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Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself | [Rich Roll]

Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself

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.

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Publisher's Summary

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.”

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 Richard David Roll (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Su McConville 06-01-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Motivating story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Especially because my friends and I are about the same age as Mr. Roll.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author made it very easy to identify with him (despite the fact that his meteoric rise in his particular sport started on third base; not a criticism, just a truth).


    What does Rich Roll bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Rich Roll tells the story of his life, keeping it interesting throughout. I found myself identifying with him and cheering him on. I'd never been exposed to his story, so it's unfurling was a pleasure.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. It was tough to step away from it. That surprised me.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bookworm 05-12-14
    Bookworm 05-12-14
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    "OMG - My new hero"

    I absolutely LOVE Rich Roll and this book. I bought it on a recommendation from a triathlete coworker and I was so impressed, I bought the hardback. I can't say enough good things. This is about his transformation from an alcoholic, out of shape lawyer who ate trash to one of the fittest men in the world who cleaned up his mind and lifestyle. It's a perfect book to inspire you to become more. I can't even imagine doing the Epic 5 - 5 Ironman triathlons on 5 Hawaiian islands over 6 days. Insanity. He has a podcast and sells a few nutritional products on his Jai lifestyle website. This is a must read for every fitness advocate.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meg Ryan La Londe Montana 04-14-14
    Meg Ryan La Londe Montana 04-14-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Inspiring"
    Would you listen to Finding Ultra again? Why?

    Rich Roll is such an amazing and inspiring athlete and individual. Loved his story! Appreciate all the info he shares about his diet, etc in the appendix.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William 03-18-14
    William 03-18-14
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    "Life altering"
    Where does Finding Ultra rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    A great story. Uplifting and real. Inspiring for my own life, especially diet.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I slowly began eating more of his diet as I read and now I am vegan. The fat is leaving my body in sheets. I bought new jeans to replace my fat pants after a month and now they are falling off of me, too.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin AUSTIN, TX, United States 03-13-14
    Kevin AUSTIN, TX, United States 03-13-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Inspirational read from a humble guy"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A very honest account of someone who has hit the highs of physical fitness followed by significant lows, concluding with the climb back out to incredible levels of fitness and wellbeing.


    What other book might you compare Finding Ultra to and why?


    Dean Karnazes - Ultramarathon Man. Similar in the sense that it is not just a dry book on fitness, but is written against the backdrop of personal struggles and how fitness played a big part in the comeback.


    What does Rich Roll bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Rich reading it conveyed a real sense of sincerity and honesty.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?


    Road to Redemption


    Any additional comments?

    Great read, but the product placement references were a bit over the top at times (e.g. wearing my Oakley Jawbone XL etc...")

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Balwyn, Australia 03-12-14
    Sarah Balwyn, Australia 03-12-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Fantastic book for any keen runner!"
    What did you love best about Finding Ultra?

    I loved how inspirational it was and I learnt a lot about running and nutrition.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Rich Roll – was your favorite?

    Rich Roll.. main and pretty much only character.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No crying, but there were a few laughs here and there.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is part autobiography, but also a good introduction to plant based and nutrition diet introduction and manual.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Butler, Australia 02-07-14
    Michelle Butler, Australia 02-07-14 Member Since 2014

    Just love books.

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    "Excellent Biography"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean COLUMBIA, MD, United States 01-14-14
    Sean COLUMBIA, MD, United States 01-14-14
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    "Inspiring and full of useful information"
    What did you love best about Finding Ultra?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Finding Ultra to and why?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Rich Roll’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. I can't offer comparison here.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoAnn Boston, MA, United States 12-15-13
    JoAnn Boston, MA, United States 12-15-13
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    "Impressive man, impressive story!"

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    hilary San Francisco, USA 10-13-13
    hilary San Francisco, USA 10-13-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Self-Aware & Honest - perhaps some bad science"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 125 results PREVIOUS12313NEXT
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  • Lee
    Colchester, United Kingdom
    1/7/13
    Overall
    "Fantastic"

    I came to the book looking for a guide to get me off the couch and running.. I didn't get that at all, what i got was far more. If this guy can turn his life around then anyone can. It's about human spirit and the love and support of others. I lost 20lbs while running and listening to this book as i just didn't want to stop running as it meant my time with the book for the day would be over.



    Highly recommended.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • N. Hodgson
    Uk
    8/26/13
    Overall
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    "Wow... This is an incredible listen. I loved it!"
    Would you listen to Finding Ultra again? Why?

