Your Guide to Gym Management Software

20 min read


2 people using tablet at the gym

What Is Gym Management Software?

Running a successful gym is both incredibly rewarding and pretty challenging. As you manage the daily operations and administrative tasks a small business requires, it can take up a lot of your time – too much time, in fact.

Gym management software — aka fitness management software — helps you do more in less time. It can help boutique fitness business owners streamline day-to-day tasks, organize data, and run operations.

Why Use Gym Management Software?

To put it plainly, there is a lot to do!

Managing your gym is a delicate balancing act of creating a great workout experience for your members while at the same time processing payments and building a fantastic work environment for your employees.

The right gym management system can help you do all of these tasks.

Your ultimate goal is to generate revenue and run a profitable gym business, but this takes more dedication and commitment than you can provide on your own. The sheer number of tasks needing your attention at a gym is often overwhelming.

You need a way to simplify your operations and streamline your processes. Doing so can save time and resources as well as reduce the likelihood of human error.

Who Can Benefit From Gym Management Software?

Gym management software can help any type of gym, school, or studio owner better manage facilities and members.

Try not to get too caught up on the word “gym” when assessing your software options. The term “gym owners” can cover a wide range of people with a variety of fitness specialties, including yoga, Pilates, martial arts, CrossFit®, and many more.

There are other users to consider as well. The best gym management systems offer both a staff-facing and a client-facing portal. They also allow you to delegate tasks to staff as needed.

This means everyone at your gym will use the software in one way or another. So when you’re weighing your options, be sure to pick a gym software tool that offers the best overall fit.

What Type of User Are You?

Group of athletes huddled around clipboard at gym

When looking for a new gym management system, it’s essential you find one that is designed for your unique needs. This means matching what the software offers to who you are as a user.

No matter what type of boutique fitness facility you run, Zen Planner has features to meet those specific needs.

CrossFit Gym

Thousands of box owners use Zen Planner for gym management and billing.

Zen Planner gives you the gym management and billing tools you need to grow your CrossFit gym without spending too much time on administrative work. There’s also an integration between Zen Planner and SugarWOD — one of the most popular programming and community-building tools in this space.

If you’re an official affiliate, you can also get a significant discount through the CrossFit Affiliate Partner Network. So be sure to check that out!

Boutique Gym

Do you run a boot camp, HIIT gym, hybrid gym, or personal training program?

If you want to give your local community the best fitness experience with an individualized approach, you need a software that simplifies life for you and your staff. Zen Planner is designed with boutique gym owners like you in mind.


You can save hours every week with software features every MMA gym needs, like automated billing, belt and attendance tracking, workout tracking, and shared curriculum. Regain your footing with time-saving automations, in-depth reporting, and member management with Zen Planner.

Martial Arts School

Zen Planner was created by a martial arts enthusiast to fill a major gap in the fitness industry. Our business management software was created specifically for martial arts school owners and includes features like family memberships, belt tracking, and shared curriculum.

Yoga Studio

Take a holistic approach to student management and billing for your yoga studio. Zen Planner brings peace to the chaos of running a business and lets you sell retail products with ease.

Other Fitness Business

The boutique fitness industry is transforming health and wellness every day with unique offerings not found at larger clubs. Even if you own and manage another type of fitness business not mentioned above, you can transform it into a revenue-earning machine with Zen Planner.

Because we were created to serve all fitness businesses, you have all the tools at your disposal to run a successful business.

How To Manage Your Gym

Gym owner using clipboard

Feeling overwhelmed by all the maintenance and management your gym requires? Be sure you’re following these tried-and-true methods for success:

  • Invest in the right gym management software
  • Maintain a solid marketing strategy
  • Build a community
  • Encourage member referrals

#1 Invest in the Right Gym Management Software

The right gym management software will simplify and streamline your operations so you can get that time back in your day. Imagine – no more wasting time and energy on lengthy admin tasks!

#2 Maintain a Solid Marketing Strategy

An effective gym marketing strategy is all about connecting with the right people at the right time and guiding leads and members along their fitness journey.

Use digital marketing to attract new members, build trust, and connect with current members on a regular basis to foster long-term relationships. Personalizing your offers and communications and keeping a steady cadence of communication will take you far.

Don’t worry if this seems like too much to handle on your own — the right marketing software will help you do this! For instance, Zen Planner lets you set up marketing automations so you no longer have to spend valuable time crafting similar marketing messages over and over again.

