by Jennifer Dempsey

Juliet Schaub holds the pole high with her left hand, grabs low with her right hand, kicks her legs in the air and hangs upside down in a vertical V. Lowering herself slowly into a tuck, she smiles as she lands lightly on the ground.

“Every time I get off the pole I feel like Wonder Woman,” she said with an infectious grin, wiping sweat and sticky grip off her hands. “Even if I am not feeling particularly strong that day, I feel empowered after every workout.”

Empowered is exactly what Schaub wants others to feel through her pole fitness workouts. The effervescent 46-year-old pole fitness instructor and owner of Colorado PoleCatz arrived in Salida last July from Key Largo, Fla., “with her pole, her dog and a lot of inspiration.”

Inspired by what pole training had done for her, Schaub is determined to share it with other people. Nine years ago Schaub nearly lost her foot in a boating accident. Five years ago she started walking again. Three years ago she began training on pole.

“When I started training on pole it was a new chapter for me,” she said, stretching her arms behind her back. “It changed my life completely. It started out as a divorce goal. I sold my wedding ring, bought a pole, went to pole camp, and that was the start of my transformation.”

At the Florida pole camp, Schaub met women who “were amazing super ‘sheros.’ They inspired me and showed me a whole underground pole-fitness world with competitions all over the world. I wanted to become a shero myself.”
Schaub’s current favorite shero is 67-year-old Greta Pontarelli, who started pole fitness at age 45 when doctors told her she was at high risk of osteoporosis. Pontarelli began strength building through pole training, and in 2014 she won first place in the pole sports world championship.

A combination of gymnastics, agility training and strength building, pole training is now emerging as a new workout trend for men and women in fitness studios across the globe.

Schaub said she was called to Colorado because of the mountains, the active lifestyle and because “I wasn’t growing in Florida anymore. I wanted to grow as an individual. So I sold my house, packed my bags, fit my life into my Honda Accord and headed west.”

“Who knew?” said Elise Backinger, a 73-year-old Salida resident who attended one of Schaub’s recent trial workshops. “This is incredible. It’s really challenging! I have so much respect for people who are good at this!”

Schaub said, “If somebody thinks, ‘Oh, I gotta get strong before I do it,’ I would tell them you don’t have to be strong to do it. You get strong by doing it. Use the pole as a strengthening tool.”

Rosa Solomon, 33, said, “At first I was put off because of the reputation pole dancing has, but it’s really elegant. I would encourage other women to try it out.”

Schaub is offering an eight-week beginner pole fitness course at Hi-Steppin’ Studio, 427 Jones St. in Salida, beginning the week of Oct. 16 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For more information, call 305-393-7447, or email coloradopolecatz@gmail.com.