For ex-convicts, getting back on your feet is hard. Former drug kingpin and inmate Coss Marte is on a mission to change that, with his prison-style fitness studio that opened its doors at Saks Fifth Avenue in May. In The Wellery, Saks’ 16,600 sq ft health mecca teeming with high-end designer clothes, salt rooms and meditation classes, ConBody is decked out like a jail, with cell bars, metal fences and a backdrop for taking post-workout mugshots.
But this isn’t just another bourgeois boot camp plus some cute jail-striped jumpsuits. These workouts are actually taught by former inmates themselves. Marte employs 10 former prisoners, and they incorporate the same no-frills exercises Marte carried out when he was locked up in a 9ft x 6ft solitary confinement cell with nothing but a bed and a Bible.
“We don’t use any equipment – just our own body weight. And we’re not just working out; we’re solving a real problem,” Marte said.
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