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Free Gym Management Software: Watch Out for Hidden Costs!

Free Gym Management Software: Watch Out for Hidden Costs!

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®) on November 23, 2023 ā€” Updated on March 13, 2024

Choosing free gym management software sounds good at first, until you get hit with hidden costs like high credit card processing rates, limited features, and more.

Free Gym Management Software

The best free gym management software is much different than what is actually the best gym management software. Whether you need the best personal training software, the best online fitness coaching software, or the best gym management software, see why the all-in-one Exercise.com platform can help you unlock multiple gym revenue streams and support your gym’s growth, now and into the future.

Don’t make a short-sighted decision with a free gym software platform. Read on to compare Exercise.com, Glofox, WellnessLiving, and more.

Exercise.com is simply the best. We were using three or four different apps or softwares to do what we can now do all in one with the Exercise.com platform.
Brandon Stroupe
Founder and President, APEC Sports Performance

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The Reality of Free Gym Management Platforms

The appeal of free gym management software often masks the reality of hidden costs. Many fitness professionals are drawn to free gym management apps and gym software free download options, hoping to cut costs. However, these “free gym management software free download” services can come with significant drawbacks.

High Transaction Fees in Free Gym Software

One major downside of free gym software is the high transaction fees, particularly in credit card processing. These can be significantly higher than those in paid software that has the best gym credit card processing software, all of this, of course, affecting your bottom line. Watch out for free gym software companies that advertise a low processing rate, but then you find out that it only applies to certain types of transactions like ACH.

Limited Features in Free Gym Management Apps

The best free gym management software options often fall short in features. While they may handle basic tasks, they lack advanced functionalities like detailed analytics or custom workout plan capabilities, crucial for business growth, which is what you want, right?

Scalability Issues with Gym Software Free Download Options

Gym software free download choices might seem adequate at the start but often cannot scale with a growing business. Eventually, transitioning to a more robust system becomes inevitable, bringing additional costs. Your goal should be to prepare for the future and build a successful gym that increases in gym revenue and profit for years to come, and that’s not going to happen relying on a free gym software product that won’t be able to support you right when you need a strong foundation for growth the most.

Support and Security Concerns in Free Gym Management Platforms

Free platforms typically offer minimal customer support and invest less in security. This can lead to operational disruptions and risks to sensitive client data, a serious concern for any fitness business. See why Exercise.com security is best-in-class.

5 Best Free Gym Management Software Alternatives

Here are the best alternatives to a free gym management software solution that you should consider instead. Compare Exercise.com, Glofox, WellnessLiving, Mindbody, and Zen Planner.

SoftwareBookingWorkoutsMobile AppsCustom BrandedPaymentsInvoicingWaiversAssessmentsMessagingReports
Zen PlannerYesYesYesNoYesYesYesNoYesYes

When exploring the best alternatives to free gym management software, it’s essential to consider platforms that offer comprehensive features to meet the evolving needs of fitness businesses. While free gym management apps and gym software free download options may initially seem attractive, they often lack critical functionalities essential for robust business management. The alternatives discussed here offer a range of services, from booking and payment processing to advanced client engagement tools, making them superior choices for fitness professionals.

Among these alternatives, Exercise.com stands out for its comprehensive approach. Recognized as the best gym management software, it caters not only to gym owners but also to personal trainers, offering best personal trainer software capabilities. Its versatility and range of features make it an optimal choice for those seeking a powerful and efficient gym management solution.

#1 Exercise.com

Despite not being a free gym management platform, Exercise.com offers a comprehensive solution for fitness professionals. Its features cater to all aspects of gym management, from client management to online bookings and video hosting. Exercise.com is the professional alternative to free gym management software.

Exercise.com is more than just a gym management software; it is a comprehensive platform designed for fitness professionals seeking an all-in-one solution. Its versatility makes it an ideal choice for gym owners, personal trainers, and online fitness coaches.


