Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Get Hench, Or Die Trying

Many times over the last few months while I’ve been out and about in my travels, I’ve seen various men rocking the t-shirts with the slogan ‘Get Hench Or Die Trying’ (GHDT). Now being the nosey type that I am, I felt it was my duty to fellow nosey parkers to find out if the man behind the slogan was as arrogant and full of himself as the t-shirts may portray.
Now after exchanging emails over the last few weeks I felt it was time to meet the real Get Hench & find out what the slogan is all about.

Now you all know once winter kicks in, I’m not leaving my house unless your name is MUSIC or WORk & apparently Get Hench as well, hence why I braved the cold to meet the man behind the t-shirt.
Meet Olu Johnson, the 25 year old Law Graduate from North London who from first impressions has left me wondering ‘Are all the good men hiding out in Fitness First in Tottenham?’

So I sit down at Pizza Express with Mr. Johnson aka Get Hench as we talk work, relationships and Pumpkins (don’t ask). It’s getting late and I nearly forget that I’m not sitting here catching up with an old friend (as it feels like) but here on business, so it’s time to do just that, get down to business.

MzUnderstood: How did Get Hench come about?

GH: After going gym for a while I teamed up with another guy there called Shayne and we ended up training together. Everyone would watch us as we banged out the weights and after a while people wanted to train with us. One day I was pushing one of the youngers to do weights and he said ‘I can’t do this.’ I said to him ‘Yes you can, come on’ and he replied ‘Nah, I can’t do this Get Hench or Die Trying stuff.’ And it was born from there.

MzUnderstood: What does GHDT actually mean, is there a deeper meaning other than men in the gym pushing weights?

GH: GHDT is all about empowering people to push themselves to achieve what others think they can’t. We’ve just used the term ‘Get Hench’ but it applies to everything in life not just going to the gym.

Mz: So you must get a lot of attention from the girls looking like that!?

GH: Girls see me and all they see is meat, but obviously that’s not what I’m about. I’m a lawyer and I love law…I’m not a piece of meat!

Mz: OK, wow so you’re a lawyer?

GH: Yes, I graduated and now I work in the legal department for a company in Hertfordshire.

Mz: Which celebrities have you seen wearing your t-shirts?

GH: Dwayne Chambers (the athlete) has been sent one but I’m not sure if he’s received it yet. Chucky Norris, Yolanda Brown & Sway.

Mz: Where do you see the GHDT brand in the future?

GH: Right now the t-shirts are so popular that they’re selling out. When I first wore one in the gym everyone wanted one, I came back and one guy bought ten at once. I then sold out and another guy wanted one so badly he bought the one I was wearing that I’d been training in so I had to go home topless!

Fitness First were due to stock them but the manager that agreed the deal left and new manager point blank refused to sell them and I’m hearing that at least 10 people a day come in asking if they’re stocking them yet. That’s their loss.

Me, my brother Ayo and Shayne are the main people behing the brand and it’s so new for us and the t-shirts are doing so well, we’re still working on where we’re going to take the brand, it’s still early days yet.

Olu went on to tell me about the young boys that come into the gym to train with him and he uses that as an opportunity to discipline them as they listen to what he says and it gives them a sense of belonging. Discipline and belonging are the main factors that affect young black boys in our society today and what better role model to have than Olu.

Some would think that Get Hench is Olu Johnson’s alter ego but in actual fact to me they are the same person.
Olu Johnson is the 9-5 lawyer/businessman and Get Hench is the lawyer who works out three times a week and encourages people to achieve when others doubt them.
Whether you call him Olu or Get Hench, either way he’s the best example of why you should never judge a book by it’s cover because who would’ve thought that a man who looks like he could take out Mike Tyson with a flick is the same man who is all about motivating others to push the boundaries in life to go further than one ever imagined, so take his advice -‘Get Hench Or Die Trying’.