As head of a $2 million per year drug enterprise on the Lower Eastside of New York City, Coss Marte was a small-time kingpin, but a kingpin nonetheless. By the age of 23, he and his associates were spending big on women, gambling in Atlantic City and vacations in Carribean. It all came to an end for Marte in 2009, when he and nine others were knocked by the NYPD. According to Yahoo!, “Not only had one of his accomplices flipped on him, but the officers had tapped his phones and spent a year building a case against him, documenting upwards of 40 cocaine sales.”
After a stretch in Rikers Island, Marte was sent up state for seven years. The majority of those years were spent at Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie, NY. Standing 5’8″ and weighing 231 pounds, the prison doctor warned him that he would die in five years from high blood pressure and cholesterol. In response, Marte started a body-weight-only workout regimen in his cell. “I began going back to my cell and developing a workout. It began when I started doing dips off my bed. Then I did a few jumping jacks, and then I just came up with different ideas of what I could do without that much space to work with. I made up body-weight moves, experimenting in my cell,” said Marte. I would do two or three hundred repetitions with my pillow case, just pushing it up over my shoulder. I would wrap up my mattress and two-bed sheets and put it on like a backpack and start doing step ups on my bed.”
He also incorporated running into his workout, taking laps on the prison yard. “I began running the yard. People would make fun of me because I was the fat guy, calling me Forrest Gump and everything,” he described. “Nobody was doing that type of stuff in the yard. But then people started following me, and I had a running club.”
Marte was released early, having done four years, after New York amended its drug laws for less-serious offenders. With his new workouts and knowledge gained from psychology classes offered in the prison, Marte gained a following and opened his own gym called ConBody. There, six instructors work under him (five have done time) who teach clientele the body-weight-only regimen he developed while behind bars. “We run 30-minute classes that are all body-weight exercises that I created in prison, done at high intervals for cardio,” said Marte. “Also, we arrange it so that everybody has a “prison bunkie” in class. He’s your partner and will hold you accountable, pushing you. The most important value to working out with a partner is building camaraderie, a friendship you most likely won’t get in any other scenario.”
To read Marte’s full interview, click here.