The day to day responsibilities of a regional manager is:
- To monitor and improve the performance of gyms under their umbrella
- Recruiting and disciplinary of managerial based positions
- Hit targets set for their entire region for both primary and secondary spend
- Ensure GMs and AGMs hit their compliance and health and safety targets
- Reviewing and reporting on group P & L, budgets and expenditure
- Implementing new sales, fitness and marketing initiatives to GMs
- Conducting manager meetings to drive performance
Regional or cluster manager bonus structures are based off the club’s combined club’s sales performance. These bonuses are paid quarterly and can range from £1,500 to £2,500 depending on the company and your success. Sometimes the bonuses’ at this level are percentages of gross profit, but equally can be just flat fees.
General Manager Salary Bonus Structure & Duties
A gym manager’s role spans the entire metrics of the day to day running and profitability of the individual gym branch. This includes:
- managing budgets
- setting targets and KPIs
- Performance Management reviews
- Compliance across the business
- keeping statistical and financial records
- Oversee in club Marketing and operations
- Driving sales and secondary revenue streams
The most important aspect within a club manager’s targets however is sales. Sales are what drives a business forward and thus the bonus scheme affiliated. This influences the club manager’s salary, which tend to be based off membership fees as its the primary income source. Some institutions pay monthly bonuses, yet there normally quarterly based with an average bonus of around £1,500 for hitting your quarterly target. Please note, that bonuses for general managers tend to be subject to terms and conditions such as having a score of 80% for compliance, health and safety or contributing of multiple facets for you to be eligible.
Assistant Gym Manager Salary Bonus Structure & Duties
Assistant manager’s roles vary quite a bit from brand to brand. This is due to the varying management hierarchy we have seen earlier, which leads to some assistant gym managers having more or less responsibility per brand. In addition, as eluded to earlier, if the club has more than one assistant manager, this is normally due to segmenting of the role into one being more sales performance driven and another being more operational driven. To give you an indication though here is the list of potential responsibilities of an assistant gym manager you may find:
- To supervise staff and running of the Department in the absence of management
- Oversee fitness staff rotas and schedules
- Help manage and implement the company processes, ethos and structure
- Review and report customer attrition, retention and satisfaction within the club
- Assess allocated department revenue and mange KPIs of relevant staff members
- To assist the Manager in hitting club objectives, hitting sales targets and rolling out new fitness concepts
- Reviewing the P & L for areas of strength and weakness within the club manager to strategize improvements
- You may be asked to deliver some PT or class delivery, especially if there is a shortage of available trainers
- Hit compliance, health and safety and legislative targets in coherence with the club manager.
- Conduct daily, weekly and monthly set-ups with relevant team members and contribute towards monthly manager meetings.
Gym Assistant managers salary bonuses are either paid monthly or quarterly and ranges tend to be an average of £250 per month or £750 per quarter.
Some gyms do not offer incentives for assistant managers at all, which wold be an aspect you need to address at interview.
Fitness Manager Salary Bonus Structure & Duties
When thinking "how to become a fitness manager", you really want to fully understand the fitness manager salary bonus scheme in place as this can really affect your annual income.
You will be expected to run the fitness department for the gym and the major fitness manager responsibilities include:
- Recruiting of new trainers
- Mentor and guide new trainers towards their KPI targets
- Drive financial targets and club member retention
- hit customer experience targets
- maintaining the gym floor for cleanliness and equipment
- Creating and implementing innovative ways to increase member engagement
- Ensuring compliance, admin and health and safety
These roles also have bonus schemes that allows them to potentially increase their earnings from their basic fitness manager salary based off financial revenue. Your financial revenue target is normally determined by the augmented targets of all your PTs working under your supervision.
For example, let’s say you’re the Fitness Manager at a Virgin Active club and you have 10 trainers under your management and your target is 20K. This target will be broken down trainer by trainer for the total amount of PT revenue they need to generate in order for you to hit your target.
This means you’re judged by their performance, which reflects not just on the quality of trainer that you hire, but also the support, guidance and training you impose to their success. A typical bonus can be £1000 per quarter in commission, but like most jobs in fitness, be aware of the other conditions embedded in your contract. Terms can state that you must get 80% of trainers to hit their monthly contribution or that you also need to hit secondary revenue streams like selling supplements, heart rate monitors or upsells to paid classes for example.
Higher Fitness Management Salaries and Roles to Progress your Career
Working for companies the size of Pure Gym, Nuffield Health or DW Fitness First provides further routes into fitness management.
Here we will look at what roles and fitness management salaries exist past working within a club as a club manager. These roles come with subsequent increases in gym manager salary and some roles are available at some companies and not at others.
If you have a long-term ambition or maybe got extensive managerial experience within other sectors these roles should be what you’re aiming for. See our graphic below for how these roles progress up the chain of command within a gym:
Here is a breakdown of a typical Gym Manager Salary Hierachy:
- Cluster Manager – 35-40k
- Regional Manager - 40-45k
- National Group Exercise Manager – 60K
- National Head of Product Development – 60k
- National Fitness Manager – 60k
- National Head of Operations – 60K
- National Head of Member Services – 60k
- Divisional Director – 80k
NOTE: As Chief Executive Officer's (CEOs) and legal directors are normally salaried and recieve dividends, the amount they earn can vary massively.
Some gym manager salaries (UK) are negotiable, especially the higher up the ladder you progress or directly apply for. This is because there are far fewer roles within the organisation for club, cluster and regionals managers, thus companies are more focused on getting the right person for the role and often willing to manipulate their financial structure if they feel its necessary to getting the right person to drive their business forward.
