7 Key Skills A Gym Manager Needs

Key Skills of Successful Gym Managers

Developing gym manager skills is a vital component for those looking to work in a managerial role in the fitness industry.

In this article, we’ll cover how to be a successful gym manager by incorporating these 7 vital skills into your daily work life. 

The perfect way to develop these skills and gain vital fitness industry certification is with a specialist qualification such as our Advanced Sports Nutrition CourseDownload our FREE Prospectus for further information on our courses!

7 Key Skills A Gym Manager Needs 

#1 - Solving Problems Is a Crucial Part of Being a Good Gym Manager

Health and fitness is a rapidly growing industry, meaning that those working in it are likely to encounter many changes throughout the course of their career.

Therefore, one of the skills a gym manager needs to develop is the ability to resolve any issues that may arise within your work environment, as a result of these unpredictable changes.

Being able to put strategies in place to deal with large-scale problems (such as prolonged closure or financial impact) is one of the most important gym manager skills to have.

Solving these issues may include creating contingency plans for your gym.  These are designed to manage risk and handle particular catastrophic problems that could, but are unlikely to, arise. 

The gym manager roles and responsibilities mean you’ll need to be able to handle day-to-day operational problems, as well as bigger strategic ones.

This could include issues such as:

  • Broken pieces of equipment
  • Gym facilities need repair
  • Being short-staffed on a busy day

A gym manager, therefore, needs to have the right attitude for resolving problems swiftly and efficiently. 

This is a skill that will naturally develop as you gain experience within the fitness industry. For example, prior to becoming a gym manager you may want to become a personal trainer, a role which will require you to help clients on an individual basis.

Learning how to tackle specific issues your PT clients face will provide you with beneficial knowledge, which can then be built upon in order to determine how to assist multiple gym customers at once.

#2 - Good Gym Managers Have Exceptionally Strong Communication Skills

When it comes to gym manager skills, ensuring you communicate in an efficient manner with both customers and fellow employees will only benefit your career in the long run.


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Why Is Good Communication Important With Your Gym Customers?

Business experts at Forbes suggest that it costs 5 times more to attract new members than to retain your existing ones. If you struggle with client retention rates for your personal trainers, for instance, it can be extremely costly to your business. 

To avoid this, you must ensure to frequently communicate with existing members in order to develop a relationship with them. If customers believe that you care about their needs and wellbeing, they are more likely to invest more time and money into your business. 

In order to learn how to be a successful gym manager, you can develop your communication skills through market research.

One way you could do this is by bypassing surveys out to members of your gym. This can provide you with useful information such as:

  • What they like about your service 
  • What they think could be improved 
  • How they preferred to be contacted 

Following this, you can then communicate with the customers in a manner which will be most effective for them specifically. 

By amending things that customers had negative comments about, you can ensure these instances don’t occur again. An example of this could involve a messy gym floor, which inconveniences your staff and your customers. 

You must use your communication skills to assure the customer that this issue will be resolved, before devising an effective solution. This could involve putting up signs around the gym that remind other customers to:

  • Wipe down equipment 
  • Put equipment back in the correct place
  • Clean mats when used 

However, you can also use this feedback to build on the positive aspects of your business - For example, if the majority of customers enjoy a specific workout class then you can run it more frequently, whilst promoting it in a manner that will reach your target audience.

This market research will help you to build a loyal client base, which in-turn can lead to further growth through recommendations and referrals. This is because satisfied customers are more likely to make recommendations to friends and family. 

Therefore, we can say that communicating with existing customers can both save you money, whilst also attracting new customers to your business.

Good Communication Is Vital Between Your Gym Employees

When considering the top skills needed as a gym manager, maintaining a good line of communication with your employees is crucial, as it ensures that everyone will be able to work effectively as a team.

Knowing exactly what their role is, how they are performing, and what is happening within the business helps employees to feel appreciated and valued within their role. Helping employees to feel valued and appreciated should start with:

  • Knowing what their role is
  • Being aware of their performance
  • Complete understanding of how the business is performing

In doing so, you will increase motivation levels among the staff, ensuring they provide a high-quality service that will assist in member retention.

One of the skills a gym manager needs is to be able to maintain good, or improve struggling communication with staff. To do this, you should ensure that staff knows exactly what is expected of them within the company. 

If employees have a strong understanding of expectations, and know what they need to do to get there, they are much more likely to keep hitting the targets set.

A great way to monitor this is through performance reviews, which provide a sense of motivation to staff by discussing what went well, whilst advising them on how they could improve in their role.

