Fall has arrived, and our attention has turned to warm layers and hearty soup recipes. But before we slide into full hibernation mode, let’s set our intention to keep active and fit this winter. It’s 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™ 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 “Addicted to Sweat” program for Madonna’s Hard Candy Fitness gyms, where Nicole was creative director. Today’s NW™ Method draws from all Nicole’s 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’s how Nicole stays motivated and keeps her workouts fresh.


1. Just dance. “Dance has always been my passion,” says Nicole. “It’s always been the athletic workout that allows me to express myself, release emotions and keep me fit.” And it’s 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. “You noticed that!” she laughs. “My 55-minute workout works every muscle in the body, each on the beat of a unique song. The playlist is different for every class.”


3. Turn out the lights. “When you work out in the dark, it’s a shock to the senses,” Nicole writes on her website. In the dark, you really feel your body and you lose that preoccupation with how others see you. “This shocks the body and opens the mind to connect with your personal physical power,” she adds. And that frees us from negative thoughts.

4. Set your intention. Setting a personal intention before you work out “introduces consciousness and presence into fitness, helping us find personal freedom and our voice,” she says. “My intention in creating the NW™ Method started because I want trainers around the world to have access to new ideas about fitness,” she writes on her website. Fitness is not just about the body. Nicole says, “Fitness is a feeling.”

5. Challenge yourself. “My training philosophy challenges the body, the muscles, the chakras, the skin, the breath, the mind and the spirit — it’s all connected,” says Nicole. “Accessing the meridians used in acupuncture, we focus on the arms, the waist and the hips and lower body, the seat of women’s sensuality and power.” We may call those problem areas, but Nicole points out the direct relationship to the chakras, which are channels for the body’s energy. “If the complaint is abdominal fat, that’s the third chakra — ego and self-esteem. If you’re storing fat there, you might be hiding and lacking self-esteem. That’s a big area of focus.” The NW™ Method works on the body, mind and spirit, and women see results.


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. “Maybe you started out not wanting to work out today,” she says. “Maybe you were afraid to try something new, in front of people you didn’t know. You feel different now, empowered. Give thanks that you didn’t let fear stop you. You moved ahead and broke through, and now you feel great.”

7. Keep saying “yes” to the universe. This is Nicole’s mantra. “Say ‘yes’ to new things,” she tells her class, “even when your mind is putting up barriers and trying to shut you down. When you feel yourself pulling back, that’s out of fear, and it comes from being too much in your head and overthinking things.” And the way to break through that is through movement. “Movement brings us out of our heads and into our bodies,” explains Nicole. “And that’s where we achieve our most balanced, beautiful and best self.”

If you’re 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 — 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’s your fave song to dance to? Tag us in your pic @BritandCo!

(Photos via Pure Protein/Nicole Winhoffer)