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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So what's a plant based diet?
I've read a number of self development books and made tweaks along the way that have made a small difference here and there. But none like Finding Ultra. About 4 months before I read this book I'd embarked on a gluten free diet and a move towards vegetarianism. Why? I generally felt rubbish the way I was eating and couldn't shift the last stone of extra weight having...
Published 23 months ago by Andy Flett

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Finding Ultra
Half of this book is an enjoyable account of how a life can be turned around to achieve something truly amazing. Unfortunately for the other 50% of this book I felt like a was stuck in an ad break. The constant product pushing was a real turn off for me. The narrative tends to jump around and sometimes I was left wondering if I had somehow jumped back a few pages by...
Published on 24 May 2012 by Aphie


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So what's a plant based diet?, 25 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself (Hardcover)
I've read a number of self development books and made tweaks along the way that have made a small difference here and there. But none like Finding Ultra. About 4 months before I read this book I'd embarked on a gluten free diet and a move towards vegetarianism. Why? I generally felt rubbish the way I was eating and couldn't shift the last stone of extra weight having been a runner for over 2 years but never achieved the results I knew I was capable of. Finding Ultra answered a lot of questions I had about reaching the next level, how can I improve my performance and everyday well being. I can honestly say in all my 39 years I haven't felt better now I've shifted to a predominantly plant based diet, lost the weight I needed to lose and found energy I never had before. Rich's story from college swimming success through alcoholism to ultra marathon champion is mind boggling. The book now resides in my kitchen, not the book shelf as it's packed full of great training, food & nutrition tips I'm constantly referring back to.

This is a must read for anyone looking for inspiration to get fit and healthy. It's never too late, age or weight don't matter this will give you the will to succeed.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Inspirational, 25 July 2012
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This review is from: Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself (Hardcover)
Many people seem to critisise the book because of constant references to his Vitamix blender and his blend of special vegan supplements. This is a pity. I think it should be taken for what it is which is or was for me a truely inspirational and enjoyable read. I write this days before the start of the 2012 Olympics. The news over the last few days has been filled with violence and all that is broken with humanity. Yet this provided the perfect escape. The chance to indulge my imagination in positive inspirational fetes where someone does something the vast majority on the planet consider impossible. It just goes to show how amazing the body and mind are. For that I can excuse the product placement and the constant promoting of a vegan diet. As far as the author is concerned these are things that are the corner stone of his metamorphosis and therefore he has every right to be evangelical about it.

The great thing about read like this is their ability to open ones mind to new things. He like me, doesn't like the term vegan as for the vast majority of meat eaters it has massively negative connotations. By the end of the book I had developed a completely new view of veganism as well as a very healthy respect for it. Will I give up my rare steaks? Don't know - hard to imagine but I might be tempted to see what happens for 30 days say.

I like the style of the book. I never got bored reading it, in fact once he starts telling the story of his ultra triathlons and his adventures doing the EPIC5 challenge, I couldn't put it down. As a formerly fat middle aged bloke myslef who suddenly discovered fitness late in life I can really identify with the guy. It puts my own first half ironman in a few weeks time into a different light and has made me realise that when the time comes, I just have to dig deep, let the shutters come down and focus on the next 10m. I know I will remember that this guy did the impossible and so can I with the right approach. Will read again and again when I need inspiration.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rave read, 1 Aug 2012
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penny moreton - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself (Hardcover)
This book is a must for ultra runners. Really gives depth on how diet can dramatically affect performance - a sound vegan diet can produce the goods to support the training. An excellent read I couldn't put it down
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultra Good, 15 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself (Hardcover)
From the outset, I knew that I would be hooked. This was going to be one of those books about recovery and running that simply did it for me. It was not just the clearly written prose and the enjoyable pace with which it clipped along. There was something very ordinary and honest about the narrative of spiraling addiction that had me reading feverishly from the opening lines.

Chapter one is where it all starts to get juicy. Quiet literally. Here Roll describes his junk food addiction as something that he believed he was entitled to after successfully quitting alcohol during a programme some years before. He had been a promising college swimmer but he also found himself plagued by another obsession: alcohol. He describes the havoc that this caused in his personal and then post-college professional life, with his family and friends. What is interesting is the honesty with which the obsessive thinking of the alcoholic is laid bare. There is no pity, no clichéd set pieces; just the solemn dawning that things could not continue in the way that they were. He had to change. And, although, with support, Roll managed to leave alcohol behind, he soon found himself on a diet that was just as surely slowly killing him: high in fat and high in salt. His sodium levels soared just as much as his expanding waistline. On the eve of his fortieth birthday he decided that he needed to change. He needed to find ultra.

And change he did. From a lifestyle that was slowly killing him and through the miasma of middle age, junk food, TV and nicotine gum came a new obsession: one for health and a positive way of living. And central to that was his wife's passion for fruit and vegetables, raw, cooked, steamed and juiced.

Roll describes his reluctance to think of himself as remotely `hippy' or `alternative'. He also describes the torment of being caught in the alcoholic's frame of mind: if I do this, I'll need more. So not content with going on a diet, Roll used the night before his 40th birthday as the motivation needed to change. Detox because veganism, and energised as he was, he realised that he needed more challenge, more life, more rejection of middle age. Not content with running a marathon or even an Ironman, Roll persuaded the organiser of what seems like an impossible event to give him a place: five full iron-distance triathlons on consecutive days.

