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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

East Side Pilates Affordable, Accessible Workouts for Everybody and Every Body

Aug 01, 2022 12:00AM ● By Sheila Julson
Jesse Masche, of East Side Pilates and Phlox Boutique, considers herself a doer. She applied her creative muse and a passion for building inclusive camaraderie among those around her when she purchased East Side Pilates and put her own unique stamp on the business.

While growing up, Masche had multiple interests and a creative spirit, which was influenced by her late mother Jackie. Her father, Dr. Jack Masche, is a chiropractor and the founder of Masche Chiropractic, so natural wellness was part of the household. Masche trained and worked as a massage therapist for several years, but eventually felt the physical toll of the job.

“One of my massage clients recommended Pilates as a way to strengthen and condition the body,” Masche says, referring to a form of mind-body exercise that concentrates on full-body strengthening with an emphasis on core strength. She started practicing the method, then using it to cross train for marathons and triathlons.

Masche later moved to Chicago to pursue a degree in fashion design. While there, she studied Pilates instruction and took the apprenticeship program at Essence Pilates, a studio in Chicago.

“I liked Pilates better than yoga,” Masche says, explaining that unlike yoga, where one can master a pose, there’s no plateau in Pilates. “Your body is changing as you learn to do it and the more frequently that you do it.”

Masche moved back to Milwaukee in 2011 and taught Pilates at several different studios, including East Side Pilates. She also formed The Pilates Garage, located inside her father’s chiropractic practice. In 2013, the then-owner of East Side Pilates decided to sell the business, and the Masche family purchased it.

Building an Approachable Pilates Studio

Masche kept the East Side Pilates name, but creatively updated the aesthetics. Building upon her fashion design background, she chose new colors and redesigned the interior layout. “Everybody that comes in comments about the vibe and aesthetics of the studio.”

In addition, Masche strove to dispel stereotypes about Pilates and make it accessible to everyone, rather than targeting a certain niche of clients. “I’m trying to show that all bodies, both women and men, can do Pilates,” she says. “There are no prerequisites like having to know Pilates before you can come here and work out.”

Masche notes that because the mat exercises are very challenging, the method’s founder, Joseph Pilates, designed equipment with springs to assist beginners or those with limited mobility. “Once you are able to perform the exercises properly, you can use less spring to support your own body and use the springs as resistance, or as additional load to help strengthen or push yourself further.”

East Side Pilates offers both mat and equipment classes. The Booty Camp class moves at a faster pace, but all other classes are for all experience levels. Masche says more experienced students help beginners as well as learn more about their own routine. “It helps them to slow down and think, rather than robotically doing the exercises.”

Classes are small, and a variety of instructors each bring their own unique style of teaching to the studio. Masche notes that the method is effective for core awareness. “Most people don’t even know where their core muscles are, or how to engage them or use them.”

The practice also helps improve strength, balance and flexibility, and fine-tune the mind-body connection that is sometimes lacking in everyday life. “You can’t think about your to-do list while you’re doing Pilates. You have to really focus on what you’re doing, making you check out of daily life and check into your body.”

Phlox Boutique

In 2020, Masche added Phlox Boutique to the East Side Pilates space. The “business within a business” sells an eclectic collection of Pilates and yoga workout gear: leggings, bras, tank tops and outerwear. In addition, customers can find incense, candles, smudges, crystals, cards, jewelry and lifestyle gift items. Most products at Phlox are made by local artisans or small, U.S.-based companies.

Masche hopes to also add pop-up Pilates events with a DJ and vendors from Phlox. In the meantime, she will build East Side Pilates as a welcoming community space that supports both clients and her team. “I support several team outings throughout the year and want everybody to feel valued. The more minds, the better—our team players help keep the good energy flowing.”

East Side Pilates and Phlox Boutique are located at 2445 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee. For more information, call 414-915-7100 or visit