Lochte is focusing his energy on winning DWTS after a robbery scandal in the wake of the Rio Olympics
The 32-year-old Olympic swimmer and his new Dancing with the Stars partner Cheryl Burke are sitting down with Ellen DeGeneres on Monday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show to address the international incident, the advice he received from teammate Michael Phelps and his future in the sport.
In the weeks after he lodged a false report of armed robbery, Lochte tells DeGeneres, “I reached the lowest point of my entire life that I never thought I would go to. I was in a really dark place, and I didn’t know if I should come out, just hide my entire life.
He says his friends and family reassured him during those trying times and he realized, “You can’t always hide the rest of your life just embrace this opportunity so that’s why I’m here.”
Lochte also told DeGeneres, 58, that he sought Phelps’ guidance “because I knew he hit a low point in his life and he bounced back from it, and I knew his answer was going to be really honest because of our relationship over the years.”
He continues, “And he said, ‘It’s not what you did it’s what you do now that will shape who you are.’ And I took that to heart, and you know that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to better myself, make sure I don’t make those mistakes and become a better person.
RELATED VIDEO: Ryan Lochte Tells PEOPLE How He Apologized to His Teammates ‘I’m Sorry I Got You into This Mess’
Lochte admits the 10-month suspension from the sport that was handed down on Thursday is “heartbreaking.”
“But,” he says, “there is so much more I want accomplish in the sport of swimming so I do know that I’m still going to be training, and when I do come back I’m going to definitely be a better swimmer and a better person.”
After turning in a lackluster performance in his sole individual event in Rio, Lochte says he’s happy to have the “mental break,” but he affirms that he is training with eyes on another medal in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“I still have goals that I want to accomplish so I will definitely be back and hopefully I’ll be ready to rock and roll,” he reveals.
Looking forward to Monday’s DWTS premiere, Lochte told PEOPLE earlier this week: “I’m excited for, not only myself, but everyone else to forget about what happened and to move forward. I think that’s what the biggest thing is – what we’re gonna do is just move forward and show off my dancing skills.”
Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs weekdays (check local listings).