Junkyard Dog rides again: Ben Boulware creates "Richard Simmons on steroids" workout


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Boulware has redirected his passion to helping others
Boulware has redirected his passion to helping others

ANDERSON – If you’re thinking about getting in shape, or better shape, who better to motivate you than the team leader off of a National Championship? A player whose blood and guts performances inspired thousands, one who learned from the best motivators around in Dabo Swinney and Brent Venables?

Why not let Ben Boulware help you out?

Boulware, the former Clemson linebacker, and his business partner Marcus Brown have opened a new fitness center called The Junkyard in downtown Anderson. The business, which is temporarily housed in a former pool hall on North Main Street, will be moving into its permanent home on East Orr Street in May.

“I always knew that if football didn't work, I wanted to do something with fitness,” Boulware told TigerNet Friday. “I knew I was solid in football and because of that I know how to work out, so that was another avenue for me to go into. I knew I didn't want to get fat as I got older, and the best way to not get fat is to make fitness your occupation.”

Boulware and Brown were looking at different fitness outlets and picked up road biking. They rode 20 miles in 55 minutes on their first adventure, but Boulware was less than pleased with those results.

“My thinking was that I had gotten too fat, that I couldn’t do it,” he said. “I was ready to give it up, but the second time we rode I added music. And that made all the difference.”

The pair rode 25 miles in 48 minutes, and an idea was born.

“We shaved seven minutes off of our time and added five miles all because we were listening to good music,” Boulware said. “Everyone loves listening to music while they work out, so we tried to figure out way to incorporate music into a workout, where the music guides the workout. We looked at things like Guitar Hero and dancing game, where the beats guide you across the screen.”

There are three zones – the blue represent the Recovery Yoga Zone, a low impact workout. When the lights turn green, it’s time for the Pace Zone. That is the middle of the song where, according to Boulware, the beat hasn’t dropped but is ramping up but there are good vibes. Next is the red or Push Zone, where the music drops and the tempo increases.

“It’s like Richard Simmons on steroids,” Boulware said.

The business partners have patented the technology and are selling memberships for $10 a month.

Boulware started 31 games at Clemson and he was the 2016 recipient of the Jack Lambert Trophy honoring the nation's top collegiate linebacker. He also was named as the most valuable defensive player of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship in which Clemson defeated the University of Alabama 35-31.

After not being selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, Boulware was signed as a free agent by the Carolina Panthers, only to be released a few months later. He was briefly a member of the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad.

“Everyone knows how passionate I am about football, but that didn't work out, and that is totally cool. I always knew that I had another avenue,” he said. “For a lot of other players, if football doesn't work out for them, they don't know what to do. They haven't really planned for it. They don't know what they want to do with their lives, but I've known for a long time I wanted to do something with fitness. I just couldn't nail it down, but once I got cut by the 49ers I realized that football might not work out. The pinnacle of football for me was Clemson.

“The NFL is a whole new world, and nothing was ever going to be as cool as Clemson was for me. That was the best four years of my life, with my brothers, and we won the National Championship. With Carolina and the 49ers, that wasn't football for me. I didn't want to be a blocking dummy, and I wasn't happy. But nothing was in the same world as Clemson. I wanted another avenue and I am as equally passionate about fitness as I was football. I love to go to work and beat on people and scream at people the way Coach V screamed at me.”

He may not be running up and down the field, but he’s happy. And he’s ready to prove the doubters wrong once again.

“I had my time. Football was cool. But I've moved on to bigger and better things,” Boulware said. “People looked at me and thought this short white guy will always be on the bench but I proved them wrong. Now they are looking at me and thinking this 23-year old guy doesn’t know anything about running a business. It’s the same mindset.”

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