Fall has arrived, and our聽attention has turned to聽warm layers聽and hearty soup recipes. But before we聽slide聽into full hibernation聽mode, let鈥檚 set our聽intention to keep聽active and fit this聽winter. It鈥檚聽soooo easy to exercise聽when the weather is nice, but when聽daylight hours grow聽shorter, we need help to stay motivated and energized.聽So we called on聽Nicole Winhoffer, whose NW鈩 Method has shaped聽some of the best bodies in the entertainment industry, including Madonna, who hired Nicole as her personal trainer and coach to聽her tour聽dancers. The two co-created the聽鈥淎ddicted to Sweat鈥 program for Madonna鈥檚 Hard Candy Fitness gyms, where Nicole was creative director. Today鈥檚聽NW鈩 Method draws from all Nicole鈥檚 past experience as a Broadway dancer and backup dancer to artists like Shakira. It also uses her聽knowledge of the body, dance, sports science, anatomy and Eastern practices that focus on the chakras, acupuncture points and energy work. Here鈥檚 how Nicole聽stays motivated and keeps her聽workouts聽fresh.

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1. Just dance. 鈥淒ance has always been my passion,鈥 says Nicole. 鈥淚t鈥檚 always been the athletic workout that allows me to express myself, release emotions and keep me fit.鈥 And聽it鈥檚 fun. When you want to increase聽energy and motivation, turn on some聽music and dance, and the rest will follow.

2.聽Play the *right* music.聽The right music is music that speaks to you, moves you. Nicole is very selective about which song she wants to hear for each section of her workout. 鈥淵ou noticed that!鈥 she laughs. 鈥淢y 55-minute workout works every muscle in the body, each on the beat of a聽unique song. The playlist is different for every class.鈥

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3.聽Turn out the lights.聽鈥淲hen you work out in the dark, it鈥檚 a shock to the senses,鈥 Nicole writes聽on her website. In the dark, you really feel your body and you聽lose that preoccupation with聽how others see you. 鈥淭his shocks the body and opens the mind to connect with your personal physical power,鈥 she adds. And that聽frees us from negative thoughts.

4. Set your intention.聽Setting a personal intention before you work out 鈥渋ntroduces consciousness and presence into fitness, helping us聽find聽personal freedom and our voice,鈥 she says. 鈥淢y intention in creating聽the NW鈩 Method聽started because I want trainers around the world to have access to new ideas about fitness,鈥 she writes on her website. Fitness is not just about the body. Nicole says, 鈥淔itness is a feeling.鈥

5. Challenge yourself.聽鈥淢y training philosophy challenges聽the body, the muscles, the chakras, the skin, the breath, the mind and the spirit聽鈥 it鈥檚 all聽connected,鈥 says Nicole. 鈥淎ccessing the meridians used in acupuncture, we聽focus on the arms, the waist and the hips and lower body, the seat of women鈥檚 sensuality and power.鈥 We may call those聽problem聽areas, but Nicole points out the聽direct relationship to the chakras, which are channels for the body鈥檚 energy. 鈥淚f the complaint is abdominal fat, that鈥檚 the third聽chakra 鈥 ego and self-esteem. If you鈥檙e storing fat there, you might be hiding and lacking self-esteem. That鈥檚 a big area of focus.鈥 The NW鈩 Method聽works on the body, mind and spirit, and women聽see results.

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6. Give thanks.聽As Nicole is winding down the workout, she takes a moment to reflect on what just happened and to acknowledge your聽own vulnerabilities. This is a key moment and one of the things that makes her workouts so popular. 鈥淢aybe you started out not wanting to work out today,鈥 she says. 鈥淢aybe you were afraid to try something new, in front of people you didn鈥檛 know. You feel different now, empowered. Give thanks that you didn鈥檛 let fear stop you. You moved ahead and broke through, and now you feel great.鈥

7. Keep saying聽鈥測es鈥 to the universe. This is Nicole鈥檚 mantra. 鈥淪ay 鈥榶es鈥 to new things,鈥 she tells her class, 鈥渆ven when your mind is putting up barriers and trying to shut you down. When you feel yourself pulling back, that鈥檚 out of fear, and it聽comes from being too much in your head and overthinking things.鈥 And the聽way to break through that is through movement. 鈥淢ovement聽brings us聽out of our聽heads and into our聽bodies,鈥 explains Nicole. 鈥淎nd that鈥檚聽where we聽achieve our聽most balanced, beautiful and best self.鈥

If you鈥檙e in New York City and would like to work out with Nicole, you can reserve a place at聽her class at The Standard High Line 鈥 but, word, they book up聽fast. Or聽check out聽#NWCHURCH, a聽live streaming subscription service聽where聽everyone聽can work out with Nicole聽from any place聽they聽are in the world.

What鈥檚 your fave song to dance聽to? Tag聽us in your pic聽@BritandCo!

(Photos via Pure Protein/Nicole Winhoffer)