    I have recently listened to Rich Roll's book on Finding Ultra and it has been an inspiring and incredible journey for me to listen to the down's then up's of a man who conpletely reshaped his life. I am trying to emulate only 1% of what this book oozes and that should really improve my life. It is amazing. I have recommended it to so many people I know. Even my wife wanted to listen to it after a couple of days. A great read and even better to be narrated by the author himself. A great true story which will inspire the near 40 man to get off the idea that he is past his best. I hope to improve myself after this. Thanks Rich. Rock and Roll


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The college years are funny and I thought how much it affected his life. The transformation into an Ultra athlete has been inspiring.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Think your'e over the hill? Life's only just begun. Get on your bike...


    Any additional comments?

    Brilliant, loved it. A superb read. Rich made a brilliant contribution by reading the book himself. It made such a difference.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. G. Richardson
    UK
    6/12/13
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    "Great running partner...."

    found myself listening to a few extra minutes of Rich's inspirational story whenever i had a few minutes free. Great story, well read and a great accompaniment to morning runs.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • JAMES
    United Kingdom
    4/9/13
    Overall
    "Inspirational, even for non-runners"

    I'm not a keen runner, never have been and I might never be. Nor am I a vegan and probably never will be. Doesn't sound like much of an advert for a book about a vegan ultra runner, does it? But whilst Rich makes it clear how he's benefited from heading what can only be described as 'all the way' down both of those paths, he doesn't force either of them on the listener. He's very honest about the stark realities that led him to make those choices and he describes, with retrospective passion, how the changes he made to the way he fuelled and strengthened his middle-aged body have improved his overall health and well-being. Oh, and they have helped him to achieve feats of epic athletic prowess that only handfuls of people will ever come close to. So while neither long distance running (cycling or swimming) nor giving up steak are for me, listening to this book did help inspire me towards making some significant lifestyle changes. Putting my head back in charge of my diet - a key message I took from this book - helped me to lose 40% of my bodyweight and become a healthy weight for the first time in my adult life. And for that I'll be eternally grateful to Rich and his inspirational story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • heather
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    11/15/12
    Overall
    "great"

    A lovely book, i found at times it could be a little slow,however did enjoy the last parts immensly where Rich was undertaking the ultra triathlons. i would definitely recommend this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • MR
    london, United Kingdom
    7/12/12
    Overall
    "Inspirational"

    This is an incredible, inspirational book.

    The author is refreshingly honest and 'puts it all out there'. You feel involved and as though you are on the journey with him.

    A great read/ listen!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Helen
    Leicese, United Kingdom
    10/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tedious"
    Would you try another book written by Rich Roll or narrated by Rich Roll?

    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.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Relief


    What didn’t you like about Rich Roll’s performance?

    Narration


    Did Finding Ultra inspire you to do anything?

    Eat more healthily


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • CK
    Surrey, England
    6/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Addictive!"

    Rich Roll has an addictive personality ...... for swimming, then for alcohol, then for fast food and then, finally, for immense physical challenges and uber fitness... along with an almost religious-like conversion to a plant-based diet. However, all of it is credible seeing as he comes from the land where you can find extremes of anything. My daughter is a competitive swimmer doing hours of training each week, so I could really relate to the beginning of his story when he spent hours in the pool each week. I'm not quite a couch potato but I do have food issues and I found this story compelling listening. I listened to this book when I was out on a power walk, or on one of my early morning bike rides and it really inspired me. Rich has also made me want to take a step towards a meatless (or rather less meat) lifestyle and I do believe it is going to be one of those books that will change my life.

    The narration (by Rich himself) isn't the best, but it isn't irritating either.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • andrew
    Himeji, Japan
    8/23/12
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    Excellent book, I was initially put off by the remarks about product placement, but he just mentions his vitamix blender a few times and some other brands, but it`s more like if a friend casually mentioned them to you than selling them. Certainly inspirational and some excellent information about a subject I thought I knew a fair bit about, but he`s certainly done more research into the field than most people.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dogma
    Scotland
    5/29/12
    Overall
    "Enjoyable, Despite the Product Peddling"

    While I did enjoy this book it was nearly spoiled by some really clumsy hawking of products, both the authors own and some of his sponsor's. We get it, Vitamix blenders are amazing!

    Despite the product placements and a slightly jumpy narrative I do recommend this book to anyone looking for an inspiring story or a motivational kick to their own health and fitness.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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