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

Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering MyselfI was not really expecting to enjoy this book a whole lot because it came off as somewhat self promotional he and his wife sell vegan supplements and also the subtitle kind of grated on my nerves, even though that s a publishing decision And, in fact, there were whole sections of this book that got on my nerves because it sounded a bit like listening to a dry drunk That said, the actual story of Roll s remarkable achievements in completing two Ultraman events and the EPIC5 friend designed series of triathlons was really interesting andI hate to say iteven a little inspirational, although a lot of his success seems to be something like well my body was made for this and I ignore pain and my trainer said do this and I did and it worked Not worth buying but worth checking out if you re suddenly fascinated with people who run swim bike long distances. This book is essentially three small books in one The first section is Rich Roll s autobiography with an emphasis on his slip into alcoholism and subsequent turn around To me, this was the least interesting part of the book It is sad and frustrating to read, but I also realize that this is an important part of the story The second section is about Rich s entry into the ultra triathlon world This is where it starts to get good, and this is why I bought the book I love hearing about people pushing themselves far beyond the limit, and this part of the book does not disappoint The third part of the book is about Rich s plant based whole foods diet I was not expecting this piece of the book, but it was surprisingly interesting As a matter of disclosure, I am a long distance runner, and I have been a vegetarian not vegan for about five years So, many of the things Rich talks about were intriguing as a way to increase fitness levels I was happy to see that he didn t get preachy about the ethics behind eating meat Even though I agree with that stuff, I don t enjoy reading it He stuck strictly to the reasons why certain items are good to have in your diet Really good stuff So good, I am giving it a shot I highly recommend this book for almost anyone athletes and non athletes alike I would have given it five stars, but I personally didn t get a lot of enjoyment out of the first part of the book Nothing against the author Just a matter of preference I will suggest that if you get this book, buy it in paper format There are too many things I wanted to go back to reference, but couldn t due to it being an Audible book Paper is better in this case. Finding Ultra Is Rich Roll S Incredible But True Account Of Achieving One Of The Most Awe Inspiring Midlife Physical Transformations Ever One Cool Evening In October , The Night Before He Was To Turn Forty, Rich Experienced A Chilling Glimpse Of His Future Nearly Fifty Pounds Overweight At The Time And Unable To Climb The Stairs Without Stopping, He Could See Where His Current Sedentary Lifestyle Was Taking Him Most Of Us, When Granted Such A Moment Of Clarity, Look The Other Way But Not Rich Plunging Into A New Way Of Eating That Made Processed Foods Off Limits And That Prioritized Plant Nutrition, And Vowing To Train Daily, Rich Morphed In A Matter Of Mere Months From Out Of Shape Midlifer To Endurance Machine When One Morning Ninety Days Into His Physical Overhaul, Rich Left The House To Embark On A Light Jog And Found Himself Running A Near Marathon, He Knew He Had 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 Competition, Which Pits The World S Fittest Humans Against Each Other In A Mile Ordeal Of Swimming, Biking, And Running And Following That Test, Rich Conquered An Even Greater One The Epic Five Ironman Distance Triathlons, Each On A Different Hawaiian Island, All Completed In Less Than A Week But Finding Ultra Is Much Than An Edge Of The Seat Look At A Series Of Jaw Dropping Athletic Feats And Much Than A Practical Training Manual For Those Who Would Attempt A Similar Transformation Yes, Rich S Account Rivets And, Yes, It 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 Childhood Posed Numerous Physical And Social Challenges, And His Early Adulthood Featured A Fierce Battle With Alcoholism Ultimately, Finding Ultra Is A Beautifully Written Portrait Of What Willpower Can Accomplish It Challenges All Of Us To Rethink What We Re Capable Of And Urges Us, Implicitly And Explicitly, To Go For It A handy guide to the products and services offered by a California entertainment lawyer.If you like paying for a book that tells a little bit of story and a whole lot about all the other great things you can buy from the same author, you ll love Rich Roll From the shoehorned chapter about his marvelous PlantPower vegan to the rest of the world diet, to the appendix jam packed with his Jai sports drinks and Jai eCookbook and Jai cleansing program and Jai meditation program and his wife s debut music album , you ll be drooling at all the money you can soon give Rich Roll.The shame is that there s a lot of solid nutritional and training advice, but it s so thoroughly interwoven with his sales pitch that it s difficult to separate the advice from the marketing The incessant 12 step sloganeering gets tiresome, too.For a good memoir about ultraendurance and veganism without all the self promotion, read Scott Jurek s Eat Run. I hedged on whether to buy and read this book, having read some of the negative reviews of the book on Perhaps I was overly influenced by them, but I found myself as irritated as the reviewers by Roll s narcissism He mightily tries to show how completely he screwed up his life in a descent into alcoholism and rehab, and yet one can t help but notice that he has a deep, selfless support structure that helps him pick himself up, stays with him during the tough times, and then accompanies him on his races Roll frequently expresses his gratitude and admits he could be an asshole at times he acknowledges his addictive tendencies and yet unlike Scott Jurek in his much self aware autobiography EAT AND RUN, Roll rarely stops but moves on to success Roll s achievements, especially that of completing five Ironmen runs in