No matter how many you read, fitness success stories never seem to get old or become any less inspiring. For Michelle Wolniakowksi, otherwise known as Shell, the story involves her shedding more than 50 pounds in less than a year. In June of 2020, Shell began her journey towards weight loss and a healthier life. After months of hard work, Shell hit the 50-pound milestone on the 10-year anniversary of her father’s death, making an already-emotional day all the more special.

Everyone has their own unique moment that inspires them or gets them to start working towards a new goal. When the Pandemic set in and we were in lockdown mode, I was forced to be at home,” Shell said. “This allowed me the time to start thinking and focusing on myself rather than what other people or places needed from me. I decided to find the positives during a negative time. It was time to put myself as my number one priority.” It was in June of 2020, when gyms began reopening, that Shell joined Xperience Fitness and set up a personal training session.

For Shell, the most difficult part of losing weight was just learning how to do it. Once she figured that out, everything was easier for her. “When I decided to go on this journey, I put full faith in my personal trainer and tried to follow everything he said.” she told us. “This mindset brought me immediate success which of course is a motivating factor to keep going.”

Shell has credited Xperience Fitness as well as her personal trainer, Jake Zvonar, for much of her success. “He (Jake) will tell you it was all me and my hard work but I have to remind him that it was him that gave me the tools I needed for success,” she said. “I only push myself to my comfort, he pushes me to my potential!” Sometimes, all a person needs is that little extra nudge and the floodgates will open up.

Working out can become habitual, and Shell has first hand experience of that. “I find myself craving exercise,” she told us. “My week typically includes two training sessions, two Q classes, one Zumba class, one Strong class, three days of lifting, and cardio daily.”

The journey isn’t over for Shell. She said she wants to lose a total of 200 pounds which would bring her weight down to 150 pounds. “(For) each 25 pounds I lose, I do a dinner with the people that have helped me during that time frame and I do a fun photoshoot,” she told us. This is an awesome way to reward yourself and those around you and to celebrate all you’ve accomplished! We love this, Shell.

For others who may be looking for advice, Shell said, “You are not trying to out-do anyone else in the gym. You are your own biggest rival. Don’t look at the weights the guy next to you is pushing or how long the lady doing cardio has been on the machine. Instead try to beat your own personal records each and every day.” This is some of the best advice that can be given. If you make your workout about other people, you won’t find success as easily. Work for yourself and beat your own bests.

We wish Shell luck on the rest of her journey! You can follow her along on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.