IHRSA 2024: Ushering in a New Era for the Fitness Industry 

March 14, 2024

Here, our CEO Bill Davis shares his thoughts on the 2024 IHRSA Convention & Trade Show.

My team and I always look forward to attending the IHRSA Convention & Trade Show. As one of the largest conferences for the fitness industry, it is a great opportunity to catch up with our industry friends and ABC Fitness’ global colleagues, as well as get inspiration from the keynotes and discussions, attend lively networking events, and enjoy the vibrant exhibits on the trade show floor.  

Last week’s event in Los Angeles was no exception as thousands of industry partners 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 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. We are celebrating this milestone with a new campaign called #ABCFit40 that we launched at IHRSA 2024. Join us by sharing your fitness story and moments using #ABCFit40 on Instagram!  

Below are some of the themes that came to the forefront during the tradeshow this year and details on how ABC Fitness is staying ahead of the curve. I have also shared a sneak peek at some 2024 trends we are seeing, as outlined in our ABC Fitness January Innovation Report.  

The Maturation 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). As the chairman of the Industry Partner Advisory Council (IPAC) as well as an IHRSA Board Member, I am proud of HFA for taking this step forward to better represent who our industry is today as we focus on holistic health and fitness – including technology, recovery, strength training, and everything in between.  

It seems fitting to rebrand the association with a new name that better reflects the expanded role that health and fitness now plays in our lives. With check-ins exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to our proprietary ABC Fitness data our industry is not only poised for growth, but also for a new level of maturation as we enter a phase of increased mass appeal.  

It was my pleasure to join the other HFA Board Members on stage to unveil this next phase of the association’s evolution. I was also fortunate to discuss the state of the industry with Amy Frena from the Health and Fitness Association in the interview below.  

ABC Fitness CEO, Bill Davis, talks about upcoming trends in the fitness industry at IHRSA 2024.  

Technology’s Key Role in Today’s Fitness Industry 

Many of the panels, sessions, and new products showcased at this year’s event focused on mobile tech, AI, data, and other innovations. We at ABC Fitness have long understood the powerful synergy of technology and human ambition, and our products and services reflect this understanding. According to our research, today’s active consumers have a broader understanding of health and fitness, possessing what we call the “Wellness IQ,” which is why integrating technology in a way that helps consumers trust your brand is key to growth. 

Some of the latest product and service enhancements we announced last week include: 

  • ABC Trainerize now enables better offline in-person client management and payments, significantly increasing client engagement. 
  • We have integrated AI-powered customer churn prediction and at-risk member identification into ABC Glofox, helping our clients better understand and engage members to aid retention.  
  • ABC Ignite has introduced new engagement features and app rebranding with custom themes and client types.   
  • Improvements to ABC Evo’s appointment scheduler allow for enhanced availability scheduling and coordination.  

We also hosted an Innovation Lab offering select attendees a special demonstration of how Generative AI can help club owners and operators simplify and accelerate decision-making, helping them advance and grow fitness operations.  

Keeping Human Connection Top-of-Mind 

It’s important to note that the growing role of technology in fitness does not equate to less focus on human connection and interaction. During a panel discussion, ABC Fitness’ Chief Marketing Officer, Cristine Kao, summed it up well, saying, “Technology will only augment so far in day-to-day interaction with members. Human connection empowers community and member retention.”  

17 Templates to Streamline Communication With Your Members in 2024


Emphasizing the important role that the human factor continues to play in the fitness world was keynote speaker, Mariana Atencio. Mariana is a newscaster, best-selling author, and head of her own media production company who became well-known as a motivational speaker after her TEDx Talk “What Makes YOU Special,” went viral, being viewed over 24 million times.  

In her keynote, Mariana talked about the power of authenticity. She describes it as knowing who you are, what you value, and what your vulnerabilities are—and not being afraid to show them. I wholeheartedly agree with what Mariana said, “Authenticity helps people live happier and more fulfilled lives.” 

This dovetails with the fact that fitness consumers are more authentic than ever and speaking up. In fact, in a recent third-party survey sponsored by ABC Fitness, 58% of respondents said that they want their gyms, clubs, and fitness studios to embrace social causes, with mental health, racial equity, and gender equality/sexism topping the list. 

Graph showing that 58% of respondents expect their fitness club to embrace social causes.
Today’s fitness consumers want their gyms, fitness clubs, and studios to share their concerns for social issues.  

In the panel on the next frontier of fitness, ABC Fitness’ Senior Vice President of Product Management, Addison Perrymond, acknowledged these findings, adding that the very definition of fitness has changed. Consumers now identify nutrition, workout accountability, and mental health as being just as important as traditional markers of physical fitness, which was a trend we saw already coming to life on the trade show floor.  

ABC at the forefront of the fitness industry 

I am proud that ABC Fitness has played a pivotal role in the evolution of our industry and how we fit into the future of the Health and Fitness Association. We are 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 are 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. 

I am grateful to our team, our customers, and the fitness community for a great event this year, and for helping us stay at the forefront of fitness. Let’s continue to work together to usher in a new era for our industry. See you in Las Vegas this time next year!