A case study by Crystal Capone
- Core Health & Fitness custom weight rig
- Hammer Strength rubber plates
- Stairmaster HIIT rower
- Assault Fitness AssaultBike Pro
Who is Ethos Athletic Club?
Joey Welling has spent nearly half of his entire life either working in gyms, or working out in them. A true native son of Charleston, SC, Joey played second base at his alma mater, The Citadel. There, he learned the discipline and drive that comes standard with military school, harnessing it into a career of personal training and gym ownership.
I’ve known Joey for about three years now. So it wasn’t much of a surprise to me when he said he was finally ready to build his dream gym: a place both large and technical enough to accommodate professional athletes alongside casual fitness fanatics.
“It’s a gym where we have pros work out in the offseason next to grandma and grandpa while they read The Wall Street Journal on the treadmill,” he said.
This is the story of Ethos Athletic Club, an all-inclusive gym in the middle of some of Charleston’s fastest-growing neighborhoods. It’s a story of persistence: setting a bar, reaching it, then setting it a little bit higher.
But it’s also a story about community. As of writing, it’s been over two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began. For those of us who are passionate about it, the gym can be one of few spaces left after a long and stressful day. When that’s taken away, you’re not just losing your workout. You’re disconnected from your daily routine; sometimes your inner circle. Ethos’ mission is what we love most about fitness: it’s bringing people back together again. Sometimes, the workout’s just an excuse.
Adding dimension to design
What really sets Heartline Fitness’ designs apart is that we want to visualize everything before we set up on installation day.
Installs always hit a few snags, but you can eliminate a lot of them with proper planning. That’s why we do our layouts with 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software. Ethos originally planned their layout with a 2D model, which doesn’t give you the best idea of how equipment fits into the space.
Joey and the jets
Ethos Athletic Club is BIG, with a capital B. Let’s strip it down and see what’s inside 20,000 square feet, designed in collaboration with locally based interior designers Basic Projects.
Here’s an example of what we mean by “community” when we talk about Ethos. When you walk in, a café greets you. “Let me guess,” you’re thinking, “this is some smoothie juice bar, right?” Nope, a regular café. But that’s the point.
“It’s a place to work, meet, hang out,” Joey said. “The right gym owners realize it’s more of a lifestyle. I wanted to create a place that, if you were gone for a couple of weeks, you would miss it. This needed to be a daily space.”
But once you get past that, the gym itself is a modern juxtaposition amid the history of Charleston’s industrial shadow. As Joey puts it, “It looks like an air hangar.”
It’s a former warehouse, so the ceilings are high and no equipment stations feel constrained. The locker room tiling has a vintage ’50s vibe to it, but there’s also high-tech infrared saunas and smart lockers that charge your phone while you’re working out.
“I wanted the space to be clean and hip, but also have a gritty feel to it,” Joey said. “You know you’re in a gym, but the treadmill is going to be the nicest, cleanest one you’ve ever run on.”
Once you put it all together, you realize how much space there is to take advantage of. And that’s a must-have for functional fitness and circuit routines that have you bouncing from the rack, to the pull-up bar, to the floor, and back to the rack again.
That kind of equipment, especially for powerlifters, takes a beating. Many name brands just can’t live up to their desired durability. Commercial equipment — like the Core and Hammer Strength rigs in Ethos — may come at a premium cost, but Ethos will end up spending less on replacement and repair costs.
What the client thinks of this project
“Crystal was always a phone call away. If a piece of equipment needed to be fixed, she had a tech out there helping us within the next 48 hours. When helping with the design and layout the gym, all it took was a simple phone call or a quick meeting, and she would send a rendering within a few days. It’s the little things like that.”Joey Welling
Owner, Ethos Athletic Club
A space to let it all out
Ethos is one of the most creative projects we’ve undertaken, and that’s saying something considering our recent track record. We’re blessed to have clients like Ethos who trust in our understanding of gym flow and how to pick the right equipment for the right needs.
If you’re ever in the Charleston area, give Ethos a try for your next workout. And maybe try an açai bowl at the café before you head out.