An incredible but true account of achieving one of the most awe-inspiring midlife physical transformations ever
In October 2006, the night before he was to turn forty, Rich experienced a chilling glimpse of his future. Nearly fifty pounds overweight and unable to climb the stairs without stopping, he saw where his sedentary lifestyle was taking him. Most of us look the other way when granted such a moment of clarity, but not Rich. Plunging into a new way of eating that made processed foods off limits and prioritized plant nutrition and daily training, Rich morphed—in mere months—from out-of-shape midlifer to endurance machine. Ninety days into his physical overhaul, Rich left the house for a light jog and found himself running a near marathon. It was time to scale up his goals.
How many of us take up a sport at age forty and compete for the title of the world’s best within two years? Finding Ultra recounts Rich’s remarkable journey to the starting line of the elite Ultraman World Championship competition, which pits the world’s fittest humans against each other in a 320-mile ordeal of swimming, biking, and running. Following that test, Rich conquered an even greater one: the Epic5 Challenge—five Ironman-distance triathlons, each on a different Hawaiian island, all completed in less than a week.
This is more than an inside look at a series of jaw-dropping athletic feats or a practical training manual for those who would attempt a similar transformation. Yes, Rich’s account rivets and instructs, providing information that will be invaluable to anyone who wants to change their physique; but this book is most notable as a powerful testament to human resiliency, for as we learn early on, Rich’s life has posed numerous physical and social challenges, including a fierce battle with alcoholism.
Ultimately Finding Ultra is a beautifully written portrait of what willpower can accomplish. It challenges us to rethink what we’re capable of and urges us, implicitly and explicitly, to “go for it.”
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2012 Richard David Roll (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“You walk away from reading this book knowing you have the total power to transform your life on every level…Roll is immensely likeable, a most compelling storyteller, and a true shaman of health and fitness!” (Kathy Freston, New York Times best-selling author)
“Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra is a testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle, break down walls, and redefine what's possible.” (John Brenkus, creator and host of ESPN’s Sport Science and New York Times best-selling author)
“I loved this. A rare book, unusual for its honesty and willingness to bare all, that really does deserve such superlatives as ‘riveting’ and ‘compelling.’ I was moved by watching Roll conquer his demons and felt privileged to share in his eventual enlightenment. By laying it on the line, Roll absolutely wins us over.” (Rip Esselstyn, New York Times best-selling author)
I loved how inspirational it was and I learnt a lot about running and nutrition.
It was easy to relate to, even if you're not an ultra or even marathon runner. I liked getting running and training tips from the book. I like how he describes how he thinks about running at the beginning and then how that changes compared to (now) when he knows a lot more.
Rich Roll.. main and pretty much only character.
No crying, but there were a few laughs here and there.
This book is part autobiography, but also a good introduction to plant based and nutrition diet introduction and manual.
Just love books.
This is a great listen. Rich Roll's journey from alcoholism to endurance athlete at the age of 42. He accounts some great stories and offers listeners a glimpse into his ultra healthy lifestyle, determined discipline and the rewards that has brought him. Worth the listen for sure.
The details of his diet. He summarized well including scientific reasoning for what he eats and why. I took long notes about his food and drink choices and did further research about it on my own. While the story was inspiring and fun to hear, it's the diet information that I've continued to put to work each week.
I'd slightly compare this to Scott Jurek's book Eat & Run. Mainly because of the blend between his personal life and his eating life. Both overcame some heavy life stuff to become awesome athletes and both espouse similar healthy eating plans.
No. I can't offer comparison here.
No. It's plenty long enough to listen to over days. Plus I waned to think about what he did before continuing so I could wrap my mind around his accomplishments. In addition, taking notes and doing follow on research about his diet assertions was helpful to me getting the most from this audiobook. This required time and I would have missed much by cranking through it in one sitting.
Humble and filled with details. This was well worth the money and time. In fact, I bought a Vitamix blender after hearing what Rich could do with one. Next to entering an Ultra-man race I'd say this book was very impactful on me and could be for others.
This was a very nice autobiography/memior, made more special because it was narrated by the author. Did I leave it thinking "well if he can do it, I can too?" No. But am I impressed with him? Yup!
I enjoyed Finding Ultra. Unlike many of the other reviews, I did not find it self serving and egotistical. Rather quite self aware, open and honest. The description of the ultimate challenge (5 iron men in 5 days) was particularly self-aware and quite inspiring. Rich had no problem delving into his failings in some detail, concentrating however, on how he had found ways to struggle past them.
Rich Roll talks about finding his way out of alcoholism with some "belief" and this, along with some (though not all) of the "science" behind his diet choices is a bit jarring for me. As a dedicated rationalist, I find these things do not mesh with my world view, however, it is clear that they have worked for Rich and helped him fight and vanquish his demons. So they add value to the book - despite my discomfort :)
A life-long vegetarian/almost vegan, Finding Ultra and Eat and Run have helped me get back into long distance running and concentrate more closely on my fuel. Including learning to eat real food during a run.
All and all a good listen, inspirational and Rich's performance reading is very well done.
Motivational Fitness Journey
The author gives a first hand account of how he transformed his life from an overweight middle-aged ex alcoholic, to one of the fittest men in the world.
Yes, it definitely hits you when you realize the personal sacrifices made in not only transforming oneself to over come alcoholism, but also the training and discipline needed to be a world-class athlete.
I almost didn't get this because of mixed reviews but I am glad I did. I would consider this a must-read for an endurance athlete but it's also very motivating to most people, I would think. Rich takes us through his personal journey from being an alcoholic slacker in college and how that nearly ruined his life, to a world-class athlete.
