“prison-style boot camp”
April 16, 2018 5:09 PM   Subscribe

a barbed-wire backdrop, a mugshot mockup for new clients, and prison bars at the entrance to the workout room:
If many women are taught to clutch their keys and walk the other way if they encounter such a group [of men of color] on the way home at night, ConBody counts on the fact that in the safety of a boutique studio, these same women will pay to exercise with the people they’ve been socialized to fear.
posted by spamandkimchi (7 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I went in expecting less than a really thought provoking article, but this has me pondering race and class from some new angles. Thanks for posting.
posted by Annika Cicada at 5:59 PM on April 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

There's a trainer in Boston (who does not appear to have done any hard time), who offered a similar program at a local hotel last month: "A 60-minute full body workout complete with effective high intensity intervals like Prison Mate bands and abs and Jail Bird Battle ropes; all exercises fitness enthusiasts can conquer in small space similar to a prison cell." Haha, the hotel used to be the Boston Police headquarters; one wonders why he didn't try to offer it at the Liberty Hotel, which used to be the Charles Street Jail (where the restaurant is called Clink).
posted by adamg at 7:56 PM on April 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

ConBody was the subject of a two-part episode of Gimlet Media's Startup podcast (Part 1 - Part 2 - Fanfare post).

When asked about his gym's clients, Marte said, "It's actually ninety percent millennial white females. Which is funny." For a moment I thought he was joking, but he explained:
I think… I think millennials, well, females in general like to take classes. We use no equipment, it's all body weight, so I think they're scared of, like, going into the gym, lifting a thousand pounds. They wanna be instructed. Millennials like to support a social mission-driven company, and I feel a lot of our clients come in there just because we're, like, the only gym with a social mission.
I wanted to know more about why so many women were using his gym, when you'd think the opposite would be the case. So this article is what I have been waiting for.

But I disagree with the author's opinion that "Marte’s experience reveals the failure of basically every institution he ever encountered—public and private school, college, prison, and the job market—to support him in making his way in the world." The Startup podcast told us one of Marte's sisters is an insurance underwriter, the other an executive director at Goldman Sachs, and his little brother excelled in school. The schools were very successful for his siblings. That Marte threw away that opportunity to sell drugs is his failure and not the schools.

Not that Marte appears to blame anyone but himself for ending up in prison. I can't imagine he would be as successful as he is if he held the victim mentality the author kind of wants him to show.
posted by riruro at 10:02 PM on April 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

riruro, I think the author was referring to the failure of the institutions after his release from prison?
posted by Laotic at 10:32 PM on April 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

The Startup podcast told us one of Marte's sisters is an insurance underwriter, the other an executive director at Goldman Sachs, and his little brother excelled in school. The schools were very successful for his siblings. That Marte threw away that opportunity to sell drugs is his failure and not the schools.

The success of his siblings does not preclude his path in life being influenced by the failure of the same institutions. They may have, for whatever reason, been more resilient to the failure of those institutions, or failed in different ways, or whatever. But that would stop you from moralizing, so...
posted by hoyland at 3:38 AM on April 17, 2018 [8 favorites]

There are many, many reasons one person in a family winds up in prison instead of a board-room. I once knew a Palestinian couple who had 12 sons. 6 were successful dealers in jewelry and had nice houses and families. 6 were completely criminal. They basically constituted a small crime - wave in and of themselves. The mother was this big woman who saved children in the the refuge camp during a bombing by placing her body between those of the babies and toddlers. She worked in the day care of a sewing shop in the camp. She had shrapnel in her body from it. Her husband was a thin, short man. They were extremely kind people. They probably were good parents and I’m pretty sure they did the best they could for all of their sons. Six good ones and six who got in trouble early on in life.i saw similar patterns in other families where I’m pretty sure both parents were decent and good people.
The truth is we don’t parent children exactly equally. Children of an absolutely faithful pair do not arrive with the exact same genetics, or appearances or even talents. They aren’t often the same gender. My son could have done physics but he doesn’t have musical talent or a gift for fancy baking both of which my daughter turned out to have.
Many families are blended. Not even the same parents for all the kids. My sisters and I share a mother but the eldest had a different father. Her father was Black. There are funny ways my eldest sister and I are alike. My older sister and I have led these weirdly parallel lives. We did not grow up together. In fact we weren’t even in contact until after our mother died.
My younger sister and I did grow up together. And took wildly different courses in our lives. Health issues derailed my life and very nearly the life of my younger sister.
None of us ever got in trouble with the law.
My kids turned out to be very different from each other too. I gave them as many opportunities as I could. I’d say they did a good job of staying out of trouble and making decent lives for themselves. We’ve all had curve - balls and even bean- balls thrown our way. Most people don’t hit the curve - balls and obviously sometimes the bean-ball hits you.
I think this guy came up with an absolutely brilliant idea for a business.
The two ex-cons I had friendships with in my life were men who kept themselves in top shape during long periods of time in prison. Prisoners who take up fitness have to improvise and work out without equipment. Sometimes both these guys had solitary confinement. In prison all you really have is your body. Everything else can be taken from you in an instant. It’s one of the reasons prisoners often get tattoos s, and it’s one of the reasons to take up physical fitness.
Kudos to Coss for doing something with a crappy hand and helping himself and other ex cons in a good way.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:27 AM on April 17, 2018 [11 favorites]

But that would stop you from moralizing, so...

That was unnecessary.
posted by riruro at 11:34 AM on April 23, 2018

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