By Dana Shultz for Diets In Review
Imagine the typical middle-aged American dad. What does he look like? Slouchy business suit, slightly overweight, balding? If this is the person you’ve pictured, consider Rich Roll the exact opposite.
At 45, Roll, a father and entertainment attorney in Southern California, sports a tall, slim physique with well-defined muscles, and dons athletic gear most days. This is a far more accurate picture of this middle-aged dad who became an elite athlete practically overnight.
Roll defied all odds when, at the age of 40, he became an Ultraman – someone who has completed the three-day race in Hawaii that spans 320 miles, including a 10K ocean swim, 260 mile bike ride, and double marathon run.
Becoming an Ultraman is an impressive feat for anyone, but especially for Roll who, just six months prior to the race, was 50 pounds overweight and nowhere near athlete shape. The father of four used to enjoy lounging around and eating a steady diet of pizza, burgers and dairy products. But now, he is 100 percent vegan – practically the opposite of his former self. So what inspired the change?
Roll reached his eye-opening low point when he was climbing the stairs in his home the night before his 40th birthday and became winded and had to stop to catch his breath. It was in that moment that he decided to make a change to better his health and fully committed himself to his transformation, which led him to complete his first Ultraman race less than one year later. Where most extreme athletes would just hope to finish the race, Roll placed 11th without any formal training.
“I couldn’t have imagined it [happening],” said Roll in a 2010 interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He’d never pictured himself at the place he is now, but he admits he’s never felt better.
As for how Roll went about his transformation, he says it took plenty of determination; but it began with food. After analyzing his diet, he determined that eating a vegan diet would be the healthiest route. So instead of pizza and burgers, Roll now eats fruits and vegetables; no meat, no cheese, no eggs or dairy. And despite how many calories he burns in his two-hour-a-day workouts, he says his vegan diet satisfies his body and is capable of powering him through his intense training sessions.
Roll credits his high performance and new vitality to his diet change, saying “I’ve never felt better. My body has never performed better as an athlete, as a father, and as a human being.”
After workouts, the elite athlete says the most important thing to do to help your body recover is to get electrolytes, replenish your glycogen stores, and provide your body with protein. For an example of what Roll eats, a typical breakfast is a blended beet, kale, pumpkin seed and apple juice smoothie. It’s these types of super foods that fueled Roll’s transformation, which took him from overweight dad to fitness guru. Just two years after the switch in 2009, Roll was named one of the “25 Fittest Men in the World” by Mens’ Fitness magazine.
In his new book Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself, Roll talks about his amazing transformation into an extraordinary athlete, vegan, author and ultra-marathoner.
Besides just sharing his story, Roll’s ultimate goal for the book is to inspire others to get healthy. “My hope and my inspiration is to be able to play a small role in trying to create a healthier America.” While this may sound like a lofty goal for one man, big challenges haven’t stopped Roll before.
source: CNN | photo via crownarchitype