Meet Akin Akman, Fashion's Favorite Fitness Trainer

Meet Akin Akman, Fashion's Favorite Fitness Trainer

Meet Akin Akman, Fashion's Favorite Fitness Trainer

The SoulCycle trainer and Tommy Hilfiger model talks dating, working with Gigi Hadid, and more.

The SoulCycle trainer and Tommy Hilfiger model talks dating, working with Gigi Hadid, and more.

Text: Sophia Khalifeh

Akin Akman is one of many SoulCycle instructors in NYC, yet he has managed to establish himself as one of the best in the Big Apple. The 29-year-old, Turkish American instructor is so loved, that his devoted followers have helped brand himself as Akin of Akin’s Army. Not only has his attractiveness been voted on, it was confirmed as soon as he signed with IMG, working with and training some of the fashion industries top profiles. V sat down with teacher on everyone’s lips to learn a little more about the man behind the bike.

What personal experiences have affected how you motivate and train a person or class?

AKIN AKMAN  It's all about controlling the things you can control right; that’s what I try to teach. I played tennis since I was five years old and I went to a very competitive academy. I believe that’s where I built my motivational skills. I got injured, I had to start over, I had to accept the fact that now I have to start from the bottom and build myself up. Not just physically but mentally too. I had to start from scratch and figure it out for myself. I've done all that and I believe that I can do it again because I have programed myself to think like that. I use my personal experiences and merge them with my coaching style to motivate my clients. I feel like I went through the failures to build up this moment.

You used to be a pro-tennis player before you got injured. What has that journey of letting tennis go teach you about your life, or influence your training now?

AA I liked coaching, but I had to come to terms with coaching. I think in sports, some may believe that when you can’t do it anymore, you become a coach. It seems like you’re giving up. I didn't want to fall into that category and was fighting it. I was like "I'm a talent!" but I was always good at coaching. There’s so much mental work in Tennis and you train 8 hours a day, everyday. All that prep work has prepared me to do this 35 times a week! There are very few people who can do that and I love what I do.

Did you always want to get into modeling?

Akin:  Not really. When I was playing tennis and doing really well, I didn't really see modeling as a lucrative option. I was 16 and focused on being a professional tennis player! It's what I do. I’ve had people try to scout me several times before and I would always say no until my mom and sister decided to step in. Someone approached us at the mall, we went into Ford Models in South Beach and they signed me. The next day I did a job for a catalog on the beach and was wondering "okay, why didn't I do this before!"

From what I can tell, your schedule is really intense. How do you make time for family, friends, but also dating?

Akin: All my friends come to class! I helped my brother become a SoulCycle instructor and an Akin’s Army trainer. We get to train and coach together. My sister has always been passionate about styling and we got her a job at Ralph Lauren. So in that sense, we all get to work together.

Dating isn’t a priority right now. I love what I do and I care so much about the people I do it for! Sometimes, the person I’m dating may get jealous, asking questions like "why are you giving these people attention?". These are my students and I’m very serious about them and their accomplishments. I think I balance it pretty well, but usually, they want more. Right now, I can't do more.

You have modeled for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Todd Snyder, Rag and Bone, and more, working with models like Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Nina Adgal, and Abbey Lee Kershaw. You have also trained people like Brian Atwood, Edward Enninful, the Beckham's, Jake Gyllenhaal, etc… What has your experience been like working in the fashion industry as well as training in Hollywood?

Akin: It’s like training anybody else. I have pro-athletes who come to class who can't do a lot of my advance moves. It is really cool to see people who have "made it" let go of the ego and genuinely experience the process. I love that I get to work with people I train and know on a personal level. I get to see them in their element and they get to see the most out of me too. It’s really inspiring in so many ways because I bring all those fashion experiences to class.

Bandier sponsors your Akin’s Army boot camps, Todd Snyder recently personally helped design your Army merch, and there always seems to be someone remotely famous in your classes. How does it feel get all this appreciation and love from high profile industry members?  

Akin: I am inspired by everyone's progress. There have been so many people who have come up to me and been like "I went in and applied for this job and got it because you built that confidence in me." There are so many stories! There’s one about how she beat cancer! In a way, I guess it almost proves your value. With “higher profile people,” I don’t feel any difference. I know I am really good at what I do and I don't think it's a bad thing. I’ve been coaching every day for 14 years and I’ve worked my ass off. I immerse myself in it and I’ve made it my specific intention. I think it just flourished and that’s great. I’ve always kind of known that I could fill a room with people who wanted to be there. It creates an atmosphere and everyone wants to be a part of it.

It's why you waitlist all the time.

Akin: (Laughs) Maybe.

So what’s next for you?

Akin: I have a couple things lined up for modelling but I don't know if I can share anything…. One comes out in December, and SoulCycle has a really exciting new campaign with someone really cool who is a really good friend of mine. That is coming out in April.

Try out Akin’s SoulCycle class here. Follow Akin on Instagram.


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