How to Scale Your Gym Network Without Breaking a Sweat

22 August 2019

Operations | Other industries

Fitness is now big business. According to the IHRSA, the global health club market is worth a colossal $96.7 billion, with 184 million customers in the United States alone.

Increased demand for gyms and health clubs is great news for chains looking to scale their network, but in practice this isn’t always easy to achieve. The more sites you have, the more difficult it is to maintain high brand standards - and this can needlessly slow down your growth.

So we’re making it easy for you: read on for our top tips on removing the friction from operations and scaling at top speed.

Short on time? Watch this video blog summary instead!


Pay attention to what your members want

In the US, gym membership has grown from 32.8 million in 2000, to 64.2 million in 2019. The modern consumer is looking to invest in their health and wellbeing - and with that rising demand comes a rise in competition.

Gym-goers now have an overwhelming amount of choice, in terms of budget, location, facilities, classes… you name it, there’s a gym out there that caters for it.

This means that they can afford to be picky.

People spend a lot of their leisure time in the gym, so it has to be a pleasant environment. That means impeccable standards when it comes to health and safety, cleanliness, and maintenance.

A gym that falls short on any of these things will soon find their members running away to other chains.

Find an audit process that works and stick with it

Regular, thorough audits are indispensable to the proper running of a gym. Gyms can be dangerous environments if procedures aren't being followed to the letter, and regular maintenance checks should be carried out on equipment.

And as for cleanliness… there were over 6 billion visits to health clubs in 2019 in the US. That’s a lot of germs. Need we say more?

Audits also happen to be the most efficient and effective way to maintain those high brand standards and gain visibility into your network, especially for gyms that operate under a franchise agreement.

It’s so much easier for HQ to focus on growth when they can guarantee that every site knows what is expected of them and what will be monitored during each site visit.

The problem is that those visits are time-consuming, inefficient, and usually involve an unnecessary amount of paper forms and checklists.

Just like finding a workout regime that works best for you, it’s important to make sure that audits are optimized for your sites. Using a digitized audit tool, for example, saves area managers a lot of time and effort, leaving them with more time to pass on some wisdom to gym staff.

Make your day-to-day processes as agile as your trainers are

Gym staff are amongst the 80% of the global workforce that work in a deskless environment. They’re on their feet all day long, teaching classes or providing one-on-one training - all part of the active lifestyle that led them to the fitness industry in the first place!

When you have a mobile workforce like this, it just doesn’t make sense to stick with old-fashioned, manual processes in the day-to-day running of a gym.

A digitized workforce, on the other hand, much like area managers armed with a streamlined audit tool, are able to keep on top of things without having to rush to the back office every five minutes.

Create a sense of teamwork and collaboration

Diffusing information, sharing best practices and gaining visibility into your network is so much easier when communication is made simple.

Say for example there’s a new promotional offer in place for members. Rather than sending out reams of paper to each site and hoping they implement everything correctly, a digitized tool allows for straightforward communication and real-time insights into implementation. If anything is amiss, it can be fixed quickly with no fuss.

And it works both ways. If a gym employee spots a faulty machine, for example, or a site hasn’t received the right promotional materials to display, they can flag it up with HQ straight away. Because who has time to exchange a dozen unnecessary emails when they have back-to-back pilates classes all day?

Having a platform for two-way communication like this helps foster team spirit within your network, rather than sites feeling like they’re being dictated to from on high.

Staff need coaching, just like members do

Hardworking, disciplined, motivated - these are all hallmarks of a great gym employee. But even staff who come in ready to give it their all every single day need a bit of extra help sometimes.

We all know that to stay on top form physically, you have to train regularly. The same goes for your brain! Giving a new employee a day of training and then never doing it again is like doing one set of crunches and expecting to have developed a six pack.

To keep your teams’ minds as active as their bodies, provide them with regular, bite-sized chunks of manageable training - also known as microlearning.

This mental discipline will ensure your teams are ready for anything, and will boost that all-important customer experience.


With YOOBIC, gym chains can streamline their processes and maintain operational excellence across their growing network. To find out how, why not request a free demo below?