Access control | Fitness and wellness

Best door entry system options for gyms

Explore the different options for door entry systems at gyms and fitness facilities. Discover which options allow 24/7 access to increase revenue.

7 min reading time

Gym Door Entry System Options

Updated on July 17, 2023

Written by Bernhard Mehl

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Almost any type of access control system can be used at gyms to enhance physical security. Still, door entry systems at gyms and fitness facilities need to be simple enough to allow for a frequent flow of visitors so staff can focus on customer service without spending too much time monitoring who goes in and out of the facility.

The traditional common setups include turnstile and barrier systems, keyfobs and access card systems, and keypads or readers with typed passcodes. Some physical security barriers, like turnstiles, are still used in some gyms, but they're becoming outdated.

To keep up with the competition, automate processes, and attract more members, modern gyms implement cloud-based access control. Using a modern access control solution lets gyms take care of security and increase revenues while boosting member satisfaction by allowing an improved, hassle-free check-in experience.

The importance of choosing the right type of door entry system for your gym

Regardless of the door entry system you opt for, it should make accessing the space simple and reliable for members. Certain types of systems can simplify the work or eliminate the need for staff —especially those working at the front desk.

Having your access system take care of most of the admin enables you to extend your working hours or even consider enabling a 24/7 automated gym experience.

Integrate access control solutions like Kisi with your fitness software to automate member provisioning and ensure that only paying members can enter your gym. You can also add tiered memberships to boost revenue and automate granting specific access permissions for different membership levels. The advanced scheduling options will increase security and help you manage shift work for employees and better organize classes.

Modern access control also allows gym owners or admins to make sense of how their spaces are used with real-time logs and reporting on member patterns, unlocks, and scheduled door timers. This data can help you drastically improve space utilization and services by providing insights into member habits. In turn, you’ll be able to create the most profitable discounted offers and promotional packages and invest in the most lucrative gym areas.

Keep your fitness space secure and operational 24/7

Enhance security, reduce operational costs, and discover new revenue streams with cloud-based access control.

Types of fitness door entry systems

Simple tripod turnstiles and full-height turnstiles

Turnstiles are mobile physical barriers that prevent visitors from unauthorized entry but generally still require a staff member to oversee what’s going on at the entrance and to advise people on their membership duration, fees, and gym packages.

Full-height turnstiles and speed gates can indeed incorporate ID access card readers to refuse entry to non-paying members, and gym admins won’t need to buzz visitors in. However, turnstiles can be visually unpleasant and are certainly not a modern solution.

Speed gates‍

Speed gates are a bit more reliable than a turnstile system because they can be integrated with an electronic access control solution, mark non-payers, and work on set schedules.

Interlocking doors

The advantage of interlocking doors is that they can create an airlock between the reception and fitness area to control the number of people entering each space. However, gym members may not be great fans of the double-door system because they’ll need to wait rather than freely move around the gym’s different areas.

An image showing a few people exercising in a gym
Gym door entry systems must be hassle-free and reliable at the same time.

Barcode readers‍

Barcodes are a popular, affordable entry system option for gyms. The system works through a barcode placed on a member’s card that’s recognized by a door or wall-mounted reader at the gym entrance. The downside of barcode readers is that they cannot include as much information on cards as proximity and magstripe cards.

Key fobs and gym membership cards

Fobs and gym membership cards are used on electric strike and magnetic lock doors. Key fobs are an inexpensive option for fitness facilities, but you should consider avoiding them. They are not personally identifiable and can be exchanged between members.

On the other hand, proximity or Bluetooth access cards can incorporate data that allows the gym staff to control a number of elements and run a personal file for each user. Access cards are the better options for gyms, as they are affordable and versatile, making them work well in 24-hour gym systems.

Key fob systems for gyms
Although the majority of our customers prefer mobile access, Kisi also offers encrypted key fobs and key cards that can be customized to your own branded design.

Keypad readers

Unless they include a time-limited passcode, keypad readers are a low-level physical security option for gyms, as anyone can type in the code and get into the gym facility. Even if time restrictions are activated, credential sharing is still very likely to happen.

Mobile-based access

Mobile phones with an access control app are great for quick changes to gym memberships, issuing time-limited passcodes for keypad readers, and providing easy access to the areas and equipment a member has paid for.

With the possibility to integrate with other fitness software, store a generous amount of information, a low likelihood of being stolen, and always being in the user’s hands, smartphones surpass many of the capabilities of the weaker door entry systems listed above.

Mobile Access for Fitness Facilities

Moreover, mobile access solutions like Kisi also support Apple Watch unlocks, which can be extremely convenient for members. They won’t have to reach for their phone or key card in their bag but just open the Kisi app when approaching the entrance and tap on the door to unlock. Your members will enjoy the experience of unlocking doors with their go-to fitness device, setting your gym apart from the competitors.

Apple Watch for Keyless Fitness Access

Increase profits with 24-hour cloud-based access control‍

Cloud access provides an advanced level of physical security for fitness facilities. If you already have a legacy door entry in place, you can swiftly migrate to the cloud with Kisi. You can even keep most of your hardware while benefiting from the mobile functionality.

Gym staff can use the information stored on access cards to identify visitors, check payment details, and manage membership privileges. Integrate with other fitness software, to save hours of admin or experiment with unmanned 24/7 gym access. Cloud-based access systems enable you to remotely control and manage several fitness facilities at multiple locations.

Additionally, by using a member’s smartphone as an access tool, gyms can save on the unnecessary costs associated with issuing cards and fobs that often get lost or stolen.

An image showing a person using Kisi's mobile entry system in a gym

Seamlessly manage fitness member access with Kisi

Fitness industry experts implement Kisi because it’s future-proof, versatile, and offers endless functionalities, like remote management, mobile access, and automated group-based access schedules.

With Kisi, you can easily set up permissions for your gym members, limiting what time they can access the gym and the places they’re allowed to access. You can also integrate your existing system and keep using the old credentials, like fobs and cards, and complement them with mobile access.

In a world where contactless, cloud-based technologies are quickly becoming the standard, Kisi’s touchless access provides an even safer environment for staff and members.

yoga model

The competitive advantage of Kisi lies in its ability to integrate with all of the tools you’re already using, like Glofox,, Gymflow, and G Suite, as well as specific hardware solutions like video surveillance cameras or thermal scanning devices.

Contact our team to get a demo and discover how quickly you can start benefiting from Kisi.

Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.

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