Late one night after a long day of work, just before his 40th birthday, Rich Roll polished off some fast-food cheeseburgers as he watched TV before heading to bed.
As he walked up the stairs, Rich had to stop, bend over and catch his breath before he could continue. Sweat was on his brow. The stress and busyness of life on the partnership track at a law firm had taken their toll on the body of this former Stanford swimmer.
Instead of blaming his work or coming up with another excuse, Rich did what most people don’t. He seized the moment. He decided then and there that things would change — that things had to change.
It’s hard to believe that just two years after the staircase incident, Rich finished one of the most grueling endurance events on the planet — Ultraman, essentially a double Ironman-distance stage triathlon — in 11th place, no less. And the following year, Men’s Fitness magazine named him one of the 25 Fittest Guys in the World. (Oh, and did I mention Rich did it all on a plant-based diet?)
In this episode of No Meat Athlete Radio, Doug and I had the absolute pleasure of hanging out with Rich, author of Finding Ultra and now host of the wildly popular Rich Roll podcast, to pick his brain about the behaviors and mindset that allowed him to make such dramatic changes, going from overweight and unhealthy at age 40 to one of the most famous vegan athletes in the world — all in the span of about two years.
We’ve also got a special giveaway with this episode: to celebrate the debut of the paperback edition of Finding Ultra (affiliate link) next week (that’s May 21), Rich and his publisher, Three Rivers Press, have generously provided several copies for some lucky NMA Radio listeners! (I also somehow ended up with an extra copy of the hardcover version, so I’ll throw that in the pot too.)
Here’s how you get your hat in the ring to try to win one:
1. If you just want to do the bare minimum, leave a comment on this post. On May 21 (the day the paperback edition is released), we’ll randomly draw winners and announce them in the comments section here.
2. As the Chotchkie’s manager in Office Space says, “Look, we want you to express yourself, okay? Now if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay. But some people choose to wear more, and we encourage that.” So show your flair and get a second entry by leaving us a rating and honest review on iTunes (and letting us know here that you did).
Good luck, and enjoy this inspiring episode!
Click the button below to listen now:
- Click here to download the MP3 file (you may need to right-click and “save link as”)
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As always, please leave us a rating and review on iTunes if you like the show, so that we know to keep ’em coming!
Doug, Rich, and Matt at DC Vegfest 2012.
Here’s what we talk about in this episode:
- Matt’s new baby update! (5:15)
- Doug’s vegan transition progress (6:55)
- How Rich went from being overweight and out of shape to being named one of the 25 Fittest Guys in the World, in just a few years (29:00)
- The panic attack and “moment of willingness” that Rich seized to change his life (33:40)
- Rich’s most important keys for people who want to get in shape (43:30)
- Why Rich trained at an extremely low intensity for the first several months of his training (45:45)
- Rich’s approach to strength-training (52:50)
- How Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week helped Rich to balance family life and business with training as an elite endurance athlete (54:00)
- Rich’s (and Matt’s) low-pressure approaches to raising kids on a vegan diet (58:00)
- The success of the Rich Roll Podcast and Finding Ultra (1:05:45)
Links from the show:
- Rich Roll’s Website
- The Rich Roll Podcast (iTunes)
- Finding Ultra
- Jai Seed Cookbook
- 7 Day Vegan
- From Chicken-Fried Steak to 26.2 Miles on Plants: Wendy’s Story
- Couch Potato to Ironman — In 20 Months (Susan Lacke’s story)
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- 10 Uncommon Superfoods from the World of Ultra-Endurance (Rich’s post on Tim Ferriss’ blog)
- Why Vegans and Paleos Should Stop Hating Each Other
- No Meat Athlete Triathlon Roadmap
Thanks for listening, and special thanks to Rich for taking the time to chat with us and share his insight and wisdom. Check out his podcast to hear more from Rich every week.