Garrett Ford wants to get big. 

It's all he thinks about. He wakes up at 6 a.m., knocks back a glass of pre-workout and heads down to his basement gym for his daily workout, then heads to work where he loads 50-pound bags of horse feed.

Ford, a 20-year-old person with autism, is a powerlifter and is pound-for-pound one of the best lifters in the country. His personal best deadlift is 505 pounds, almost three times his 175-pound bodyweight.

He started lifting at 16, when he was a scrawny 115 pounds. Other kids at school bullied him for his size and his disability.

"I did not like being small," he said. "I was a wimp."

Now he's preparing for his biggest competition yet: The Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.
After getting into a brief argument with his stepsister, Grace, left, Garrett embraces her and his mother, Leah, right, to apologize. "Family is hugely important to Garrett," Leah Yost said. "He's definitely a peacemaker."
After loading twenty 50-pound bags of horse feed, Garrett Ford navigates the 1,000-pound cart through aisles while working at Rural King in Heath, Ohio. Garrett works part-time at the store as a loader.
Garrett Ford listens to music as his grandfather, Bill Lane, drives him to Old School Gym for an early-morning lifting session in Pataskala, Ohio. Driving and other independent activities for young adults are difficult for Garrett as a result of his autism, and he has to rely on family members and other social service agencies to get around.
Trainer Thomas Covert checks the positioning of Garrett’s shoulders while spotting him as he back squats at Old School Gym.
After finishing their lifting session, Garrett Ford, right, does bodybuilding poses with his trainer, Thomas Covert, left, as Dustin Myers takes a picture of the pair Old School Gym. It was Garrett's last session with Thomas before heading to Abu Dhabi for the Special Olympics World Games.
Garrett chats with from left, Andrew Fuss, Thomas Fuss and Jesse Batarseh, who he met while training at Old School Gym, while walking around at the Arnold Fitness Expo. Before getting into powerlifting, Garrett was shy and didn't have many friends, but lifting has grown his social circle and his confidence when interacting with others.
Garrett gives participation medals to competitors following the deadlift competition during the Arnold Sports Festival at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Before leaving for the Special Olympics World Games, Garrett was invited to present awards at the event and to be recognized as a member of Team USA.
After packing Garrett's protein powder in a reusable bag for him as she prepares for his upcoming trip to the Special Olympics World Games, Leah shows Garrett how to seal the bag closed. Garrett struggles to remember things like tasks because of his autism, so Leah makes it a point to teach and remind him how to do things.
Garrett sits with his seven-year-old half-brother Connor as the pair watch videos while Leah finishes packing Garrett's luggage before his trip to Abu Dhabi for the Special Olympics World Games.
Garrett's grandmother Jackie Mossman says goodbye as he leaves to board his flight to Newark en route to Abu Dhabi for the Special Olympics World Games at John Glenn International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. During the competition, Garrett swept his events, winning gold in the deadlift, squat, bench press and the overall competition. Following this performance, Garrett plans to compete among his able-bodied peers.

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