Life After Swimming with Chris Walker-Hebborn
When the Waters Subsided
Although swimming has taught me an abundance of life lessons, it has also taken its toll. The amount of effort, work and time we dedicate to this sport is phenomenal, especially when your event is 52 seconds long. Having been a part of this sport for 10 years it was extremely hard to find my purpose once I stepped away.
It’s a hard feeling to try and put into words - on one hand I was extremely excited to start the next chapter of my life and see what the world had to offer besides swimming. On the other hand, I was super nervous because I had absolutely no idea what chapter two consisted of. I went from having my entire day, week, month and year are all planned out in fine detail, to not being entirely sure why you are even getting out of bed in the morning.
Back to the Beginning
Transitioning from sport has been one of the hardest things I have ever dealt with. I have seen other athletes go through it, however I never really understood what lay ahead of me. I don’t think it matters how much you prepare for the inevitable fact that your sporting career will come to an end, but at least have an idea of the direction you would like to head afterwards.
Once I left sport, I panicked and jumped into the first thing that would take me, it just so happened that IT sales was the first to pop up. It seemed to fit my unique selling points as an athlete, dedicated, driven and ultimately competitive. Although I thought this could be my next chapter, I spent the next two months hating my life and dreading the start of every workday. I remember talking to my best friend and asking for his advice, he said to me that this was “working life” and it would take some time to get used to it. I refused to believe that this is what my life would consist of, so I quit my job and went skiing for a week.
When I came back, I became self employed as a Personal Trainer and started to build my own brand “WH Elite-Training.” It was tough to begin with and a lot to learn but I now have a full working week, which was designed around the hours I wanted to work! I make sure I have the time to do the things that I consider important to my lifestyle. I also spend some time with Swim England being an Athlete mentor because I feel athletes need more support around transition as it still lacks relevance.
I love being a trainer in the fitness industry however I don’t see myself doing this forever. I would eventually like to open my own gym, I’m just not sure where yet! I would also like to go into Executive Coaching, so once I find the right E-course to study and make sure I can fit it in around my current work timetable I will crack on with this.
I put a social media post up the other day and it read, “it’s been an absolutely hectic month, as a former athlete it has been one hell of an adjustment, but I am now doing something I am so passionate about with such an amazing group of people. I’ve still got a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I am finally heading in the right direction”. Key phrase being, I am finally heading in the right direction!
To see what Chris does next keep up to date on Instagram & Twitter @WalkerHebborn @proswimwear