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Rich Roll talks about veganism and his ultra-endurance career

By December 14, 2016 No Comments

Rich Roll“I think we all have moments like that and you have the willingness and the motivation to make a change. But you have to be paying attention.”–Rich Roll

Rich Roll has had a varied career, starting with being an entertainment lawyer then an endurance athlete, best-selling author, top podcaster and speaker. He has suffered from alcoholism, but after a revelatory moment he was able to stop drinking. After that, he threw himself into his career as a lawyer, and it took another revelation for him to change his workaholic ways to being a two time finisher at the Ultraman World Championships and the Epic 5, which is 5 Ironmans in a week. Inspired by David Goggins, the former Navy SEAL, he became an ultra-endurance athlete and at the same time, became a vegan. Rich has been inventive in his research of food and nutrition and is the best-selling author of  “Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself”. Commander Divine and Rich talk about the value of following a plant-based diet and the psychology and spirituality of endurance.

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Other episodes of our podcast that you might be interested in are Olaniyi Sobomehin and Jesse Itzler.

Transcript & Shownotes

Hey folks, this is Mark Divine. Welcome back to the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Thanks so much for joining me. Really super-appreciate it and never take it for granted. I know you’ve got tons and tons of things to do with your precious time, and the fact that you spend even a moment with me and our guest is a huge honor, so super-appreciate that. And if you do find value in the podcast, my mantra lately has been to ask you to go rate it on iTunes, so that other people can find it.

Introduction

[01:11] Cool, so I’m excited… 3rd times a charm. I’ve had a couple aborted attempts, Rich, to get you on this podcast. And mostly my technical ineptitude has led us to have to reschedule twice. And here we are. So my guest today is Rich Roll. Who is an amazing guy, like he’s a speaker and an author and an ultra-endurance athlete. Stanford graduate, Cornell graduate, competitive swimmer… I mean, the list goes on, Richard. I love it.
And also a yogi and a vegan. So we have a lot of interesting similarities and also obviously some things that are different. Nice to meet you.

Rich Roll: Super nice to meet you, Mark. Like I said just before we started recording, I’ve been following what you’ve been doing for a while now, and really appreciate everything that you’re putting out in the world. And it’s a pleasure and an honor to speak to you and connect with your audience.

What Makes Rich Tick

[02:07] Mark: I appreciate that. Yeah, we’re super-stoked to learn more about what makes you tick, and some of the things that are interesting to you. Now, one of the things that jumped out at me when I read Allison–who’s my uber-podcast person, who helps me with everything– is that you were an entertainment attorney. Which makes sense that you live in LA, so you never broke away from LA, but… so you were up there in that industry, and then you obviously made a pretty dramatic shift. So tell us about, like, who was Rich Roll as an entertainment… how did you get into that? What was your life like back in those days?
Rich: yeah, so I always interested in entertainment. Went to law school–Cornell, had worked at a couple law firms in New York City. Was a lawyer in San Francisco for a while. Moved down to Los Angeles to pursue entertainment law.
Kind of as a backdrop or some foundation for this story… I’m also a recovering alcoholic. And I got sober at 31 and that was shortly after I’d moved to Los Angeles. And I think that experience… I ended up in rehab for a hundred days, which is a pretty long time to be in rehab. But that was an experience that really kind of shifted by perspective on how I was living my life. And gave me a toolbox for a new approach to, you know, how to pursue a meaningful sort of existence in our short time here on planet earth. And in the wake of that experience, I kind of went back into the world… I was somebody who had a lot of promise as a young person. I kind of had the world by the tail. And I screwed up a lot of stuff. I created a lot of havoc and a lot of wreckage as a result of my drinking and using. So when I got out of rehab, I was very intent on getting back on track, and on the track of pursuing the American Dream. And I did that with abandon. I became a workaholic and I just threw myself into my career. Chased the corporate ladder and all that kind of stuff. You know, I was successful in that regard. Sort of like an 8 year overnight success story of repairing my life, and becoming a productive, functional member of society, but sobriety… as I sort of got more immersed in the principles of sobriety, I started to realize that this career path that I’d chosen for myself was really kind of at odds with who I was starting to become. And so I guess, you could say I was having a little bit of an existential crisis about what I was doing with myself. Meanwhile, during this 8 years of being a workaholic, I really overlooked my health and my fitness. You know, I’d been a swimmer at Stanford–I was a benchwarmer on that team, I was by no means a star–but I was pretty good. I was like world ranked, and fairly good swimmer. And that was my life. But when college was over, that was over. So by the time I was 39, I was a basic couch potato, fast-food addict hurtling into middle age on a crash course with lifestyle disease. I was depressed, unenthusiastic about this life that I thought that I wanted and I was realizing was not giving me the satisfaction that I thought that it would.
And kind of all of these things came to a head shortly before I turned 40, when late one night, I went to walk up my staircase to my bedroom, and I was defeated by a simple flight of stairs. I had to pause halfway up. I was winded, out-of-breath. I had tightness in my chest, and it scared me. It was a very discreet specific moment where I realized I needed to change how I was living. And that change needed to be drastic, immediate and specific. I think I was able to kind of recognize the power of that moment, because it was very similar to the day I woke up and decided “today’s the day I’m going to get sober and go to rehab.”
Mark: Right. I was thinking the same thing, those are very similar moments, those inflection points.
Rich: Yeah, I mean, I think we all have moments like that, we have these “line in the sand” moments, these sort of cracks in the door, where the stars align and you have the willingness and the motivation to make a change. But you have to be paying attention. And because I’d had that other moment, I was able to recognize, “Oh, this is happening again. And I need to act.” Because if I don’t act right away, I knew it would pass and I would just go back to doing what I was doing.

