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Fitness teacher going rogue in Potsdam

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POTSDAM — A new gym on Market Street is about fitness, not fads, according to its owner.

Potsdam native Jennifer L. Thomas-Sassone knows a few things about fitness. She was a competitive skier in college and spent 10 years training athletes in Australia and New Zealand. She has been back in her hometown for two years and wants to share her expertise.

Rogue Fitness and Protein Bar, opening April 1 at 8 Market St., will do things differently from other gyms. Instead of row upon row of workout equipment, there will be only four “pods” — stations with enough equipment for a single person. There will be no treadmills or ellipticals, just the basics, such as barbells, pull-up bars and kettlebells.

“It’s all about being functional — getting strong, getting healthy and getting in shape,” Ms. Thomas-Sassone said.

Memberships will cost $40 a month. Each member will have to schedule time on a pod, up to five hours per week. To make sure there is plenty of time for everybody, the center will be limited to 75 members.

The narrow focus is practical because of the limited space at the former Strawberry Fields Music, but it also encourages a sense of ownership among members, Ms. Thomas-Sassone said. People may be more likely to stick with a program if they can get the personal attention that only a small gym may provide.

“I really want people to feel that this is their gym,” she said.

New members will not be allowed to use the equipment unsupervised. All first-time visitors will be given a basic test to measure their experience with exercise equipment. Those who do not pass the test will be given a four-week foundations course taught by Ms. Thomas-Sassone.

“Once you pass the foundations, you can have full rein of the equipment,” Ms. Thomas-Sassone said.

For those looking for a post-workout nutrient boost, whey protein shakes will be sold in a separate back room.

She will offer programming for those who want to learn how to lift weights competitively. The gym has been accredited by the Amateur Athletic Union to host amateur lifting competitions and also will host competitive obstacle races.

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