a fitness program that began in a prison cell and has now trained over 10,000 people
It's our mission to encourages our community to push themselves in ways they cannot imagine and to employ as many formerly incarcerated individuals as possible.
founded by coss marte
I'm the Founder and CEO of ConBody. I'm dedicated to helping people live healthy lifestyles through these exercise programs and am genuinely, fully interested in the successes of our clients and will do whatever it takes to help them reach their fitness goals. This includes creating a personal relationship with every bootcamp participant and helping them set achievable short-term and long-term goals. Much more than a personal trainer, I'm a friend on your fitness journey who has been down this road before.
What are the 3 highlights of your time as a founder so far?
Creating a movement that hasn't been tapped into in the world of fitness.
Reaching an audience of millions of people around the world with the press we've gained.
Having the power to change our prison systems on the inside by sharing our story and giving opportunities to those who come out of the system.
What personally drives you to build a mission-driven business?
I build because I myself felt the pain of coming home from prison and having the employment door shut in my face. Now I don't want this to ever happen to any inmate coming home who is trying to readapt back into society in search of a second chance.
What was the life-changing event or experience that inspired the idea for your business?
My personal transformation happened in a 9'x6' cell with an officer in prison. After I was beaten, I was shoved into the cell and was forced to do nothing but think. “Why?” was the question I asked myself. "Why did I end up in here?"
I developed a routine of reading books, sleeping, and writing letters all day. I wrote a 10-page letter to my family but realized I didn’t have a stamp to send it out with, which was both frustrating and humbling. After I had been in solitary for two and half weeks, my sister wrote to me and suggested that I should read Psalm 91 from the Bible. I wasn’t as fond of religion as she was, but after sitting in the cell with nothing to do for a couple of days I turned to the Bible and began reading Psalm 91. As soon as I began reading it, a stamp fell out of the Bible. This made me a believer. I read the whole Bible and from that point on I received a sense of peace and calm. My whole perspective on life changed. I began to believe that my purpose was to give back instead of destroying individuals around me.
I came up with a way to give back through fitness. Early in my sentence doctors had told me that I could die in prison from my cholesterol levels. I decided to workout and ended up losing 70 lbs. in a matter of six months. Then I helped over 20 other inmates lose over 1,000 pounds combined. When I came home I began my own business, ConBody, where we run a prison-style bootcamp that hires formerly incarcerated individuals to teach fitness classes.
What was the lightbulb moment that propelled you into action to build your company?
I read the Bible from front to back while I was in there and I really began to understand what I was doing. For the first time I understood the wrongdoing I was causing not only to myself and my family, but also to the thousands of people I sold drugs to and I started to realize they had families, too. I felt that I had to give back to society in a certain way and I decided that I could do this through the world of fitness when I came home.
I bumped into Defy Ventures through a non-profit organization and everything just kept falling into place. And I felt like I’m just following the steps that God has put forth. I had no idea how to start a legit business, but they connected me with professionals like FounderMade who mentored us to get through the MBA-style program and helped us develop our business plans and launch our business. I did well and won a competition pitching to investors.
How has the benefit of the product you've built transformed your own life?
The product we've built has transformed my life by granting me the opportunity to provide for my family financially and morally. I have also gained and felt a sense of purpose in life through the work that I'm doing for others.
How can the benefit of the product you've built change the lives of your consumers?
We've changed peoples' lives in many ways. As for our clients, they have changed their lives by losing weight and changing the perspective of how they view formerly incarcerated individuals. In addition, they have gained a family and feel like they're part of the growth of ConBody.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to every aspiring early stage founder who is building a business?
Always trust the process and know that you're the only one who can quit.
Wake up everyday ready to deliver consistently day after day.
Be very optimistic and always think of how your business will reach its goals.
ConBody encourages our community to push themselves in ways they cannot imagine. We know the power of living a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. In addition, we’re working on helping reduce the national recidivism rate of formerly incarcerated individuals by providing them with financial opportunities in physical training.
THE conbody session
The story behind the workout is almost as good as the workout itself. We get it, you might be a little scared and just want to try one class before you commit. No worries. Come through and we'll prove it to you.