Ex-con turns life around, becomes CEO of fitness empire

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - To some, going from the streets to being locked-up in prison for a million-dollar drug business would be a dead end. But for a man from New York City's Lower East Side, this was the road to success. 

Coss Marte was sentenced to seven years in prison at the age of 23 after he got busted in 2009 for running a booming marijuana-cocaine drug business, bringing in millions of dollars a year. 

"I was making $2 million a year by the age of 19," Marte stated. 

The plot thickened as soon as the ex-drug kingpin stepped foot into prison.

"I was getting blood work done and was told I had high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They told me I could die from my health issues... I had five years to live," Marte remembered. 

According to the doctor's prognosis, Marte wouldn't even make it out of his 9' x 6' cell alive if he didn't make some drastic changes. 

Marte, who weighed 231 pounds at 5'8" tall at the time had been drinking, smoking, not working out and was very lethargic. He immediately decided to flip the script and to make the most of what was available to him. 

"I lost 70 pounds in six months. I was in the prison yard doing laps and in my cell working out," he explained.   

While serving his sentence, his determination and journey to a healthier lifestyle inspired another inmate who weighed more than 300 pounds.

"He came up to me and said he wanted to starting running with me," Marte recollected. 

In the blink of an eye, one inmate turned into 20 inmates, all working out together in military-style boot camps to make their health transformations. 

Back on the streets after completing his sentence at the age of 27, Marte had to learn how to hustle, but this time in a legal way. 

"Nobody wanted to really hire me. I went knocking on every retail shop's door... I'd see their body language change as soon as they found out I was an ex-convict," Marte expressed.  

Out of desperation, Marte decided to take his prison-learned workout skills and make it into a side hustle. And with time, the business grew and gradually turned into his full-time job. 

The 31-year-old fitness-guru, who has made his name by offering prison-style workouts to the public is making an impact in the fitness world, but also for those who have stories similar to his own. 

Marte, the CEO and founder of ConBody is helping New Yorkers and others around the world sculpt their bodies by offering his unique technique at his ConBody studios and online. But the real triumph is the fact that Marte has opened his doors to other ex-convicts and is giving everybody a chance to start over. 

The CEO is determined to "break down the stereotypes" between formally incarcerated and professionals. 

"We don't use any locks on our lockers... it's about building relationships and learning to trust an ex-con with your stuff," he added. 

As of right now , 13 of his 16 staff members are ex-convicts and he hopes to increase those numbers soon.

"...definitely wanna hit major cities... D.C., L.A., Miami, Chicago... so we are working on that," Marte said. 

As if Marte's plate isn't full enough, a contract between Rikers Island Prison Complex and ConBody is currently in the works. 

"We are working on creating a direct pipeline from inside out... we are training inmates, and getting them certified while they are incarcerated," Marte explained. 

The end goal: to take this program statewide and then nationwide. 

And the moral of the story? "If you have a goal...it's a process, not an easy process. There will be hurdles, but if you show up and deliver every single day, eventually it's gonna work out," Marte expressed. 

The ex-drug kingpin took his skills from the streets and prison and is now using them to build his fitness empire and make a social impact.

"I didn't show up making $2 million a year when I was hustling on the corner. I started off with $50 a day. I changed my product and my services... kept delivering my services over and over again. Consistency is key," he added.  

For all of the non- New Yorkers inspired by the movement and who are eager to "do the time" ConBody  has launched an online platform for virtual workouts.  

And for those of you who want to give it a try before making a commitment, check out this video: 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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