Hawthorn legend, Josh Gibson, is no stranger to hard work. The former AFL star did it tough for several years in reserve grade before being drafted by North Melbourne because “no one else would”. After the kangaroos took a punt on him, he soon moved east of Melbourne, forging a long and successful career at the Hawks. But now that footy isn’t a 24/7 job for him anymore, he has other goals on his mind. We recently sat down with the newly appointed ambassador of the Bud Boat Fifa World Cup party to see how retirement was treating the All-Australian defender.
You retired from the AFL at the end of the 2017 season, how has life treated you since?
It’s been good. Obviously I spent a little time in the jungle eating some interesting things on ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here’. Made the move to Sydney – enjoying a little bit of a warmer winter than what I’ve been used to in Melbourne my whole life. Up here for work with my own company and doing a bit of commentary – so can’t complain.
Well speaking of I, I read that you lost something like 8kg, how did your body cope with being in the jungle?
Yeah, it’s tough. I went in there at 92kg and came out at 84. I wasn’t in bad shape when I went in there so obviously, you shed that last bit of fat and then you start losing muscle. It was definitely tough – I’m not even a big eater but felt super malnourished and super hungry in there. It’s not a healthy weight loss – it’s not how you want to be losing weight. It was very challenging and I definitely enjoyed eating when I got out.
You’ve been retired for a year now, how do you transition from training full-time with a professional football club to going on your own?
I’m really into my fitness and gyming – I guess a lot of guys who retire, they lose the structure and discipline, but I’ve tried to maintain that. This morning, I did a 6:00 F45 class, after that I managed to go for a one hour walk – i’m usually in the office by 10. In the afternoon, I’ve been smashing some sessions as well. So yeah, I love staying fit and healthy – for me, to stay proactive at work, I need to get my training in the morning which puts me in a really good head space. It’s enjoyable doing different forms of training – it’s great being able to train with friends and different trainers, experiencing new techniques and new exercises has been really exciting post-retirement.
Obviously, you’ve had to stay in shape for 20 years. Is it tempting to take a break and let yourself go a bit?
Look, even though I’m training, I still like to do everything in moderation. I still don’t mind a little Sunday funday, have some treats and enjoy myself. You do go through some phases – I know when I came out of the jungle, I lost a bit of motivation, I was a bit fatigued, I just took it back a bit. With my business partner going away to Europe and being stuck at work, I knew I needed to get back into heavy training. So yeah, you just go through difference phases – I think its important you have a balance – you can’t train like a maniac all the time but you can’t be relaxed all the time – balance is the key, and I think I’ve got that at the right level right now.
Are there any pathways to help retired players adapt to life after football?
Yeah, I was really lucky. At Hawthorn, they have a big emphasis on when guys are playing, they’re either studying or have business interests, especially young kids. They’re always pushing and promoting you to be doing things to prepare yourself for life after football. Also when you retire, the Player’s Association steps in and there are also a lot of new steps to support you and connections to tap in to depending on your interests. I’ve been lucky starting my own brands – I have this company called thankgoat which we’re just about to launch in Australia – something I’ve been working on for a couple years. I always knew I was going to transition into that – that’s why I moved down to Sydney. I was lucky I knew the direction in wanted to go in, but for some players who aren’t too sure, there are some fantastic avenues through the Player’s Association.
You’ve just come on board as an ambassador for the Bud Boat Fifia World Cup Party, how do you reckon the boys will go in the world cup?
Look, obviously they’ve got a really tough draw starting with France. It’s going to be exciting – we know Australians always step up for big games. Let’s hope that’s the case this year – they’ve been playing some good football recently, so hopefully they continue that and progress to the knockout stages.