#3 Build a Community

One of the most important aspects of whether or not someone likes your gym is a sense of friendship and community. This is why it’s worth making community-building a goal at your fitness facility.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Host events for your members to meet and greet. These could be group outings for current members, family and friends nights at your gym, or pop-up events to bring in leads.
  • Make it easy for members to see each other’s progress. Encourage them to cheer each other on, whether that’s in person or in an athlete app.
  • When someone reaches their fitness goal, tell the whole gym in a newsletter, email, or social post.

When your members love who they work out with and consider them true friends, they won’t be tempted to go elsewhere.

#4 Encourage Member Referrals

You have a great gym, and you want to tell your entire community.

They don’t want to hear it from you, though. They want to hear it from people they know and trust. This is why turning your gym clients into your fitness center’s evangelists is a fantastic way to grow your gym.

To encourage member referrals, incentivize your clients into bringing other people. You can try offering a buy-one-get-one deal for the first month of classes, for example.

Try automating your referral requests using your gym management software. That way, you’re regularly gaining extra members.

Challenges of Gym Management

2 CrossFit athletes giving fist bumps on a wood plyo box

Running a gym is never simple, even if you love fitness and interacting with community members.

There are a few challenges that happen to all gym owners, from the inexperienced to the expert. By knowing them and preparing for them ahead of time, you can avoid these pitfalls occurring in your fitness facility:

  • Wasting time on manual processes and inefficient systems
  • Juggling too many software tools without integrations
  • Using a business software that isn’t designed for gyms
  • Letting your gym software determine your ownership style

#1 Wasting Time on Manual Processes and Inefficient Systems

You’ve got too many tasks to worry about — don’t make life harder for yourself by relying on spreadsheets and manual calculations. Be sure to delegate some tasks to your staff and to lean on your management software for most of the heavy lifting.

You want a gym software platform that automates multiple daily functions for you, like Zen Planner does.

#2 Juggling Too Many Software Tools Without Integrations

Switching between software tools all day long is a recipe for disaster and unnecessary stress. Working in one platform for member management and billing, another for retail, and yet another for in-depth reporting is far too much to realistically handle.

Zen Planner has all your business management and billing functions available in one place. For everything else, you can turn to Daxko’s ecosystem of boutique business tools:

  • UpLaunch: Marketing automation, websites, and digital marketing
  • SugarWOD: Programming and community building

Both have direct integrations with Zen Planner so member info is synced across software. No duplicate work!

Zen Planner also offers integrations with tools like Gympass and Optum, making it easier for you to reach a wider range of potential members with very little time investment from you or your staff.

#3 Using a Business Software That Isn’t Designed for Gyms

You don’t want to settle for any old business software — it’s best to choose one specifically designed for boutique gyms, schools, and studios. Only a fitness business software has all the features you need for day-to-day gym management.

Because it is a gym management software, Zen Planner delivers member management, automatic billing, integrated payment processing, in-depth reporting, class and program management, retail, and more. You have everything you need to spend less time behind your desk and more time changing lives in your community.

#4 Letting Your Gym Software Determine Your Ownership Style

Your gym management system should serve you – not the other way around.

Don’t settle for fitness center software with limited features. Otherwise, you are dimming your own shine as a competent gym owner who knows what information is required to run an effective fitness business.

Objectives of Gym Management Systems

Gym owner and member shaking hands

What is the purpose of gym management software? What can it help you accomplish?

As it turns out, quite a lot:

  • Manage members
  • Execute class bookings and gym scheduling
  • Bolster email marketing efforts
  • Strengthen data-driven decision making
  • Provide financial insights
  • Improve member experience
  • Boost member retention
  • Reduce costs
  • Control billing

#1 Manage Members

Using the right gym management software allows you to manage your members effectively, which is incredibly important for any fitness facility. Without members, you don’t have a gym!

As the lifeblood of your business, members should be at the core of all of your decisions. It’s crucial to make signing up for classes as simple as possible and to make staying with your gym preferable to leaving. For example, embedding a customizable, professional-looking class calendar on your website can attract more members and keep your current members in the know.

#2 Execute Class Bookings and Gym Scheduling

While scheduling classes and managing memberships and attendance history are incredibly important to your bottom line and your member’s experiences at your gym, they’re also time-consuming administrative tasks. The right gym management software relieves you of this burden.

#3 Bolster Email Marketing Efforts

Email marketing allows you to regularly stay in touch with your leads and members.

Leads can get to know your staff and gym offerings and can receive reminders of all the great things they’re missing out on by not purchasing a membership. And your members will appreciate being kept up-to-date on health tips, promotions, new programs, and gym merch.
A gym management software like Zen Planner makes it simple to create, schedule, and send emails and see the analytics of your email efforts. Why not set up an email newsletter that you can share with both groups?

