Keith Thompson leads his indoor-cycling class at the Adamsville Recreation Center on Friday, April 4, 2014. At 280 lbs, Keith Thompson wasn’t satisfied with his weight or his health. So, starting with step classes at a local gym, he dedicated his life to fitness and lost over 70 lbs. Several years later, fellow step classmates - who had long since noticed Keith’s contagious energy and positive attitude - suggested that he’d find success as an instructor. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Spinning the pounds away

This is what sadistic must look like.

Men and women dancing so hard and fast atop canary yellow exercise bikes their perspiration looks like rain.

They are jammed so close it’s difficult to maneuver between them but somehow instructor Keith Thompson manages. He offers high fives. He gets in-your-face. He motivates, sometimes singing, other times dancing or both to soundtracks of Rihanna, Lil Jon, and Bruno Mars.

Watching you know why Thompson and the cycling classes he calls KTX Fitness have generated a following that even he didn’t anticipate. In just seven years, he has become a You-Tube sensation so popular metro Atlantans show up an entire hour early to secure a place in his classes. Fans are crossing state lines to experience the class first hand and fitness clubs are taking notice.

“I just stepped out in faith,” he said recently after another hour-long class at the Adamsville Recreation Center.

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