When it comes to fitness, trainer Nicole Winhoffer says connecting with our bodies goes way beyond the physical workout.
Winhoffer, who founded the NW Method, promotes movement as a gateway to true self-expression and mindfulness—that's why she calls herself a "fitness artist" and why she's considered the "unicorn of the fitness world." Drawing on the meridian system used in acupuncture, Winhoffer focuses on what she calls the "three underused muscle [group]s in the body"—arms, waist, and glutes—to access the various acupuncture points and help remove stagnation of blood in the body and increase circulation. "I use physical movements that target these same meridians that clear up emotional blockages," she says.
And while Winhoffer's life covers movement nearly 24/7, the trainer spoke to mbg about finding value in slowing down and taking time to be present—a mind-body approach to living not too far from her movement philosophy. Her personal wellness practice spotlights self-care first and foremost. "Getting massages, taking walks, checking my phone less than an hour today. Spending time alone," she says. "I’m learning how to do nothing for the first time in years."
Recently, she’s found herself on-the-go more often and, thus, exercising less and gravitating toward a sense of stillness normally foreign to her nomadic lifestyle as celebrity trainer (she counts Madonna as a client). Thankfully, Winhoffer shared her supercharged recovery routine with us to help more people live balanced lives.
First and foremost, Winhoffer makes an effort to rest, which isn't as easy for her as it sounds. "Active rest involves lying on the floor and actively resting the body. It’s not about perfection; it’s about giving your body a break by relaxing and breathing."
She also thinks active stretching is super-underrated and can make a difference, whether you’re winding down from an intense workout or just taking breaks at the office. "We’re always in a state of contraction, and our muscles are always tight. Taking time to unwrap your muscles is vital."
Speaking of work, WInhoffer says people need to break up with the with idea of working 24/7. "I work with a lot of workaholics. Like in classes, people are still working while doing butt lifts. You’re not being present, which makes it hard to tap into yourself and, ultimately, your true desires and calling," she says.
Moral of the story? Recovery is more than just a pit stop for stretches and yoga, or an opportunity to mentally run through your to-do list—it can be a moment to take a break and a catalyst to help you put your best foot forward in the world, one breath and deep stretch at a time.