  • Comprehensive set of features including bookings, payments, and client assessments.
  • Custom-branded mobile apps to enhance business branding and client engagement.
  • Robust reporting tools for detailed business analytics and client tracking.


  • Not a free platform, which might be a consideration for those on a tight budget.
  • The extensive range of features may require a learning curve for new users.

Exercise.com stands out in the world of gym management software for its unparalleled range of features. It offers everything from advanced workout creation and client engagement tools to detailed business reports and analytics. With custom-branded apps, it allows fitness professionals to elevate their brand presence in a competitive market. Additionally, its integrated payment and invoicing system streamlines the financial aspects of running a fitness business, making it a top choice for those seeking an efficient, all-encompassing management solution.

Here’s just some of what you can do on the Exercise.com platform:


Process payments for open gym, classes, and personal training.

Gym Payments

Landing Pages

Create gym landing pages easily.

Landing Pages

Fitness Challenges

Manage fitness challenges (Read More: 100+ Fitness Challenge Ideas)


On-Demand Fitness Content

Offer on-demand fitness content.


Fitness Classes and Groups

Create classes and fitness groups.

Online Groups

Fitness Livestreaming

Conduct gym livestreaming easily.



Engage with clients via automations.

Gym Member Engagement


Manage leads with a gym CRM.

Gym CRM Software

Fitness Assessments

Create and send fitness assessments with ease.


Habit Tracking

Use fitness habit tracking to inspire and motivate gym members and clients.

Habit Tracking

Progress Photos

Use fitness progress photos to engage with members.

Progress Photos


Use fitness leaderboards to track event performance and inspire healthy competition.



Create exercise supersets in a snap.


Rep Max Progressions

Program exercise rep max progressions with ease.

Rep Max Progressions

Exercise Library

Use the exercise demonstration video library or create your own custom exercise demonstration videos.

Exercise Library

Workout Plan Creator

Create workout plans for parents and dependents, teams and more.

Workout Plan Creator

TV Workouts

Cast gym TV workouts to in-gym TV screens quickly and efficiently.

TV Workouts

Group and Location Management

Manage multiple groups and locations with ease.


Client Management

Manage clients and gym members with ease. An online training software comparison for personal trainers makes it easy to see why Exercise.com offers the best client management functionality for in-person and online personal training. It’s not free gym membership software, but the best personal fitness trainer software should work for you on the go, just like in the gym.

Client Management

Appointment Booking

Book appointments for parents and dependents with ease. (Read More: Best Gym Booking Software)


Gym Check-In

Gym check-in software that makes your life easy. (Read More: Best Gym Check-In Software)



Communicate with gym members, athletes, team members, personal training clients, class members, parents, and dependents via SMS, email, and in-app push notification.


Performance Tracking

View performance over time, track personal records, and other fitness stats with performance reporting dashboards. The best fitness software for personal trainers offers exercise tracking, habit tracking, workout tracking, and more.

Performance Reporting

Business Dashboards

And of course, view all of your gym business reports easily too.

Gym Reports

Custom Branded Fitness Apps

All from your custom-branded fitness apps (Read More: Best Gym Mobile Fitness Apps Software)

Custom Branded Apps
Mike Boyle - Sled Push
“The Exercise.com team is amazing, and their all-in-one software is more than we ever expected! All of this is made possible by a high-quality team.”
Mike Boyle
Co-Founder, MBSC

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#2 Glofox


Glofox is another strong contender in the gym management software arena, known for its user-friendly interface and efficient client management tools.


  • Intuitive user interface, making it easy for both staff and clients to navigate.
  • Extensive booking and scheduling features, ideal for class-based fitness centers.
  • Custom-branded mobile app options to maintain a cohesive brand image.


  • Lacks advanced client assessment tools, which can be crucial for personal training businesses.
  • Some features may require additional cost, which isnā€™t initially apparent.

Glofox offers a seamless experience for gym owners and fitness professionals, with an emphasis on class scheduling and client bookings. Its mobile app provides a great platform for client engagement and retention, while the payment processing integration simplifies the financial transactions. However, the absence of in-depth client assessment tools might limit its suitability for personal trainers focused on detailed client progress tracking.