Like the Epic-5 event, this is a book of different stages. The second half of the book moves away from his clearly written prose about his early years: college, swimming, junk food and alcohol and moves into some vivid descriptions of suffering and recovery. There is no doubting Roll's sincerity and enthusiasm for a new way of life. California offers the landscape and the sea, the space and the climate to embrace the outdoors. It's all too easy, in the wet and windy north west of England to dismiss the narrative as that of yet another middle class hipster transforming himself through a landscape where, to quote Ferlinhetti `as if anything is possible'. But unlike Ferlinghetti's poem there is no cynicism here. Like some of his other California based ultra-distance athlete it is hard not to be swept away by the conviction of his arguments and the fluidity of his prose. I am not yet a convert to veganism, but I am converted to Roll's passion for not accepting your lot as you approach the turning point of the middle decade. This book will leave you wondering what is possible. Roll's gift, is of course, to give it away in order that he might keep it. Thoroughly recommended.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Finding Ultra, 24 May 2012
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Half of this book is an enjoyable account of how a life can be turned around to achieve something truly amazing. Unfortunately for the other 50% of this book I felt like a was stuck in an ad break. The constant product pushing was a real turn off for me. The narrative tends to jump around and sometimes I was left wondering if I had somehow jumped back a few pages by accident.

Unfortunately this book just didn't quite match up to expectation and to some of the truly inspiring and engaging stories out there (Mud, Sweat and Tears - An Irish Woman's Journey of Self-Discovery by Moire O'Sullivan being a great example). It's not a terrible book, but one which could have been so much better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a con, 10 April 2014
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Good read but the author gives initial impression that he was a regular, fat bloke before embarking on his physical and emotional journey. What the reader discovers is that hte author was actually a college swimmer and didn't "start from scratch"; so hardly a transformation, merely a "get back on track". Regardless, this book is a good insight on ultra-running and was enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Changing!!!, 28 Jun 2013
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Other reviews put this book & it's author down for pretty much blatant advertising, but hey, if you used the products, or produced your own products & could increase your income through a bit of name dropping, then big deal. He is, after all, appealing to a very small section of society & won't be expecting much income from the book - you can't give the guy too hard a time when you consider these aspects. Also, taking a positive slant on this aspect, maybe if your a new comer to all this, then a few brand names will point you in the right direction - it's your free choice to buy what you think best meets your needs, of course a brain is required...

Anyway, I've done a large array of sports from gymnastics to bodybuilding to triathlons, etc. & had always followed the "recommendations" on dairy foods, meat, fish, fruit & veg, however, I've never felt "quite right" after eating any dairy products & most meats, but always thinking "must get enough protein". Symptoms such as aching joints, elevated heart rate, lethargy, etc. always occurred, but I ignored them for decades.

In the last few years my health had slowly deteriorated, despite following the "guidelines" & trying to maintain consistent exercise programs, my weight continued to increase & I was regularly ill, the aching joints & general feeling of 'crappiness' continued. I've tried many supplements, some of which, admittedly did help.

Then, quite by chance, I came across this guy's book. I initially purchased it out of mere curiosity, but as I read I found many comparisons with my own life. Suffice to say I identified with him on many levels & I can truly say his story is both enthralling & utterly inspiring. After reading the book I've converted to a mostly, but not exclusively, vegan diet. All I can try to convey is how radically different & energised I now feel, everyday!

The joint pains & constant niggling injuries have gone & although there's a chasm between his fitness & mine, I can honestly say I've not done this much exercise, recovered so quickly or felt this healthy since I was a teenager & that was 21 years ago!!! - despite the old "can't get enough protein if you don't eat meat & dairy foods, whey protein, etc". If you want to read an awesome & inspiring story & might want to learn a bit or two about an alternative, but nutritionally & ethically sound lifestyle as you go along, then you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, 5 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself (Hardcover)
I bought this book in great anticipation after reading about Rich's life changing moment online, and how he now has propelled himself to wellness. For that, I take my hat off to him, to turn from a junk food guzzling alcoholic in to a lean machine of an athlete and Im sure Rich is a very nice bloke. However unlike other reviewers on here, I found the chapters on nutrition and body biology very interesting. His whole outlook has changed through his training and his plant based diet which is to be commended.

Now for the negative points in my eyes, I found the book and a little irritating in its schmaltzy use of language. Its "very American" with its "high fiving" and "bro" every second page if I can be excused for saying so. I found Rich a little narcissistic especially surounding the whole Epic 5 chapter. It seemed a little self indulgent for me and OTT. All in all a decent and quick read but its not a patch on Racing for Recovery by Todd Crandell Racing for Recovery. That book IS inspiring (well worth the read)and Todd, who was also an addict has gone on to do great things with his life but more importantly helping other addicts by setting up a foundation to help others. Thats where theses two amazing characters differ.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable & Inspirational, 31 Aug 2014
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Still reading this and loving it so far.Enjoyable and inspirational,he tells it as it is.I know folks have grumped about references to his Vitamix,but anyone who's tried to drink a green smoothie that's gritty,bitter & sticks in your throat will appreciate that anything that makes them both palatable & slip down easily has to be worth it,& yes it does this(!).I like his style of writing & am finding his story fascinating.I'm trying to improve my fitness-&it's VERY trying,this book is helping me to get on with it & not give up (along with Jillian Michaels barking at me via a dvd).It's brilliant to read about someone achieving so much on a vegan 'diet'.I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for inspiration regarding their personal fitness,because yes,you can do it too.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting life story, but...., 10 Jun 2012
By 
Martin Kitson (Co. Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself (Hardcover)
I found this tale of descent into alcoholism and how the mind of the alcoholic works fascinating. Equally, the battle against his demons and adoption of a Vegan diet and Ultra sports is enlightening. He almost appears to swapping an addition to alcohol for an addiction to endorphine and with impressive results on his physique and his life. However, although I do not doubt that a plant based diet is healthy the pseudoscience put forward towards the end of the book spoils it somewhat.

On balance though, still a good read.
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