You’ve most likely said it before. We’ve all told ourselves some version of ‘this is the summer I’m going to lose ten pounds’ or ‘I need to work on my summer body.’ It seems as soon as the sun sets on another winter, we begin to reinforce certain unrealistic—and often unhealthy—expectations on ourselves. When I sat down with Nina Agdal on the pristine green lawn of The Reform Club, I expected to leave saying something similar.
The founder of The Agdal Method—which will be hosting 30-minute workout sessions every weekend this summer at The Reform Club—was refreshingly nuanced in her approach to wellness. Where my natural first instincts lead me to ask how one gets a supermodel body, our conversation led to something far more valuable: the little things you can do to make yourself feel good. As travel seemingly becomes within reach again, Nina shares approachable tips for how to keep on track no matter where you are.
Natalie Stoclet: Before we get into travel tips, what inspired you to start The Agdal Method?
Nina Agdal: I grew up in a very active family, they encouraged me to try every sport. I played tennis, I danced competitively, I tried soccer. When I got into modeling I started traveling and couldn’t keep up with my sports teams or dance competitions, so I really had to figure out fitness. I started going to the gym but I didn’t enjoy it. It was only when I moved to New York that I really started getting into that world. The options are endless in New York. You can try a new class every day and still not be able to try them all. I eventually found my favorites and started working with private trainers. There was a time in the past four years that I went through a phase of being extreme with my workouts. Instead of it being something that I enjoyed, it turned into an unhealthy relationship. I took a break from fitness and had to figure out what I enjoyed about it in the first place. I needed to find the passion and happiness I had when I was a kid dancing. That’s how The Agdal Method came to life, I picked all of the things that made me feel good and put them into my own routine. It really all came from me just loving to be active. I want to make people feel good, whether that’s a workout or encouraging them to change their life in the smallest way they can.
NS: A tip for what to pack to keep on track when you travel?
NA: Honestly, headphones. For me, if you have good music you can workout anywhere. If I want to go for a run or walk or do a workout in my room I need to be in that zone. All of the equipment in the world does not do the same job as a good playlist.
NS: A tip for working out when on the road?
NA: When I first started traveling I didn’t have the best mindset about it. Working out was not something I added to my schedule to make me feel better, it was something that I did after a day to punish myself. I do think setting the time aside and scheduling it in your calendar helps. I’m all about planning and having lists of what I need to do.
NS: A tip for eating well when you’re not at home?
NA: I don’t like the term intermittent fasting. I think it can be very restricting but I do think there is something to be said about fasting in general. I think it’s a great way to reset your body and give your digestive system a break. For me personally, and I can only speak to how I’ve felt, I’ve had way more energy by fasting. When I’m traveling I love eating my way through towns and cities, but you can still fast a certain amount of time by prioritizing which meals you need. Even in doing that, you should be able to get out and try all the amazing meals that make traveling somewhere so special.
NS: A tip for keeping yourself accountable when you’re away?
NA: I think when you’re on the road you have to give yourself a bit of grace. When you’re traveling you’re going to be walking more and you’re going to be more active than when you’re at home. I would say just keep moving and know that you’re allowed to have a good time.
NS: A tip for getting started on individual wellness?
NA: It’s about the little things, making the tiniest promises to yourself that you can actually keep. Try drinking more water, limiting your screen time a tiny bit. You don’t want to set these big goals and not achieve them. It’s also important not to think about numbers, it’s not about how much weight you’re losing or what size your pants are. Numbers are so irrelevant for your happiness, I cannot express that enough. It’s finding out where you’re comfortable enough to change a little bit and start there. You’re your own worst critic, and you have to change the way you speak to yourself. You’re in a relationship in life with yourself, and you have to be good to yourself.
NS: A tip for those who don’t understand what wellness means:
NA: I think wellness means something different to everyone. To me, wellness is doing things for yourself that makes you feel good. For some people it’s grabbing a glass of wine and talking to a friend, for others it’s going for a run or cooking a good meal. I think the baseline of wellness is whether it makes you feel good or better. There’s different levels of happiness and we all go through different stages. The littlest things that get you to a better place and version of yourself is what I think wellness is about.
NS: A tip you would give to the future of the wellness industry?
NA: I think one great thing we’ve started to notice in wellness is a greater focus on mental health. As terrible and awful as the pandemic is and has been, it has brought a certain light to how important it is to pay attention to what is going on in your head. I feel like the pandemic has allowed for people to be honest. The wellness industry, because it obviously is an industry at the end of the day, has moved to a better place where it’s okay to not be okay. I hope that that keeps going, and I hope we can continue to further that with The Agdal Method.