We’re constantly on the hunt for new ways to switch up our fitness routines, from trying trap yoga to Khloé Kardashian’s booty workout and everything in between. But staying active is especially challenging in the summer, when it feels waaayyyy too hot to run outside, and inside our air-conditioned homes, cold rosé is calling our names. So when we heard that personal trainer, entrepreneur, and fitness artist Nicole Winhoffer returned to Propel Co:Labs, a fitness festival based in Los Angeles, for the third year in a row to lead a class with Ludacris (yes, you read that right), we had to know more. We chatted with Winhoffer to learn what her famous NW Method entails, why she joined Propel Co:Labs, and why sipping that rosé on a hot day just might be okay.

Nicole Winhoffer

Brit + Co: Can you talk a little about your fitness technique the NW Method — why it’s unique, how it works, and what sets it apart from other fitness methods?

Nicole Winhoffer: The NW Method is truly unique because as a person, I always want to be original and do something new that’s never been seen before — we as humans need to be challenged. If we continue to do the same thing over and over again in our lives, we never thrive to our potentiality. What’s particularly unique about the NW Method is that it targets the meridians in Chinese medicine and acupuncture through movements and moving energy. It’s based on a workout I created with the top pop stars in the world to train them for world tours. It’s a combination of endurance, dance, and unique movements. Lastly, it targets specific areas of the body behind the arms, waist, and butt. Everything in our life is linear movements, so we rarely focus on rotational muscles, our side muscles, and things that go against our forward motion.

B+C: As a “fitness artist,” you put a lot of focus on the spiritual connection between mind and body. Why do you think that connection is important and how do you see it benefit your clients?

NW: The Western world puts too much emphasis on thinking and doing. What I love about my background, being also from Asia, is that there’s more of a focus on spirituality and the spirit. We have four bodies: the thinking body, physical body, heart body, and our spirit. Our spirits are really what guide us. It’s what we had as children, what gave us life [and] our passions… drawing, dancing, cooking. And then reality sets in, life sets in, and we keep ourselves small and responsible. We start making decisions based on having to make a certain [amount of] dollars or wanting to succeed and be recognized for something. We don’t listen to our spirits. All of my clients, whether it’s Stella McCartney, Madonna, Kate Hudson, or Ellen Pompeo, are really in their spirits. They’re doing things where they naturally thrive and that they are passionate about. They become recognized in this way because they are following their spirits. When one follows their spirits, they are truly unique, and then life and abundance follow.

B+C: Can you fill us in on the Propel Co:Labs Fitness Festival and your role in it? And what is this about a Ludacris collab?

NW: I’ve been working with Propel for three years. They had a vision that was not only about their electrolyte water, but to cross over into music. They created this Co:Labs Fitness Festival where they bring in the best trainers, all working in different modalities, and we teach crowds of people, just like a musician would perform for crowds of people.

Since the festivals are based on a collaboration of fitness and music, I really wanted to perform with a musical poet. This year they brought in Ludacris. So, Ludacris [was] rapping on stage with his entourage and I [was] teaching the NW Method. It was organic and real on a live stage. He gave us a set playlist a couple months in advance, and I worked with my dancers and trainers for two months on creating new choreography. Once we got to stage that day, it was the first time we ever performed it together. It was so cool.

B+C: For those of us who don’t live in New York City or LA but love the idea of the NW Method, what options do we have? Can you talk about NW Church — what it is and how it works?

NW: A girl always needs options! First, you can always email us on our website and ask for private training sessions with us. We’d pair you with a trainer that matches your personality, the type of music you like, and your problem areas. We’d send that trainer to your home to get in-house private training. Option number two is digital. NW Church is where you get “saved” on Sundays. We release a new video every Sunday. You live stream the class that I teach, and because I moved to LA, you’ll be seeing me at Third Street Dance in LA. Option three is single downloadable workouts that focus on specific body parts.

B+C: We’ve heard you say the three problem areas you like to target are the waist, butt, and arms. Why these three? Can you give us a simple at-home move to help us tone those areas?

NW: Those are the top three body parts my celeb clients would yell at me about, so I found solutions. Because humans do everything forward — we walk forward, drive forward, interact [with] people facing forward — we neglect our side bodies and our backward motion. I’m trying to balance human behavior in new ways.

As for moves, lay on your stomach, do a Superman, and then roll back and forth. Put your hands up against the wall and lift your leg and turn out your right knee and start doing some butt lifts while pushing your hands against the wall. You can [also] do some ab exercises:

  • Lower Abs: Lie on your back and place your hands under the small of your back to support your spine. Bring navel to spine and extend your legs out straight in front of you. Bring your legs two inches off the floor as a starting position, and then lift your legs to ceiling to 90 degrees. Repeat.
  • Middle Abs: Lie on your back and bend your legs at 90 degrees. Bring your hands behind your head with your elbows open. Extend one leg and reach your fingertips to the toes of your opposing bent leg. Switch legs and arms. Repeat.
  • Upper Abs: Lie on your back and put your legs in butterfly position with your knees open. Crunch to the ceiling. Repeat.

[Try] all with at least 100 reps. The higher the repetition, the more you’re inducing muscle memory.

B+C: Before we leave you, can you give us a couple of summer health tips you swear by?

NW: Drink all the rosé you want. I’m serious. People deprive themselves, and then they create problems, and think they’re fat or they have these issues. But when you allow yourself to do whatever you want, you actually bring in more awareness. Secondly, go into water — a bath, pool, or ocean. Water is very cleansing and healing and can bring about a lot of clarity.

Would you try the NW Method? Tweet us @BritandCo and tell us why you’re into it!

(Photo via Kevin Mazur / Getty)