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The Ultimate Guide to Fitness Club Access Controls

The fitness landscape has shifted in response to the pandemic. Worldwide lockdowns gave millions no choice but to adapt their fitness regimes to fit into their home environments. Other people moved to socially-distanced outdoor areas. At the same time, many gyms and studios have been rethinking fitness club access.

At the height of the initial wave of Covid-19 lockdowns, many purchased gym equipment for home use. US sales for health and fitness equipment more than doubled at this time to $2.3 billion.

As the restrictions of the pandemic ease and the world returns to normal, many lockdown legacies endure. The trend for remote working is set to outlive the lockdowns. Therefore, experts predict that many will continue to carry out much of their fitness activities from home. 

It takes a significant investment to replicate the variety of equipment that a respectable fitness club can offer. That said, it is possible to find top-quality residential fitness equipment. You can combine this equipment to create an amazing home gym. 

Despite the lingering change in trends post-pandemic, businesses are back up and running. Many will inevitably prefer to get out of the house and return to a physical gym facility. To support that, fitness clubs will need to ensure that they are providing the very best in commercial fitness equipment.

Another critical consideration for fitness clubs as they welcome members back is enhanced safety and hygiene. They will need to focus on reducing the risks of viral transmission. 

Access control options

Touchless technologies are currently holding a clear advantage given their power to reduce the transmission of disease. That said, there are several fitness club access control solutions that deserve consideration. The right choice will be heavily dependent upon your club’s specific needs. 

Access cards

You can grant automatic access to anyone issued with an electronically programmed card. The authorized member can simply swipe their card, which syncs to their membership profile. They can then access the club. The system can then also store this access information. 

Staff can automatically verify the card user’s identification also. They just need to view the profile their computer screen displays when the card is swiped. 

This sort of 24/7 gym check in system will allow for extended operating hours. It also enables hygienic, touchless entry while reducing congestion at access points. Additionally, it minimizes the need for front-desk staffing.

Lost or stolen cards can also create additional complications and costs. However, clubs can charge members a replacement fee.

Despite these drawbacks, many facilities use card access. It is a cost-effective way to manage club access overall. Additionally, using swipe cards can reduce the need for physical contact upon entry.

QR codes

A QR code is a digital barcode, encoded with data that acts as a digital key to grant access. Members can enter their club by generating dynamic QR code within the facility’s application. They can then hold it to a scanner for immediate access.

Given the digital nature of the QR code, this system allows for superior gym security management. Facilities can grant codes and delete them in an instant. A time restriction can also be placed on their use. This can prevent them from being used by an unauthorized person at a later time.

Gates and turnstiles

Installing gated or turnstile entry to your facility sends a clear message. It indicates that you take the fitness club access seriously and only authorized members can enter. Some facilities may wish to take a more discrete approach; others like the emphasized exclusivity statement that these entry options make. Options include:

  • Gates – Gates are one step up from door access and come in all shapes and sizes. The size of your facility and the look you are going for will determine which style suits you best.
  • Tripod turnstiles – Tripod turnstiles work electronically in conjunction with card swiping to permit access. They are easy to use, and so long as someone is there to supervise, they are effective. Left unattended, however, turnstiles make it easy for non-authorized members to access the club.
  • Full height turnstiles –  These work similarly to tripod turnstiles, except they are full height. They can only fit one body through at a time, so they provide additional security. They can also be left unattended without increasing the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Speed gates – These are essentially a cross between an electric door and a turnstile. These speed gates also only allow access to one member at a time, as they close quickly behind the entrant. Speed gates also provide additional security and are visually more sophisticated and modern.

Biometric access technology

Biometrics can verify a person’s identity by mapping their voice, finger or palm print, iris or retina, and even heartbeat. Once only considered to fit in the realm of Sci-Fi, biometrics have been used for a surprisingly long time. They are common in banking and research sector securities. In recent years, biometric screening has become increasingly used by businesses and organizations to assess their employees’ personal health.

Biometric access systems include:

  • Iris scanners
  • Retina scanners
  • Fingerprint scanners
  • Facial recognition

As opposed to physical or digital keys and passcodes, biometrics identifies the person physically, allowing for cutting-edge accuracy in security. They aren’t the more affordable option, but they are certainly an impressive and highly effective means of controlling club access.

Final thoughts

Due to the pandemic, the world has experienced a profound shift. Businesses must adapt to these changes to survive. Many people will continue to incorporate home fitness into their routines. However, fitness facilities can attract new and returning members by offering superior equipment. Additionally, facilities can also offer enhanced fitness club access along with heightened health and safety protocols to further attract members.

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