Pure Movement is more than a pilates or fitness studio. It’s more like a community, with small, intimate classes, personalized lessons and regulars who keep coming back for more. When owner Tresa Meussling took over the studio in 2012, she was intentional about building a community around wellness.
Not only is Tresa a champion for the community, she’s also been an advocate for Downtown Fort Wayne for over a decade. In fact, the studio is celebrating its 15th anniversary at its Downtown location this year!
We spoke with Tresa about her studio, her people, and her love for Downtown.
Meet Tresa Meussling of Pure Movement Pilates!
Molly: So, I hear you’re big on community. Can you tell me more about the community at Pure Movement?
Tresa: Of course! Before I took over the studio in 2012, Pure Movement was mostly a studio focused on private sessions. I wanted to provide group reformer pilates to the community on a larger scale while still maintaining an atmosphere that was intimate and customized. Pilates is meant to be personal and focused on the individual, but I wanted more of the community to have access to it through our group classes. We pride ourselves on knowing every student and what they need to work on, so that when they are in a class, we have a solid understanding of what each student needs.
One of the wonderful things about Pilates is that it is for every body. Because of this, our students can often range from younger kids to older adults well into their eighties and nineties. While Pilates is commonly connected to the female population, at least 35% of our students are male, and that percentage continually grows each year.
Being a centralized studio, we have students who come from all over Northeast Indiana and even parts of Northwest Ohio. But our favorite students are the ones who live, work, and play downtown, and have welcomed us as part of the West Central community for over 15 years.
In addition to our clients, our community includes five incredible instructors, in addition to myself. They are all wonderful, and very passionate about the work that we do.
Molly: Sounds like an excellent community! For readers who might not know a lot about pilates, can you explain your classes? Why is pilates such a great fitness practice?
Tresa: Pilates is a system of exercises designed to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and improve balance and proprioception. Through mental focus or “mind-body connection,” we focus on quality of movement over quantity. Pilates is truly innovative in the way that it improves your body’s functionality in everyday activities especially as you age.
In Pilates, we primarily use large pieces of equipment called “reformers” that utilize a wooden frame, movable carriage, and springs for weights. Reformers provide a tremendous amount of adaptability for all students depending on their goals, age, weight, and restrictions. It is low-impact which allows many individuals to still participate in a fitness method especially if they are in recovery from an injury or surgery.
Our group schedule offers four different levels of classes to provide options for students, such as those seeking more of a rehab practice or those who want more of an athletic and challenging workout. During each class, an instructor will use verbal cues to guide you through the workout, mentioning proper form, breathing, and adjustments based on your personal body alignment. Since Pilates has hundreds of exercises, no class is ever the same. Students appreciate and love how they never receive the same workout twice.
Molly: I love that! I hear you’re also a big advocate for Downtown Fort Wayne. Can you explain why it was so important for you to keep your studio Downtown?
Tresa: 15 years ago, Parkview Field had just been built, but the Downtown momentum wasn’t at all what it is today. Because of that, it was really a struggle to get people here. However, when I took over Pure Movement in 2012, I was in this unique position that I was a niche downtown business owner at the rebirth of a Downtown. It was difficult in the sense that there weren’t many of us at that time and because of that, there just wasn’t a lot of motivation for patrons to travel or live Downtown. I knew and recognized that the only way downtown communities can regrow is through supporting small businesses that make the environment vibrant. The only way those businesses can grow themselves is by sticking their feet in the mud and creating a fabulous community around it. I knew the potential that this downtown had, and I wanted to be a part of it from the beginning.
With each announcement and completion of a major project downtown, I always get the sense that Fort Wayne finally feels like a real city. When I first started at Pure, I was frustrated there was no local coffee shop in walking distance (other than Starbucks). Now, we have so many options for coffee shops, restaurants and venues in every direction. Because of all the unique business and varied housing options, people are moving Downtown because they want to be at the center of everything. Electric Works especially has felt like a huge milestone for the rebirth of downtown.
Being part of the revitalization has truly been one the greatest joys in running Pure Movement. I can’t tell you how glad I am that we stayed a part of the Downtown community.
Molly: Is there anything else you want people to know about Pure Movement?
Tresa: The only way to understand if Pilates is a good fit for you is to try it. We recommend that all students start with an introductory private session at $45 (which you can book on Pure Movement’s website). You’ll never know until you try! And after a session, we always encourage everyone to check out all the other great businesses and neighbors we have in Downtown Fort Wayne.
Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.