How this spin instructor wants to change lives

Mike Porter wants to help people live healthier lifestyles, and that passion to create change has taken him to his basement.

Sure, it’s not far for him to go, but in his home studio in Portugal Cove-St. Philips, N.L., Porter leads online spin classes on a stationary bicycle around the world, under the banner Positive Edge On-Demand Indoor Cycling.

“I’m in 55 different countries, probably 20 or 25 different towns all over Newfoundland alone,” he says.

Spinning is a cardio-intense workout on a stationary bike that sees users stand up, sit down, climb simulated hills or coast along flat terrain.

“When it starts to hurt, when it starts to get uncomfortable, you’ve got to put something in your head that’s going to push you further and have fun with it.”

Porter moved to Newfoundland from British Columbia about two years ago, and he knew he wanted to continue teaching spin classes, but maybe in a less-than-traditional way.

“The key to me was to be accessible to everybody, regardless of where we are in the world,” Porter told CBC’s St. John’s Morning Show.

“You can do these classes on any bike, any place, any time. My big thing was making it accessible from a price standpoint, from a geographical standpoint, and just from an accessibility standpoint.”

Classes around the globe

Over the last couple of years, Porter has learned a few things about leading virtual classes; he has about 100 different backdrops, different playlists, and more and more lights.

“The user, if they’re doing a class online, they can get fantastic quality,” Porter said.

“One of the things I learned, being a novice with video and cameras is that lights are so important, so again, like everything, it’s been a process and I’ve gradually added more and more lights to make the production that much better.”

It’s a passion that has paid off for Porter, who said he finds new people logging on every day to take his classes.

“One of the fun things for me is getting up in the morning and looking and seeing that I had a new person do it,” Porter said.

“It might be a small town in Newfoundland that I’ve never heard of, or it might be a town in Russia, or Namibia, or wherever. We’re all over the place. It’s amazing what technology can do.”

Porter wants to empower people to make positive changes in their lives, and thinks spinning is a great way to do it.

“That’s the thing, in all seriousness — it’s how people feel when they get off the bike. You’re going to sweat, you’re going to work hard, but it’s sending you on your way in a good mindset,” he said.

“For those people that know me, changing people’s lives is something that’s been hugely important to me for a long time.… I just think it’s great that I can spread that throughout the province, throughout the country, throughout the world.”

And Porter wants to end his classes on a high note, with inspiring messages to his viewers.

“You made it happen, you took the time for yourself. Now I want you to take that feeling after those tough efforts when you pushed through and take that with you throughout your day.”

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