STEUBENVILLE - To look at Jade Ordronneau, you'd likely think her a slight 19-year-old with some athleticism.
You probably wouldn't think she weighs as much as 142 pounds, nor that she can deadlift nearly triple her weight.
But Ordronneau, a certified personal trainer at Anytime Fitness of Steubenville, recently pulled a deadlift of 319.5 pounds, which is a record for her age and weight category.
BIG LIFT — Jade Ordronneau of Steubenville lifts 319.5 pounds during the Kumite Classic powerlifting meet in Monroeville Memorial Day weekend. The lift is above the record for her age and weight class, but she will need to repeat it before three national judges to have it certified.
Jade Ordronneau works with a client, Michael Bonaventura Jr. in the Steubenville location of Anytime Fitness, where she works as a certified personal trainer. Her father, Arieh, is the franchisee of the Anytime Fitnesses in Steubenville and Weirton. She credits working out in the gyms with developing her self-confidence and establishing her desire for a career as a trainer.
-- Paul Giannamore
She accomplished the feat during the Kumite Classic powerlifting meet, held Memorial Day weekend at the Monroville Kumite powerlifting meet May 23-24 at Monroeville Convention Center, east of Pittsburgh.
The event drew about 200 competitors, she said.
"The previous record was 275 pounds for age 18-19, 148 pounds weight," Ordronneau said in the gym in the Hollywood Plaza, where she works and trains with trainer Eric Henson.
To have the record recognized, she will have to pull the lift in front of three national judges to certify it. She expects that will happen next March at The Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, an event that draws about 18,000 athletes from around the world to compete in nearly 50 events.
And, yes, The Arnold is named for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who competed in a Mr. World contest in Columbus in 1970 and forged a friendship with the man with whom The Arnold was founded in 1989, Jim Lorimer.
Ordronneau started working out in 2011 in the gym franchise opened by her father in 2009.
"When I first started working here, I was just cleaning the gym. I was shy and afraid to talk to anybody," she recalled. "When I started lifting, just the phyiscal motion of being able to push the weight, I thought, 'If I could do this, then why can't I talk to somebody?'"
That physical confidence brought her out of her shell.
"It kind of exploded into me being a little bit more personable," she said. "I watched Eric and what he does and one day, it clicked. I wanted to be a trainer. So, from working out and getting the confidence to talk to people to getting to realize I had the knack for working out, as well as seeing the details of movement - the ways muscles move fascinates me, how they make you move better - I got certified and became a trainer. It's been my passion ever since."
In addition to help from Henson, she said longtime Steubenville lifter, retired police Capt. Leon Stinson offered advice during the Kumite competition.
"I went to warm up and was putting more weight on the bar when he said, 'What are you doing?' I said I was keeping fresh between lifts. He said to warm up to your opening weight and don't touch the weight until your next attempt. It made a world of difference," she said. "Three hundred and three pounds didn't feel any different than 280 because I wasn't wearing myself out between lifts."
Being fit is something that runs in the family, from what they eat to working out. Her father, her mother Sunni and brother Emile also work out at the gym.
Her mother was deadlifting 225 pounds one day, and Jade decided to see if she could lift the weight. She did it with no trouble. Henson then began working with her on lighter weights to get her form perfected, both to help with the lifts and to prevent injury.
She lifted without belts or braces in the competition.
As the weight she was lifting rose, her father checked to see what the records in her age and weight category were, and he thought she was lifting well above it.
"He e-mailed me and said if the numbers are true, I was over the world record," she said. "That got me really pumped up."
She said the joy isn't just in pulling the weight but in being small and densely packed with muscle, which makes it appear almost impossible that she could raise such weights.
"If someone is 300 pounds, then deadlifting 400 means you're only 100 pounds over your body weight," she said. "I want to be light. I want to keep a feminine build - I don't want to look like a little powerlifting man - but I want to be able to shame the other weight classes by lifting more than they do."
When clients and customers of the gym are told she weighs more than 140 pounds, she usually has to hop on a scale to prove it to them. Most people don't think she's much over 120 pounds.
As for the new, more confident young woman who emerged one day in the gym after pumping iron, she still got a bit nervous before the competition.
"You are sitting down waiting for your lift and you start getting butterflies. Then, there's my name. I'm in the hole. I'm next. You start getting a little nervous, and your heart races and the adrenaline starts pumping so much that you get a little light-headed. You go up to the bar, and you've got to focus all that energy," she said.
As for a special nutritional regimen, Jade says it's just a natural part of her life. The Ordronneau family eats healthy.
"You might think my family's a little weird. My little sister is 8 years old and if you ask her if she wants a garlic-stuffed olive or an ice cream cone, she's going to take the olive. We just have a different taste for food, and we're brought up eating right. Every once in a while, we do have a snack of something we're not used to, but that really is every once in awhile, like once every couple of months," she said.
She eats chicken breasts and salads, and has oatmeal for breakfast.
"I'm a big fan of cottage cheese," she said.
She tries to balance carbohydrates and proteins, and has some protein shake supplements, but says she just eats clean.
And it's worth it when she competes.
"After you finish your final attempt, everybody looks at you a little differently. After the lift, all the guys were like, 'Yeah" and the girls wouldn't make eye contact," she said.
(Giannamore can be contacted at pgiannamore @heraldstaronline.com.)