GODFREY - Abby Kreitner Thurman didn’t set out to create a popular woman-owned gym, but that’s exactly what she did. With three passionate trainers and a growing list of clients, the business Ab’s Workout Plans is only growing.

“We like to push people and drive people, and I think our clients see that energy,” Thurman said. “We’re going through our own journeys, too. We’re right there with them.”

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For the last year, Thurman’s journey has been this business. Ab’s Workout Plans offers individual training sessions, group sessions, consultations and workout and nutrition plans. They’ve expanded to a new location on Godfrey Road with a full calendar of available classes.

While the gym’s success might have initially surprised Thurman, Ab’s Workout Plans has actually been in the works for years. In high school, Thurman participated in the Riverbend CEO program meant to foster entrepreneurial skills in students; she created a personal training program. She went on to study exercise science in college, then physical therapy.

When COVID-19 hit, Thurman started posting photos and videos of her workout routines. Someone reached out and asked if she would take on clients, so Thurman and her husband decided to build a gym in their garage. In three weeks, they painted the space and loaded in equipment bought through Amazon.

“We purchased it all on a credit card. I had none of this money. I was just going for it,” Thurman said.

It worked. Thurman began collecting workout buddies and clients, who shared their results with friends. At one point, she was training over 70 people out of her garage.

Not long after Thurman’s business took off, she met Hannah Sontag in a bodybuilding competition. Sontag worked as a personal trainer at Club Fitness with Malory Wullener. Both women quickly joined Thurman’s vision.

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“It’s just a lot more comfortable than a big commercial gym,” Wullener said. Sontag described their community as “tight-knit.”

The women believe this mindset is part of their success. They understand that everybody comes to the gym with their own trials, and the trio is determined to be a caring, motivating presence for their clients.

“Having somebody on your team is important,” Wullener said. “To be that person that somebody leans on — it’s just so much more than telling somebody how to work out.”

Though they do plenty of that, too. Ab’s Workout Plans sees clients both in person and online, and their services are unique to the people they work with. From consultations to group sessions to a monthly recipe book subscription, they offer a variety of plans. You can see a full list of services and prices here.

While nutrition and exercise play a big role in staying healthy, Ab’s Workout Plans also focuses on mentality. They encourage their clients to cultivate determined mindsets and remember why they want to succeed.

“Your body can do so much, but it’s your mind that you’re always fighting every day to wake up and keep going. That’s why, once we teach you mentally to show up and be there and keep going, then it all works out,” Thurman said. “Our clients push us. You see them working hard, so you’re like, ‘Why am I not showing up for myself?’”

It’s this passion that fuels the gym’s success. The trio agrees that their work is important, both for themselves and the people they help.

“The gym is what saved me,” Sontag said. “Being able to provide that service for someone and being able to help them get through certain things, not only in the gym but outside of it, doing what I love and also helping people at the same time, it’s just really cool.”

Ab’s Workout Plans is located at 6118 Godfrey Road in Godfrey. To learn more about Ab’s Workout Plans, including upcoming classes, visit their website or Facebook page.

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