If you really want something, you have to put in the work – you have to push yourself, stay strong and stick to it. And, more often than not, you have to ask for a little guidance.

Sara Coleman

Sara Coleman, fitness coordinator for Campus Recreation Services. (Photos by Heather Moran)

As a lifelong learner committed to personal growth and self-improvement, Michael Overholt knows this. That’s why, a little over a year ago, he turned to the College’s own Sara Coleman ’17 to turn his fitness goals into reality.

“At the time, I was primarily a runner, but I wanted to bring something new into my fitness routine because my weight loss had kind of plateaued,” says the instructional technologist with the Teaching and Technology Team. “I knew I needed something I could do at work because I live an hour away, and if I wait until I get home, there are too many things to distract me from working out.”

Joining a gym or a group fitness class didn’t appeal to the self-described introvert, either, so when he heard about the Campus Recreation Services (CRS) program Tuesdays with Sara – a free one-on-one, corrective exercise program for faculty and staff involving a fitness assessment and training plan – it sounded like the perfect solution.

Sara Coleman and Michael Overholt“I was just like, ‘Holy cow! I’d love to get some advice and tips from someone who actually knows what they’re doing!’,” says Overholt, who is also an adjunct Classics professor at the College. “It was a chance for me to jump-start my weight loss, start a workout routine right and just learn how to be a healthier, better person.”

RELATED: Check out the group fitness classes that are free to CofC faculty and staff.

“Michael is kind of the perfect client, because he’s super dedicated and willing to put in the work,” says CRS Fitness Coordinator Coleman, adding that – because he was already a runner when he came to her – Overholt also keeps her on her toes. “Endurance athletes are always a challenge to work out – not just because they like to sweat and will get bored if they don’t. But, especially if they want to lose weight, you have to always be creative about introducing something new to the body so it’ll continue to lose – and so that they’ll really feel it.”

And if Overholt’s nickname for Coleman is any indication, you better believe he can feel it!

“I call her the Angel of Death,” he laughs. “She kicks my ass – and I really appreciate her for it!”

Tuesdays with Sara isn’t just about kicking butt, though. In fact, most of the faculty and staff who come to Coleman are looking for help with a sore muscle or a stiff neck – or just getting a fitness routine started.

Sara Coleman and Michael Overholt“I offer a corrective exercises assessment and stretching, foam rolling and a one-on-one check-in day,” says Coleman, a certified food scientist and ACE–, NASM– and ACSM–certified personal trainer with an M.S. in health, exercise and sports science. “I am there to answer questions or concerns about exercise, exercise programs, foam rolling techniques – whatever people need. And I can also give some insight into how to use exercise equipment correctly and effectively.”

“Sara is an invaluable resource and offers an incredible opportunity for faculty and staff,” says Overholt, who featured Tuesdays with Sara – as well as the free guided meditations available to faculty and staff – in a podcast on his blog. “I know how expensive training can be, and to have this available to us for free shows how important this is to the institution. She’s there to help, and she’ll push you as far as you want to go.”

And so far, Overholt hasn’t wanted to stop. A year after starting the training routine that Coleman gave him, he has stuck with it – working out on his lunch break at the F. Mitchell Johnson Physical Education Center’s exercise deck two to three times a week. And he has the improved running times and a 20-pound weight loss to show for it.

Michael Overholt works out“I keep doing it because I just feel better. I feel better physically and mentally,” he says. “I’m the kind of person who always wants to be better. I’ve always liked to be active and push my body – and I like a good endorphin buzz. It’s just always been kind of my way of life. This is also a way to get away and just kind of be alone and focus on myself.”

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t work with Coleman, too. They still meet every two to three weeks to gauge his fitness and assess what he can add into his routine and where there’s still room for improvement.

“She’ll find out where all the areas for improvement are, and then says, ‘Let’s make you better.’ You feel empowered afterward, because she shows you that you can do it. It’s a good principle to apply to life,” says Overholt, admitting that he can always be better about paying attention to form. “There’s a life lesson there: Just like it’s easy to drift when it comes to physical form, it’s easy to drift from spiritual form, too. Sometimes you need a mentor to guide you back.”

That, or an Angel of Death!