While serving a prison sentence, of which an extensive amount was in solitary confinement, Coss Marte developed an effective exercise program without the need for any equipment. Using military bootcamp techniques, and additional secrets that Coss developed himself, he created the Conbody workout.
Upon his release, he wanted to help other inmates bridge the gap between incarceration and the struggle for success.
Coss wanted to help others find motivation and the path to living life on healthy, positive terms again. With that, he opened Conbody gyms, also bringing the workout via a streaming platform via Conbody live online.
Committing himself to his own program, Coss was able to lose 70 lbs. in just six months, but his primary message is about prison reform. Conbody hires formerly incarcerated individuals to teach fitness classes; the mission is to bridge a gap between two communities: young professionals and formerly incarcerated individuals.
We caught up with Coss about the idea behind Conbody
I wouldn’t be who I am today without the struggles I’ve faced. I spent years in prison, much of which was in solitary confinement, which I believe no one in the world should have to go through. It can break you down physically, but also mentally and emotionally as well.
Today I want to show others behind bars that they can use the craftiness and motivation they had before to commit crimes or break the law for positive things on the outside.
People can, and will, change.
I was told I would die in prison if I wasn’t going to get healthy, active and lose weight. The idea for Conbody originally then came out of necessity and to save my own life.
I lost 70 lbs in prison and helped other inmates lose over 1,000 pounds combined. From there I didn’t want to stop and the idea to open gyms back at home in NYC was sprung.
Conbody doesn’t require any equipment besides your own body weight. It can help you realize you don’t really need any of the bells and whistles other people will try and sell you; all the power is within you to lose weight and get fit and healthy.
So far none of our trainers has gone back in.
People need to be motivated, believed in and supported to change. No one is the worst thing they’ve ever done. I’m happy to say I’ve created a family of people working hard and doing right on the other side.
Some people can be a little intimidated or freaked at first on the premise, but they find out that ex-cons really are just people, just like them.
They are inspired and sometimes surprised to find that out, and people love to see also how quickly your body can change from bodyweight exercise and the energy that comes from the group working out together.
The United States has the highest level of incarceration in the civilised world, and disproportionately so for black and Latino people. I want to see that change.
I don’t think that anyone should have to suffer behind bars in solitary confinement.
I want to see a world where people who have done something wrong aren’t given so many set backs before they can try again. I think the world is changing their view on prison reform here, and with Conbody people can see just how well giving a second chance can work out.
I’m grateful to have the opportunity to show people how having faith and compassion can turn someone’s entire life around, and really pay it forward for society as a whole.