PRO TIP: If you see a club manager role advertised with a basic of 30-32k and they ask for your gym manager salary expectations. State the higher end of their spectrum without going over it to try and get the best possible financial output for you. The gym can then either accept that value if they deem your services are worth it or negotiate with you to the lower end of their financial range.
Qualifications Needed to Become a Fitness or Gym Manager
Within certain companies and job roles, specific qualifications are required in order for you to be applicable for them. See below as we break down the qualifications needed or desired by major gym operators:
Fitness Manager Qualifications
If you’re looking to become a fitness manager, you must hold an accredited Level 2 and Level 3 personal training diploma in the exact same way that you would as a recreational PT. This is the only mandatory qualification in order to progress into this type of position across all companies. As with some personal training roles, qualifications in first aid at work would be preferred by many employers.
Most Fitness manager appointments tend to be from individuals progressing from a PT background into the managerial set-up. Frequently these appointments are made internally with an aspiring trainer who has demonstrated the potential and managerial skills sets required to excel in the role.
Assistant Club Manager
The requirements to become an assistant gym manager can differ from brand to brand. The gyms situated within the 24-hour market tend to want assistant managers that are qualified personal trainers as they have personal training obligations within their job descriptions as seen here from Love Recuitment hiring on behslf of a gym on Reed.co.uk:
Gyms with bigger club infrastructures per club at the top end of the market incline not to require personal training certification to apply for an assistant manager role. Qualifications in first aid at work maybe required, but often companies will negate this if they feel you’re the right candidate for the role.
When looking to become a club manager at the likes of Snap Fitness, Pure Gym or any other gym in the budget gym market it is “preferred” but not essential to have a qualification in personal training as seen here from an advert from Snap Fitness:
To become a health club manager at companies with larger clubs and structure, they tend not to be focused on whether you’re qualified as a personal trainer or not. They are far more interested in your qualifications within business, management, operations and sales. Qualifications that could aid your progression into club manager positions are:
- Degree in business management or equivalent
- Degree in sports management
- Degree in sales Management and leadership
One very crucial thing to remember when looking to become a gym manager is that there is no direct qualification requirement to this career path, just ones that may facilitate your progression. Gyms value experience, track records in sales, operations, leadership and management.
Read on to see the skills needed to for how to become an assistant gym manager or manager....
Fitness Manager, Assistant manager & Gym Manager Skills Needed to be Successful
Whether you want to become a fitness manager, group exercise manager or a club manager, the skills required are fundamentally the same across all forms of leisure management.
All gym managers skills revolve around the same criteria:
- Comprehend and know how to strategize to hit goals, targets and KPIs
- Plan and implement how to hit these goals
- Maximise staff motivation, time and they know their role within your plan
- Monitor the progress and adapt processes if needed
- Take action when you’re required to do so
This is why even though there are no pre-requisites per se to becoming an assistant gym manage or general manager, taking relative courses where you learn these skills and gain experience is crucial to your development.
Strategizing your Career in Gym Management
Whether you’re looking to get into the industry or already a PT and wanting to plan your future, one thing to bear in mind is your route progression.
Sticking with the same brand
Many aspiring club managers think the best route is to get in with one brand and then work their way up and eventually they will get recognised for promotions if they perform well.
This strategy can work, but only with the right gym chain as timing is everything.
For example, when both Pure Gym and The Gym Group started to explode into the market 10 years ago, this would be an ideal time to either be a personal trainer who is looking to move into a managerial based position.
The reason timing comes into play is that with the huge volumes of sites these brands are opening, comes with the need for creditable individuals to fulfil managerial based positions and at a fairly fast rate.
By contrast, if you are perhaps working as a PT at Virgin Active, who have sold numerous branches over the past few years or Xeercise4less or got bailed out of administration in recent times, the opportunity for progression is arguably far less.
This is why it is imperative before applying for a role to understand the company’s growth history and direction, as mindlessly sticking with the same brand hoping to be rewarded is sometimes naive.
The other obvious alternative is to manoeuvre between brands and progress up the fitness management hierarchy via company to company.
Here is an example of that flow:
This can be an effective method to accelerating your career in fitness and help you push towards those higher gym manager salaries. There is no harm in applying for other roles within different companies, but it is wise ensure you’re applying for a role above where you’re right now, otherwise it could feel like your proving yourself all over again.
This approach is useful when the company you’re with is potentially stagnating or had managerial changes that reduces the number of positions available for you to apply to. Additionally, you may see that a new and emerging gym chain is taking the market by storm, such as JD Gyms who are opening who are opening dozens of gyms at time of publishing this article.
One thing to remember with this method is to ensure you leave each respective company on good terms. Even though the fitness sector seems huge at times, it’s also very small from another perspective and you will find that key decision makers from one brand either liaise with other brands or move in between roles from one company to another, therefore leaving on rocky grounds could come back to haunt you in the future.
The Gym and Fitness manager salary can depend on the route you wish to go down and the aspect of the market you wish to work in. It’s a fun, engaging and rewarding career path as many jobs are within the fitness sector.
Get yourself on the start of your journey by qualifying as a personal trainer with OriGym’s CIMSPA accredited PT courses that are internationally recognised by all gym operators and health clubs or download our free course prospectus.
Become a Level 4 Qualified Master Trainer Expand your CV and enquire about our Level 4 master trainer courses
Become a Level 4 Qualified Master Trainer
Expand your CV and enquire about our Level 4 master trainer courses