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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

People profiles: Coss Marte

Reformed drug dealer Coss Marte talks about how he developed his ConBody bootcamp while behind bars

Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 11
Coss Marte is a reformed drug dealer
Coss Marte is a reformed drug dealer
My cell was so small that I could put my hands on one wall and my feet on the opposite one without touching the floor, so I used that to develop exercises. I came out of prison 70lbs lighter.

How did you come up with the idea of ConBody?
I used to be a drug dealer and spent seven years incarcerated at Greene Correctional Facility. It was there that I was given a real wake-up call: I was so overweight, with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that I was told I only had five years left to live.

I knew I wouldn’t be free again unless I did something drastic, so I started to run around the prison yard and devised bodyweight exercises. My cell was so small that I could put my hands on one wall and my feet on the opposite one without touching the floor, so I used that to develop exercises. I came out of prison 70lbs lighter.

Can you describe ConBody?
It’s an ‘old skool’ workout using your own body weight. All you need is a body, a space the size of a yoga mat and an ex-con shouting at you! All the trainers are ex-cons.

It isn’t complicated, but it’s tough. Lunges, press-ups, leg raises and ab crunches are incorporated and there’s no let-up. Those with a high degree of fitness will be pushed, and those with a low level of fitness are encouraged to do what they can.

How did you get up and running?
In the beginning, about two years ago, we just met up to train people in parks. After a year, we opened a studio on Lower East Side, New York, which is kitted out like a prison cell.

In October we launched our online streaming service. Five workouts are posted each day, all 20 or 30 minutes long. People set their own fitness goals – for example 10 workouts a month – and their downloads are monitored. It currently costs US$5 a month for unlimited access, and people can cancel whenever they like. You can download it on a mobile, so you can keep up your routine while travelling. There’s no excuse to miss a workout.

If people reach their goal they receive a congratulatory email. If they don’t, we send out emails to kick their asses! It’s to keep people engaged and encourage them to make it part of their lifestyle.

You don’t shy away from your past. How important is this to the brand and marketing?
We know we’ll get some criticism, and there may be some negative connotations, but we want to break down perceptions and stereotypes about prisoners and ex-cons. I want to use ConBody to provide a practical solution to the problem of rehabilitation for former prisoners, because it can be very difficult to get back on your feet and find a job.

We do make tongue-in-cheek reference to our backgrounds in the workouts, like telling people to run like they’re running away from the police!

It sounds like an edgy concept. Does it appeal mainly to young people?
No, it draws a very diverse crowd: both genders and all ages. My mum does it.

If an operator would like to run a ConBody class, how could they go about it?
Initially it will be via live streaming, but we’re currently looking at strategic partnerships in other countries for groups working with ex-cons, so they can be trained up to be instructors. It takes three months full-time to qualify.

What else are you working on?
For the next six to 12 months, the main focus will be on getting the online streaming up and running and on training more ConBody trainers.

We’ve also been approached by a television production company, so a TV programme could be on the cards. I’m also really busy as a motivational speaker, making a couple of talks each week to diverse audiences from prison guards to business students.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
ConBody’s New York studio is designed to look like a prison cell
ConBody’s New York studio is designed to look like a prison cell
Marte doesn’t shy away from his past, and is now in demand as a speaker
Marte doesn’t shy away from his past, and is now in demand as a speaker
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/555136_391562.jpg
"We tell people to run like they're running away from the police!" Reformed drug dealer Coss Marte talks about how he developed his ConBody bootcamp while behind bars.
Coss Marte, Founder, ConBody,Coss Marte, ConBody, bodyweight exercise
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21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
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Online,
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15-16 Jun 2022
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01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

People profiles: Coss Marte

Reformed drug dealer Coss Marte talks about how he developed his ConBody bootcamp while behind bars

Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 11
Coss Marte is a reformed drug dealer
Coss Marte is a reformed drug dealer
My cell was so small that I could put my hands on one wall and my feet on the opposite one without touching the floor, so I used that to develop exercises. I came out of prison 70lbs lighter.

How did you come up with the idea of ConBody?
I used to be a drug dealer and spent seven years incarcerated at Greene Correctional Facility. It was there that I was given a real wake-up call: I was so overweight, with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that I was told I only had five years left to live.