In terms of your own personal gym manager skills, to improve communication within your team you should focus on areas such as:

  • Open body language
  • Using a positive and respectful, yet assertive tone of voice
  • Actively listening to your staff members concerns and issues 
  • Empathising with others and taking their feelings into consideration before acting or making a decision
  • Speaking and acting with clarity and confidence

In order to learn how to be a good gym manager, you must ensure to develop your communication skills by actively talking and listening to staff members. In doing so, you can create a positive working environment that allows both employees and customers to thrive.

#3 - Being A Successful Gym Manager Means You Need To Know How to Budget 

Learning how to be a successful gym manager can require you to learn how to increase gym revenue, alongside managing finances and budgets. 

For clarity, whilst profit is not the only indicator of success, it is certainly an important factor in keeping a business running. 

Therefore, as a gym manager, you must learn to develop your budget management skills to ensure that the businesses spending is not higher than the revenue generated. 

Some of the expenses that you can expect to encounter in your role as gym manager include: 

  • Employees salary 
  • Promotional material 
  • Machine repairs

Good Gym Budget Management Involves Reviewing KPIs

As one of the most important skills of a gym manager, you can learn about budgeting through a business’ KPI (key performance indicator). 

These offer feedback on the overall condition of your business through statistical figures. Some key KPIs that you should be tracking as a gym manager include:

  • Gym social media metrics
  • Return on investment
  • Sales revenue and revenue per session
  • Gross and net profit margins
  • Employee retention rates

Being made aware of these figures can help you to keep track of your earnings and spendings, in order to see areas in which you may over or under-spend. 

As a result of this, you can begin to implement changes within your business and set future targets that help the gym expand.

For example, off the back of your KPI, you could decide to increase the budget of your promotional material, in order to reach more customers that may be interested in joining the gym.

For examples of ways in which you can advertise, please refer to our YouTube video below:

But how can I become a successful gym manager by improving my budget management skills?

Learning how to budget and understand KPIs will take time, and isn’t something you will automatically be good at overnight. However, gaining prior experience within the fitness industry will prove valuable for this role.

For example, if you make money as a personal trainer by going freelance, this role would require you to budget for your own business, prior to taking on the role of a gym manager.

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If you’re enjoying learning all about the necessary gym manager skills then these other OriGym articles may be of interest to you:

#4 - Strong Organisation Skills Can Help You to Become a Successful Gym Manager 

As far as skills of a gym manager go, ensuring that you are highly organised is of vital importance. This is due to the fact that when operating in the role you are responsible for every aspect of the business, and must therefore make it your primary goal to ensure things run efficiently.

There are several different examples of why organisation is regarded as a vital gym manager skill, some of which we have already discussed within this list:


Develop Your Expertise With Our Level 4 Courses!

With our Sports Nutrition Course, you can develop your health & fitness skills to give clients the best experience using your services!

Why Is Maintaining An Organised Schedule An Important Gym Manager Skill To Develop?

To keep your gym running efficiently at all hours, it’s important that you are organised with staff rotas. 

This involves ensuring that rotas are created far enough in advance to deal with any issues that arise before the day of the shift, such as certain staff members needing to swap due to personal commitments. 

Take this job advertisement from Reed as a great example of how this might look:

Furthermore, you also need to track how many hours each staff member has worked within the week to ensure that it meets the requirements of their contract. 

Ensuring that your schedule is organised can also benefit your customers too, as they too will require information such when a popular fitness class is available. 

In this instance, you should take into account the most popular hours for classes, such as evenings and weekends, as well as the availability of staff members.

How To Improve Your Organisational Gym Manager Skills

To improve fitness manager skills such as organisation, we would recommend using gym management software. 

These programmes can group several tasks into one place, and allows gym managers to run the business in a more efficient and organised manner. 

Never again will you have to keep track of important documents across a variety of platforms, and can instead have all the information relating to customers and employees in one place.

It also helps to streamline operations and processes, leaving you more time to work on the things that really matter, such as customer experience.

#5 - Upholding Customer Service Standards Is An Integral Part Of Being A Good Gym Manager

Another example of gym manager skills that are crucial for maintaining a successful business is being able to uphold excellent customer service standards.

As a manager, you should be setting standards for other staff members to follow, in order to ensure that customers receive the best experience possible whilst in your establishment. Failure to do so could result in negative reviews and damage the gym brand's reputation.  

As well as losing loyal customers, word of mouth could spread, meaning that you may find it hard to attract new customers leaving you with a bad reputation and a loss of revenue.

To avoid this from occurring, you must be willing to listen and handle complaints as and when they arise. 

For instance, if a complaint is escalated to management, it’s important to remain calm, composed, and listen to the customer. Following this you must reassure the customer that their issue will be resolved before implementing a strategy to fix the problem.

Learning how to be a good gym manager takes time and this skill is not something you will develop overnight. 

In fact, it can be argued that this particular skill is an amalgamation of this entire list.

