Madonna's personal trainer shares the star's secrets to staying fit

Madonna's personal trainer, Nicole Winhoffer, shares how the 55-year-old keeps her body spotlight-ready — and gives us a Madonna-approved ab crunching move.

Nicole Winhoffer dances with Madonna at a Hard Candy Fitness opening (photo courtesy Hard Candy Fitness)

Nicole Winhoffer dances with Madonna at a Hard Candy Fitness opening (Photo: Hard Candy Fitness)

As Madonna’s personal trainer, Nicole Winhoffer keeps the 55-year-old in spotlight-ready shape. Nicole, who is also a professional dancer, develops a new workout every week for the Material Girl, and completes the two-hour exercise routines alongside her two hours per day, five or six times per week. She’s brought her moves to the masses through Madonna’s expanding fitness empire, including an at-home DVD, Addicted to Sweat (for which she’s creative director), and a new gym line, Hard Candy Fitness, that includes a Toronto location. We caught up with her to ask about Madonna’s fitness routine:

Q: You started working with Madonna in 2009. How did you first cross paths? 
A: I was training her dancers on the Sticky & Sweet tour, and after the tour she asked me to train her full time. I’ve developed my own technique for training.

Q: What’s it like to train Madonna? 
A: Every day is different. It’s always a challenge for me, because I have to keep her focused and inspired, though Madonna is very committed to her workouts. It has made me find new ways to use a trampoline, hang from the ceiling, use a rope. Madonna is challenging but I’m grateful for the challenge, because she makes me better. But every day before I go to work, I get nervous.

Q: How is she tough on you? 
A: She asks what muscle is this move for, how is this different from last week, what new things can we do. I always know it’s a good workout when I’ve anticipated and answered all her questions.

Q: What moves do you do with her? 
A: The move we always do is to hit the butt from different angles. Because we’re both dancers, we have extreme ranges of motion, and I’m also able to do compound exercises, to increase the difficulty of the standard movements. We love to hang from bars and do lower ab lifts, lots of jumping rope.

Q: You do the moves alongside her?
A: I do everything with her. It’s important because I need to feel what she’s feeling. If she’s moving her right arm, I need to know what movements fire up what muscles in her body, if I’m pushing her enough or pushing her too little. It’s a gauge.

Q: What’s it like trying to train on the road? 
A: I learned I have to be strong and take care of myself: getting massages, reading a book, laying down and doing nothing is very important to me. That may seem very elementary for a lot of women, but I didn’t know how to do that. To sit down and do nothing is still very much a challenge for me. I actually fell in love while we were on tour, and through that, I learned that if you love yourself, you can actually help others more, that when I rested, when I slept, my work was better, my creativity was better.

Q: You’re creative director of Addicted to Sweat for Hard Candy Fitness. What’s the idea behind that program?
A: Madonna and I created the programming – the cardio and dance toning. They’re based on the workouts I do with Madonna. I change Madonna’s program every week, so I went through all of my notes and asked her which routines she liked for the gym. So far we have cardio-dance classes and dance-toning classes, all based on the workouts I’ve done with her.

Q: What about nutrition? How do you stay fuelled up? 
A: I always feel better when I’m eating soups, vegetables, fresh fish and sushi. I always have a protein bar with me, and in the mornings I have gluten-free granola with almond milk. And coffee. I love my coffee.

Want to try it yourself? Click here to watch one of Madonna’s moves:

For more celebrity fitness trainer tips, click here

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