under seven days are impressive But I would have liked to hear about his remarkable partner in that race, Jason Lester, who was unable to use his right arm, and whose challenges were that much greater Roll s commitment and passion for his vegan diet are admirable, and his single mindedness worth paying attention to It obviously takes a Type A personality to do these kinds of runs But Roll s wish to become superathletic seems less a comment on rejecting middle age as an extension of an addictive personality a facet that he doesn t explore If anything, the book is premature races and time might give Roll a deeper perspective on the arc of his whole life rather than the six years or so he s been competing Wish it had been better. After reading Rich Roll s memoir ode to veganism, Finding Ultra, the reader is left with one undeniable conclusion.Rich Roll is insane.This is not a criticism of Mr Roll, who may have saved himself through his insanity But even though Roll writes as if anyone who converts to a healthy vegan diet can achieve the same endurance feats he has, the fact remains that he has transformed himself into one of the most unique athletes in the world.Consider in less than half a decade, Roll transforms himself from a cheeseburger slurping couch potato recovering from a decade of major league alcohol abuse into one of the first two guys to complete the EPIC5 What is the EPIC5, you ask The EPIC5 is a flat out nightmare completing 5 Ironman Triathlons in 5 consecutive days, each one on a different Hawaiian island To put this in perspective, an individual Ironman is the feat of a lifetime and includes in one day the following 2.4 mile swim in open water112 mile bike race, followed bya full 26.2 mile marathon.Most fitness fanatics never even bother with an Ironman, while for others completing a single race is their life s defining moment Roll slightly misses his goal by needing two rest days, but he still completes the EPIC5 in seven days.This is insane, and something that only a truly unique personality would even consider, much less finish Indeed, the most frustrating part of Roll s book is his unwillingness to accept how special he is, even as he s telling you this remarkable story And it is remarkable Ultimately Roll s repeated insistence that he s just a regular guy Roll is invariably amazed when he does well or when he sees that someone is cheering on his athletic endeavors, so much so that I started blacking out the word each time he used it smacks of false modesty However, it may give some insight into his character, as Roll drops many hints that he likes drama and craves attention Full disclosure if Roll had stricken amazed from his narrative and used about half as many adjectives, I d probably give this book 5 stars Read Finding Ultra for the story, not the style Roll gives the credit to his mid life transformation to his PlantPower diet a self generated diet based solely on plants Roll goes to great lengths to explain how you can be vegan and still eat incredibly unhealthy foods Finding Ultra is replete with recommendations for a variety of foods and their benefits, both for general nutrition and for athletic training Roll skewers notions that athletes must get their protein from animals, that eggs and cheese are good for you, and that much sports nutrition wisdom is actually misinformation.But Finding Ultra is not a fascinating read because it s got dietary suggestions it s because Roll makes such a tremendous shift to become an elite endurance athlete True, he pays mere lip service to the impact Roll s fitness mania has on his family he says how much he loves his kids, even as he or less ignores them But Finding Ultra is a rare glimpse inside the head of a world class athlete who appreciates the second chance he gave himself to be the kind of man he always wanted to be Highly recommended for anyone caught in a middle age fitness struggle or who wants a little dietary inspiration. This is going to be harsh, so I ll begin on a good note Rich Roll s story of transformation is nothing short of remarkable It really shows how substance addiction can overpower even the strongest of people Let s put it this way, if a man has the fortitude to complete five back to back Ironman races on five different Hawaiian islands, overcoming alcohol addiction should be a piece of cake, right Wrong It took years and years until he conquered his demons and came into his own Anyone who believes all drug an alcohol addicts are weak willed are sorely mistaken.That, in my opinion, is the most positive takeaway from this book I m amazed by Rich Roll s accomplishments Yet on a personal level, I m less than impressed There are some people in this world who are born into a life of privilege They take their luxuries for granted and go through life always wanting Rich Roll is one of those people.The child of two loving, well to do parents, he had everything he needed on a silver platter Problems with bullying No matter He can just go to special private school No swimming program That s cool Just get a private coach Accidentally got drunk before meeting up with an Ivy League swim coach No sweat, the welcome mat is there for the taking Turns out, his Get Out of Jail Free card even works in DWI cases Somehow he managed to avoid jail time when his case file miraculously went missing What luck Okay, maybe I m bitter because I ve never been blessed with such dumb luck Seriously, it s not fair The tipping point happened when Richy Rich rear ended a poor woman while he was slugging back a cold one on the way to the office She was hospitalized, yet he didn t go into detail about her injuries Of course, he was exempt from showing any remorse because his addict brain could not process the consequences of his actions Since that was the case, he just kept drinking and driving until his boss got a call from the police Funny how he owned up to his problem and decided to get clean when his livelihood was threatened.According to his track record, this was the first time he landed in some serious trouble Prior to this snafu, he never really had a wake up call After acing his way through law school in a drunken haze, he gave his school and his parents the finger