Andretti won a silver medal in the 4x400m relay at Beijing 2008 and is currently training to compete at Tokyo 2020.
The Airbnb Olympian Experience he offers is helping people stay active and make connections online.
With support from Airbnb and Athlete365, you too can become an Airbnb host and earn extra income like Andretti. You can sign up through Athlete365.
I had a light bulb moment while training indoors during the pandemic, when I realised that I could train others using the at-home workouts I was doing myself in preparation for Tokyo 2020. This led me to join the Airbnb Olympian Experiences programme, which fits perfectly around my skillset and interests, and allows me to inspire people to stay both physically and mentally healthy during and beyond this difficult period.
One of the lessons my dad taught me is that there are always blessings in the midst of a crisis. I didn’t know much about the Airbnb Olympian Experiences until my cousin told me that they were offering online experiences, and said that she could definitely see the added value of an experience with an Olympian. This set me thinking about what I could offer, especially as gyms and training facilities were closed. I decided to lead online workouts with a personal Olympian spin, giving an insight into what life is like as an elite athlete and the work that goes into reaching the Games. I am a motivational speaker and certified instructor, so hosting on Airbnb gives me an additional opportunity to practise new skills in parallel to building my sporting career.
People sign up not only to work out with us, as athletes, but also to hear our stories and the unique experiences we have. However, it’s equally important to let people know you care and want to hear from them, so I like to open my sessions by getting to know everyone, learning about who they are as individuals and how they are doing. Because of this personal connection, I now have repeat customers, with one even regularly waiting until 11 p.m. where he lives to take part in the experience.
Once everybody is comfortable, I tell my story, including what got me into track and field, and the Olympic Games, plus, of course, I show off my medal a little. Just before we start the workout session, I play clips of some events I’ve taken part in and the Beijing 2008 final to really get everyone fired up. Then we get to work.
I offer HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts, but with different levels of intensity so no one feels out of their depth. The atmosphere is always very fun, encouraging and motivating because everybody is getting a sweat on together! We always start with stretches and high knees before moving on to technical running adjustments. Once we are properly warmed up, we move onto strength training, including squats, lunges, push-ups, abdominals and core work – all exercises you can do right in your living room! – and we then finish off with some cardio.
From there, we go into my favourite part – the “lemonade moment”. We all grab some lemonade and lime juice and cool down together to put us in a really good place after our hard work. I take out my camera to my garden – the beach – to give everyone that relaxed Bahamas feeling, and we just chat for a while, enjoying each other’s company and the sound of the waves. It’s a really special moment and one that I’ll never grow tired of.
These personal touches are something the participants also really value. One reviewer said it was “great to hear the ups and downs from university athletics to the Olympics by an Olympian”, and another loved how the experience “teaches you tips on running and workouts but shares life lessons on mindset”.
How you can share your passion
One of the most important tips I could give anyone thinking of starting up their own experience is simply to be yourself. Once I signed up via Athlete365 and got in contact with Airbnb, I was given so much support throughout the entire process, and they really emphasised that the key idea was to just be yourself and to do something you are genuinely interested in. People need to feel you are being sincere.
Base your experience on something you are passionate about. Get creative, because not everybody wants to do a workout session. If you are really good at card tricks, there will be people interested in learning how to do card tricks.
Whether it’s now or in the future, being an Airbnb Experience host enables you to teach that one thing that you’re really passionate about to others. Your experience might just make them fall in love with it too.
Airbnb Olympian Experiences programme, which fits perfectly around my skillset and interests, and allows me to inspire people to stay both physically and mentally healthy during and beyond this difficult period.