Adam Peaty says he is "addicted to the pain" after his hard work paid off with a record-breaking World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju.
The 24-year-old enjoyed his most successful World Championships to date in South Korea this month as he won four medals – three of them gold.
Peaty helped Great Britain win the men's 4x100m medley relay and successfully defended his 50m and 100m breaststroke titles, breaking his own world record in the semi-finals of the latter event.
His time of 56.88sec, eclipsing his previous figure of 57.10 secs, saw him become the first man to swim under 57 seconds before anybody else had ever swam under 58 seconds.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday morning, Peaty said: "I enjoy working hard and I'm addicted to the pain.
"As soon as I finished in Rio, where I was 57 seconds and no one else even got close to 58, it was about how do you shift the margins further and I've worked really, really hard for the last three years for 0.2 seconds – which is insane. No normal person does that.
"Hard work is hard grained in me. I enjoy the pain. It sounds very strange but I love training and I wouldn't change it for the world. The more pain I can go through, the better I feel. It's about finding that edge on the next person and for me that's my peace in myself."
Peaty's "peace" comes from training and competing and he admits he struggles to fill that void when he is out of the pool.
He has referenced his fight against depression in the past and did so again in a tweet shortly after Great Britain's 4x100m medley relay success last week.
Asked about it on BBC Breakfast, he said: "When you go for Olympic gold or World Championship gold, it gets harder and harder to achieve those margins and harder and harder to find that high.
"When you come back from an Olympic Games they call it the Olympic blues. You've been with that team and that performance and everything around sport and then you come home and it's all gone. You have this massive void in your life where you consider what you're actually living for, in a sense.
"It sounds dangerous to be thinking like that but you need to get help. It's grey and dark and difficult to adjust and it's important to have friends and family to speak to.
"I had a mate who was there for me. I didn't want to go to a clinic, I just wanted to have a normal chat with someone who would tell me as it is. It got my head screwed back on and made me realise what was important in life.
"Yes, sport inspires people. But it's not everything. Most athletes feel that if you lose, you lose everything. But that's not the case as you still have a family that loves you or a dog that still licks your face and it's those little things that are important."