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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.”

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.

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

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1159 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ryan United States 01-12-14
    Ryan United States 01-12-14 Member Since 2012

    Life is a journey, enjoy it......because one day it will all end.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Made me want to slit my wrists"
    What was most disappointing about Rich Roll’s story?

    The way the book was written. So you were picked on in school. Instead of taking something from it and looking back on where it got you, it was written in a victim mentality. In this book the guy got accepted to Havard, Standford, Yale, and Brown on a swimming scholarship!!!!!! That is no small feat. The way the book was written there was zero excitement for even that. It was as if it was the worst thing on the world.


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

    No.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment. This could be a good story if it is re-written, not from a poor-me mentality.


    Any additional comments?

    Suck it up, you do extreme endurance events. We all get picked on in school, its part of growning up and learning how to overcome trials in life.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Warriner 09-25-13 Member Since 2006
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    "I've been recommending this book to everyone!"

    Since I finished this book last week, I've been recommending it to my friends who are endurance athletes as well as to people who complain about their diets. My friends who are endurance athletes may not care for Rich's stories of his struggles with addiction but I was fascinated. Roll was a Stanford swimmer then a champion drunk then a cheeseburger addict and then an Ultraman only because the Ironman races have a one year waiting list. An amazing story. He details his plant based diet (vegan w/out the politics, I guess) and I was interested in this too, though I could see how someone interested in the book for the addiction stories could get bored through these descriptions. I liked all of it. I liked his narration. It is his story and he is pretty straightforward. He comes off as a jerk in some parts, even after his transformation from alcoholic to athlete, but I get the feeling he's pretty self aware. His honesty beats excuses any day. I've also listened to Chris Macca's "I'm Here to Win" and while both are good, I'd rather spend time with Roll than Macca. Roll has a podcast that I'll be looking up. His story does not cease to amaze.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mario 07-31-13
    Mario 07-31-13

    Personality: Intellectually Driven

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    "Great in story telling, no so great to emulate!"

    As I was aware by the title this is a entertaining story and for sure an example of the human spirit. It will not be so great for people looking to emulate the authors process as perhaps you will need to become an alcoholic before living out the drink for 10 years (yeah not a great idea!). As for the reference to the foods and drinks used, I found that the best is to buy the hard copy (which I haven't done) but took it out of the shelve and look decent enough and worth buying (if you are not poor as me).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James SARASOTA, FL, United States 07-01-13
    James SARASOTA, FL, United States 07-01-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Ultra sleep inducing"
    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Rich Roll?

    Any professional actor. He had no emotion, no inflection, nochange in timbre , nothing to pull the listener in.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought this book would be about how to achieve Ultra---in fitness and in life. Instead, it was a long, drawn out monologue of how great the author was, and how he was able to show up those who didn't believe in him in the past. A good book to listen to if you need to take a nap.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacy Fort Collins, CO, United States 06-20-13
    Stacy Fort Collins, CO, United States 06-20-13
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    "Inspiring!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved how Rich turned his life around from drinking and then from poor diet near his 40's and then went on to become an ultraman on a plant based diet. His determination and perseverance was truly inspiring! Listening to this has truly continued to motivate me to want to achieve my greatness in life and my fitness goals. Thank you!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    River Holmes-miller Fort Collins, CO 03-30-13
    River Holmes-miller Fort Collins, CO 03-30-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Couldn't Finish"
    What would have made Finding Ultra better?

    A credible story would have made this book better. A highly skilled athlete, the author's continued surprise at his own success strained credibility. And did so over and over.


    What could Rich Roll have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    This book would have been more enjoyable had the author not pretended to be an everyman, average Joe, but owned up to his athletic prowess.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Rich Roll’s performances?

    No


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Finding Ultra?

    Each and every time when -- "Wow, really?" the author happened to win a major athletic competition. I just didn't buy his schtick.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phong Sydney, Australia 03-28-13
    Phong Sydney, Australia 03-28-13 Member Since 2001

    I am an entrepreneur in the finance industry and a prolific reader, being a serious listener since 2001

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    "Hands Down, My favorite Audio book !"
    Where does Finding Ultra rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I have listened to this book, time and time again. It entertains me,It motivates me and it teaches me. Rich captivates the audience by portraying his life, in its highest and darkest moments. What did it for me was his honesty in sharing his information and insights from his unique perspective. Don't hesitate for a second, in buying this book. It has positively changed my outlook on, sports, endurance and health forever.


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

    Born to run, and Eat and run, they share similar characteristics as this novel, however out of the 3 Finding Ultra is by far my favourite


    What about Rich Roll’s performance did you like?

    Rich, acts out in different voices to better portray the characters in his story. Even Rich's colloquialisms allow the audience to really get a feel of who he is. After reading the book, I felt as If I knew Rich, despite never meeting him in my life.


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

    This book has released my ignorance of the foods I eat, after reading this I realized how many processed junk food I actually consume. Although I am not vegan, I take Rich's underlying principals to better my current diet.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is incredibly: powerful, entertaining and informative. So if you want to be swept off your feet and be taken on a journey, plug it in and read it !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. V. Waldorf 03-25-13

    Cwald

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    "Wonderfully honest account..."

    of recovery and super achievement. The plant based diet only adds to the unbelievable self transformation Mr Roll completed. Amazing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juan Cruz Natick ma usa 03-18-13
    Juan Cruz Natick ma usa 03-18-13 Listener Since 2006

    truenetwork

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    5
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    "Rich is the men and this book will change you."
    Where does Finding Ultra rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book is the most single piece of inspiration I hadn't listened so far, he made sense of everything and i would said most of us become RIch Roll after college not matter is you are alcoholic, drug addict, lazy, TV monster, etc..


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Of course RICH, without him it wouldn't be any story, but dont get me wrong the other guy that did the EPIC challenge with Rich is amazing too.


    What about Rich Roll’s performance did you like?

    He is the best and I wish the best to him and his family, I wish he would go to public TV and talk about his Journey. make sure he shows videos or photos of how he look before and after


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

    Yes I am eating or drinking more veggies than ever and of course because the book now I know how coconuts, avocado, algae, Brazil Nuts and mixed with sport can dramatically change your life.


    Any additional comments?

    Buy the audio book, is very inspiring specially for people after the 40' like me with a family, he made a point and that the real deal "I want to see my little kids growing and enjoy them" and they are a lots of work and energy consuming, so here we go change your diet workout and you will do it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine new york, NY, United States 03-11-13
    Christine new york, NY, United States 03-11-13
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    "Great story - very motivational"

    I loved this story - very motivational and great reader. I really enjoyed it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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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
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    Overall
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    Story
    "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 3 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.

    3 of 3 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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