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A Skaneateles fitness studio has transformed Sandy Pine's life in more ways than one.

The 37-year-old Sennett woman became the new owner of Gazella Training, Fitness & Yoga starting Jan. 1, a career change for the former special education teacher. She's taking over for former owner Reem Jishi, who moved to Florida but still works with Pine as a consultant. 

Though Pine is just getting her feet wet on the business side of things, she hopes to keep the studio running mostly the same for now with the potential to add new classes down the road. It's a road, however, she never really thought she'd be on.

For about 14 years, Pine was a special education teacher. She held positions at the E. John Gavras Center in Auburn and then at Weedsport Elementary School. She took a few years off, in the meantime discovering Gazella.

At the 4361 Jordan Road studio, Pine said she took spinning classes, cardio and strength classes and TRX, or Total Resistance eXercise. In 2012 she became certified to teach spin, and soon after, TRX.

"I just really enjoyed taking the classes, and I thought, you know, that would be something I'd like to do," she said about teaching. "I did miss teaching. I missed that piece of it. I still get to teach, just grown-ups."

When Jishi approached her about taking the studio on, Pine said she didn't hesitate. 

"I've known most of these people for years now, and that makes my job easy," she said about the instructors and client base. "It's already a community."

She's kept the studio's name the same, and continues to offer yoga, indoor spin, TRX, high-intensity interval training and strength classes. Yoga classes vary from gentle flow, to yin & yang, power flow, to morning flow. The studio also offers guided meditations. 

Pine said Gazella has never really been a gym in the traditional sense. It's not a place where someone can hop on an exercise machine and leave, she explained. While there are treadmills, people must rent out a 45-minute time slot for a fee. Gazella, Pine added, focuses mostly on group exercise classes. 

They range in size from about 10 people for TRX to about 15 for yoga. Its intimacy and community feel is what Pine thinks separates her studio from other fitness businesses. 

Pine is also continuing a running training group that Jishi began years ago. Jishi still sends Pine indoor run workouts that class instructors carry out in Skaneateles. Clients also get together for outdoor biking sessions (when the weather is warmer) and runs. Those interested in completing a triathlon, too, can join Team Gazella. A registered USA Triathlon Club and USA Cycling Club, members have access to training resources, coached group training sessions and can compete in team events. 

"We get a variety of athletes," Pine said. "We (have) got some people that come to Gazella that are ranked-in-the-world, and then there are people who just want to work out and be healthy. So, it's a good mix of people."

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Staff writer Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (315) 282-2237 or gwendolyn.craig@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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