Read More: Glofox

#3 WellnessLiving


WellnessLiving is a versatile gym management platform, known for its comprehensive client management and marketing tools.


  • Extensive marketing and client retention tools, aiding in business growth.
  • Offers a range of features including online booking, payments, and client management.
  • Robust reporting capabilities for detailed business insights.


  • Does not offer a custom-branded app, which may impact brand consistency.
  • Some users report a steeper learning curve due to the extensive features.

WellnessLiving is an excellent choice for gym owners who prioritize client engagement and marketing. Its software facilitates effective communication with clients through various channels, enhancing the overall client experience. While it offers a wide array of functionalities, the lack of a custom-branded app might be a drawback for businesses aiming to solidify their brand identity in a crowded market.

Read More: WellnessLiving

#4 Mindbody


Mindbody is widely recognized in the fitness industry, particularly for its robust online booking and client management system.


  • Strong focus on client booking and scheduling, ideal for studios and gyms.
  • Includes marketing tools to help expand client reach and retention.
  • Offers a range of payment processing options for ease of transaction.


  • Custom branding is not available, which may limit brand differentiation.
  • Some advanced features require a higher subscription tier, adding to the cost.

Mindbody excels in providing a streamlined booking experience for clients, making it a popular choice among studio and gym owners. Its marketing tools are effective for client acquisition and retention, though the lack of custom branding options might not appeal to those looking to fully personalize their clientā€™s experience.

Read More: Mindbody

#5 Zen Planner

Zen Planner

Zen Planner is designed with simplicity and efficiency in mind, catering to smaller gyms and fitness studios.


  • User-friendly interface, great for small businesses and startups.
  • Offers essential features like booking, payments, and basic client management.
  • Reliable customer support, ensuring quick resolution of issues.


  • Limited in terms of advanced features and customizations.
  • No custom-branded app, which may affect the overall client experience.

Zen Planner is a solid choice for smaller fitness businesses seeking straightforward gym management software. While it covers the basics efficiently, its lack of advanced features and customization options might be limiting for larger or more specialized fitness businesses.

Read More: Zen Planner

AMPD Golf Performance
“Working with Exercise.com and their team has been an amazing experience and a dream come true in terms of accomplishing a vision! Their workout technology has helped us effectively engage our community, and I highly recommend Exercise.com to grow your business!”
Andrew Banner
Co-Founder, AMPD Golf Performance

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The Best Free Gym Management Software vs Simply the Best Gym Management Software

In the quest for the best alternatives to free gym management software, each of these platforms offers unique features and benefits. However, Exercise.com stands out as the best choice, particularly for its comprehensive feature set, custom-branded apps, and robust client management tools. Its ability to cater to a wide range of fitness business needs, from gym management to personal training, makes it a top contender in the market, offering an all-in-one solution for fitness professionals.

While the allure of free gym management software is understandable, the long-term implications of hidden costs and limited features make it a less viable option. Exercise.com emerges as a comprehensive, secure, and scalable alternative, offering a range of features tailored to the needs of modern fitness businesses. Booking a demo with Exercise.com is a smart step towards understanding its full potential in revolutionizing your fitness business management, and gives you the best gym management software that can grow with your gym.

Key Differentiators from Free Gym Software

Custom Branded Gym App: A significant advantage of Exercise.com is its custom-branded fitness app, enhancing your brand’s professional image and client engagement.

Comprehensive and Scalable Features: Unlike the best free gym software download options, Exercise.com provides an extensive range of scalable features, supporting your business’s growth at every stage.

Transparent Pricing Without Hidden Fees: Exercise.com offers clear and straightforward pricing quotes that are tailored to your gym’s needs, eliminating the surprise of hidden fees often found in free gym management software. Request a pricing quote for your gym today.