Reader / writer. @timosolo
I've listened to most of Rich Roll's podcasts, so it was great to hear his familiar voice reading his own book. I really appreciate writers who have the guts to read their own book, and in this case it makes the story much more personal and involving.
Well worth the listen!
I was a plant based believer and a iron woman want-to-be by the end of the preface!
as an athlete who has not always been an athlete - and who has overcome the marathon of life prior to falling in love with running/outdoor adventure sports - I felt like this was my story filled with hope and excitement!!
best quote: "my body was humming with excitement and possibility"
and that's how I felt every chapter...
he is genuine and practical.
I really found this book most enjoyable and inspiring. Being read by the author (who does an excellent job of it) also given credibility. It would be great, however, if the appendices with Rich's recipes etc could be made available as a pdf for download because those elements of the book don't lend themselves to audio.
So inspiring it makes you want to pull off the road while listening, strap on some running shoes and take the highway on two legs! Rich Roll honestly narrates his own book and has amazing depth and emotion throughout. We experience his awesome highs and his tragic lows. We cheer him on as he completes the Epic 5, and feel his wife's support and his resolution to stay sober. What an amazing book! I'll listen to it again if I start to lack gym motivation and I'll always here his voice in my head when I want to quit. "When you think you're done, your body is only at 40%, it's your mind that's holding you back." (or something to that effect). Absolutely incredible!
No. I had been wanting to read this book for a long time as my husband has been wanting to get fit and I thought it sounded inspiring. However I felt the narration was monotonous and boring. I stuck it out until the end but it was a hard slog a bit like Rich Rolls ultra man challenges. There seemed to be a lot of unnecessary detail about his school days which seemed to go on and on until I got to the information I wanted to find out - how he got fit, what he ate etc. But it was all read with such a dull voice, even when he had achieved his goals there seemed to no excitement in his voice. I do admire his achievements though they were very impressive. I would have liked to know how his wife felt being stuck at home with the kids on a budget while Rich Roll continued to seek the next challenge, never seeming to be satisfied.
Eat more healthily
Brilliant book. Inspiring for any middle age person looking for a change in lifestyle and habits.
It's a true zero to hero story. Inspiring story from all angles of a guy who brought himself back from nothing.
Recount of the Big 5 was a highlight
Found it to be a very good book, provides insight to the mental struggle with life and training, and sound nutrition advise.
Organic inspiring real
His life in early years with alcohol was very similar to mine and I hope to try and emulate on how he turned it around.
"A great story and an inspiring read"
I have listened to Rich Roll's podcast for quite a few years, but to hear his own story in full has been both enjoyable and inspiring. The lifestyle tips in this book are also very good and he supports a great cause (veganism) through his athletic achievements. His story is rich (ahem) and engaging, taking various twists and turns but arriving at a satisfying conclusion that makes you want to put your trainers on and get outside, get it done, and keep improving every day.
I'm a big fan of Rich Roll podcast and I knew most part of the story before listening the audio book. However, it is a very well told story and it hasn't deceived me. It also gives very helpful tips for sport endurance performance whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or meat eater. Finally, the fact that Rich himself reads it adds an extra bit.
"Great book !!"
Really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend and also Rich Roll's Podcasts and website.
"Interesting but flawed"
It grew on me this book. It's an interesting tale, and I found some bits genuinely riveting.
I've also got no problems with veganism, but I hadn't been ready for the extent it was going to try to convert me. Especially given the strange mix of good science and downright laughable science - all jumbled together to leave it unclear what's true.
Still fair play to him for turning his life around and it is an inspiring story.
An inspirational account of Rich's mid life enlightenment and mind-altering series of incredible achievements. I have recently become very interested in health and vitality, barefoot running and a bunch of other alternative health pursuits in my late 30s and have begun wandering what is possible at my age. Rich has confirmed that it is possible not only to excel, but to truly become a world class athlete. Learning of his dedication, progress and challenges has been very encouraging. I even ran my fastest 5k while during the period I was reading the book. Coincidence? :)
I have given the book 4 stars. It would have been 5 but for the following reasons:
- The author mentioned his own product, and the vitamix blender quite often.
- Although Rich makes it clear he is not a militant vegan there are a couple of instances where he seems a little condescending toward meat eaters.
- There are many studies that point toward saturated fats from healthy animals actually being very good for you, and the studies linking SF to clogged arteries, high cholesterol and heart disease are outdated and poorly undertaken. The studies mentioned in the book appear to have been cherry picked to suit the vegan agenda while conflicting studies exist. While I don't doubt that the vegan diet and lifestyle is incredibly healthy (I'm certainly not averse to trying it), many other studies claim that a diet that includes meat can also be very good for you. The level of certainty presented here was a little jarring.
"The most inspirational of all our lives"
I enjoyed the humble honesty and reality of Rich's story. Especially his effort in putting it down in a way that allows me to understand the importance of life itself.
Rich wrote this book in a clear, down-to-earth and engaging way which I could identify with.
I cried at the point which Rich spoke about his realisation of what changes he was prepared to make to give his kids a great life.
I recommend this book to anyone, even people who aren't interested in the kind of sports Rich has chosen, it doesn't matter. This story will grab your heart and your brain and shake them both up for a realization towards a way to be a better person. That's what he has done for me, give it a chance. I normally would steer clear of the kind of mindset towards health he has shared. Now after reading this book, I'm training to achieve a lot more, and dedicated to improve. Thanks very much Rich.
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