at graduation by staggering barefoot across the podium Why Because he looked around at his fellow graduates and realized they were all mindless sheep He had to do something totally off the wall to prove that he s so very special In his defense, he felt remorse for embarrassing himself and his parents Yet even after rehab, after becoming a devout vegan, after completing the Epic Five, he s still that same self important asshole trying to prove to the world that he s better than everybody else.Albeit he accomplished an amazing feat impossible even But why What s really going on there Being a type B person at the far end of the spectrum , it s hard to wrap my mind around this obsessive desire to risk life and limb to break a world record Of course, it s not a morally reprehensible thing to be the first to climb a mountain or finish a grueling race I just don t understand the psychology behind the fanaticism of it all.My theory is that Rich channeled his addiction into racing and extreme dieting When it comes to eating, it s either his way or the highway We can either become followers of his squeaky clean eating program or die young from a horrible gluten induced disease Sorry, Rich Scare tactics don t work with me They only piss me off Dieting aside, you piss me off I bet that lady you rear ended feels the same way.If you want to read an inspiring ultra running memoir, skip this one and read Eat and Run or Born to Run Sure, both of these books delve into lifestyle advice that I choose to ignore However the focus isn t on being the best in the world These authors run 100 plus distances because they genuinely love the sport Reading their books, I got the sense that they ran like wild mustangs to feel happy and free In Rich s book, I just felt like he needed to prove something Even after becoming one of the world s fittest men, I have a feeling that still won t be enough. Inspiring story As a vegan and a very amateur runner myself, I enjoy reading accounts from vegan athletes It is important to note though, that Rich Roll didn t simply go from couch potato to completing five Ironman length triathlons in a week s time on plant power alone He has a will of iron, and significant athletic experience from childhood, as he meticulously documents He also managed to graduate from Cornell law school and get a job in a high profile law firm while not only eating the standard American junk food diet, but also suffering from the increasingly debilitating effects of alcoholism.I did appreciate the emphasis on eating unprocessed foods, though some of the concoctions he advocates may sound off putting to those not keen on the idea of drinking a salad for breakfast Also, having just read The Starch Solution by Dr John A McDougall whose web site is in the reference section of Rich Roll s book , I must quibble with his continued caution against eating starchy, nutrient poor foods Many of the foods Rich describes eating, including lentils, quinoa, yams, beans, and brown rice, are both starchy and nutrient rich. The good everyone loves a story of personal growth and redemption It s endearing to see a guy turn his life around and become healthier so he can see his kids grow up Even better when he takes health to the extreme and goes from couch potato to elite endurance athlete Even interesting is the particular approach he took Opting for a vegan diet is hard enough for regular folk, even so when you re running three day ultraironman triathlon distances How did he do it.The bad he never really tells you Always opting for generalities, he tells you about the power of plants, loaded with nutrients He claims to have read all the scientific literature on the topic, but all he can muster is a stray footnote to an article on CNN or Bloombergnews We all know that plants are nutrient dense, that refined carbs spike your blood sugar and that hormone addled factory farm beef will mess up your system How about telling us what the hell is in spirulina or those wacky mushrooms you throw into the blender Fluff, fluff and fluff But the worst part.The ugly the book comes across as a vehicle for product placement Buy a Vitamix blender My specialized Transition S bike is so good My proprietary blend of wacky vegan foods will make you as healthy as me for the low, low price of unknown, never bothered to check any of the websites he pimps in his book The ugly he keeps coming back to these vague idea of spirituality saving his life Some magical space karma kept him from dying during his multiple DUI fiascos Some wonderful chi in the universe gave him energy to finish his last triathlon It s so sentimental and faux religious you d think Deepak Chopra wrote it The takeaway fun book on fueling yourself with healthy vegan stuff, but don t spend a dime on the book Read a blogpost about him or check it out on the library. First of all, full disclosureI might be the perfect audience for this book I know the author we were teammates on the Stanford swim team , I m a fellow recovering alcoholic, and I m an Ironman triathlete I haven t made the switch to a plant based diet, but I did just buy some kale, beets, and acai juice to blend up for lunch I ve followed Rich s story peripherally for years and feel a strong bond to him and his journey So I may be a bit biased, butThis book was amazingly inspirational It follows Rich s swimming career, partying career, work career, recovery, family life, and finally, tranformation into an elite plant powered ultra endurance triathlete It s a powerful and moving memoir, but not just for people looking to do an extreme makeover , like switch to Veganism or compete in Ultraman I think it speaks to all of us who are facing the realities of getting a bit older and who long to find that better person inside us that we all know exists Sprinkle in a bit of compelling dietary science and you ve got a tremendous book that has me looking at my life with a different lens I d highly recommend it.

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  • Hardcover
  • 288 pages
  • Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself
  • Rich Roll
  • English
  • 06 December 2018
  • 9780307952196

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