Dedicated Customer Support and Security: With superior customer support and a strong focus on data security, Exercise.com stands out as a reliable and secure platform for fitness professionals.

What is the best gym management software for free?

The best free gym management software typically offers basic features such as simple scheduling, client management, and possibly some workout tracking capabilities. Options like Glofox, Virtuagym, and Zen Planner offer free trial versions, but their full range of features usually requires a paid subscription. Completely free options might include Fitli or Gymcatch, which offer limited but functional features for small gyms or personal trainers. Choose the professional’s choice: Exercise.com.

Should I offer my members a free gym check-in app?

Offering your members a free gym check-in app can significantly enhance their experience by streamlining the entry process and reducing wait times. This convenience can lead to higher satisfaction and retention rates. Additionally, a check-in app can provide valuable data on member attendance patterns, helping you optimize class schedules and facility management. Consider the long-term benefits of improved member engagement and operational efficiency when deciding on this investment.

Read More:

Are there any gym management system free download options I should consider?

While there are gym management system free download options available, it’s crucial to evaluate their features, limitations, and support to ensure they meet your gym’s needs. Free versions may offer basic functionalities suitable for very small or start-up gyms, but they might lack scalability, comprehensive features, and customer support. Thoroughly assess the software’s capabilities and potential upgrade paths as your gym grows.

Is it possible to get gym membership software free for smaller gyms?

For smaller gyms, it is possible to find gym membership software free versions or platforms offering basic packages at no cost. These can be a good starting point for managing memberships, schedules, and communications. However, as your business expands, you may need to upgrade to paid versions to access more advanced features, better support, and increased scalability. Carefully consider your long-term needs and the value that investing in more robust software could bring to your gym.

Should I provide gym management apps free for my contract personal trainers who rent space in my facility?

Providing gym management apps free for contract personal trainers in your facility can be a win-win. It allows trainers to manage their schedules, client information, and payments more efficiently, which can enhance the professional services offered within your gym. This arrangement can also foster a more integrated and cooperative working environment. Evaluate the potential benefits in operational efficiency and trainer satisfaction against the cost of providing this service.

Should I download free gym software from a website that seems too good to be true?

It is advisable to be cautious with free gym software from websites that seem too good to be true. Often, such software may have hidden costs, limited functionalities, or security vulnerabilities. Always research the software provider, read user reviews, and consider any data privacy concerns before downloading or using the software. Stick with secure gym software platforms like Exercise.com.

What are the best free gym management apps that I can give my gym members and staff?

For gym members and staff, apps like MyFitnessPal and Mindbody offer free versions and are popular for tracking workouts and fitness progress. These apps can be useful for members to log their fitness activities and for staff to get insights into client preferences and habits. However, they may not offer comprehensive gym management features like Exercise.com, which offers a robust all-in-one gym management software platform (often allowing you to cancel 3-4 other software platforms), and allows you to offer free gym apps to your staff and members.

Why is Exercise.com worth paying for instead of one of these platforms with the best free gym software online?

Exercise.com is worth paying for due to its comprehensive and customized solutions that go beyond the basic functionalities of free software. Key advantages include:

  1. Customization: Tailor-made features that align with your specific gym’s branding and operational needs.
  2. All-in-One Management: Comprehensive tools for client and staff management, workout programming, scheduling, billing, and reporting.
  3. Scalability: The ability to scale services as your gym grows, which free software often lacks.
  4. Professional Support and Integration: Access to professional support and seamless integration with other business tools.
  5. Data Security: Enhanced security measures to protect sensitive client and business data.

Investing in Exercise.com ensures you have a reliable, scalable, and professional platform to effectively manage all aspects of your gym or fitness studio, which is often not achievable with free gym software.

Jimmy Myers Relentless Sports Performance
If you want to offer an elite service for the end user you need to get with the times and use elite level software that is intuitive, visually appealing, and effective. That is exactly what Exercise.com delivers to its clients.
Jimmy Myers
Owner/Trainer, Relentless Sports Performance

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Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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