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Step It Up Instructors

Harold, Ryan and their staff bring enthusiasm and energy to every workout. The entire team is dedicated to your success as you Step It Up to your next level of health and fitness.

Harold Hilliard, Fitness Director / Co-Founder
Harold is the fitness director of STEP IT UP FITNESS and was a 3-sport high school letterman. For the past 15 years, he's worked in various fitness capacities for The Lovett School and Whitefield Academy, where he currently serves as the Physical Education Department Chair and strength and conditioning coordinator.

He received an undergraduate degree in exercise physiology at Jacksonville State and earned his master's degree at Shorter College. Harold also holds the highest certification in the strength and conditioning field: a Strength and Conditioning Specialist with Distinction, from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Ryan Byers, Lead Instructor / Co-Founder

Ryan, a former collegiate baseball player at Armstrong Atlantic State University and Southern Polytechnic State University, Ryan has more than 15 years of leadership experience in business management.

Ryan earned his bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Southern Polytechnic State University. While completing his degree, Ryan was the Director of Athletics at The Vinings Club located in Atlanta, Ga.

An accomplished entrepreneur and marketer, Byers founded his first logistics company in 1994 and today is President /CEO of Vertical Synergies Incorporated, a transportation and management firm. Ryan is a USTAF Certified running coach and has competed in numerous running competitions that include 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon events.

Danny Ryan, Lead Instructor/Athletic Trainer

Danny played both varsity football and basketball during high school.  Danny graduated form the University of South Florida with a degree in sports medicine/athletic training.  While there Danny worked as a student athletic trainer with both football, baseball, volleyball and track teams.  After graduation he worked as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech with the football and men's tennis team and now is working as the head athletic trainer at Whitefield Academy. Danny is a Member of the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and his certifications include ATC, First Aid, CPR, and AED.

Barbara Vazquez, Instructor

Barbara has been a fitness enthusiast for most of her life. An avid follower of the primal dietary and fitness lifestyle. Barbara is married and has two bilingual children. Barbara earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and her Juris Doctorate degree from Georgia State Law School. She is the founding principal of Vazquez & Servi, P.C., an immigration boutique law firm established in 1996. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys participating in charitable fitness events benefiting abandoned and sometimes mistreated immigrant children, etc.. She is a former student and amateur performer of Latin-style ballroom dancing. Barbara is CPR/AED certified.

Crissy Watkins, Instructor

Crissy has been involved in health and fitness dating back to her days as a college softball player. With an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Kinesiology, and a Masters degree in Kinesiology, Crissy joins Step it Up with a passion for healthy lifestyles and helping others reach their goals. Her training experiences include personal training, being a sport psychology consultant, teaching undergraduate courses, and leading group training. Crissy is currently teaching PE at Whitefield Academy, where she is also the varsity softball coach. Crissy was recently married and enjoys being active and working out with her husband. Crissy is CPR/AED certified.

Pam Blackburn, Instructor

Pam has been a involved in fitness activities throughout her life but has reengaged in the last several years with Step It Up Fitness. Pam is married with two children who enjoy outdoors as much as she does. Pam earned her degree from the University of Georgia and is a certified public accountant and a parnter at a large professional services firm in Atlanta. Pam serves on the board of several not for profit entities and is involved in several charitable cycling events each year. Pam was a loyal SIU campers for 2 years befores joining SIU as an associate instructor in 2010. Pam enjoys water skiing and cycling in her spare time and is CPR/AED certified.

Bethany C. Smith, RD, CSO, LD, Dietitian

Bethany enrolled in SIU camp in August of 2010 and now has joined our team to assist clients with healthy eating and weight management. Bethany earned her bachelor's degree in Health & Sports Studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a major in Dietetics and Nutrition. She relocated to Georgia to complete a Dietetic Internship at Georgia State University, and became a Registered & Licensed Dietitian in 1998. Over the past 13 years, she has spent her career assisting individuals who have eating challenges during cancer treatments, counseling adults who want to lose or gain weight and coaching those who want to eat healthier to reduce their risk of disease. Bethany frequently gives presentations on healthy eating, weight management and disease prevention to local support groups, college students and healthcare professionals throughout the Southeastern US. In 2009, she was recognized as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the Georgia Dietetic Association for her achievements and contributions to her profession. Bethany is a former high school competition cheerleader and dancer who now enjoys staying active while training for races with friends, traveling, and playing ALTA tennis.

Haley Brown, Associate Instructor   |    Haley has been involved in competitive sports all through high school.  She graduated from Auburn University with an undergraduate degree in Physical Education.  She currently works at Whitefield Academy as a Middle School P.E. teacher, as well as, coach’s softball and soccer.  She just finished her first half marathon and plans on running another one later this fall.  She is also currently pursuing a national certification in personal training.

Lisa Rieves, Associate Instructor   |   Lisa is a stay-at-home mother of two with a passion for running.  She has completed the Marine Corps Marathon, Silver Comet Half Marathon and many 10 and 5K’s.  She’s currently training for the Chicago and NYC Marathons. 

Joe Ryder, Associate Instructor   |   Joe has participated in multiple competitive sports since the age of 5. Narrowing his focus to football in high school, Joe went on to play football for two seasons with the University of Georgia. After graduating Joe joined the Atlanta Renegades Rugby Club where he played for 8 years. During that time the Renegades won the South US Division, Joe was chosen for select sides in the Georgia and East Rugby Unions, and he eventually served as President of the Club. Joe also served as a Defensive Coach for the Brussels Angels Football team in Belgium in 1999-2000.

Joe began his rededication to fitness as one of our own and this year competed in the Annual Muddy Buddy competition where he and his partner brought home first place for STEP IT UP FITNESS for their division among 800 teams. Joe currently participates in 5K and 10K runs and is in active training for his first half-marathon.

When Joe isn't participating in fitness activity and events, he works for Oracle where he sells Enterprise Software.

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