Nina Agdal’s Secret to Health and Wellness Starts With Forgiveness

by Elena Sheppard

Courtesy of The Surf Lodge

“I wanted to create The Agdal Method to start spreading the word that it’s not about how long you spend in the gym, going to a workout for 60 minutes and torturing yourself, or only drinking green juices and eating lettuce,” says supermodel Nina Agdal of her fitness and nutrition app, which launched in March 2020. The 29-year-old Danish model’s wellness philosophy, which centers around happiness, is a holistic approach, influenced by what Agdal learned at integrated nutrition school where she studied to become a certified health coach. “What’s going on in your personal life, and your relationships, your finances, has to do with what’s going on your plate and how much exercise you’re getting in on a weekly basis.”

While many most likely recognize Agdal as a face for Victoria’s Secret (or from the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 50th anniversary Swimsuit issue,) those on the East Coast this summer might regard Agdal as more of a wellness practitioner. This month, Agdal will be teaching The Agdal Method at The Surf Lodge in Montauk as a part of their wellness series with Lightbox Jewelry.

“I’m not here to tell you what to do,” Agdal says of the fitness classes and wellness advice that comprise The Agdal Method. “I’m here to help you find out what works for you.” In her Beauty Notes interview below, Agdal details some of her favorite workout and beauty routines—and while she might not be telling us what to do, her positivity (even over the phone) is so infectious we’re ready to take all of her suggestions.

Do your workout and wellness habits change in the summer, or are you consistent year-round?

I am all-year-round at this point, but I do want to say I’ve had very different relationships over time with fitness, wellness, and nutrition.

The whole thing of the “hot girl summer,” or “summer body,” or all of these terms, can be extremely triggering to a lot of us. They put pressure on us to get in shape for the season coming up, and that’s extremely hard on our mental health and our self-esteem. I really believe in finding something that can be a lifestyle and a healthy habit that makes you happy.

When I’m stressed out, I definitely treat my body worse than when I’m not. Are there any habits you catch yourself doing that are flags for you, indicating you need a reset?

I skip out on my skincare routine, I don’t do my makeup, I don’t make myself feel good, I don’t lotion my skin, I forget to brush my teeth. Little, simple things that, when I’m feeling good, I don’t even think twice about doing. But when I’m in a stressed-out place, or there’s something going on in my personal life, or I’m sad or anxious, those little things seem to be overwhelming tasks. When I start doing that, it’s a big sign for me to check in with myself and ask, “Okay, what’s going on? Where do we need to adjust? Let’s really figure out how we can get back to feeling good and feeling strong.”

Let’s talk about your skincare routine. Is it the same morning and night?

It really depends on what my skin is like—when I’m out in the Hamptons versus when I’m in the city, or if I’m traveling, it really depends on the conditions. I don’t have one product that’s my go-to, but obviously I have a few products that I absolutely love.

I recently partnered with Guerlain—I’ve always been a big fan of their products, and I particularly love their beauty Youth Watery Oil. It’s incredible. I’m one of those people who is not afraid of putting oils on my face, and this one really just hydrates your skin. Instantly, I can tell I’m glowing. I love to see effects right away when it comes to skin care, so that’s obviously a big, big plus.

I always have the Caudalie Beauty Elixir Spray, which is probably their most famous product. I think that one is incredible just throughout the day, in the morning, and at night. At night, I also love the Barbara Sturm Face Cream for my skin. It’s definitely on the pricier end; I’m from Denmark, and in Denmark, we’re not used to spending that much money on skin care. I told my friends, “I’m nervous because I’m afraid I’m going to really love it.” And after using it for a week or so, everybody was like, “What did you start doing different with your skin?” And I was like, “I have to admit, it’s Barbara Sturm’s Face Cream.”

Do you have any drugstore products that you love?

I use Burt’s Bees Body Lotion. That is my go-to for my arms and my legs—if I’m showing skin, that’s my favorite body lotion.

When you are traveling a lot, do you maintain your workout and beauty routines, or do they change?

I think we have to all give ourselves a little bit of grace when we’re traveling. It’s really hard keeping up with any sort of workout schedule when you’re thrown off your routine and not in your normal environment. When I’m traveling, if I just get that 15 or 20 minutes in, (on the mat or on a towel or going for a jog outside to see where I am) it’s always extremely helpful for me mentally. The most important thing I always tell people is to create great playlists that make you want to move. I always tell people, “Don’t bother bringing [equipment] with you. You can always use water bottles, you can use towels, you can go outside and use a chair.” But just make sure you have your playlist ready.

Are there any pieces of fitness or beauty or wellness advice that you would give to your younger self?

The first thing that comes to my mind is: don’t be so hard on yourself. I think especially with women, we’re just so tough on ourselves in terms of if we eat a piece of cake, then the next day, we have to torture ourselves in the gym, or if we go to the gym and don’t give it 150 percent then it’s not good enough. That mentality is what will almost make your body reject what you’re doing. It’s about letting go a little bit and trusting your own body. You have to start listening to what your body is needs. Like intuitive eating, I truly am a believer in that. I’m the same with movement: your body is going to tell you if it wants to go for a run, or if it needs to stretch, or if it needs nothing that day. But finding that inner voice is the biggest trick. It starts by letting go and not being so tough on ourselves.

Are there any beauty or wellness trends that you regret trying?

When I was really young, I fell into a trend of wanting to be super, super tan. I would rub olive oil on my skin and put lemon in my hair to get the highlights. I guarantee that’s all going to show up in a couple of years. In terms of wellness, I think diets are such a lie. I don’t believe in the word “diet,” or diets at all, for that matter.

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