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)
There's a reason that professionals are paid good money to narrate audiobooks. It's very hard to do well, and most authors who have no training or experience in voice work don't do a very good job of it. Rich Roll puts a great deal of sincerity into his reading of his own book, but he lacks fundamental skills so the listening experience is decidedly uneven. Thus my 3-star performance rating.
On the other hand, for the most part I very much enjoyed the story that Rich Roll told about his own life. I've had my own lifelong struggles with a brain wired for addictive behavior, and though I've been clean and sober for decades, the brain wiring is still there and the work never ends. I got a lot out of listening to Roll tell of his own experiences with alcohol and his journey toward sobriety and recovery, and how becoming (once again) physically active was a powerful force in steering his life onto a healthy and fulfilling track and keeping it there.
Roll's actual ultra experiences made up only perhaps a quarter of the book (not counting the appendices), but it's a rewarding subset and worth waiting for. As this is more the story of his life and how he became the ultra athlete that he is today than it is a strictly ultra-centric book, I had no problem with that and do not see this as a flaw. And when he brings you along on an ultra experience, it's absolutely riveting.
I will mention that while I was intrigued by Roll's choice to eat an entirely plant-based diet -- vegan, though he prefers not to use that term -- the chapter about this got long and started to feel like a slog, and also more preachy than I liked. But it wasn't enough to make me skip to the end of the chapter, so in the end it was forgivable. I also did a fair bit of eye-rolling as his frequent product name-dropping stacked up -- not just brand names but model names, over and over -- a pattern that got very old by the end. Still, this is a nit-pick.
In all, a good book and an adequate listen. I got a lot out of it and am happy to recommend it, with only the minor reservations noted here.
I had assumed that this book was about some regular Joe who had an epiphany and changed his life. I was surprised to learn that the guy had been a top ranked athlete before his becoming a couch potato. With that fact aside, it was a very interesting journey that he had and one has to respect someone who can do endurance sports.
Great book about the struggles of middle age and very similar to Dean Karnak esquiche book Ultra Marathon.
It was a good story, but once was enough.
i couldn't wait for the story to end so i didn't have to hear him anymore.
he was overly dramatic and despondent. It was clear that the mood was lighthearted and he ruined it. he also ended sentences at the wrong times.
Absolutely. A story of triumph, every high school kid in America should listen to or read this book.
The whole thing, I enjoyed it from start to finish.
My 78 year old father recommended Rich's podcast. I very much enjoyed what I listened to so when I found this book on audible I figured I'd give it a shot. After reading one particular bad review I almost decided not to download it. So glad I took a chance, my favorite book on audible.
The bulk of this book was captivating. The author's transformation from addiction to recovery and beyond was truly inspirational. But I found the narrative about his endurance races that followed to be self gratifying and tiresome. And the nutrition section that then followed that was interesting at times, and laborious and preachy at others. However, the big win for me was that the author read his own book and gave a consistent and passionate performance. So all in all, the positives far outweighed the negatives and I enjoyed this book very much.
great story, intresting character and motivational. I read this and 3 years on i have lost 50lbs and went from barely being able to walk up a flight of stairs to running ultimate marothons! thank you Rich Roll!
This book catapulted my love for plant based nutrition into another stratosphere. The author is engaging and his story is captivating. I would definitely give it a read if you are looking for inspiration in any area of life!
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