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Finding Ultra

Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself
Written by: Rich Roll
Narrated by: Rich Roll
Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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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 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)

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Great story but...

I love and appreciate the story and experience. I just felt like there was a lot of advertisements in the book.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JAMES
  • 09-04-13

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.

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lee
  • 07-01-13

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.

33 people found this helpful

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  • Momoto
  • 24-07-18

View into an obsessive mind

I felt a bit misled by this title. The blurb neglects to mention that he was, in his youth, an incredible swimmer, Olympic standard. The start reminded me a bit of “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight in hat both had very privileged backgrounds, the author having the choice off every Ivy League college in the US. And yet the most interesting part of the story (his decline into alcoholism and how he turned it around) is passed over too quickly. The impression is that the transformation from alcoholic to ultra endurance athlete took 6 months. It’s clear the author has an obsessive character and this drove him towards his goals.

7 people found this 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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • kk
  • 04-11-18

Boastful

The author's ability to boast is another thing he does well.I'd had enough after 2 hours. He was a former national swimmer, not your average couch potato, so the premise is misleading. Narration is average.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Andy Higginbottom
  • 19-10-18

Not for me

Seemed a little “look at me” for my tastes and went on to be a bit preachy. The reading style didn’t have enough emotion and was not engaging.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • heather
  • 15-11-12

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • N. Hodgson
  • 26-08-13

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.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • MR
  • 12-07-12

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!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mr
  • 23-06-16

Interesting but flawed

It grew on me this book. It's an interesting tale, and I found some bits genuinely riveting.

I've also got no problems with veganism, but I hadn't been ready for the extent it was going to try to convert me. Especially given the strange mix of good science and downright laughable science - all jumbled together to leave it unclear what's true.

Still fair play to him for turning his life around and it is an inspiring story.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Sean
  • 20-07-17

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.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Julius
  • 13-06-17

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!

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  • Rick Fletcher
  • 21-01-16

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jo
  • 11-01-16

Excellent listening

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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 08-12-16

Good story.

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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-04-20

Inspiring, educational, witty & funny

I already loved Rich Roll, and am already Plant powered.. however after this book I have reigned in some bad habits I had let creep into my diet, my mindset and my mid week drinking. Such intelligent content, deep, soulful and accountability in his words. Even if you don’t love to run, eat plants or self development you will get something out of the book. Can’t stop this review without mentioning the romance in this book, the devotion Rich holds to his wife reminds you why you love your significant other and what compromise, surrender and team work a marriage takes to be an amazing one. Couldn’t rate highly enough.

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  • mark sugden
  • 10-04-20

Change you world change your diet and attitude. <br />

Great story, anything is possible with the right attitude and never staying down. Push on regardless

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-20

Great story - why was he talking so slooooow?

I’ve listened to Rich Roll podcasts and they are easy to listen to - but for some crazy reason he talks like he is so wasted or sleep deprived that l had to fast forward a lot of it

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  • lilthomas
  • 02-03-20

Wow!

What an amazing man and his journey from terribly unfit to the machine he is!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-03-20

Boring and wouldn’t recommend

I used this book to fall asleep every night. The narrator is mono tone and boring. The story doesn’t really go anywhere. I didn’t hate the book but I wouldn’t recommend. I didn’t finish the last chapter. It became to painful to listen too.