Our Team

The personal trainers at Premier Fitness are awesome! All are certified, qualified, compassionate, caring and highly motivating individuals. Each of our trainers have different specialties, so regardless of your age, gender, needs and/or goals, we have a trainer that can help you meet and exceed your desired goal(s).

Let Us Help You Get Healthy, Fit, & Happy

We Help You Stay Healthy


Christy Gillenwater

Owner, Personal Trainer, Certified Golf Fitness Specialist, Stability and Balance Trainer & Certified Medical Fitness Specialist. Christy is currently working on two different certifications for Stroke Recovery Fitness Specialist and Women’s Health – Stages of Menopause & Exercise Intervention.

Christy is the Owner and a Trainer at Premier Fitness Studio. Christy, along with her husband, soul mate & best friend, Trey, started Premier Fitness Studio in August, 2015. They have two boys, Stephen and Connor, and live in Southport, NC. Christy loves most sports and is willing to try just about anything, including skydiving one year for her birthday! In May, 2015, Christy competed in and finished, her first Half Ironman Triathlon.

Christy is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Group Fitness Instructor, through IFTA (Interactive Fitness Trainers of America). She is also a Certified Medical Fitness Specialist through IFPA (International Fitness Professionals Association) and a Certified Golf Fitness Trainer through ASFA (American Sports & Fitness Association). Her Stroke Recovery and Women’s Health certifications are through the MedFit Organization. She has received additional certifications for training Special Populations, Sports Fitness and Balance & Stability Instruction. She has also received her certification for BOSU Balance Training.

Christy truly has a sincere desire to help her clients achieve their goals and get more out of their lives, by promoting physical training combined with making good nutritional choices! Christy’s specialty certifications allow her to work with many clients that have various diagnosis, from MS, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Parkinson’s, Stroke, joint replacement and surgical repairs. She also works with many clients who just want to feel better, lose weight, improve balance and/or tone and strengthen muscles. Regardless of the goal, Christy helps her clients stay motivated through challenging, but rewarding workouts and positive encouragement. Christy loves each of her clients and takes a personal interest in their lives, their health and their overall well-being.

Sara Fox

Personal Trainer and Certified Medical Fitness Specialist

Sara joined Premier Fitness Studio in August, 2020!  Since then, she has been working with numerous clients helping them reach their goals.

Sara moved to Southport from Maryland in 2008 with her husband, daughter and step-daughter.  She worked as a career firefighter/paramedic at various departments for ten years and then transitioned to law enforcement, for seven years.  Due to a line of duty injury, Sara has had to change her career focus, but is still a certified paramedic. 

Utilizing her medical fitness certification, she wants to help those with chronic disease and/or disability, obtain better physical fitness, improve quality of life and regain some independence. ​ She understands, first hand, the challenges that accompany illness and injury in physical fitness. Sara is excited to start this new chapter, using her medical training and knowledge, to help others physically improve their lives!  Are you ready to get started?  Sara is ready to help you, regardless of what your fitness goals are!  Call and schedule a free consultation and tour our private personal training studio… we can’t wait to meet you!

Gretchen Stephens

RYT 500 Yoga Instructor

Gretchen began her yoga journey for physical and emotional healing in 2009. She found so much joy and peace in the yoga practice that she wanted to share the benefits with others.  She completed her 200-hour teacher training certification at Inhale Yoga Studio in Ohio in 2014 and is currently enrolled at the Wilmington Yoga Center on the path to the completion of the 500-hour teaching certification in December of 2017.

Gretchen’s passion is to share the many benefits of the practice of yoga;  improved flexibility, increased strength in bones and muscles, improvement of posture and balance, better circulation, increased endurance, stress reduction, increased energy and metabolism which together lead to an improved life style!  She welcomes all ages who are interested in learning or returning to yoga, but she focuses especially on folks age 40 and over.  Her classes provide a respite for the body and busy minds of the participants through a series of mixed gentle flow poses, with attention to individual body alignment and various adaptive methods to fit one and all.  She also welcomes those who would like an individualized approach to yoga in private sessions. 

Gretchen started a Steppin’ It Up cardio class in January 2021.  It is a great cardio class for beginners and/or those who haven’t been working out for awhile.  She also is teaching our Aerial Yoga classes… come swing from the rafters with Gretchen!

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