Almost any access control system can be used at gyms for physical security. However, 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. Common setups include turnstile and barrier systems, keyfobs and access cards systems, and keypads or readers with typed passcodes.
Physical security barriers like turnstiles are still used in some gyms, but they're becoming antiquated. Now, they’re being replaced with modern, electronic access control, a sign that gym businesses are focusing more on customer service. Using a modern access control solution lets gyms take care of security while allowing members to feel safe, plus they provide a hassle-free check-in experience.
Regardless of the door entry system that you opt for, it should make accessing the space simple and reliable for members. Certain types of systems can simplify the lives of staff —especially those working at the front desk. Access control can also be integrated with your member directory for easy check-in of members, guests, and deliveries, and it can help you manage shift work for employees as well. 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 owners and managers drastically improve the services they offer by providing insights on 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.
Simple tripod turnstiles and full-height turnstiles
These 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. It’s true that full-height turnstiles and speed gates can 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 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.
The advantage of interlocking doors is that they can create an airlock between the reception area and the fitness area to control the number of people that get into each space. However, gym members may not be great fans of the double-door system because they’ll need to wait rather than freely moving around the gym’s different areas.
Gym door entry systems must be hassle-free and reliable at the same time.
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 beware they can be exchanged between members and are not personally identifiable. On the other hand, proximity or Bluetooth access cards can incorporate data that allows for the gym staff to control a number of elements and run a personal file for each user. Access cards are some of the best options for gyms, as they are affordable and versatile, making them work well in 24-hour gym systems. Fobs, on the other hand, should be avoided.
Gym membership card systems are, in fact, some of the more popular in the market for this reason. With the link below, you can take a look at how access control can make your life as a gym owner or operations manager much easier.
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 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 that a member has paid for. With the possibility to store a generous amount of information, less 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.
Moreover, mobile access solutions like Kisi support also Apple Watch unlocks, which can be extremely convenient especially to members that may not want to reach for their phone or key card in their bag. Users can just open the app when approaching the entrance, and tap on the door for it to open, an experience that would set the business apart from their competitors.
24-hour cloud-based access control
Cloud access provides an advanced level of physical security for fitness facilities. Some of the above door entry systems–for instance, access cards–can be integrated into an electronic access control system within the cloud. This can even enable control of several fitness facilities at once for managing multiple locations. Gym staff can use the information stored on access cards to identify visitors, check payment details, and manage membership privileges. 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.
Why more and more gyms manage member access with Kisi
Kisi’s product is very popular in the fitness industry for its versatility and remote management functions. With Kisi, you can easily set up permissions for your gym members, limiting what time they can access the gym. You can also provide them with custom access cards, or even mobile access. In a world where low-touch and zero-touch technologies are quickly becoming the standard, Kisi's touchless access provides an even safer environment for staff and members.
The competitive advantage of Kisi lies in its ability to integrate with all of the tools you’re already using, like Glofox, Exercise.com, Gymflow, and G Suite, as well as specific hardware solutions like video surveillance cameras or thermal scanning devices.
If you are interested in better understanding how Kisi can help your gym, you can find more information here.