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IHRSA 2024 Recap: The Forefront of Gym Management is Here

The ABC Ignite team posing as a group at IHRSA 2024.

Earlier this month, the global fitness industry (including the ABC Ignite team) gathered in Los Angeles to attend 2024’s IHRSA Convention & Trade Show. As proud sponsors and participants of one of the largest conferences for the fitness industry, IHRSA gives us the chance to:  

  • Reconnect with our industry peers and global associates. 
  • Gain insights from impactful keynotes and discussions. 
  • Participate in dynamic networking opportunities. 
  • Explore the dynamic exhibits showcased on the tradeshow floor. 

This year’s event in Los Angeles was no exception.  Thousands of industry experts came together to celebrate the fitness industry’s success from the past year and look ahead to what’s next in 2024—and beyond.   

The timing of this year’s conference also coincided with an exciting milestone of our own: ABC Fitness has supported the fitness industry for over 40 years, reaching over 40 million members in more than 100 countries.  

Continue reading below for our takeaways on the trends and themes for our industry in 2024, and how ABC Ignite is staying ahead of the curve. 

Let’s get started, shall we? 

Want the complete IHRSA recap?
Catch up with our on-demand webinar here.

The Evolution of the Fitness Industry 

One of the biggest headlines from last week’s event was IHRSA’s rebranding to become the Health & Fitness Association (HFA). Bill Davis—ABC Fitness CEO, Chairman of the Industry Partner Advisory Council (IPAC), as well as IHRSA Board Member—had the opportunity to join the other HFA Board Members on stage to unveil this next phase of the association’s evolution. 

It seems fitting to rebrand the association with a new name that better reflects the expanded role that health and fitness now play. According to our proprietary ABC Fitness data, today’s active consumers possess a broader understanding of health and fitness, demonstrating what we term the “Wellness IQ.” This research shows a 4% year-over-year increase in Wellness Lovers—a growing market whose main goal is to balance fitness, nutrition, mental, and physical well-being. Plus, with check-ins exceeding pre-pandemic levels by 9% and more people than ever prioritizing their health and fitness, the industry is not only poised for growth but also a new level of maturation as we enter a phase of increased mass appeal. 

Congratulations to HFA for taking this step forward to better represent who our industry is today as we focus on holistic health and fitness. 

The Vital Role of Technology in Modern Fitness  

Many of the panels, sessions, and new products showcased at this year’s event focused on mobile tech, AI, data, and other innovations.  

At ABC Fitness, we recognize technology and human ambition go hand-in-hand, a principle that drives our product and service offerings forward. For example, did you know that 55% of gym members track their exercise activity using a wearable device? These wearable devices offer tremendous potential to harness rich member data to understand fitness patterns, in turn helping fitness business owners see greater success than ever before.    

With a significant 11% increase over the previous year, 60% of active consumers now claim to use or be members of a gym, health club, or studio. This surge underscores the opportunity to harness these advancements, gain insights on how best to meet the evolving needs of your members, and highlights the importance of integrating technology into your business strategy to foster consumer trust—a pivotal factor for sustained growth in the industry. 

January 2024 Innovation Report: Active Consumer Study Insights & Findings

Discover more

As part of our commitment to innovation, we hosted an Innovation Lab at the event, providing select attendees with a unique demonstration of how Generative AI can revolutionize decision-making processes for club owners and operators. This technology not only simplifies but also accelerates decision-making, empowering fitness establishments to advance and expand their operations efficiently. 

We also are continuing to invest in cross-platform innovation to elevate club management and member engagement by optimizing revenue cycles, improving member acquisition and retention, and ultimately helping our customers to grow their businesses. 

“For over 40 years, ABC Fitness has been at the forefront of fitness, dedicated to empowering the fitness community with revolutionary software and services that help people live their best lives. We are committed to investing in cutting-edge innovations and leveraging insights to propel our customers’ growth across our complete portfolio of integrated platforms,” says CEO of ABC Fitness and IHRSA Board Member, Bill Davis.  

We are shaping the future of fitness by providing the most personalized, insightful, and efficient club and member management solutions, and will be showcasing this and so much more at IHRSA 2024.

Prioritizing Human Connection 

As we think about the evolving landscape of fitness, it’s vital to recognize that technology’s rise doesn’t lessen the significance of human connection. ABC Fitness’ very own Cristine Kao (Chief Marketing Officer), alongside Melissa Knowles (Director of Client Success), Addison Perrymond (SVP of Product), and Lee Robinson (Senior Director of National Sales) spoke about this in a panel discussion—What’s Next for Fitness: Translating the “AI” Trend & Global Data into Business Growth. 

Kao summed up our sentiments perfectly in the panel: “While technology can enhance daily interactions with members, it’s human connection that fosters community and bolsters member retention.” 

Echoing this sentiment was keynote speaker Mariana Atencio, a renowned newscaster, bestselling author, and founder of her own media production company. Mariana gained prominence as a motivational speaker following her viral TEDx Talk, “What Makes YOU Special,” which has garnered over 24 million views. In her address, Mariana emphasized the transformative power of authenticity—embracing one’s identity, values, and vulnerabilities without hesitation. She states that “authenticity is key to leading happier, more fulfilling lives.” 

This aligns with the growing trend of authenticity among fitness consumers, who are increasingly vocal about their preferences. A recent third-party survey sponsored by ABC Fitness revealed that 58% of respondents want their gyms, clubs, and fitness studios to embrace social causes, with mental health, racial equity, and gender equality/sexism at the forefront. 

ABC Ignite Remains at the Forefront of the Fitness Industry 

The ABC Ignite team has proudly played a pivotal role in the evolution of our industry and how we fit into the future of the HFA.  

We will continue to be dedicated to helping our members offer premium experiences, including flexible billing to fit every budget, tailored classes, and programs, and 24×7 personalized mobile experiences. We’re also proud to represent 30,000 clubs in over 100 countries and share our data with the industry, so we can all learn and grow together. You can find our “January 2024 Innovation Report: Active Consumer Study Insights and Findings” here. 

A big round of applause and a sincere thank you to our customers and the fitness community for a great event this year (and for helping us stay at the forefront of fitness). We look forward to continuing to work together—see you in Las Vegas for IHRSA 2025! 


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