The project is Prison Reform.
How are we doing it? ConBody. We employ formerly incarcerated individuals as trainers who teach the toughest prison style boot camp classes and transform the health and bodies of thousands of loyal “inmates” across NYC.
After almost two years of operating ConBody out of rented studio spaces, it is time to take it to the next level and get our very own prison-inspired home. For those of you new to ConBody, here is my story and my vision for this amazing new space.
Growing up as a first generation American on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I was exposed to poverty and drug use at a young age. As a child, I dodged junkies shooting up heroin in the cramped hallways of buildings in my neighborhood and watched iced-out dealers run the corners on my block before I even started school. There were six of us living in a tiny apartment, barely scraping by.
Even as a child, my goal was to break out of poverty. “What do you want to be when you grow up?,” people asked me, and I would tell them that I wanted to be rich. My role models were the guys with the freshest clothes and the biggest chains, the dealers on my corner. At thirteen, I purchased my first ounce of marijuana and took it to school, where I made my first sale. Not too long after, I joined the local guys on my corner where I began to pitch other drugs. The other dealers respected my hustle and I eventually became the leader of a cocaine-distribution ring in NYC. Before I was twenty, I was making two million dollars a year.
In 2009 at the age of 23, after being in and out of prison half my life, I was arrested for the last time and would serve a total of five years. When I got to prison, I was incredibly overweight and was plagued by high cholesterol and high blood pressure. A physician told me I could die in jail because of my health issues. That sparked something in me; I started working out in my cell, using exercises I learned from ex-Marines, correctional officers and fellow inmates. From then on I knew that my purpose was to give back instead of destroying individuals around me. I shared my workout routines, and after losing 70 pounds in 6 months, I helped 20 other inmates collectively lose over 1,000 pounds.
The ConBody way.
After my release in 2013, I started to hold free workouts in the park and quickly moved on to attracting a loyal following and monetizing my workout. Once again, I was on the path to successful entrepreneurship, but with better risk assessment. After two years and a lot of sweat and determination, ConBody was born. Now we teach thirty classes a week and employ five dedicated trainers who are committed to helping our clients transform their lives by achieving their fitness and wellness goals. Our trainers are formally incarcerated individuals who are now dedicated to being law abiding citizens and giving back to their communities. ConBody gives formally incarcerated individuals a second chance while changing people's perspectives on formally incarcerated individuals.
Our approach to fitness is basic but brutal. We take simple moves like jumping jacks and squats, and tweak them using variations on speed, repetition, and form. It doesn’t take a polished bag of tricks to get you sweating buckets—no splashy boutique fitness tools, no music chosen by BPM to match the speed of your mountain climbers. Instead, we push you to do more than you thought your body could ever accomplish. You’ll feel more like you’re working out with a motivating friend rather than watching a dazzling fitness star lead the class. Our clients know that ConBody is special for its sense of community and the shared knowledge that you don’t need the latest shiny workout toys to motivate you to transform your life; It’s the sweat and pain you feel overcoming an obstacle that will get you where you need to be.
What you're backing.
Our vision for this campaign is to take ConBody to the next level. We want a dedicated space to give our clients the full prison boot camp experience and unlock all that ConBody can offer. We have secured an amazing space in the heart of where it all began, the Lower East Side. This space is more than just a workout studio. We envision this to be a true community cornerstone. This will be a safe place where we can have classes 24/7, where we can host dedicated events centered around core issues such as prison reform and healthy lifestyles, and most importantly, where we can find a place of freedom in this crazy concrete jungle. We need your help to make this prison-inspired space a reality. In order to create this community cornerstone, we will be investing this $25k in a much-needed space renovation and upgrade. Of course we’ll include a few fresh amenities like new stereo system for heart pounding workout beats, all new lighting, and high quality mats. But this is about the vibe -- your new home to #DoTheTime.
Video Credit: Matthew Kern
Risks and challenges
We are investing in top notch architects and designers to create our new home and have had the space vetted to mitigate potential risks. Because our new home requires substantial updates and renovation, there is a chance our timeline may need to be extended. Our plan is to launch this studio in the beginning of October with the full construction plans and design elements to be finished by the end of October.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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