CONBODY Founder Coss Marte on His Prison-Inspired Workouts

Learn how this former drug dealer spun solitary into success.

Coss Marte took the long route to owning CONBODY, his “prison style fitness bootcamp”. At the age of 23, Marte was arrested for selling illegal drugs and sentenced to seven years in prison. In a recent interview with BarBend, Marte told us that it was behind bars where he first learned his health was at severe risk. 

“My journey began when I went into the prison system and was told that my cholesterol levels were in danger of catching a heart attack within five years,” said Marte.

Spoiler alert: Prison does not have the best food. However, Marte was able to improve his diet by replacing complex carbs like bread and spaghetti with leaner options like fish and vegetables. As most readers know, major life changes don’t go down easy and Marte was met with his fair share of obstacles at the outset.

“At first it was extremely hard. I started working out probably like 5, 10 minutes and I was like f**k this. This is way too hard,” remembers Marte. “I gave up and I had the time to just reflect and think.”

However, Marte soon found motivation in the work ethic (and ridicule) of other inmates. He gradually built up his endurance by running around the prison yard, dodging insults ranging in creativity from “fat Forrest Gump” to “sweet cheeks” and doing calisthenic exercises in his cell. Over the next six months, Marte managed to drop an astonishing 70lbs.

“I came up with the idea of CONBODY while I was in solitary,” said Marte. “That’s where I created the whole CONBODY routine, the exercises, I came up with a 90 day program there. I actually came out with a book…”

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Marte was released from prison in 2013 and had CONBODY up and running by the start of 2016. The 45 minute, entirely bodyweight routine is focused on maximizing movement in small spaces (like a 9×6 prison cell). Marte says that while the workouts are intense, they are not designed explicitly for advanced athletes.

“The fact is that you don’t have to be a person that does 1200 burpees a day to come to a CONBODY class,” explains Marte. “My mom is 65 years old and she does CONBODY four times a week.”

Even though he has already served his time, Marte is still closely connected to the prison system. Current inmates frequently reach out to Marte and his team to inquire about job opportunities upon their release. In fact, Marte has outlined a path to success for former inmates to receive the proper training and earn the necessary certificates in order for them to work full-time as a personal trainer. 

“It’s crazy the amount of people that are coming out and want to get into this field,” said Marte. “But also they know the lack of opportunities out there for them, because of discriminatory factors that one has to face when they come out of the prison system, is real.”

Featured image courtesy @cossmarte on Instagram