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10 min read

Gym Staffing Mistakes To Avoid

By Tracy Morrell on 3/10/22 7:00 AM

Topics: Staffing

Are you opening a gym and hiring your own staff? This can be a great way to save money, but it's important to avoid common mistakes gym owners make.

If you're running a gym, it's important to staff it properly. You need people who will help members achieve their fitness goals and keep the facility clean and organized.  

Unfortunately, many gyms make common staffing mistakes that can hurt their business. Gym staffing can be a difficult task.

You have to find the right people who are qualified and mesh well with your company culture. New gym owners should be careful when providing training programs and training sessions within their own gym.

Making mistakes when hiring staff can be costly. This blog post will discuss some of the most common mistakes gyms make when staffing their facilities and how to avoid them!                

How Can You Staff Your Gym With The Right People?

Hiring the right people to work at your gym is one of the most important aspects of setting up, running, and growing a successful fitness business.

It's also something that many entrepreneurs neglect when they're in the early stages. This means gyms often end up with staff who are either not physically able to do their jobs or aren’t qualified. The business owner should know everything about gym ownership and gym business to make it successful.

Here Are Six Common Staffing Mistakes To Watch Out For When Hiring New Staff At Your Gym 

The gym community explains different mistakes that new owners come across within their fitness businesses. In the fitness industry, a gym owner needs to consider all these aspects from member retention, overhead costs, fitness studio design, and other factors when providing fitness classes.

In this way, personal trainers make successful gyms—seriously. If you're struggling with any of the following issues, don’t worry, you can resolve the problem.

1. You Hire People Who Aren’t In Shape 

One of the biggest turnoffs for many members is seeing a trainer who isn't in shape.

If you want clients to take fitness advice from your staff seriously, make sure your staff is physically able to do their jobs well.

Nobody wants a poorly-trained personal trainer.

For example, if your goal is to help gym members build muscle and gain strength, then any trainer who can bench press their own weight isn't going to help you accomplish your long-term goals.

Similarly, if you run a women's-only gym, make sure the trainers aren't preoccupied with how they look. Instead, find trainers who are confident and genuinely want to help other women feel better about themselves.

2. You Hire Great Trainers Who Have No People Skills

In addition to being physically fit, you also have to make sure your potential staff members have solid people skills.

Without knowing how to interact with their clients, some of your best trainers won't be able to do their jobs as well as they could.

That's why you need to look for a good mix of skills, with at least some of your staff members being extroverts who can easily engage with gym members and keep them motivated.

You should also ensure that all of your trainers can effectively communicate what they're teaching to their clients.

If you don't hire the right people, then not only will potential clients be turned off, but your trainers won't be able to do their jobs as well as they could either.   

3. You Hire Staff Who Don’t Like Other People

It's rare for everyone in your staff to get along perfectly all the time, but you should make sure that none of them are actively hostile toward other gym staff or members.

When you hire the wrong people, it'll be difficult for them to stay motivated.

Without strong communication skills and a desire to help others, your trainers won't have the passion they need to work hard every day.

Meanwhile, if none of your staff members are willing to do their jobs well, then that's going to turn off your members and potential clients too.

4. You Hire People Who Don’t Know Anything About Fitness

One of the best ways to save money for some entrepreneurs is to hire friends or family members, but this can lead to serious problems if they're not qualified for their positions.

Unless you want clients avoiding your brand because of negative word-of-mouth, make sure everyone who works at your gym has the skills they need to help members enjoy their time there.

If you don't hire people who know about fitness, then not only will potential clients be turned off, but your trainers won't be able to do their jobs well.   

5. You Hire Staff Who Don’t Know Your Gym’s Policies

If you want your team members to model the behavior and standards that you expect from your gym members, they need to know what those standards are.

At the very least, this means ensuring that everyone on your payroll knows how to deal with different situations, such as when a member is injured.

It's also important to make sure that your trainers are familiar with your gym's refund policy, because otherwise they might not be able to answer member questions accurately.

6. You Hire Trainers Who Aren’t Pre-Screened    

Take the time to go through your applicant's resumes carefully, and only hire people with the qualifications you're looking for.

You also want to make sure that they have a solid understanding of what you expect from them. Set up interviews with everyone who seems promising - then ask questions that'll help you learn about their experience and fitness knowledge.

You should also use your gym's website, social media channels, and marketing materials as a way to make sure that the trainers you hire are familiar with everything from your logo to your brand tone. This will make sure there’s consistency in your brand across the board.  

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How Can You Manage A Gym While Avoiding Staffing Mistakes?

Managing a gym well is challenging, but it's even more challenging when the staff isn't properly trained and managed.

Here Are Nine Common Mistakes To Avoid By Staffing Your Gym Correctly 

  • Hiring Part-Time Employees to Do Full-Time Jobs 

Many people look for ways to save money and avoid paying benefits by hiring part-time employees.

However, when they find employees complaining about how busy they are all the time, it's usually because they are a part-time employee trying to do a full-time job.

Hiring an additional part-time employee is better than overloading one person with too many duties.

  • Not Having Enough Staff

If your member-to-employee ratio is too high, you'll never be able to give good customer service.

There's a sweet spot of having enough employees so that no one has to work alone and everyone can receive some assistance when necessary.

  • Not Paying Your Staff Members 

To get the best out of people, they need to know that they're valued. Pay them fairly and offer incentives that go beyond a paycheck. 

  • Not Training Your Employees       

It's very frustrating to deal with a staff member who doesn't know how to do their job, whether it’s using equipment properly, dealing with customer complaints, or not knowing where the extra towels are kept.  

  • Making Everyone Wear A Uniform

It's a good idea to have your employees wear a uniform, but don't require it for everyone.

Your staff will feel more empowered if they can pick out their own outfits, and they'll value the clothing more because it came from their own wardrobe.

  • Treating Your Employees An An Expense Instead of Human Beings 

You want to pay your employees, but that's only half of the equation. You should respect them and appreciate their hard work.

  • Not Rewarding Or Recognizing Employee Milestones

Rewarding your employees for doing a good job will go a long way toward keeping them happy. It's also important to recognize their accomplishments regularly, not just when it makes good business sense.

  • Not Having A Set Schedule

Part-time employees need part-time hours, and full-time employees need full-time hours. You need to be clear about the number of hours you expect from each employee regularly and make sure your expectations jive with their availability and personal responsibilities.

This will cut down on frustration and turnover.

  • Not Giving Clear Performance Reviews

It's important to regularly give your employees constructive criticism about their job performance.

Employees want to know how they're doing, and if you wait too long to tell them, it will be harder for them to improve upon their shortcomings.

You can avoid these common mistakes by having the right staff members who understand their jobs and care about the company's success.


If you're serious about your business, it is important not to cut corners when hiring the right people.

It's easy to think that positions can be filled by anyone who is looking for part-time work that won't impact their schedule too much. But there are plenty of people looking for jobs who have no experience in an actual gym setting.

On the other hand, don’t just look for employees who currently work at other gyms. When looking for the best candidate, think about what they bring to the position, not just who you can get.

If a staff member has experience in healthy lifestyles and personal fitness, and is familiar with the industry, giving them a try at your gym could be more rewarding than going with someone who already knows how things work in a gym.

Tracy Morrell

Written by Tracy Morrell

Director at React Fitness Limited with over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry.