There are some similarities between Rich Roll and myself. We’re both 46, both love water (though he was a swimmer and I was a surfer and skin diver), and we both needed to lose a lot of weight. That’s where things start to diverge. He had an epiphany and made startling changes to his life and diet. He’s now a model of fitness, well-known as a vegan endurance stud. I’m still working on both of those.
Rich’s book, Finding Ultra (New York, NY: Crown Publishing, 2012) is, as the subtitle clearly states, about his rejection of middle age, becoming one of the world’s fittest men, and discovering himself. It’s the story of moving away from a typical American middle-aged man’s life with its sloth and overeating, and moving towards fitness and health and happiness.
As I wrote earlier, one of his discoveries was that to race fast, you must train slow. He used this to get himself into amazing shape and then went out and found some killer events to attempt. How does racing the Ultraman sound? Covering a total distance of 320 miles (515 kilometers), on the big island of Hawaii, the race requires that each participant complete a 6.2 mile (10 K) open ocean swim, a 261.4 mile (421 K) cross-country bike ride, and a 52.4 mile (84K) ultra-marathon. If that’s not enough, what about the Epic 5? That’s Five Ironmans in Five Days on Five Islands! Truly an adventurer.
Throughout the book are references to veganism, or as Rich terms it, Plantpower. Discovery what works for him (and might for you) is sprinkled amongst the endurance adventures. Two appendices flesh it out: "The Nuts and Bolts of the Plantpower Diet" and "A Plantpower Day in the Life." Even if you have no intention of becoming fully vegan, there is a goldmine of information on how to include it in whatever diet you may follow.
(Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Random House. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)
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