Intensity as a Lifestyle

[06:29] Mark: This is interesting. So what’s coming to me is you went extreme into alcohol and drugs until you hit a wall. And… or a door cracked open, right? And that was the recovery. And then you went into an extreme in your professional career until you hit a wall. And now you’ve gone into an extreme fitness, ultra-endurance running, multiple marathons, Ironman. Is there another wall coming for you?
Rich: First of all, are you saying that there’s a theme to my life, Mark?
Mark: (laughing) There’s a theme. Just put it together, didn’t take me that long.
Rich: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I think for a long time… like, I definitely am prone to extremes, I’m attracted to extremes, I’m attracted to the outer perimeter of human capability, and I push myself really hard. And for a long time, I think, I tried to reel it in. We’re all told, “You have to live a life of balance,” and “why can’t you just be balanced?”
But at some point along the way, I just realized, “This is how I’m hard-wired.” And it became a quest to try to find healthy avenues to channel that energy that just is the fabric of who I am.
So, yeah, you know I was extreme in changing my diet, and then I was extreme in pursuing ultra-endurance. But those were extremes that improved my life and expanded my horizons.
Mark: Positive extremes, right.
Rich: Yeah, connected me with who I think I really am, and have led me to this place where I have the great fortune of being able to speak to you, so I think it’s fair to say, I’m an addict through and through, and I always will be. So for me it’s about trying to find ways to channel that energy in a healthy way. So…
Mark: Yeah, I wonder if most people in our Western society aren’t addicts in some way. We’re addicted to distraction, we’re addicted to media… we’re addicted to negativity, right?
Rich: There’s no question about that. We’re addicted to food. The way we use food to modulate and regulate our emotions. Shopping, television, gambling, Facebook, you know, you name it, it’s a spectrum, but I think we all have that tendency to fixate on things that take us out of whatever we’re experiencing in the moment.
Mark: That’s right. So that’s it right there. That’s the Holy Grail. The human mind is addicted to being everywhere but here. And so it’s going to chase after whatever distraction du jour, or whatever it is that tends to consume your attention. Wow. That’s pretty profound.
You know the other thought that came to me, and this is something I’d like to kind of pursue, is we could say that running an ultra-marathon is extreme, but once you run 10, you know, it becomes normal. So it might be extreme to someone who is sitting on the couch still, but for you it’s a new normal, and that’s… I have that same experience in the SEAL teams. You know, for me BUD/S became normal. Navy SEAL training and the relentlessness of it became the new normal. And so it allowed us as a team to do things that were uncommon. And so I think that’s a really interesting thing to think about, for the listeners is if you change the paradigm and you do something extreme until it becomes normal, then you become uncommon compared to everyone else.
Rich: Yeah, there’s no question about that.
Mark: Doesn’t mean you’re any more special than them, it just means you’re doing things a little bit differently, right?
Rich: Right. I mean, I think that’s absolutely correct. And I think we all to some extent tend to sleep walk certain portions of our lives, and it takes… an extreme experience can shock you out of that and realize that we’re all sitting on top of tremendous, untapped reservoirs of potential just laying dormant and waiting to be more fully expressed.
And the more we can all come into some level of cognizance about that–and that’s different for everybody, what that looks like specifically. But to understand that we are capable of so much more than we allow ourselves to believe is very powerful, and as you know with the experiences that you’ve had, is esteem building spills over into every aspect of who you are and how you choose to live your life.
Mark: Right. Precisely. So when you were walking up those stairs, and you had your second “come to Jesus” moment, how did you go from there to basically… you know, most people would be like, “I’ve gotta get out and do some walking.” Or, “I’ve gotta go to the gym,” or something. And you just went right and ran an ultra-marathon, I think. Something like that.
Rich: Yeah, I mean it wasn’t quite that immediate. There was probably… it kind of seemed like it all happened right away. In truth, in reality, it was probably a 2 year process. Yeah, it was 2 years before I did my first ultra-, which is the Ultraman World Championships. It’s a double Ironman distance race.
But, you know, the first steps were one step forward, two steps back. The first thing I tried to do was master nutrition, and I made a lot of false steps and missteps. I did a juice cleanse and that was kind of revelatory experience or trying to go without solid food for a period of a week. And on the 7th day of that experience… I felt terrible the whole week. I don’t know that I would recommend anybody try it or do it. But the 7th day I felt amazing, and it struck me just how amazing the human body is. If you shift one thing, how different you can feel in such a short period of time. And then I just conducted an experiment on myself to try to find a way of eating that would allow me to feel that good all the time. And I tried on a lot of hats, and tried a lot of different things, and kind of played it out as far as I could, and wasn’t really finding anything that was working for me.