I knew I wouldn’t be free again unless I did something drastic, so I started to run around the prison yard and devised bodyweight exercises. My cell was so small that I could put my hands on one wall and my feet on the opposite one without touching the floor, so I used that to develop exercises. I came out of prison 70lbs lighter.

Can you describe ConBody?
It’s an ‘old skool’ workout using your own body weight. All you need is a body, a space the size of a yoga mat and an ex-con shouting at you! All the trainers are ex-cons.

It isn’t complicated, but it’s tough. Lunges, press-ups, leg raises and ab crunches are incorporated and there’s no let-up. Those with a high degree of fitness will be pushed, and those with a low level of fitness are encouraged to do what they can.

How did you get up and running?
In the beginning, about two years ago, we just met up to train people in parks. After a year, we opened a studio on Lower East Side, New York, which is kitted out like a prison cell.

In October we launched our online streaming service. Five workouts are posted each day, all 20 or 30 minutes long. People set their own fitness goals – for example 10 workouts a month – and their downloads are monitored. It currently costs US$5 a month for unlimited access, and people can cancel whenever they like. You can download it on a mobile, so you can keep up your routine while travelling. There’s no excuse to miss a workout.

If people reach their goal they receive a congratulatory email. If they don’t, we send out emails to kick their asses! It’s to keep people engaged and encourage them to make it part of their lifestyle.

You don’t shy away from your past. How important is this to the brand and marketing?
We know we’ll get some criticism, and there may be some negative connotations, but we want to break down perceptions and stereotypes about prisoners and ex-cons. I want to use ConBody to provide a practical solution to the problem of rehabilitation for former prisoners, because it can be very difficult to get back on your feet and find a job.

We do make tongue-in-cheek reference to our backgrounds in the workouts, like telling people to run like they’re running away from the police!

It sounds like an edgy concept. Does it appeal mainly to young people?
No, it draws a very diverse crowd: both genders and all ages. My mum does it.

If an operator would like to run a ConBody class, how could they go about it?
Initially it will be via live streaming, but we’re currently looking at strategic partnerships in other countries for groups working with ex-cons, so they can be trained up to be instructors. It takes three months full-time to qualify.

What else are you working on?
For the next six to 12 months, the main focus will be on getting the online streaming up and running and on training more ConBody trainers.

We’ve also been approached by a television production company, so a TV programme could be on the cards. I’m also really busy as a motivational speaker, making a couple of talks each week to diverse audiences from prison guards to business students.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
ConBody’s New York studio is designed to look like a prison cell
ConBody’s New York studio is designed to look like a prison cell
Marte doesn’t shy away from his past, and is now in demand as a speaker
Marte doesn’t shy away from his past, and is now in demand as a speaker
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/555136_391562.jpg
"We tell people to run like they're running away from the police!" Reformed drug dealer Coss Marte talks about how he developed his ConBody bootcamp while behind bars.
Coss Marte, Founder, ConBody,Coss Marte, ConBody, bodyweight exercise
Latest News
Peloton has completed the merging of its commercial operations with Precor, the equipment brand it ...
Latest News
Half of UK adults aren't happy with their physical fitness levels, according to a study ...
Latest News
Temporary measures brought in to support businesses in the UK from insolvency during the pandemic ...
Latest News
Nadine Dorries has replaced Oliver Dowden as the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture ...
Latest News
In a major move against the gym market, Apple has revealed a number of upgrades ...
Latest News
Physical activity professionals in England will soon be able to access free, one-to-one learning with ...
Latest News
Fitness equipment giant Nautilus has acquired VAY, a firm specialising in AI and motion technology. ...
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Featured supplier news: Technogym awarded “Supplier of the year” at ukactive awards 2021
The best in class of the physical activity sector have been revealed at the ukactive Awards 2021.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Uptivo: Individual and group heart rate tracking
Uptivo is an all-in-one digital solution for fitness clubs, fitness boutique studios and personal trainers that provides powerful tools to schedule activities, manage member payments, and monitor heart rate both for remote and on-site classes.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: Octane Fitness UK
A global innovator of innovation and variety in fitness equipment, Octane Fitness, a True Fitness ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Legend Club Management Systems (UK) Ltd
Legend provides the leading software solution for driving improvements in leisure operations. We deliver savings ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Gympass
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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