Like an Energizer bunny—only in activewear, for the most part—Akin Akman just keeps going.
His day began long before most people hit their first snooze. When the New York-based fitness guru shared his morning’s accomplishments, it sounded more like the schedule of an entire fitness team than that of a single individual. “My first class was the lower body boot camp at 6am, followed by an abs class at 7am. Then came the 8.30am cycling session,” he shared with an almost breathless cadence. It’s a whirlwind just trying to keep up with his account of the day.
And these intense activities? All before sitting down for a noon interview with BAZAAR Man. When most contemplate lunch, the 36-year-old fitness dynamo has already orchestrated and led four demanding fitness classes, each clocking in at roughly an hour.
However, if you think that’s where Akman’s energy plateaus, think again. Post-chat, his afternoon looks as rigorous as the morning. He outlines with a rhythmic precision that could make you sweat just hearing about it: “After this, there’s filming that I have to do for the app, various other meetings and then back-to-back teaching sessions in the evening.”
His schedule’s sheer stamina and dedication paint a vivid picture of a man deeply passionate about his craft and equally dedicated to his community—the Aarmy.
The Aarmy is more than just a creative spin on Akman’s name, it’s a legacy. “The term evolved from “Akin’s Army,’” Akman explains with a hint of nostalgia. “It’s about those who believed in my vision right from the start.”
This November brings an exciting expansion for Akman. The Aarmy fitness app, his brainchild that is exclusive to the US, is gearing up for a global launch. Fitness aficionados worldwide can soon tap into Akman’s world of motivation and expertise.
But coaching is not something he fell into accidentally. Even as a 15-year-old, while training to be a pro athlete in tennis, Akman was into coaching. Originally from Türkiye, his family sent him to Florida and enrolled him in IMG Academy, an establishment famous for moulding global sports icons like Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova, and the illustrious Williams sisters, Venus and Serena.
However, Akman was forced to let go of his proathlete ambitions due to an unexpected back injury. “In my heart, I never truly left the sport behind,” he says. “But one moment, I was envisioning pro-leagues, and the next, college campuses.”
In that poignant pause, you sense no regret, only resilience. In conversation, Akman’s energy and positivity are palpable. But rather than wallow in what was lost after his injury, he channelled that setback into a newfound appreciation for movement and life. He recalls a saying by Tony Robbins that one grows from either desperation or inspiration.
Now, his journey has come full circle. “To perform at this level, mindfully, and to teach others? That is something significant.” The gratitude in his voice is evident, emphasising the importance of resilience and perspective in his life journey.
Digging deeper, his journey seems interwoven with tenacity, passion, and an unwavering spirit. When asked about the secret to his dynamism, he smiles. “It’s the heart,” he shares. “When you love something deeply, it’s no longer work.”
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Navigating the rhythm of multiple classes and studios, Akman masterfully balances style with practicality. His gym bag, ever-present by his side, is consistently stocked for his demanding routine. Though he’s graced the spotlight as a model with high-profile campaigns for notable brands like Rag & Bone and Tommy Hilfiger, his go-to attire remains true to his vocation: activewear.
Not surprising then that he is also the face of Lululemon’s recent men’s campaign. But his sartorial choices are not just confined to activewear. Much like his life, his style is a blend of intensity and ease, underpinned by family ties and a keen sense of identity.
“There are events, dinners, and speaking engagements, like the Business of Fashion, which require a different wardrobe,” he shares. And for these moments, Akman does not need to look far for style counsel. His elder sister, Necat Akman, is the head of gear at Aarmy and oversees the creative direction for their campaigns. This includes steering the brand’s collaboration with Lululemon.
“When it is time to refresh my wardrobe or prepare for an event, she’s my go-to. She’ll curate a selection, and we’ll experiment with different looks,” Akman says, painting a picture of their collaborative style sessions.
Though he is fond of comfort, Akman reveals an affinity for the more refined side of fashion. “There’s something about being in a Dior suit or donning a coat for events,” he admits. Juxtaposed against this polished image is his relaxed off-duty look. “I have a collection of Balenciaga and Prada sweatpants, and I wear a lot of Vetements shirts. Lately for summer, it has been about buttondown short-sleeved shirts paired with jeans.”
Beyond his appearance and style, Akman’s real passion lies in transforming how people perceive and approach fitness. His eyes brighten: “Mindset is where it all starts. Many hold onto narratives filled with excuses or self-imposed limitations. It’s easy to get caught in the ‘I’m not good enough’ trap, especially when comparing oneself to others who’ve been at it for a while.”
Akman’s approach is refreshingly simple and compassionate. “You don’t have to be the best right out of the gate. Embrace where you are; that’s your starting point. And every starting point is perfect in its own right.”
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He expresses a sentiment that many may find comforting: “Perfection is overrated. If everything is perfect, where’s the growth? Life, after all, is about evolution, about progress. Focus on progress, not perfection.”
Akman emphasises the importance of enjoying the process and finding a genuinely enjoyable fitness activity. “Don’t let your mind rob you of the joy because you feel ‘unworthy’ or ‘not good enough’,” he shares. “Remember, no one starts at the top. But reaching those heights? That’s a possibility if you’re committed.”
Drawing from his years of experience and the countless transformations he has witnessed, Akman concludes: “Keep it simple. Start with a walk. Progress to a jog. Maybe run. Work out with a friend. It’s not about the grand gestures but consistency and enjoying the journey. That’s where the real transformation happens.”
Editor-in-Chief: Kenneth Goh
Photographed by Reuben Foong
Styled by Windy Aulia
Hair and grooming: Manisa Tan
Photographer’s assistant: Amos Lee
Stylist’s assistant: Gracia Phang
Additional assistance: Zoe Tauro