#4 Strengthen Data-Driven Decision Making

In order to be successful, you must make business decisions based on hard data – not your best guesses.

Zen Planner allows you to stay on top of every aspect of your gym with a fully customizable reporting dashboard. Get deep insights into financials, memberships, and attendance.

#5 Provide Financial Insights

You can get a multitude of financial insights from Zen Planner, like:

  • What your monthly revenue and expenses are
  • New membership sales
  • Who has paid for which classes
  • What retail products are most popular

Analyze your gym’s finances in real time so you can make better-informed decisions. When financial decisions are made easier with key insights, you can put the time saved toward your passion for fitness instead.

#6 Improve Member Experience

There are a plethora of ways software can improve the experience for your gym members. It will streamline and automate your billing, ensuring they never accidentally forget to renew their membership.

Other experience boosters depend on what type of gym you run. For example, Zen Planner offers MMA gyms and traditional martial arts schools the ability to easily track student progress and access the skill and belt tracking data you need before every belt testing ceremony.

#7 Boost Member Retention

Member retention is a key element of a successful gym. You can use your fitness center software to better engage with your members, schedule classes, and give your members complete control over their membership experience.

#8 Reduce Costs

Streamlining business operations is an easy way to reduce business costs.

While gym software costs money upfront, you will easily make that money back with all the hours you’ve saved through staff management, automations, and in-depth financial reports.

#9 Control Billing

Zen Planner offers automatic billing and integrated payment processing, along with online retail.

Plus, if you activate optional Full-Service Billing powered by Gains, you never have to worry about late membership payments or someone forgetting their dues again! The Gains team handles all your billing mishaps, chasing down missing payments and updating outdated credit card information.

The right gym management software makes billing easy and automatic for both you and your members. It’s one less thing for everyone to worry about.

Benefits of Gym Management Software

3 women using tablet at gym

There are so many reasons to switch to operating with gym management software, it’s difficult to list them all. These are the 5 most commonly-cited benefits of using a fitness center software rather than handling things manually:

  • Streamline all business operations
  • Grow your revenue
  • Lessen the burden of administrative tasks
  • Lower your payroll costs
  • Deliver an incredible member experience

#1 Streamline All Business Operations

Perhaps the key feature of gym management software is its effectiveness in operations management, meaning what you do to manage expenses and ensure profits. Software can help with staff scheduling, member payments, inventory management, and employee payroll.

Once you are able to streamline your business operations, you have more time for the other parts of your job you love – or leaving the gym and actually enjoying some time off!

#2 Grow Your Revenue

The more efficient you are, the more profitable your business is. This is a simple economic fact.

Your software will do more than make you efficient, though — it will actually help you grow your revenue. The right gym management software enables you to reach new potential leads and wow them with quick, personalized communication.

Remember, your website is your brand’s first impression, so a clear, welcoming website can also bring in new sales.

#3 Lessen the Burden of Administrative Tasks

A few of the administrative tasks gym owners perform on a daily basis include signing up new members, filling out contracts, and canceling memberships.

If you’re operating with a gym management software, it can ease the burden of lengthy administrative tasks. Instead of sending reminders manually for members to pay a bill, you can automate the process. This is one of many, many examples!

Keep in mind, an automated process also reduces the number of late payments.

#4 Lower Your Payroll Costs

As you automate routine tasks like membership renewal, member check-in, and data entry, it streamlines your entire operation. Doing so will give your staff more time and energy to focus on other areas of the business.

Saving time also means saving money on payroll, so this will impact your bottom line when you don’t have to worry about anyone going into overtime hours.

#5 Deliver an Incredible Member Experience

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in administrative tasks that you forget what this business is all about – your members! A passion for creating an incredible member experience is a must if you want to own a successful gym. Happy and satisfied members enjoy their workout, culture, and community. This boosts member retention and reduces churn.

Gym management software gives customers access to class scheduling, payments, and additional membership details. Anything they’re looking to do, like signing up for a new class, can be accomplished without any hurdles. Something as simple as taking the hassle out of signing up to be a member can make all the difference.

