Johanna Leduc and Dominic Bird: Power Couple

Johanna+Leduc%2C+11%2C+prepares+to+squat+at+Legacy%27s+powerlifting+meet+on+Feb.+5.

Madison Gonzales

Johanna Leduc, 11, prepares to squat at Legacy's powerlifting meet on Feb. 5.

Dusting off the leftover chalk, junior Johanna Leduc adjusts her wrist wraps and walks over to the bench. Nervous for her first powerlifting meet, she takes a deep breath and glances in the direction of her boyfriend for encouragement. 

“I got into powerlifting because I had a couple of friends in it,” Leduc said, “and I really wanted to be more active in a way that would make a difference without overly exhausting myself.”

Leduc lifts alongside her boyfriend, junior Dominic Bird. Bird joined powerlifting two years ago to build muscle. Physically and mentally, the pair find themselves thankful for the opportunity because they found a place they fit in.

“I got into powerlifting due to being a small built person,” Bird said. “To keep up with everyone else, I had no choice but to get bigger.”

The power couple focused mainly on what they gained since they began lifting. The struggle in their heads remains the main thing for them. They work around the negative thoughts to continue to keep up their strength. 

“The hardest thing about powerlifting is getting your mind right,” Leduc said. “It’s all mental and I’m still working with myself on that.”

With the thoughts and discouragement her brain sends, she has minor setbacks she must fight through. Not only does she take AP US History, but she’s also an FFA officer. A combination of the two piled up homework and meetings. 

“A couple of setbacks is I do other clubs, so I can’t come in every day,” Leduc said. “The coach is really accommodating for all of us though.”

At the end of the day, powerlifting has brought the couple closer to each other. Looking back, the lifters realize, no matter the struggles that were faced or the differences they had, it’s still a team sport and they’re thankful to be a part of it.

“It’s a really great experience,” Leduc said. “A great way to channel emotions and really learn yourself and push what you are capable of.”

With the benefits come positive feedback and growth between each competitor. All of their support combines while competing against other schools.

“The experience is very tough, everyone in their own world is working hard,” Bird said, “but still associate with them and help them as they go down the same path.” 

Powerlifting benefited the pair. They learned more about themselves and what they can do such as push past the negative mindset and find mental clarity. It started out as a struggle but it continues to get easier over time. 

“I love powerlifting, it’s all at your own pace and it’s about building strength,” Leduc said. “Yes, we compete but it’s really about learning and knowing yourself.”