Fall has arrived, and our attention has turned to warm layers and hearty soup recipes. But before we slide into full hibernation mode, let鈥檚 set our intention to keep active and fit this winter. It鈥檚 soooo easy to exercise when the weather is nice, but when daylight hours grow shorter, we need help to stay motivated and energized. So we called on Nicole Winhoffer, whose NW鈩 Method has shaped some of the best bodies in the entertainment industry, including Madonna, who hired Nicole as her personal trainer and coach to her tour dancers. The two co-created the 鈥淎ddicted to Sweat鈥 program for Madonna鈥檚 Hard Candy Fitness gyms, where Nicole was creative director. Today鈥檚 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 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 stays motivated and keeps her workouts 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 it鈥檚 fun. When you want to increase energy and motivation, turn on some music and dance, and the rest will follow.

2. Play the *right* music. 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 unique song. The playlist is different for every class.鈥

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3. Turn out the lights. 鈥淲hen you work out in the dark, it鈥檚 a shock to the senses,鈥 Nicole writes on her website. In the dark, you really feel your body and you lose that preoccupation with 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 frees us from negative thoughts.

4. Set your intention. Setting a personal intention before you work out 鈥渋ntroduces consciousness and presence into fitness, helping us find personal freedom and our voice,鈥 she says. 鈥淢y intention in creating the NW鈩 Method 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. 鈥淢y training philosophy challenges the body, the muscles, the chakras, the skin, the breath, the mind and the spirit 鈥 it鈥檚 all connected,鈥 says Nicole. 鈥淎ccessing the meridians used in acupuncture, we 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 problem areas, but Nicole points out the 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 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 works on the body, mind and spirit, and women see results.

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6. Give thanks. As Nicole is winding down the workout, she takes a moment to reflect on what just happened and to acknowledge your 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 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 comes from being too much in your head and overthinking things.鈥 And the way to break through that is through movement. 鈥淢ovement brings us out of our heads and into our bodies,鈥 explains Nicole. 鈥淎nd that鈥檚 where we achieve our 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 her class at The Standard High Line 鈥 but, word, they book up fast. Or check out #NWCHURCH, a live streaming subscription service where everyone can work out with Nicole from any place they are in the world.

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

(Photos via Pure Protein/Nicole Winhoffer)