EP 20: From Rikers to a Fitness Bootcamp w/Coss Marte
Updated: Jun 30
Coss Marte, former head of a large scale drug operation, is now devoted to helping people transform their lives and to ending discrimination against former prisoners. He is the CEO & Founder of Conbody, a prison-style boot camp located on the Lower East Side in Manhattan.
This program uses military/prison boot camp techniques along with some additional secrets that Coss developed along the way. Committing himself to this program, he was able to lose 70 lbs. in just six months.
Founded in 2015 he has gone from the cell of Rikers to a thriving company that has been featured by over 200 major media outlets, including NBC, CNN, the New York Times, Men’s Fitness, New York Post, Buzzfeed, and Business Insider, and has even been the subject of a Ted Talk.
Coss has raised a combined total of $200,000 through winning business pitch competitions, including Shark Tank.
He serves on the board of Thrive for Life and works with Fortunes Society and other organizations striving for prison reform and helping provide jobs, shelter, and other assistance for released prisoners.
Some Questions I Ask:
- Can you share 3 of the best things you learned from being a drug dealer that we can apply to our work and life?
- What did you struggle with the most in jail?
- What did you learn about communication and teamwork inside?
- What lessons from these two experiences have you applied to your business?
- What are the 3 best tips you have for any entrepreneur?
- What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?
In This Episode You Will Learn:
About the real hustle of the streets of New York, resilience, what it really takes to build something from scratch, who is the real (s)hero in his story, the truth of the prison system that he wants to change with his boot camp and much more.
Everybody deserves an opportunity if they are willing to move forward and change.
I got tired of my mother saying no, I can’t afford it, I was so money hungry that I didn’t stop, I didn’t stop delivering.
Looking back now I think that my mum is the real success story and that’s the person I look up to the most ‘cause she shows up every day, she works out with me 4 times a week, she’s 65 years old, she’s strong as hell.
That’s a real success, somebody that just keeps showing up and has a long healthy lifestyle and that’s what I wanna do or be when I grow up.
The 3 things that I learned from being a drug dealer that we can all apply to life, business, and work in general are:
Adapting to the situation:
The way I dress, the way I talk, I adapt to the situation and the people I’m dealing with. When I was selling drugs I dealt with people in the streets and with stoke brokers, doctors, when I walked into their building I couldn’t look like somebody who was coming out of the streets. I had to adapt.
The same happens today in the world of business where instead of a high five I speak proper English and give a handshake.
When I was in the street I didn’t stop promoting what I did. I was making 2 million a year when I was 19 because I came up with a different way of selling drugs.
Today I stop people in the street, I hand out flyers, if I’m going to a coffee shop I start talking to the person in the line asking if they work out, if I see a female wearing yoga pants I will invite them to my class. It’s just non stop promoting!
HR and management:
I had people selling drugs for me back in the day, I had 20 drivers making deliveries, and I had to manage them, I had to manage their personal life, I had to manage their work life.
Today I have to do the same, I am dealing with people who are dealing with way more adversity. Some people that are homeless, some people that can’t provide for their family, people that want to get back to school, trying to get into another work field or force but they are being discriminated against or even disputes between employees which I have to deal with and move forward.
Inside we really had a good community, we worked out, we pushed each other to be the best we could be health-wise and that’s something we continuously did. That’s something I brought out to the streets with me and with the team that I have now today.
My 3 best tips for any entrepreneur:
- If you come up with an idea first ask people if people want it and test it out. Do the market research and ask people: would you buy this?
- If you don’t ask you don’t eat, continuously ask. You have to put yourself out there and not be afraid of being rejected and celebrate those risks, reaching that milestone.
- Just showing up every single day trying to deliver the best product or service that you can. You just gotta keep showing up even when things are hard, even when you wanna give up, your body is tired and you can’t take it anymore continuously deliver with a smile and great positive energy.
At my funeral, I’d like people to say that I was someone they could trust, someone who was going to show up and delivers no matter what, someone who was gonna be there if you called him and needed anything and I had a share, I’ll take it from my back and give it to you. Somebody that gets stuff done.
If I could not have any type of discrimination between people, human beings. Have no borders, every person is human, every person that comes out of the womb is not an evil person, it’s just a person and because they look a certain way they don’t fit in. Having no color, no discrimination, it would go a long way with the change around the world.
Connect with Coss:
If my work is uplifting or assisting you, donations can be made at paypal.me/missfirestar ~ thank you! 😎❤️✨