Nicole Winhoffer - Madonna's Trainer and Lead Tour Dancer

Q.Nicole, you are Madonna's secret no more! Can you share your dance-fitness journey with us?

I started dancing at 7 years old. I studied jazz, hip hop, freestyle, and contemporary dance as well as musical theater. At the age of 17, I booked my first job - Broadway's 1st National tour of 42nd Street! From there I went to Broadway in Bombay Dreams, and then to the biggest Broadway musical in the world--Wicked!

I decided to leave Wicked to broaden my mind-body connection. I studied acting and went to a conservatory for 2 years. I was broke. I catered. I bartended. I stopped dancing and began furiously working out in the gym creating my own workouts. It was here that I applied my existing knowledge of performance, dance technique, and acting exercises to create my own ways of working out.

In 2009, I was given the opportunity to assist on Madonna's Sticky and Sweet Tour. I immersed myself in anatomy, physiology, and the body and I am now Madonna's primary trainer. 

Q.Wow! You train and tour with Madonna. Is this a 24-hr gig? Seems like it would be non-stop.

We have been on the MDNA Tour since May 24, 2012 and we will finish Dec 22, 2012 in Coimbra. It’s a fulltime job. Being prepared is key to traveling and working out on the road. I make multiple plans for workouts dependent on the space allotted, the weather, and the show schedule. Everything about the show and being on tour is very physical.

Q.What do you love about working with Madonna?

She sets the bar and pushes everyone around her to be the best they can be. She works so hard. It challenges me to be better, to push myself, to come up with new and innovative ways to work out.

Q.I can only imagine! Madonna is no joke. And neither is your NEW DVD with her! Think you'll do more of them?

YES! The Addicted To Sweat DVD was my first project ever! I was given this beautiful gift, with only more to follow.

I have a notebook containing my findings, research, notes, ideas, drawings, sketches, photos, diagrams… I've filled up 18 Moleskin notebooks since I began my career 3 years ago. You can imagine what will come next!

Q.What is being on tour with Madonna like?

The traveling part is the best. It sparks a change in environment, habit, energy, and gives bursts of inspiration into my daily routine. Every place in the world drives to a different rhythm. It is inspiring.  

Q.And when you finish touring?

I return Dec 22nd from being on tour. I will probably be confused…thinking "wait.. I don't have to get on a plane? Im in one place for 5 days?" I'm going to miss it. Ahh! Im growing nostalgic already.

Q.So what’s the 1 thing you absolutely need to have a good workout?

Good music and Beats by Dre headphones. Music inspires, moves you, and pushes you. Without good music there is no reason to move.

Q.What kind of music gives YOU reason to move?

I love Juicy J, Usher, Aaliyah, Kanye West, Offer Nissim and, of course, Madonna. Each piece of music allows me to move in a completely different way. Music also allows the body to perform at a higher energy level, and as a result: work harder, burn more calories, and tone the entire body. 

Q.I love your fitness style. How would you define it?

Black. Sexy. Chic. Sharp. A Fashion show!

Q.What kinds of fitness fashion help you put together your look?

Stella McCartney for Adidas. She creates amazing lines and silhouettes for women in the workout room. I don't feel like I am wearing workout clothes in her sportswear. I always feel sexy and feminine while being tough in the gym. 

Jeremy Scott for Adidas and Adidas Originals always has a great diversity and urban feel to their apparel. I can easily mix and match and choose between a men's matching tracksuit, fun zip-ups, leggings, and their wide range of shoes. I am a huge fan of Jeremy because he knows how to keep things interesting and different. 

Spanx has the BEST tank tops that I ALWAYS wear to work out. They keep everything compressed which is excellent for muscles. Seriously, the best sports top to work out in. They also have the most amazing leggings that accentuate your curves and create a very long, sleek line.

I just discovered Lucas Hugh, a high end fitness label based in London. They are SICK.

Q.Are you strict with yourself when it comes to food?

Yes, I watch what I eat. I'm not born with this body. I had to work for it.

Q.Do you work out every day?

Everyday. I get bored easily so I am constantly changing and creating new programs every week that teach the body new habits, rhythms, and patterns. I am forever curious about the human mind and body. I can't help it.

Q.What's your favorite workout of the moment?

Something I call Medium Intensity Cinching. It uses fuel directly from fat stores in the body - so I'm burning fat.  I devise my own movements that tone the special parts of a female body. I do it for one-hour everyday: put on my playlist, stand in front of the mirror, drill my body, and focus my mind. I look forward to sharing it soon. I'm still perfecting it.  

Q.What’s your favorite pre-training snack for an energy boost? Post-training snack for muscle recovery?

Pre-workout: Think Thin bars and Loud Truck Energy Gummi Bears (contain guarana, B12 vitamins, and glucose). For post-workout, I love to have vanilla whey protein powder with Garden of Life Raw Powder mixed with water. 

Q.What are other trainers doing wrong that really gets to you?

They stand there and tell you what to do! It is crucial that I do the entire workout with my clients so that I know exactly what they are feeling. I, in turn, take on their energy and body movement patterns so I can anticipate and create a program that is tailored to their needs. If I'm not inspired or motivated, my clients won't be.

Q.You exude confidence, consistency and motivation. Are they innate or did you get them through fitness?

I realease SO much when I work out. I'm able to get rid of my negative thoughts and feelings of stagnation. When I finish my workout, my mind is clear of inhibition and I feel high, confident, and strong. The result is a new me - AFTER each session.

Fitness has also proven to me that anything is possible. I have set goals for myself that I never thought possible - and that I was able to achieve. Fitness pushes me to be the best I can be. 

Q.This is the longest Celebrity Sweat interview EVER! Sad to stop. Can you leave us with a new fit trend you're excited about?

I don't follow trends, I create them. There is nothing in the fitness world that makes me go WOW.  I want to be that WOW.



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