A fitness club manager is usually primarily responsible for overseeing the daily operations of a fitness center, gym or athletic club. This includes managing various gym staff members from the janitorial crew that maintains the equipment and physical facility to physical trainers to customer service agents. These managers are also frequently in charge of creating and managing advertising and marketing campaigns for the facility.
The gym itself may be a privately-owned facility that is part of a resort or country club. It may also be a fitness center that is frequented by paying members of the general public. The manager may also oversee a facility that is owned and operated by a public entity and provides free fitness instruction to the members of a community.
The scope of responsibilities of a fitness club manager is largely dependent upon the size of the facility she manages and the services offered. Smaller venues may only provide a limited number of fitness machines and equipment in one room. More expansive fitness centers may offer a full range of services including tennis, handball and racquetball courts; swimming pools; saunas; spas and weightlifting rooms. A significant number of fitness centers offer a range of exercise classes that are categorized by activity type as well as the age and physical fitness levels of the students. The more machines and services a center provides, the more responsibilities the manager will have.
Besides directing her staff, a fitness club manager is generally expected to creatively market the club to maintain or increase profits. These advertising and promotion responsibilities typically include offering discounts to customers who refer new members, promoting free trial memberships and offering group or family discounts for specified periods of time. If the club is part of a large chain of fitness centers, her efforts may be directed by corporate guidelines. Much of this work requires good networking and general salesperson skills.
Customer relations are typically an important part of a fitness club manager's job. Member retention is normally vital to a club’s success, so the manager frequently circulates among members to encourage them in achieving their fitness goals and promote general good will. Some managers also act as trainers and advisors and regularly participate in exercise classes to promote a welcoming, family-type atmosphere for patrons.
In addition to having good interpersonal skills, a fitness club manager is customarily expected to be in good physical shape. In doing so, he or she will likely be more familiar with overall fitness concepts which helps in the customer relations aspect of the work. Creative approaches to promoting the club to diverse demographic sectors are often considered a plus for people in this position.
In terms of educational pre-requisites, most fitness clubs require at least a high school diploma or equivalent. A significant number of fitness club managers are promoted from positions as fitness instructors within a company based on commitment, aptitude and initiative. Some fitness club managerial positions require training or fitness certifications from professional associations.