For Brooks Laich, 2020 is all about growth. The professional ice hockey player is setting major personal goals for the next year, and he revealed how his wife, Julianne Hough, has been supporting him in his journey.

“I want to take my Crossfit L1 to actually become certified as a trainer, that’s one of my goals,” Brooks, 36, told In Touch and other reporters at the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Presented by Capital One. “I really want to learn about intimacy and sexuality in my life. I’ve studied hockey, I’ve studied nutrition, physical fitness. I’ve studied high performance mindset, I’ve never studied intimacy and sexuality. That’s an area of my life I want to grow in.”

The “How Men Think” cohost went on to explain more about the work he’s done so far. “Just, trying to peel back layers. Just trying to figure out what kind of soul was I born as,” he said. “Was I born as a soldieristic, like military-type competitor athlete, hardened shell, unemotional, or was I born as a loving human being with a big heart that wanted to lead with love in his life.”

The athlete also said part of this journey is to help him figure out who he is in life. “Here’s the thing, I’ve been one thing my whole life and I felt that way and people have looked at me that way and now it’s an opportunity for me to say, okay, maybe that’s not all that I am. Am I these other things? Let me see the world outside of a hockey rink,” Brooks continued. “Let me see what other things I gravitate towards, a nontraditional athletic type thing and the arts. Yeah, honestly discovering who I am. It’s okay to be one thing. I am those things as an athlete. I’ll always be those, I’ll always bring those with me but what other parts of me do I want to uncover and discover?”

Brooks also confirmed his wife, 31, inspired him to want to explore these new areas in his life and he has her full support.

“I’ve always wanted to grow. This podcast has been an amazing platform for me to do that,” Brooks explained about what made him decide to begin this new journey. “And to uncover and to delayer some of that stuff and these guys have challenged me as a man, as a person, our discussions have opened up my heart. My wife has been very supportive of this transition phase in my life as well. Just always on a personal journey.”

Brooks was, in fact, wearing his wedding ring at the event despite reports about issues in his marriage to the Dancing With the Stars alum. Sources previously revealed to Life & Style that the couple was going through a rough season in their relationship because “want different things in life.”

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We gone – it’s adventure time! Any guesses where to, and with who? Hint* – passports were needed, and we’ve travelled with them before….

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“They’ve had so many ups and downs, but they also have very different ways of dealing with them,” the insider added, and explained one of the couple’s issues is a lack of communication. “Julianne is an open book. Brooks was OK with that in the beginning, but it’s gotten to be too much.”

But now, it seems like Brooks is willing to do the work in order to grow and hopefully, those positive changes will help him and Julianne get through this rough patch in their marriage.

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