When to Fire: A Critical Decision in the Gym Business

Defining Success by Employee Engagement and Effort in Pursuit of Excellence

In the dynamic world of the fitness industry, success hinges not only on the quality of your equipment and services but also on the caliber of your team. Gym owners face a pivotal question: When is the right time to part ways with an employee? It’s a query that often perplexes, but the answer is rooted in our job description as gym owners. Simply put, our role is to “give 100% of our efforts to make someone as good as they can be.” The moment we find ourselves unable to fulfill this commitment, it’s time to make a move.

Additional Considerations:

  1. Consistency and Commitment:

    Giving 100% isn’t just about occasional bursts of enthusiasm; it’s about unwavering consistency and commitment to our job description. Employees who consistently bring their A-game show up day in and day out. They are the ones who not only meet expectations but exceed them, helping your gym thrive. When you notice a persistent drop in enthusiasm and effort, it’s a clear indication that you, as a gym owner, are no longer fulfilling your core duty.

  2. Alignment with Your Gym’s Values:

    Your gym has a unique identity and set of values. Employees who embody these values contribute to a positive and cohesive gym culture. However, if a team member’s actions consistently contradict these principles or if they undermine the spirit of your gym, it may be a sign that you are falling short in giving your 100% to maintain the integrity of your gym’s mission.

  3. Client Impact:

    Ultimately, the gym’s success revolves around the satisfaction and progress of your clients. When an employee’s performance starts negatively impacting the experiences of your clients, it’s a clear signal that your commitment to providing 100% for their benefit is wavering. Listen to feedback, both from clients and fellow staff members, to gauge the effect of an employee’s actions on your ability to fulfill your role.

  4. Professional Development and Training:

    Sometimes, an employee’s decline in performance is not due to a lack of effort but a lack of the necessary skills or knowledge. In such cases, offering additional training and development opportunities can be an alternative to termination. However, if an employee shows a lack of interest in self-improvement or consistently fails to meet even basic job requirements, it might be time to part ways, as this reflects your inability to invest fully in their growth.

  5. Communication and Coaching:

    Before making the difficult decision to terminate someone, explore opportunities for open communication and coaching. Constructive feedback and clear expectations can help an employee understand their shortcomings and provide them with a chance to improve. However, if this effort doesn’t yield results, it may be a sign that they are not aligned with your gym’s mission, and you must reassess your commitment to their development.


Firing someone is one of the most challenging decisions a gym owner can make. However, when viewed through the lens of our job description—”give 100% of our efforts to make someone as good as they can be”—it becomes clear that it’s about more than just effort. It’s about alignment with your values, consistency, impact on clients, willingness to grow, and effective communication.

In the competitive gym business, retaining a high-performing, engaged team is crucial. While letting someone go is never easy, sometimes it’s the right choice for the individual, your team, and the future of your gym. By adhering to your core duty of giving 100% to your people and carefully evaluating these factors, you can navigate the challenging path of knowing when to make a move with wisdom and compassion.

In the complex landscape of managing a successful gym, the task of nurturing, training, and developing your staff to their fullest potential can be daunting. This is where Fitness Management & Consulting can serve as your guiding light. Our expertise lies in empowering gym owners like you to excel in their role of giving 100% to their team members. From designing tailored training programs that align with your gym’s values to providing invaluable coaching and leadership insights, we are your partners in fostering a team that thrives. When the time comes to make critical decisions about your staff, you’ll have the confidence that comes from knowing you’ve done everything in your power to support their growth and development. Together, we’ll ensure your gym continues to shine as a beacon of excellence in the fitness industry. Contact FMC here.

Click here for more details on financing options or call 214-629-7223 or email jthomas@fmconsulting.net for more information. Or, apply now.

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An Outsourced CEO, Turnaround Expert and Author, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround, financing  and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.youtube.com/gymconsultant.

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