Who would have thought that Ronald Dahl’s book Matilda about a telekinetic child would have a lingering effect on a woman’s life?
Here was popular fitness expert and Madonna’s personal trainer Nicole Winhoffer telling PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) how Dahl's book has inspired her, “I used to think I was Matilda when I was little.
"I used to imagine that I can move things like on the walls, in the room, like transform my body and I could visualize my muscles and my skin.
“I started dancing when I was seven and I visualized my body with music and it changed my entire life.
"So that feeling, that endorphin rush when you’re dancing was very addicting to me ‘coz that’s the only time in my life that I felt free.
“Because being raised by a Filipino mother and a German father there are a lot of rules, a lot of rules.”
In this interview with PEP last July 22 at the One Life Studio in Makati City, the Filipino-German personal trainer explained her addiction to sweat, “When I don’t work out I feel very sad so I have to do it every day.”
ENTER MADONNA. Nicole started as a professional dancer whose big break came in 2008 when Madonna picked her to train the backup dancers for the pop star's planned Sticky and Sweet concert tour.
She narrated, “I was a professional dancer and I booked my first Broadway show at 17.
"My mom allowed me to leave school early and I went to do three different shows and I left my last show because I got really bored.
“I wasn’t training anymore, I was doing the same show eight times a week.
“So I went to athlete school in two years, I bartended.
"I ate Subway sandwiches twice a day. I was broke, I had no money and it really changed my life.
“I used to think that I would know the outcome of every situation so I just stopped and started exploring.”
Then came her saviour, “At that time, I met Madonna and she asked me to come with her to train her dancers for the Sticky and Sweet tour in 2009 and it just changed my life.
“Then she asked me to train her full time and I said ‘Okay.’
“It’s been five years and that’s my story.”
When asked what led Madonna to choose her, her reply was as mystifying as the reason, “That’s something I haven’t asked because she would want me to know the answers myself.”
AMAZING ADVENTURE. What was it like working with the Queen of Pop?
“It was amazing!” Nicole bubbled.
She described Madonna as a very hardworking woman and the best teacher she ever had, “She is the hardest working woman besides my mother that I’ve ever met.
“She never missed a workout.
"My experience with her has allowed me to search deeper into a conventional solution to tone all types of body.
“She gave me the confidence to trust myself, and she really is fun.
"We had a lot of fun together and she’s the best teacher I’ve ever had.
“I think the best adventure I’ve had with her was my first date with her.
"I had no idea what I was doing.
"I was just a dancer and I was so nervous and scared to train an amazing woman who’s like a Greek statue.
“And her energy was so powerful and that was quite an adventure.
"Lots of tears, lots of crying but we travelled the world.
“My favorite place in the world is Rio de Janeiro [Brazil] so we did a tour there two years ago, Paris… just everywhere.
“I get to see the world and it was an amazing experience.”
BE FIT FOR LOVE. Nicole Winhoffer's current to-do is advocating a fitness workout called Be Fit for Love that empowers women.
It is a trademarked, inventive workout method joining the meridians of the body, muscles and the mind.
Nicole bantered, “I want women to feel empowered and sexy and, most importantly, to love themselves.
“Be Fit for Love came about because us women want to look good for our significant others when we make love.
"And we also want to love ourselves.
“I believe that love fixes all problems and when women feel good they do good.
“You know when you go to the spa or when you meet somebody or go out with your friends you just feel really good.
“So this work out is all about positivity, sensuality, new music, pumping up your butt and having fun and everyone’s gonna be sweating.”