Gym Management Software Features

Man sitting smiling at laptop in gym

Zen Planner and its ecosystem of boutique gym tools offer your gym the following features, all of which are sure to make your daily life easier and more efficient:

  • Business software
  • Full-Service Billing
  • Website creation and management
  • Digital marketing

#1 Business Software

Zen Planner member management and billing software lets you focus your efforts on what matters most, your members. We alleviate the burden of administrative tasks with:

  • Employee shift scheduling
  • Administrative tools
  • Reporting
  • Reservations management
  • Staff timekeeping
  • Class scheduling management
  • Skills and belt tracking
  • Member experience and progress management

#2 Full-Service Billing

Are your members ever late on their payments?

With Full-Service Billing powered by Gains, you can trust others to reclaim that missing revenue. The Gains team handles all billing communications with your members. And with the card account updater, you reduce the chance of future late payments.

#3 Website Creation and Management

Through UpLaunch, a sister solution of Zen Planner, you can get a gym website that is designed to look great and help you reach your goals.

All UpLaunch websites are fully integrated with Zen Planner and can feature embedded calendars and forms to drive more prospective members to your business. UpLaunch builds responsive sites, so regardless of whether visitors arrive by phone, tablet, or desktop, they will have the best possible user experience.

#4 Digital Marketing

Marketing and promotions bring new members in your door, increasing revenue.

Zen Planner’s sister solution UpLaunch can help with this through managed Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads campaigns that are hyper-targeted to your audience and location.

These digital marketing efforts drive high-quality leads to custom landing pages so they convert into loyal gym members. To make sure the ads are effective, the UpLaunch team will review ad performance and ad strategy with you quarterly.

How To Choose the Right Gym Management Software for Your Business

“We spent one year assessing 19 different CRMs before settling on Zen Planner. It has saved us 10-12 hours per week, per location. If you are thinking about it — go for it. This is a company you’ll be happy with.”

– Dave Kovar, Founder of Kovar Systems

You have options when it comes to selecting new software for your gym. How do you know which direction to go?

When comparing gym management software, be sure to consider the following:

  • Is this software made specifically for gyms?
  • Does it offer and include everything I need?
  • Is it easy to use?

#1 Is This Software Made Specifically for Gyms?

There are tons and tons of business software out there, but not all of them will truly deliver what you want and need. The best restaurant management software in the world won’t help you keep track of when your martial arts studio’s students are ready for a belt test. You need software designed specifically for your type of business: one in the fitness industry.

#2 Does It Offer and Include Everything I Need?

As you shop around, you may be shocked to find how many software options seem good at first, and then attempt to nickel and dime you along the way.

Did you know that some software costs extra if you want to embed your calendar? That’s not good enough, and it’s not something you need to worry about with Zen Planner.

#3 Is It Easy to Use?

If it’s too difficult to use, you won’t use it – and neither will your staff and members. That is why usability is an important consideration during your shopping.

Zen Planner’s intuitive features make sense from the start because we’ve made ease of use a priority.

Gym Management Software Frequently Asked Questions

Gym owner connecting with members through tablet

You have questions, and we have answers! These are the most common questions we hear on a regular basis, but if you have others, feel free to reach out and ask directly.

  • How can I really know if my gym is doing well?
  • Will the technology be difficult for me to understand?
  • How will a new software affect member experience?

How Can I Really Know If My Gym Is Doing Well?

This is where data comes into play. Our gym management software gives you access to real-time metrics and analytics, meaning you have deeper insights into retail sales, membership performance, and more. The overall state of your business will never be a question again.

Will the Technology Be Difficult for Me To Understand?

Technology has a clear role in our modern society, even in the fitness industry. This not only impacts how gyms operate but the member experience in general.

If you’re not tech-savvy, you may be tempted to run your gym the old-fashioned way. This is a mistake, particularly because your members expect certain conveniences. Zen Planner is easy to use — yes, even for you!

How Will a New Software Affect Member Experience?

Successful fitness centers create fantastic member experiences, and the right software makes that possible.

Zen Planner affects your members at every touchpoint, from the beginning of their journey to years later. These touchpoints include visiting your website, speaking to a team member on social media, and checking in for their first class.

Get a full understanding of each member’s identity and what they want from your gym with Zen Planner. You can build relationships using our fitness center software, creating a strong community that your members will love.

Are you ready to save time? See for yourself how our gym management software makes this possible when you book a free demo.

About the Author: Kelli Sweeting

I'm Coach Kelli, a devoted CrossFit gym owner with 15 years of experience managing my facility, along with owning yoga studios and wellness centers. Beyond the fitness world, I have a passion for cooking, cherish moments with my children and family, and find joy in spending time outside. Having experienced the highs and lows, I'm dedicated to leveraging my expertise to help you grow and succeed on your fitness journey.