Gym owner Irving Henson may have once held a world record in powerlifting, but he's also a cool and sweet dad!
To all those who know him, 41 year-old gym owner and founder of The PIT, Irving Henson certainly deserves the accolade of being labelled a ‘cool dad’. Covered in tattoos (he’s lost count), he’s also won many powerlifting competitions including the Global Powerlifting Alliance World Championships, where he once set the world record for the 178kg bench press. As intimidating as Irving may seem, he is quite the doting dad to his teenage son, Miles. A ripped, buff dad who can lift you (and your mum, and maybe your grandma all at the same time) without batting an eyelash? We’re intrigued. We had a chat with Irving to find out more about the softie behind the tattooed, pomade slicked hair…
Hi, Irving! Tell us a little bit about your son
My son Miles is 13. He’s got a great sense of humor and very compassionate – things you can’t teach. I think I lucked out in the son department. He’s the world to me and I love absolutely everything about him.
What’s a typical day for you like as a dad?
I start work really early, at 6am and sometimes finish late in the evenings. Because of this, I don’t really get to see as much of my son as I would like during the week. I do manage to sometimes catch him just before he goes to bed.
What’s the best part of your day?
Whenever I get home from a long day at work, my son drops whatever he’s doing to come give me a big hug. Even if he’s a tough, cool teenager, he still does it and I hope he never stops.
What’s your secret to being a successful working dad?
I think it’s about making time for my son and letting him know that I love him. Weekdays are hard because of my work schedule. My wife works too. On the rare occasion that I do get home early, he’s sometimes in school or has his own stuff going on. I reserve my weekends for family time. It’s the only time I finish at about 5pm or 6pm so I can spend my evenings with my son and my wife. Despite my crazy schedule, I make it a priority to spend time with him, which helps us stay close. He knows how much I love him.
What does being a dad mean to you?
Apart from being the ATM? Haha. It’s about providing what I can for him to make his own way. The love you have for your child is unconditional. The love is not a job. It just happens.
What has being a dad changed about you?
I THINK I’ve calmed down a lot. I’m not as quick tempered as I used to be when I was younger. My priorities have also changed. Before it was about me being the best at what I do. Now it’s about being the best at what I do so that I can provide for my son to be the best that he can be.
Do you consider yourself a hands-on parent? How so?
Not really. My wife is actually the better parent. I’m just the guy he has fun with, but it’s not like we do anything crazy or exciting. We just hang out on our sofa and talk about nothing and everything. It’s like having your best friend around on a daily basis.
What do you think makes you a cool dad?
I never knew I was one until I was asked to do this interview. But if anything, it’s because I’m my son’s pal as well as his father and disciplinarian. You know how some kids are afraid of talking to their parents? I’d like to think that my son can talk to me about anything. We joke around: we banter a lot. Like, I’ll make fun of his puberty and he’ll make fun of my music.
Any funny stories about being a dad?
When Miles was five years old, he asked his art teacher if she had tickets. She replied “Tickets to what?”. He rolled up his sleeves and flexed his biceps and said: “ Tickets to the gun show”. It’s obviously something he learned from his mum.
What’s the toughest part about being a dad?
It’s tough trying to find a good, healthy balance between work, family, and finding yourself.
What’s the best parenting hack you’ve discovered?
I don’t think there’s any real hack; you just have to admit to yourself that kids today are smarter than we give them credit for. And if there was one, your kids would have figured you out way before you tried anything.