Gym access control leads to customers accessing their workouts more conveniently.


Key takeaways

  • Our pick for the best gym access control system is ButterflyMX.
  • Gym entry systems are beneficial because they offer convenience, 24-hour access, better member management tools, and more.
  • Some of the most common types of door access systems for gyms include key cards and fobs, smartphones, and biometrics.
  • Access control systems are composed of readers, credentials, security doors, and management software.


Whether as a standalone facility or as an amenity to a property, gyms are an important part of daily life for many people. The problem is everyone operates on their own schedule. We know it’s not feasible to staff a gym at all hours of the day. So, we’ve found that the solution for many properties is a 24-hour gym access control system.

Fortunately, in this post, we go over what the best gym access control system is. Additionally, we teach you how door entry systems benefit fitness centers, the types of systems available, and the components that comprise them.

This post covers:


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What is the best gym access control solution?

ButterflyMX is the best gym access control solution.

ButterflyMX has garnered more than 20,000 five-star ratings and is used in more than 10,000 buildings across the country. Not to mention, we offer the only property-wide access control solution on the market, making our system perfect for gyms and fitness centers.

ButterflyMX is a cloud-based access control company that enables users to access the property with their smartphones. In addition to mobile access, gyms can implement key cards, fobs, PIN codes, and other credentials.

More importantly, your fitness center will have an easier time managing member access with ButterflyMX. Our cloud-based system empowers you to manage and edit access permissions to all your gym locations with a single mobile app or online dashboard.


Why integrate your gym access control system with ButterflyMX?

Here’s why ButterflyMX isn’t your average gym access control system:

  • Cloud-based gym access control software. With a cloud-based infrastructure, ButterflyMX has fewer installation requirements, which in turn lowers costs. Not to mention, maintenance is easy with remote updates, prolonging the life of your gym access control system.
  • Gym access control app. Entering your fitness center is easier than ever with a quick swipe on the ButterflyMX mobile app. Additionally, we’ve made it so members can enable access using their Apple Watch or a widget on their phone’s home screen. This boosts tenant satisfaction and, in turn, retention rates.
  • Multiple credentials. While mobile access is the primary credential for ButterflyMX access control, the system also supports other types of credentials, such as key cards, fobs, and PIN codes. And offering multiple credentials helps you please a wider range of tenants, further increasing satisfaction and retention.
  • Audit log. Anytime a member uses their credentials to enter your fitness center, the ButterflyMX access control system records it. This way, you can review the audit log in the event a security or safety issue arises, as it includes timestamps, member information, and more. This enhances security and reduces repetitive burglaries.
  • Integrations. ButterflyMX integrates with a variety of other software and hardware, such as security cameras, smart locks, and property management software. So, you’ll be able to control your entire access control system from a single app. This means no more jumping between systems to manage access.
  • ButterflyMX ecosystem. Take advantage of all the products from ButterflyMX. Your access control system works alongside all of our other products, from elevator controls and smart locks to vehicle readers and video intercoms. As a result, users can access your entire property through one intuitive platform. This makes access to your property much easier, increasing satisfaction rates.


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Benefits of gym access control systems

As of 2022, more than 64 million people in the U.S. have a gym membership. With such a high volume of users, fitness centers require effective security features to maintain the safety of members. Thankfully, modern gym entry systems have a lot to offer.

The benefits of access control at a fitness center include:


Convenient entry options

An automated access control system lets users enter the gym on their own. Plus, the right access control system offers a variety of ways for members to enter: smartphone, PIN code, key card. As a result, you cut down long lines from forming and get members to their workouts faster. This is especially handy during a gym’s peak operating hours.


Guest management

Grant timed or temporary access to guests for a variety of situations. A cloud-based access control system makes it easy to manage who can enter the gym and at what times. This way, you can host events, run a referral program, or simply offer shorter members for increased revenue. Regardless, an access control system enables you to easily manage guests in a variety of ways.


24-hour gym access

Enable 24-hour gym access so your members can workout at any time of the day or week. After all, access control systems verify a user’s credentials, so it’s safe for members to enter when employees aren’t present.

Moreover, 24-hour entry is important to users because:

  • Many people who work odd hours still want to do their daily workouts.
  • Some users prefer working out at less crowded times.
  • Gyms feature facilities such as lockers, showers, and spas that users may find convenient outside of normal business hours.

Overall, members prefer gyms they can access whenever it’s best for their schedule.
After all, gyms benefit from not having to staff employees at all hours of the day. Instead, gym staff can perform other duties during normal hours, such as working with new members or maintaining equipment.


Better member management

Gym access systems allow staff to monitor who uses the gym and at what times. We’ve found that with a detailed audit log, management can easily track who enters the gym. In addition, management can view other information, such as the door they entered, the credentials, and more.