For example, you will need sharp communication skills to listen to the customers feedback, before effectively demonstrating leadership to ensure that the team can implement resolutions. 

#6 - Demonstrating Leadership Qualities To Your Team Members

As arguably one of the most important gym manager skills to feature within our list, demonstrating leadership will be a vital component in learning how to be a good gym manager.

Since ‘leadership’ is a broad term and incorporates a variety of qualities and responsibilities, we’ve broken down some situations in which you would need to display this gym manager skill when operating in the role.

Delegation Is One Of The Key Leadership Skills A Gym Manager Needs

The role of a gym manager will require you to oversee a variety of responsibilities including delegating roles to employees. 

This ensures that everyone has a task to complete in order to ensure that gym operations run smoothly, which includes:

  • Supervising the gym floor
  • Running classes
  • Ensuring that equipment and facilities remain clean at all times

One way in which you could do this is through the creation of rotas for every gym employee. This responsibility is clearly depicted in the screenshot provided below from the job analysis website Prospectus:

This rota can and should change on a daily or weekly basis in order to ensure that no one feels they are being singled out, by constantly being given a responsibility that may be tougher than others. 

Therefore, through the creation of a rota you can delegate roles that are interchangeable, allowing each employee to gain experience doing other job roles.

Find out more about hiring employees as a gym manager with our article '7 Key Tips on Hiring a Personal Trainer for Your Business'.


Develop Your Expertise With Our Level 4 Courses!

With our Sports Nutrition Course, you can develop your health & fitness skills to give clients the best experience using your services!

Leading By Example Is A Crucial Fitness Manager Skill

If you’re part of a team, it’s nice to know that you’ve got a strong figure leading you in the right direction. That’s why leading by example is one of the skills a gym manager needs to ensure the business is run successfully. 

An example of how you can lead by example as a gym manager could be to make sure that your team is always on the right page, working towards the same goals with a positive attitude.

One way you could ensure this occurs is through regular meetings with your team to discuss how they are finding work, and whether they’re struggling with anything in particular. 

By keeping an open dialogue with your team, you can ensure that each one of them feels appreciated, knowing that their hard work is being appreciated.

Ways to Improve Your Fitness Manager Leadership Skills

One way in which you can develop your leadership skills is to assess your own performance just as you would other staff members. 

This can be done through a similar performance review, in which you will ask yourself how you’re currently doing and what you think can be built upon. 

Be as honest as possible during this process, as this will produce the most effective results. 

You can also set yourself goals for future success, such as to create an efficient rota, or to conduct more one-to-one meetings in order to discuss with staff members. In doing so, you can begin to work towards goals that will improve your performance.

#7 - Learning How To Be a Successful Gym Manager Requires Evaluation Skills

Being a gym manager requires you to be aware of what’s going well (and not so well) within the business. This could include aspects such as:

  • Sales
  • Customer retention rates 
  • How many referrals you receive every month 

Being able to evaluate the strong points of your business ensures that you know what strategies to keep in place, so that you can continue to build upon aspects that existing customers seem to enjoy.

Sharing what’s going well with employees could also be great motivation for them, too, particularly as it allows them to fully see where their hard work is taking them and, by extension, the business.

However, it’s just as crucial to be able to identify what could be done better. For instance, this could include:

  • Customer service
  • How the gym operates
  • How to increase revenue
  • Reducing costs

Evaluating these areas regularly will allow the business, its employees, to operate more efficiently, to offer a better experience for members.

Improving Your Evaluative Gym Manager Skills 

A good way of evaluating the success of your gym is to directly contact your members, and ask them to fill in a survey. Receiving this feedback will allow you to determine customer satisfaction levels, providing you insight on how you can improve your facilities. 

As we’ve already discussed, you should also conduct regular performance reviews to evaluate staff roles and performance.

Finally, if you have or are considering investing in gym management software, you can use the analytics and insights provided by the programme to evaluate your business performance. 

Alongside using your own evaluative fitness manager skills, gym management software will provide data to help you make informed decisions on changes to make, and strategies to put into place.


Before You Go!

This collection of gym manager skills should give you an idea of exactly how you should perform when operating within this leadership role. 

Whether you’re an experienced manager or are applying for a new role, knowing what skills are needed for this position will allow you to ensure the business operates successfully while maintaining a positive relationship with customers and staff members alike. 

Remember, the best way to develop your skills & expertise is through specialist fitness courses, starting with our Sports Nutrition CourseEnquire today and download the FREE Prospectus to learn more about our courses.

Written by Rebecca Felton

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Graduating from the University of Liverpool with a first-class degree in English, Rebecca’s combined passions for fitness and writing are what brought her to OriGym. Rebecca is a keen gym-goer and specifically enjoys lifting weights. Outside of fitness and writing, Rebecca enjoys cooking, reading, and watching the football.

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