Athlete jumping rope - Tifosi Sports

Conbody sees former convicts blow the whistle on fitness

The US prison population makes up the largest amount of incarcerated people in the world per capita, and while most inmates eventually get parole or are released, many ex-convicts have genuine trouble finding employment after they’ve left the confines of the many jails across the country.

Such was Coss Marte’s story, who applied for a number of jobs after leaving prison, each without success. Realising that he’d forever have to carry the burden of a drug conviction with him, Marte decided to go it on his own and start a gym, after successfully losing almost 32 kg and becoming fitter than ever before during his time as an inmate.

Instead of trying to obscure his history, Marte turned it into what has now become a story of empowerment and a rise from adversity. Utilising the techniques Marte used in his 1.8-meter by 2.7-meter prison cell, the entrepreneur started Conbody, a hugely popular workout programme and gym in New York’s Lower East Side. The gym features prison bars at its entrance and a barbed-wire backdrop and a mug shot mock-up where clients can take pictures after they’ve “done the time”, setting the scene for hardcore bootcamps and workouts based on the ones inmates use while incarcerated.

All the instructors at Conbody are former convicts, and the gym is proving to provide benefits to both clients and employees, with Marte stating that no instructor at Conbody has been incarcerated again after joining the gym.

The gym offers prison-style group training classes, but also sells online equipment-free workouts on its website for $5 per month.

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Get excited, it’s Felon Friday’s! #dothetime

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Coss Marte is the founder of Conbody, a gym and prison-style fitness programme that is entirely run by former convicts.

Participants quickly realise their trainers take no prisoners, and that doing a runner is futile in the face of these masters of minimalist fitness, but people keep coming back, and Marte has even taken his hardcore workout routine to London.

Check out Coss Marte’s basic prison workout in the video below.

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