Celebrating 40 Years Serving the Gym Industry

February 18, 2022

Forty, fit, and fabulous

It is hard to believe, but last year marked the 40th anniversary of ABC Fitness Solutions and what a year it was! In 2021, we saw continued recovery from the pandemic, the introduction of new services, the acquisition of new businesses, and the welcoming of new members to the ABC family.

While we have come a long way since 1981, our passion for the gym industry and our clients and our entrepreneurial, innovative spirit remain as strong as it did when we first opened the doors.

We are proud to be fulfilling our mission of “promoting healthier lives” every day and last year were able to help nearly 25 million members globally realize their fitness journey. Their hybrid, personalized “Total Fitness Experience” equates to nearly 900 million workouts tracked, 11 million habits completed, and 300 million meals logged.

Our 40th year was also full of product milestones and client success announcements. Just read on, to find out about a selection we’re especially proud of!

Positive gym industry trends

In March 2021, after one of the toughest years on record, the gym industry started showing signs of recovery as new member signups surpassed 2019 monthly figures for the first time. As we continued to keep our fingers on the pulse of the gym industry, ABC also found across all ages, women were returning to the gym in greater numbers than men, and the total number of gym checks-ins during March (over 416 million) was 4% higher than in February.

Through our partnership with the IHRSA Foundation, we took a deep dive into these shifting consumer habits and behaviors during and post pandemic. Exploring consumer behavior drivers, key motivators, and how club operators have adapted to the evolving gym industry, the comprehensive survey showed how, where, and when people work out has fundamentally changed. Among other facts, the survey found:

  • Gyms are not just for the young; in fact, Americans are growing more active as they age – 80% of those ages 66+ are active
  • Workout frequency has increased post-pandemic
  • 37% of consumers use at-home fitness equipment
  • 49% have purchased at-home equipment (10% have spent more than $1000)
  • 29% of people now use free online fitness classes, a growth of 15% during the pandemic
  • 49% state they plan to rejoin big box gym chains within the next six to twelve months
  • 40% of current gym members have joined in the past year

Testament to the strength of the industry’s recovery was seen at the 40th IHRSA conference and ABC’s first ever in-person User Summit in October. The energy and attendance at the show was back to pre-pandemic levels, and it is where ABC first unveiled ABC IGNITE, our most comprehensive and flexible suite of club management solutions to date. ABC IGNITE reimagines ABC’s core competencies the industry has relied on for four decades and adds newly expanded capabilities to simplify how club owners and operators run their businesses in this new era.

Deepening customer relationships

With vaccines being rolled out and states easing restrictions, the need to attract members once again came to the fore last year. One of the companies we were thrilled to support was UFC GYM which went live with ABC Fitness Solutions as its exclusive club management technology provider at the start of the year. Founded in 2009, UFC GYM is one of the growing fitness brands supporting members that train in more than 150 locations in 37 countries around the world. It was a fantastic, and welcome, addition to the ABC family.

Shortly thereafter we were pleased in June to announce an extension to our technology partnership with Crunch Fitness. Crunch continued adding gym locations and members during the pandemic and worked closely with ABC to deploy technology to meet social distancing challenges. This included the Crunch-o-Meter that allowed Crunch members to see real-time gym capacity levels while allowing club operators to enforce social distancing occupancy limits.

Products and solutions to propel fitness forward

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In April, we announced the acquisition of Fitness BI and welcomed its team to the ABC family. As a leading Data Warehouse-as-a-Service platform providing advanced business intelligence and reporting solutions, Fitness BI’s expertise has allowed ABC customers to make smarter use of data. Without real time dashboards or reports, club operators can spend 1.5 hours a day manually collecting and analyzing data from various software solutions. Fitness BI brings enhanced capabilities to ABC that provide customers with even more powerful analytical tools to streamline data collection and interpretation for smarter decision-making in less time.

With customer acquisition continuing to be an important need for club operators last year, we introduced a range of new features to GymSales powered by ABC at the MindBody Bold conference in San Diego in September. The new features included enhanced filters and targeting capabilities so operators can create and deploy impactful communication like emails and text campaigns more efficiently.

With the gym industry also irreversibly moving toward a hybrid model, we unveiled ABC+, which later became IGNITE Engagement, a member-centric mobile platform that allows club operators of all sizes to participate in the digitization of health and fitness. It allows club operators to extend engagement, creatively curate personalized content and deepen their relationship with members as they continue their health and wellness journey how, where, and when they choose.

A club branded mobile app presents significant opportunities for operators to monetize both in-person and virtual channels to unlock new revenue streams and business models and grasp new technology’s full potential. We continue to add diverse tools to the app including in-app messaging, 1-to-1 video calling with coaches and staff, and social motivation via badges, groups, and workout-of-the-day challenges.

In October, MOVATI Athletic, a premium club in Canada, chose to implement IGNITE Engagement because of the Meal Tracker and Photos feature, which allows members to track what they are eating and share it with trainers for nutritional guidance and support.

In addition to our own product development, we also continued to expand our technology ecosystem with leading partners to release products such as Camps by Alaris and Virtual Classes by Intelivideo. Camps by Alaris is a seamlessly integrated solution that will allow ABC Fitness Solutions’ customers with expanded service offerings, such as kids club, afterschool programs and camps, to streamline and centralize online registration and digital check-in experiences. Virtual Classes by Intelivideo is a video on demand (VOD), livestreaming and digital technology platform for the fitness, health and wellness industry.

Looking ahead

As we look forward to 2022, we are excited to rollout ABC IGNITE and share additional new features throughout the year. 2021 was certainly a whirlwind of activity, and we wish everyone continued success as we move forward into this new year.