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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.

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

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  • Roger
  • Orlando, Florida United States
  • 02-11-14

Two Different Books

The first half (first file of the download) focuses on the authors struggles with alcohol. The real story of the ultraman begins in the second half. It is a fantastic story of what a person can accomplish and endure at any age. I was inspired to workout harder and eat different. Beginning with vegan dinner and we will see how it goes from there.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding!!! Rich Roll is my new hero.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Finding Ultra is an inspirational and moving account of a man not only facing his addictions, middle age and personal fears, but conquering them as well. Mr. Roll has become a role model (pun intended, ;o) for me. This is a true mid-life coming of age story that proves anything is possible if we are willing to do the footwork.

The author holds nothing back as he explains, in detail, how he eats and why. The appendices -- especially -- are filled with copious amounts of information and resources that will get anyone started in the right direction towards better health. I can’t wait to start my new Plant Power Diet.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Helped Change My Life!

What made the experience of listening to Finding Ultra the most enjoyable?

While his semi-nasal, dispassionate voice drives others that happened to hear some of it crazy, I really liked the fact that this was read by Rich Roll himself.

Any additional comments?

I'd already committed to my program of getting fit and healthy prior to listening to to this. Listened to some books like It's Not About The Bike (Lance), I'm Here To Win (Macca), read Iron War and been working out consistently and changing my diet. That being said, I took a lot from Rich's book and applied it to my life.I could relate to Rich's journey as I'm a similar age and was even more unfit. I never dealt with the addiction issues (closest would be food for me) that Rich had to and remember feeling like that section was pretty long but I related to or hope to relate to the rest of the book. The story was quite enjoyable and kept me listening and interested. I loved the further insight into ultra endurance events. And my family has adopted many dietary changes that Rich mentioned. We haven't gone vegan (and probably won't) but are still feeling much better from eating more in line with his philosophy. I liked that these details, as the other technical information, were shared in context of his story rather than a non-fictional guide.I do admit that I regret not having the appendixes and access to some of the reference data that is mentioned.All in all, transformational book for me.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Not all there...

Any additional comments?

The story is really interesting. I listened to the entire book very quickly, however... resources are referenced within the appendices of the book many times. The resources are not provided with the purchase of this audio book though... very disappointing.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Claremont, South Africa
  • 06-30-13

Great book....but

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Delightfully impressed! So real it inspires...

How Rich guides you into his journey is both intimate and plain realistic. His amazing true on every stage, his own old food beliefs demolished; is really great and non apologetic at all. He does not preach for veganism, just tells you his story, is up to you then.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Javier X
  • Takoma Park, MD, United States
  • 05-23-12

Insightful conquering life's challenges

Where does Finding Ultra rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book is great. It starts you off right in the moment of the race. It is read by the author himself which leaves it more genuine. Full of great information on finding ways to change your life for the better through understanding Rich's life story. If you love running or find yourself at the a fork in the road you might like this book.

What did you like best about this story?

His determination to conquer during challenges.

Which scene was your favorite?

Hard to say I liked the whole book. Fascinating.. that someone can turn their life around and reach such fetes.

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

Inspiring!

Any additional comments?

Look forward to future books by Rich!

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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incoherent melodrama

I have done several ironman triathlons & marathons and I have been interested in doing ultras so I was looking forward to this. The story line of a talented elite athlete squandering his talent because of alcohol then turning his life around (partially) through proper diet and sport is an inspiration. The story as written inspired me to turn it off. His musings are contradictory and idiotic. In one statement, he will claim that his time away from work to train didn't affect his family's finances. Soon after, the attorney with a rich client base states that he couldn't buy food during a long ride as his bank account was overdrawn. To make the tale even more illogical, he then claims his out of body experience was not the result of low blood sugar (an experience that many an athlete has experienced) but rather an epiphany or other mystical event. When he started in on the spiritual gods of the Hawaiian volcanoes, I just could take any more and had to cut my loses.

129 of 166 people found this review helpful

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Inspiring and Exciting

Would you listen to Finding Ultra again? Why?

I have already listened to this book twice, and I would listen again. It is a great story of how a person can hit rock bottom, and then go on to get in peak physical condition even later in life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This is written and read by Rich Roll. And it is the Rich Roll story. So, he's my favourite character :) But the book is peppered with people he meets along the way, who help him reach for and achieve his success.

What about Rich Roll’s performance did you like?

Roll narrates the book really well. His voice is nice and personable, he never comes across as preachy, and he is just a smooth narrator for his own story.

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

Finding Ultra: Rediscovering Health and Fitness in Middle Age

Any additional comments?

I found this book really inspiring. <br/><br/>Roll adopts a vegetarian/ vegan diet eventually, which I won't do, but I am aware of the health benefits of proper nutrition, whatever diet one follows. <br/><br/>Seeing how Roll went from raging alcoholic to a yoga-practicing, plant-eating dad and Ultra Man is so motivating!<br/><br/>It is never too late to turn your life around, to start exercising, to eat better, to live better.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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. <br/>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 :)<br/>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.<br/>All and all a good listen, inspirational and Rich's performance reading is very well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • JAMES
  • 04-09-13

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Lee
  • 01-07-13

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • CK
  • 06-06-13

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • N. Hodgson
  • 08-26-13

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • MR
  • 07-12-12

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!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • heather
  • 11-15-12

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

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  • John Burns
  • 08-23-12

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Dogma
  • 05-29-12

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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  • James
  • 11-25-13

Inspiring, truly inspiring!

If you could sum up Finding Ultra in three words, what would they be?

A real person overcoming life's problems and excelling!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The final Epic 5 event and what he put himself through is mind numbing!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. G. Richardson
  • 06-12-13

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 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean
  • 07-20-17

Makes you reassess so much

His ultra story is secondary to the change in his lifestyle and vegan diet. So much to learn in nutrition from this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Julius
  • 06-13-17

Really great lead me to Richs podcasts!

Really loved it! Rich is an amazing character, the guy below down voting because of Rich being vegan is an idiot! do some reasearch before you buy an item - being plant powered has improved my fitness through the roof - don't disagree with veganism until you trail it yourself it's the healthiest lifestyle when done correctly plus the animals & planet will love you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rick Fletcher
  • 01-21-16

great

great book. inspirational and informative. Well worth a read. Even if a plant powered diet is not entirely your thing, you will still learn something from this book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jo
  • 01-11-16

Excellent listening

I'm a Rich Roll podcast fan already, and this book didn't disappoint. A great listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Liz
  • 11-09-17

Gets off to a slow start but worth a read

I thoroughly enjoyed the second half of the book as the first was a bit slow and concentrated on his dark alcoholic past. I was more interested in his sporting achievements, successful mindset and nutrition rather that his self destruction.
The appendix on nutrition is fabulous!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-19-17

awesome!

life changing for anyone who wants to improve their health and fitness. A must read.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-14-17

Good Story

Not becoming a vegan no matter what the health benefits might be. Well spoken book

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  • Annaliesa Rose
  • 08-13-17

Loved this book

Very interesting and inspirational look at the life of Rich Roll. It is great to see how lasting and healthy positive change is always possible.

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  • Simon
  • 12-08-16

Good story.

Loved the story but would prefer it read by a professional orator. Strong story though just author is too involved.

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  • Ned
  • 10-30-16

Enjoyable

An enjoyable and enriching story that speaks truth, in relation to ultra sports, the capcity and resolve of the mind, body and spirt. No real evidence about eating vegan is used beyond anecdotal but it only becomes a bit preachy in the appendix.
Beyond the often dramatized language surronding eating vegan, this is an incredible account on the triumph over the human mind and body.