If you’re trying to get fit in 2018, Corbin Booker is your guy.
In the new year many people have the resolution to workout more. I do not share that resolution. So when Corbin of CBFIT told me I had to come to his bootcamp I was not feeling it to say the least. As a person who hasn’t worked out in a year, I was hesitant to go to my first class, and for good reason. CBFIT Bootcamp is no joke, but for it’s weekly attendees it’s a fun and gratifying workout that leaves you feeling physically and mentally whole.
With hopes of opening his own gym, I talked with Corbin about how CBFIT got started, his favorite part about teaching and how he plans to continue motivating people to be their best selves.
Saturday School: How long have you been doing CBFIT?
Corbin Booker: It’s actually about to be a year in May. I started out by helping with my friend Draya’s Snatched Camp. Draya and I met two years ago at the gym and we hit it off. After a while she moved back to L.A. and I figured that was a good time for me to start CBFIT.
SS: Cool, what made you want to start it?
CB: I was looking for some way to coach. I always thought that was something I was good at and I love fitness. Working out is my thing and after a while people were asking me for advice and slowly but surely it kind of just happened.
SS: With some many different workout classes in New York, what makes yours different?
CB: There are a couple of things that make mine different. To start I would say the vibe. You could definitely say it’s younger and energetic vibe. It’s not your classic bootcamp class where it’s one minute at each station and you just go go go. It’s structured where it’s a workout for you. I transfer a lot of these beliefs into my personal training with my clients. I think what makes it most unique is that it’s black owned and I take a lot of pride in that. And as much as it is intense, it’s fun. I’ve gone to plenty of gyms and there was a level of cheering but I thought I could do it a little better. I may be in your face but I’m trying to make you laugh and make it light.
SS: Say someone has very specific workout needs. For example they only want to work on their core or they want to get a booty, how do you tailor a class to that?
CB: I don’t think you need to tailor a class to that because if you start to isolate one area you start to lose competition in others. I try to implore my clients to understand their own bodies and needs. I try to go in depth with my clients about what their needs are, what sports they’ve played, how they’re naturally accustomed to moving and I try to incorporate a lot of those movements just for familiarity and then I go from there. When people want to focus on certain things I say “yes, but you’re also going to do this” because there’s no way to get to the best final product without working on everything.
SS: So when you first started did you struggle getting people to come out?
CB: Oh yeah! It’s definitely a struggle to get people to see the benefit in it.
SS: Like me [laughs].
CB: I mean it’s different strokes for different folks. I think I assumed that everyone would be like “yeah I’m definitely going to come.” So I did struggle at first. There would be a couple of weeks at a time where only one or two people would show up. I would cancel class because no one else was there or I’d just work out by myself. I took it as a learning experience to figure out what made people not want to come that day. Initially bootcamp started at 6:00pm so I moved the class back because most of us can’t get off work that early. Once I moved it to 7:30 I started having 8, 9, 10 people coming out because they could go home and change and still work out. Definitely getting people in the winter is a lot more challenging and a lot more rewarding because people are more focused on getting in shape. I definitely didn’t think the winter sessions would be doing as well as they are and I’m thankful to the people that support me.
SS: It seems like you all are a little family.
CB: Yeah most people who come out are like my family. My mom even comes out! If anyone wants to see what it looks like to be in shape at 50 look at my mom. She’s the one who I get most of my attitude from. Not in a bad way but she was a drill sergeant. She always expected things to be done a certain way.
SS: Black mom 101 [laughs].
CB: Yeah she was your prototypical Jack & Jill black mom. The drive she instilled in me comes out when I work out even. I’ll go work out with her and she’ll talk shit to me [laughs]. When she comes out to work out everyone’s like “wait how old is she?” and I’m like “yeah that’s my mom” [laughs]. So I try to get her out there at least once a season.
SS: That’s great! I follow you on Instagram, is there a specific strategy behind your marketing? Or is it a lot of word of mouth?
CB: Yeah it’s a lot of word of mouth. I prefer to be as organic as possible. I believe that me being genuinely me is going to carry a lot of this. There is going to be a CBFIT page that will come up sometime in the near future but I want people to know what I stand for as far as fitness goes before they get confused as to what’s going on with the brand. The brand is going to be the same thing regardless but I definitely want people to know who I am and what I stand for.
SS: Where do you hold your weekly classes and do you hold them at the same place every time?
CB: Yes, weekly classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 939 8th Ave. Ripley Grier Studios. My coworker put me onto their dance studios which are some pretty big studios. They’re from 7:30pm to 8:30pm and there’s a booking link that goes live every Saturday or Sunday for the upcoming week and it can be found on my Instagram or Twitter.
SS: Going back to the workout class itself, how do you come up with the routines?
CB: I actually create them while I workout. I workout probably two to three days a week at 5:30am.
SS: Oh gosh…so you workout on top of teaching the class?
CB: I also do personal training on the side. Basically I do personal training, workout plans, bootcamps, and hopefully moving into some sort of consultancy down the line. But I’m up at 5:30am most days, stretch, do a home workout or go to the gym and I’ll probably be there for an hour. In the evening I either have clients or I’m researching new materials trying to understand new supplements or new ways to improve things. I’m slowly starting to become obsessed with what ways the body can move efficiently, functional movement is something I find really interesting.
SS: Sheesh! So outside of CBFIT, what do you do full-time?
CB: I’m a full-time marketing analyst at American Express so that keeps me busy [laughs].
SS: So you really have two full-time jobs. I commend you. Aren’t you tired?!
CB: I mean there’s 24-hours in the day you got to use them [laughs]. I do it because all of these things make me happy. I’m passionate about tapping into the best potential of others and helping them see their best selves. Not just from working out but seeing them realize that they can achieve so much more by setting a goal and following up with it.
SS: Would you say that’s your favorite part of teaching?
CB: Oh yeah! I had a friend turned client who just sent me her before and after pictures after an 8-week program she just did and she dropped 15 pounds. It was the best feeling.
SS: You should definitely document that. When you get your page up or even on your IG story because that’s what will get people outside of the homies to come. People are all about that before and after photo. [laughs] So where do you like to see CBFIT going next?
CB: I would like to see it expand to other cities. I’m headed down to D.C. in February so all of you D.C./Howard folk come out. I definitely want to expand it but I hope to one day open my own gym. That’s a work in progress right now but I would like to be the go-to spot for black people of all ages that are seeking a community for self-improvement and development.
SS: If I ever join a gym again I would definitely join yours, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t workout at all [laughs].
Last question, what advice would you give to high school you?
CB: Definitely be patient with your growth. I tried to grow a beard in high school and it didn’t work but we’re out here now! Beard gang going strong [laughs]. But I’d say three things: it’s okay to mess up, be patient with yourself and fight for your happiness no matter what.