An Interview with Coss Marte, a former inmate turned fitness CEO #dothetime
“Never stop pitching and start a conversation.”
Coss Marte knows he beat the odds in more ways than one. By age 19, he was making $2 million a year running one of the largest drug delivery services in New York. He did not do drugs; he just sold them. At the age of 23, he was arrested and faced 12 to 24 years which was eventually reduced to seven. Upon entering prison, the medical unit told him he could die in prison because at 5’8″ and 230 pounds; he was overweight with dangerously high blood pressure.
A year before he was scheduled to be released, Coss ended up in solitary confinement. During that time, he had a spiritual awakening. He refocused, starting working out in his cell and without any equipment, lost 70 pounds in six months. He also helped 20 inmates lose over 1000 lbs. It was during an Alcohol/Substance Abuse Treatment meeting where he came up with a business plan, and the idea for Conbody was formed.
After Coss had been released, he applied the same marketing tactics that he used to build his drug business to build his fitness business – Coss Athletics. Thanks to the help of Defy Ventures, he entered a business pitch competition and was awarded $100,000 via Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran and the Young President’s Organization to open Conbody Studios.
In this episode of In Layman’s Terms, Coss shares why:
- You never stop pitching
- It’s better to put ideas out there and get feedback then keep them to yourself
- Being consistent, showing up and delivering what you promised is key when you’re an underdog
Not only is Coss intent on growing his company, but he is also on a mission to give formerly incarcerated individuals the opportunity to turn their lives around by becoming Conbody trainers. One being Sultan Malik, head trainer, and VP of Conbody. Sultan was recently a finalist in the America’s Most Inspiring Trainer competition co-sponsored Well+Good and Reebok.
As Coss stated in his Elle Magazine interview, “This is definitely going to be a movement that’s going to be nationwide–maybe even international. Without an opportunity, these people go back to prison because they don’t have a job, or they’re not hireable,”…..” I want to change that.”
Even if you don’t live in New York, you can still have access to Conbody training through Conbody Live – online workouts for only $5 a month. You can enroll for free for 30 days. #dothetime
And….if you happen to have a connection to the corporate team at Soul-Cycle, Coss would appreciate an introduction!
Stay tuned for episode 28 -Meetings Suck with the CEO whisperer Cameron Herold.
Saturday night I was out with a friend to watch the NFL Playoff game and did a quick check for emails on my way to the ladies room. My friend Michael had sent me the following…
“Hello Joyce, hope you’re doing well. I have a question for you but I’m only asking because I know you have many friends/contacts. We found out this week that our 17-year-old son has NUT Midline Carcinoma. There are only 100 documented cases in the world and unfortunately, there’s no cure. They’re giving him 4-6 months. He has always wanted to ride in an exotic car. His favorite for some reason is a Maserati. Would you happen to know anybody who owns such an auto and if so do you think I could hire them to drive Noah around for a while once they have his pain under control?
Please don’t spend any time on this. You came to mind so I thought I’d ask. Thanks so much!”
Michael and I are Facebook friends so I’d seen the photo of him next to his son who was lying in a hospital bed but hadn’t heard the latest news. My heart sank. I’ve lost both of my parents but can’t fathom what it feels like knowing your son is going to die. I immediately forwarded the email to a business associate who happens to be a fellow car enthusiast asking “Can you help me with this???”
Angel (very appropriate) was traveling overseas on business but in less than 30 minutes sent me a reply. “Consider it done. I get back on Tuesday and we can plan…”
This is the real power of relationships.
Too often people equate networking to a ‘business thing’ instead of seeing the power of connecting with people in general. I met Angel at a Cars & Coffee event last September. It was easy to see in a very short time that he too focuses on building and cultivating great relationships. The car community in Kansas City is made up of great people and Angel more than delivered on his promise. As of Tuesday evening the 17th, there were four Maserati owners on stand-by along with several other owners of exotic cars who offered their cars as well. Little did I know our meeting would lead to asking for his help to make a dying teenager’s wish come true. When Noah is out of the hospital and feeling up to it, they’ll be by to pick him up and take him on that ride…..and knowing the car community as I do, he’ll have a small fleet of exotic and muscle cars following him!
The next time you’re at a business event, sporting match or even the grocery store for that matter, consider that every connection you make could open a world of possibilities for yourself or someone else. Connect with the mindset of giving first and know it will be repaid in ways you never imagined.
And if you believe in the power of prayer, please say a prayer for Noah and his family… #noahstrong #faithoverfear
UPDATE: With only three days notice, 34 cars (42 enthusiasts) showed up in force to make Noah’s wish come true. One ride in a Maserati turned into seven rides total – Lamborghini, Lotus, Viper, Z06, GT-R and Ferrari.
All of the car owners waited patiently why Noah took a ride and then made his next choice. The owner of the Lamborghini drove from Topeka just to be part of his ride.
His mom shared this on his Caring Bridge page: Noah rode in a Maserati – which is still his favorite car, a yellow Lamborghini – which he said was amazing, a Nissan GTR which he said kicks you in the back of the head, a Viper – which has amazing thrust and a gorgeous growl, a Lotus – which felt like the world’s fastest go-cart, a gorgeous Corvette convertible, and a red Ferrari which ended up racing one of the Maserati’s for a while. All the drivers were so kind. Noah says one of the cars hit 145 going uphill towards our house! Each time Noah exited a car, he was smiling so big his ears moved!