Coaching the community
MEGAN PORTER SHARES HER INSPIRATION FOR HELPING PEOPLE FIND HEALTH
It is not always easy to pinpoint what motivates a person, but with Megan Por-ter, she owns it – literally and figuratively.
Now the picture of strength and vigor, the owner of Moving Mountains admits she was not always healthy – in fact she was quite the opposite for some time. In her years leading up to college, she was riding horses and dirt bikes in the hills of North Dakota with her sister by summer. The siblings made powder turns snowboarding on the quaint ski hill called Frostfire by winter. When the girls were not playing, they were working on the family farm “a lot.” Despite all of her movement, she was staggeringly unhealthy.
“In high school I was anorexic. I gained 70 pounds in college. I was all kinds of unhealthy. I decided I wasn’t having any fun. I wasn’t doing anything I moved to Montana to do,” she said. “I know how it feels to be unhealthy and unhappy. I just know how much better it feels when you are able to feel good doing what you love to do – because you are strong enough to do it.”
At university, Porter earned an environmental studies degree, followed by a geographic information systems graduate certificate, “which is a fancy word for mapping.” College for her presented more than an education for employment – it also presented an opportunity for a whole new life. Yet accepting her calling still took some time. She never dreamt she would be so fully invested in health, or leading a fitness community through a pandemic. Her journey to health and fitness began when she started doing home workouts. Inspired, she started online coaching, “helping people with the same at home programs that I was doing.” From the group fitness/PiYo training she went on to attain a personal training certification. The seed had been planted that she may someday want to own her own gym, so she worked at a performance center for a while to learn the business. On May 1, 2019 Moving Mountains was born.
Despite common misconceptions, the gym is not a CrossFit gym. Porter said she has been battling that belief since she started. “We do not do CrossFit. We take pieces from CrossFit, but our workouts are definitely not CrossFit and are very friendly to anybody,” she said. Less than a year into the business and COVID-19 happened – suddenly her online coaching background came in quite handy.
“Gyms are all about com-munity,” she said. And she has made efforts to continue that sense of community with Moving Mountains members and the greater Big Sky population. Zoom classes started daily “to keep people engaged.” Then she created the community wide Bingo Challenge. Now, there is a Shift Challenge, which encompasses more than just fitness for the body. “It has a movement part, a part that I call grow, which really about stay mentally healthy through this and then a part called connect, which is to strengthen your community,” she said. Mind and body go hand in hand, she pointed out. If a person has a healthy body, it is easier to have a healthy mind – with the opposite also being true. She has big ideas for Big Sky, for her gym and for fitness people across the state. Porter takes pride in being able to help people at any fitness level – because she has been there. In the end, momentum can begin with the slightest shift. “Start where you are. Do what you can everyday – and the improvements will come," she said.