Sultan Malik is a fitness trainer, entrepeneur, and the Vice President of ConBody — a gym in New York City that spreads prison-style workout programs to young professionals who are short on time, money and enthusiasm for the old gym scene.
With a social mission that really matters – supporting and employing formerly incarcerated trainers – ConBody exists to help both their employees, and their clients, turn their lives around for good.
Sultan knows how hard it is to find work and turn your life around after prison.
Growing up in a bad area of Brooklyn, he dreamed of getting rich and finding freedom like all of the musicians he idolized as a kid. He ended up serving 14 years for drug related robberies – including a total of 7 years in solitary confinement.
These days, Sultan’s hustle is entirely dedicated to the bettering of his life.
He trains almost around the clock, leading private and group workout sessions seven days a week for hundreds of people who want to increase their strength, mobility, and maximize their physical capabilities.
For Sultan, a tough, aggressive workout is a microcosm to what life requires of your body, mind and spirit. It’s about total integration.
“Body leads the mind, mind leads the body,” he says.
As a Story Shine client, Sultan’s new narrative required a delicate balance of authentic reflection on the hardships of his upbringing, where his decisions led him astray, and how he overcame being stuck between a rock and a hard place: incarcerated, and yet still fighting for his very survival in a rough and tumble prison environment.
In his new story, we conveyed how Sultan’s unheard of sense of perseverance, willpower and dedication have helped him become such a stellar personal trainer: it’s why he was even nominated by Reebok as a candidate for Most Inspiring Personal Trainer of the Year.
Sultan is so much more than one title could ever describe.
Especially that of “ex-con.”
He was the commencement speaker of his graduating class at the Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences, which he completed with honors. He loves fast cars, jet skis, manual transmissions, and motorcycles. He’s a quiet, spontaneous, introverted guy — when he’s not screaming orders at his boot camp students to motivate them to push themselves beyond what they think they’re capable of.
When someone like Sultan gets pegged with a single label like ex-con — and all the assumptions, stereotypes, and stigmas that come along with it — you can understand why he deserves a richer, emotional story to convey the totality of who he is.
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You’ll invite humans to understand more of one another from the heartspace, and invite your “core people” into your service-minded mission to make the world a better place than you left it.