Exclusive: Gideon Akande on following his heart, being a Chicago Golden Gloves Champion, missing boxing and more
- Sportskeeda's exclusive with the former Chicago boxing champion.
- The acclaimed trainer opened up about fitness and his history with sports.
Last month I had the pleasure of meeting U.S. Olympic hopeful Ashley Paulson while staying at the world-class Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah. Thanks to the NordicTrack and iFit teams, I also had the opportunity to meet and interview acclaimed trainer Gideon Akande.
A nationally-recognized ambassador for health and fitness, Gideon Akande is not only a top-tier trainer but also a multi-time Chicago Golden Gloves Champion. The Chicago Sun-Times published a three-page spotlight on Gideon's training tips, GQ.com has showcased his expertise in its online fitness series, and Thrive Global has selected Akande as one of 20 leading fitness experts nationally beyond appearances via The Steve Harvey Show, Men's Journal and Men's Health.
A Chicago native and lifelong athlete, Akande graduated from the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA), where he played Division I football and became one of the leading kickoff returners in the school’s history. After embarking on a career in finance, Akande followed his heart and became a full-time personal trainer and group fitness instructor in 2010.
Embedded here is the full audio from my Q&A with Akande -- on Instagram as @GetFitWithGiddy -- while part of the conversation has been transcribed below exclusively for Sportskeeda.
On getting the chance to work with NordicTrack:
Gideon Akande: The opportunity to work with NordicTrack happened when they initially reached out to me on social media about potentially showcasing their treadmill on my Instagram page. I was completely down for that, but at the time I was living in a one-bedroom apartment. There was no space for it whatsoever, so I declined.
But I told them that if they needed any representation at a trade show or a convention, that it's part of my business in representing brands that way. They didn't at the time, but they said that there was a side of their house that films and records workouts that are streamed live to people's devices across the world. I told them that I also do that and they connected me with that side of the house, and long story short, I'm now a featured Elite iFit trainer.
On becoming part of the Chicago Golden Gloves competition:
Gideon Akande: It was year three of first becoming a personal trainer that I ran into other fitness professionals within my gym that were also into boxing and into competition in the sport. I went to do some light sparring with them, just to move around a little bit and to switch up my training. They all commented that I was pretty good at it, and if I was interested I should definitely look into competing. I was always looking for a way to fill the void that competitive football left, so this was an easy and natural transition for me.
I decided to go and seek out a boxing gym, Coach Sam Colonna at the Sam Colonna Boxing Gym in Chicago. It was about three to four months of me consistently coming to the gym that he said, "I'm going to work with you." Long story short, we started training, two years after I won the Chicago Golden Gloves two years in a row.
On whether he misses anything about boxing:
Gideon Akande: There's tons that I miss about boxing, specifically the competition. Being able to prepare for a fight, an event, the work leading up to it, win lose or draw being satisfied in all the efforts you give it. It's such a rewarding feeling as a human, and especially as a competitive person. I'm still in boxing now, in terms of training for myself and also teaching fitness classes at Shadowbox Chicago. But in terms of competing and being able to get excited for a fight and invite friends and family, being able to showcase your skills in front of a crowd, I very much miss that aspect.