Furthermore, management can easily manage member access by integrating their system with gym management software. Thus, when a gym-goer stops their membership, the access control system automatically removes their credentials, preventing entry. In the event your system doesn’t integrate, select a solution that offers convenient remote management from a phone or online dashboard.


Enhanced security

One of the most important benefits of an access control system is improved gym security. Members are vulnerable while working out (especially at odd hours, like at night), and they want to make sure they’re in a safe environment when they do so. Access control systems like ButterflyMX give gym-goers peace of mind, knowing everyone they’re working out with is a verified member.

If an incident ever occurs, gyms that have a robust access control system in place can more easily identify anyone who causes problems within the gym than gyms without an ACS. They can also quickly deny access to gym members who are in bad standing.

Access control systems also pair well with other security technology — such as surveillance cameras — improving the overall safety of your property.


members take advantage of gym security system


Types of 24-hour door access systems

Security and safety are major concerns when operating 24/7 gym access control systems. However, there are many types of gym door entry systems that safely permit 24/7 access for members.

The most common door access systems used for 24-hour gyms include:


Key cards & fobs

As one of the most common access control solutions, key cards and fobs are a convenient door entry method. Not only are these credentials easy to track, but they’re affordable to dispense amongst your members, as most cards and fobs are inexpensive. However, costs can quickly add up as people sign up or disband their memberships.

Nonetheless, key cards and fobs offer members a fast and simple way of getting into your fitness center.


What is a gym access card?

A gym membership card system has members use a card as a credential to gain entry into a gym or fitness center. When a member wishes to enter the gym, they present the card to a reader, which grants access upon verifying the credentials.

Gym access card permissions can be altered at any time manually by management or automatically by management software if there is a change in membership status.


How do gym key fobs work?

Gym key fob systems work similarly to key card systems in that they both use RFID technology. Radio frequency identification is a technology consisting of tags and readers. Tags are located within the key fob or card, containing all of the user’s information. The reader emits a radio frequency, searching for tags.

Once it detects a tag in range, it pulls the data from the tag to verify the credentials. It submits the information to a door controller, which acts as the decision maker. After verifying the credentials, the controller will send a signal to the door release, opening the door for the user.



Keypad systems are ideal gym entry solutions for side entrances and administrative areas, such as an office or maintenance closet.

However, keypads require members to type in a PIN code, which isn’t a quick method of entry. In turn, it may result in long lines at the entryway. So, it’s best to either limit these devices to staff-restricted areas or select a keypad that also accepts cards and fobs.


Mobile access

This type of system lets members use their phones to gain access to the property. Staff manage access credentials through the mobile app or an online dashboard. Access to the gym can be changed at any time. Mobile access is similar to key cards or fobs in that it can be customized to access certain areas. This way, staff can have their own permissions while members have theirs.


Biometric access control

These systems scan a user’s body, such as their fingers, face, or eyes, before verifying their credentials and granting access. Biometric access control is highly secure, but it’s very expensive as well. Not to mention, biometric credentials take time to scan in, leading to potential lines during peak operating hours.


Components of gym access control

All gym access control systems operate similarly despite the different components they possess.

Nevertheless, most gym entry solutions include the following components:

  • Gym access control readers. Located near the entryway, readers are what accept the user’s credentials. It pulls data from the credential and sends it to the software to determine if the user is authorized to enter.
  • Credentials. Members must present an authorized credential to enter your fitness center. Credentials are available in key cards, fobs, mobile apps, fingerprints, and more. The more credentials your gym accommodates, the more members you can please, increasing membership and retention rates.
  • Door or barrier. Access control systems are installed at physical barriers to prevent unauthorized users from entering. Gym entryways can vary, but some common options include sliding doors, turnstiles, vestibules, and mantrap doors.
  • Management software. The software acts as a way to edit member credentials by performing it manually or integrating it with your membership software for automatic updates. Management software is housed either on-site in a server or in the cloud.


Gym access control FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about gym entry systems:


What is the average cost of a gym access control system?

On average, gym access control costs approximately $500 to more than $3,000 per door.

With that said, many factors influence costs, such as:

  • Type of access control
  • Building architecture
  • Dealer or installer
  • System manufacturer
  • Location

In addition to the key fob system for gym costs, you should also factor in any potential maintenance, integrations, and subscription fees.


How do you get access to the gym while traveling?

If you attend a gym that offers travel memberships or passes in several states, you can use your existing access credentials to access the facility.


Is there an app for multiple gym access?

Yes, there are apps that allow you to access gyms across multiple locations.

What’s more, if you manage gyms across multiple locations. For example, ButterflyMX empowers you to control and manage access to your gyms remotely using a single dashboard.


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Nick Manzolillo

I'm a Rhode Island-based writer fascinated with real estate development, the inner workings of the real estate industry, and how real estate and technology blend together.

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