Thursday, December 19, 2013

Finding Ultra - Book Review

Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself -- this is how Rich Roll sums up the premise of his book, Finding Ultra. It is the story of a man who, at age 40, realized he was near death and turned his life around. This incredible story is a testament to the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle.

Previously an alcoholic, cheeseburger-eating, sedentary being, Rich begins with the story of the point at which he realized he needed help -- at age 39 when he became winded after climbing just eight steps. It was at this very instant that he realized he might not be there to see his children get married because he might very well be dead. And just like that he decided he would change his life for the better forever.

In an instant, he became vegan and began running. It didn't just make him feel good--it made him feel amazing.

Then, he jumps back to explain his childhood and how he came to where he was in life. He had pursued swimming in college, which is also the point at which he became an alcoholic -- a high-functioning alcoholic. After that, he went to law school and continued his alcoholic binges. He found a job as an attorney, but was fired because of attendance issues stemming from his alcoholism.
So he finally put himself in a treatment center and became sober..for a while.

Jumping back to the moment that changed his life, he explains his "plantpowered" diet. He said he chose it because it made his body run the best. He also gave up most processed foods for whole foods, which made a huge difference. He said, "If we want to heal--truly heal--and thrive, then we must embrace preventative medicine. A plant-based, whole-food diet has been shown, for example, to prevent and actually reverse heart disease and impede or even arrest the development of a litany of other maladies, including the growth of cancer cells."

So once in shape, Rich decided to sign up for a triathlon, but didn't perform very well. Then he decided to sign up for an Ironman race that entails a 2.4-mile open-water swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, and culminating with a full marathon--26.2 miles of running.  He hired a trainer who taught him how to train for endurance sports. After that, he signed up for an Ultraman, which entailed swimming 6.2 miles, cycling 260 miles, and running 52.4 miles.

Rich ropes you in as he describes in exquisite prose his journey to becoming one of the fittest men in the world. But, really, the most compelling part of this book is when he participates in the Epic 5--five iron-distance triathlons, each on a different Hawaiian island, all completed in less than a week.

Rich weaves in not only his training regimen, but also his journey in discovering the optimal diet for performance so it is educational as well as compelling.  If you are seeking a gripping story of determination, Finding Ultra is where you'll find it. If you are looking for a great holiday present for that person in your life who needs inspiration, look no further. You will find it on Amazon here.

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