The Conbody Challenge

Epic Staffers tackle a convicts workout program

The Conbody Challenge

Conbody, a high intensity workout program designed to be equipment-free, was created by ex-convict, Coss Marte, who was sentenced to seven years in prison at the age of 19 for running a multimillion dollar drug business. While serving his time, Marte developed exercises that could be done in his nine by six feet prison cell. Within six months, he had lost 70 pounds using only his body weight. After helping other inmates exercise and gain motivation through his exercises, he decided to set up Conbody in New York after he was released. Today, Conbody workouts are often led by ex-convicts, and have helped many lead healthier lives, physically and mentally. As Marte’s workouts gained popularity, he has expanded to posting videos online for people to follow. In these videos, Marte works out alongside viewers, communicating with them as he performs the exercises. While popular online workouts such as Blogilates are geared more towards women, Conbody is designed for both genders. For an inexpensive price of only $5 a month, viewers have access to numerous workouts that can be done with minimal space and no equipment. In this issue, Epic staff members decided to try out his Intro to Prison Style workout program, which lasted for five days. Here are their thoughts.



Besides swimming and water polo, I usually try to clock a couple miles to cross train on the weekends, but although running is fun, it also takes so long.  First you grab your Lulus, struggle to brush your hair into a pony, then actually do the run that can range anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour–depending on how many times you stop for Chipotle. So definitely, the most appealing part of this program was its convenience, as it required practically no equipment or preparation in the convenience of my living room. I don’t think I’ve ever been so at peace doing Supermans and planks in comfy pajamas and a barely functioning bun. The instructor, Coss Marte, ran through a couple rounds of the same set that included some exercises I was accustomed to, such as walking planks, varied crunches, and lunges. As I followed along, I thought to myself, “Hey, the workouts aren’t that hard. There are only about 50-100 reps per exercise and Marte is giving me a water break too! Man, I wish I got water breaks during practice…” I woke up the next day feeling the most severely sore I’ve ever been and realizing I had a meet that day as well.  It was probably because we worked different muscles than swimming but that’s just another excuse for how lazy and out of shape I am. (On a separate note, my coach had signed me up for the 100 fly too but that’s a different story.) After a bit of stretching and foam-rolling, the next four days didn’t seem that bad since my body started getting less fatigued as my muscles got used to the workouts. If I had continued with the program, I think it would have been beneficial as light workouts in addition to daily practice as you can stop anytime during the program to moderate it to the intensity you want.


I don’t regularly workout, or engage in physical activities… at all. That being said, the ConBody challenge caught my attention after reading about its origins; an ex-convict who invented a workout routine perfect for his 9×6 cell. I’ve dabbled in the health benefits of working out before, but have always come to the conclusion that the gym is too far away. I definitely don’t have time during my busy days. However, this workout could be completed at my convenience in a reasonable amount of time, so I had no excuse not try it. The intro program is a five day course, and each routine is about 20 minutes long and consists of various exercises that require no equipment. I’m not going to lie — I laid on my bed for a good ten minutes after the first routine completely out of breath. The last time I performed a task more strenuous than opening a bag of chips was during sophomore P.E. The morning after the first day, my calves and upper body ached the entire day as I trudged through my classes, regretting all the decisions I had made leading up to this moment. However, as the week wore on, I noticed changes in how my body was reacting: I was able to cool down far faster than before and no longer felt nausea, and the aching muscles eventually faded away. The workout has been a real challenge for me, but if I keep it up maybe I could start developing some real muscles. One of the biggest benefits I enjoyed was the flexibility of being able to do the workout wherever, whenever I wanted. Now, the real question is whether six-pack abs are worth more than six packs of Doritos.


I love to work out, but the conbody prisoner workout did not sound very exciting because what would a prisoner be able to do when they are put into an empty cell? However, since I am a health freak, I took on the challenge to see what it really was, and honestly, I’m really happy I took part in this 5-day workout program. The intro to prisoner workout was nicely structured and easy to understand, but of course it was not as simple as I thought. I assumed that since it doesn’t involve any machines or other equipment, it would be quite easy. I was proved wrong on day one of the workout program itself. I found the workouts quite unique because Coss Marte took the most basic exercises and made them into a “stressfully twisted” routine. I wasn’t all that sore since the program wasn’t terribly strenuous. Since I exercise almost every day, the conbody workout was not as bad, and I enjoyed doing all the workouts, especially the criss-cross jumping jacks. It was really surprising to see how there are lots of workouts that you can simply do at home, even if they only last for 10 minutes. If you want to get ripped before senior prom, you should really try the prisoner workout; I would be down to do it again because not only was it hardcore but it was really enjoyable. The videos themselves were really motivating to follow because Marte just kept going and never seemed to be tired. I would recommend this workout to those who make an excuse to not work out because they do not have access to a gym — really, give it a try.


The most experience I’ve had with working out was with my weight-training class last year. We used different machines and equipment in that class, so seeing entire workout routines that didn’t require anything else besides yourself and enough space was convenient. I’ve been thinking about going to the gym for a while, and this challenge was a nice in-between. Obviously, time is a factor, and not having to drive anywhere is a bonus. I found that the workouts weren’t too strenuous, but that might be because I went at a relatively slow pace. However, that didn’t stop me from being sore. Through the exercises, I’ve found out just how weak my core is, and coming out of my room hunched over after working out was always awkward to explain to my parents. I had the pleasure of experiencing tennis with sore legs and as well. The workouts were relatively simple, so they were easy to learn. Coss Marte was a good motivator as his instructions were clear, but I found that after you get into the groove, he’s just a voice in the background. Overall, the Conbody Challenge was pretty fun, and a good experience. However, I still prefer having weights and other equipment. While I might not use it as the only means of a workout regime, the Conbody workouts are good for a quick exercise when you don’t want to go to the gym.