Saturday, 29 December 2012


Am I really ready to work out like Madonna? It’s been said the 53-year-old superstar is tacky, past it, a lip-synching fraud even... but she has never been in better shape. She has a fearsome physique and a bulging pair of 14.5in biceps – partly thanks to her personal trainer Nicole Winhoffer. So when gym bunny Nicole offered me a unique insight into Madonna’s world of fitness, I felt I ought to get the scoop.

And so it is I find myself dressed ludicrously in homage to the singer at the Danceworks studios near Marble Arch in London, about to undergo a “typical Madonna workout”.

“Madonna and I actually wear compression clothing to exercise in – it helps keep your body connected and warm, and helps you stay more in tune with your body. Just so long as you’re comfy.”

As Nicole, 27, who is based in the US but is currently on the road with Madonna on her MDNA world tour, spreads plain towels on the floor, I ask for the secret behind her client’s whippet-like frame. The answer? Vitamin B12 and guarana-injected gummi bears. Truly. “Madonna really likes them,” explains Nicole. “They’re all natural, infused with vitamin B12, which is essential for women, and guarana for a boost. “She’ll have a couple if she’s feeling a little low on energy.” Sadly, vitamin B12 and guarana-injected gummi bears are not available where I get my pick ’n’ mix, so I ask for other tips. “Dedication and discipline,” she adds. “Food-wise, in nearly four years I have never seen Madonna eat an unhealthy snack. "She eats food for fuel. She is an athlete with a very demanding show. "Everything she puts into her body has a nutritional value and it’s for energy.”
Nicole none-too-subtly glances repeatedly at the towels and I realise I cannot delay the hard work any longer.

Reluctantly, I move to the centre of the floor while Nicole walks over to the sound system and starts pressing buttons. “I’m in charge of the playlists,” she explains. “Madonna loves all kinds of music – electro, hip-hop, techno – and sometimes she works out to her own stuff.”
By the end of our workout, I am sweating like a boar. “You did great!” she lies. “What we just did was choreographed. I consider that dancing... you just danced and you didn’t even know it!”

New Yorker Nicole is a former dancer who has appeared in Broadway shows such as Wicked and 42nd Street. She started working with Madonna on her 2008 world tour. Her workouts are based on “stretch endurance, speed, agility, physiology, dance and kinetics”. So how does Madonna get those famous biceps? By working out, twice a day, six days a week. “But we don’t do push-ups and she doesn’t do running,” Nicole says. “Because I’m an artist I work hard to make sure each workout is fresh and creative. “I’m focused on taking care of Mad­onna’s body because it’s such a hectic schedule. “Her whole body is strong, with no weak spots... I keep trying to find one!”

Nicole tells me Madonna intends to retain her phenomenal physique long into her 60s and 70s. “The aim is to maintain,” she adds.

Incredibly, Nicole reveals, Madonna has body fat of just 6%, compared to the female average of 27%. To re-iterate, Madonna is 53. “Madonna knows exactly what she wants, which makes my job easy. "She never misses a workout, never makes an excuse and always works hard.”

Madonna's statsAGE: 53WEIGHT: 8st 2lbHEIGHT: 5ft 5inBMI: 6BICEP: 14.5inEXERCISE: daily dance and yogaDIET: chicken & veg, kabbalah water.

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