Veganism

[12:37] And I decided to try a 100% plant-based diet, like no animal products, no dairy, no eggs, no cheese. Nothing. Really as a last resort. You know, it wasn’t like I was excited about it. It sounded really severe and very limiting. But I tried everything else, and my expreienc3 with that was that it just agreed with me completely. Within a week of changing to that I felt like I did on that last day of the juice cleanse. And I just went from there and started to educate myself and it really restored my vitality and repaired my body pretty swiftly, and improved my sleep and my mental acumen. Everything was enhanced as a result of making this switch, and that really gave me the energy… for the first time I was excited about the idea of going outside and getting fit again, which is something that I hadn’t experienced in a long time. And I just started thinking a lot about the limits that I’d put on myself. And I started to think about how resilient that human body, mind and spirit really is. Because in a relatively short period of time, I’d switched things up so dramatically, and felt so differently, and my body was looking different and everything seemed to be operating at a higher level. And I started to think, “Well, what else am I not looking at? Where are the outer edges of my capabilities?” And I became obsessed with trying to explore that and find that for myself. Really, less from a perspective of athletic performance, than from a perspective of trying to reconnect with who I am. As I said, I was having this existential crisis. I had these questions about what I was supposed to be doing, and, you know, ultra-endurance is a really great template for exploring that, because it just strips you down–as I’m sure BUD/S does–to who you really are. You can’t hide from yourself. And so, that process of just training did that for me. And taught me a lot about who I am, and what makes me happy, and what I want to express.
Mark: Mm-hmm. Did you have a struggle with just being a plant-based diet with that workload? I mean, how did you maintain your energy and get enough fat in your system and all that kind of stuff?
Rich: I really didn’t. I mean I think that it actually benefitted me tremendously. The foods that I was eating and continue to eat are very anti-inflammatory, and reparative, and very nutrient dense. I was able to bounce back very quickly and progress very rapidly from couch potato to ultra-man in… My condensed really intense period of training for that was about 7 months. And I went from somebody who’d never run a marathon, or never even done a half-Ironman to being able to do Ultra-man. And I credit the way that I was eating in feeling myself to being able… as a crucial component in that success equation. But, you know, I did a lot of smoothies and the vita-mix, where you can cram tons and tons of food into something and drink it. And as far as fats, lots of nuts, seeds and avocados. Coconut oil in my smoothies things like that. But just really getting lots of whole foods in my body. I’m not a low-carb person, I eat a lot of potatoes, and rice, and quinoa and beans. Tons of vegetables and you know, I eat a lot of food, so it’s not… I never felt like I was under-fueled, and it worked for me. The weight came off really quickly, and I was rapidly progressing.
Mark: Mm-hmm. I think one of the biggest challenges with a diet like that, or a fueling plan like that is just the discipline it requires to get the proper food and get enough of it, and to prepare it… you know what I mean? If I could snap my fingers and have the right meals in my hands 3 times a day, I would do it. I’ve probably be 100% whole food, plant-based diet as well.
Rich: Yeah, I mean, I have to credit my wife. Like she was a tremendous support to me and she’s brilliant in the kitchen, and she really worked hard to make sure we had lots of good food around. And she started to really try to take care of me in that regard, and that was instrumental.
Mark: So you don’t eat any meat at all? No animal products?
Rich: No meat, no… it’s been 10 years now, being plant-based.
Mark: Mm-hmm. That’s good for the environment.
Rich: Yeah, I think it’s a lifestyle that really checks all the boxes. Because when you kind of canvas what’s going on in America and across the world right now, we’re in this insane, unspeakable healthcare crisis, where 1 out of 3 Americans die of a heart attack, heart disease. Something like 70% of Americans are obese or overweight. Diabetes rates are through the roof. I think like 30 to 50% of Americans are going to be diabetic or pre-diabetic by 2030. It’s crazy, right?
Meanwhile, we’re decimating the environment, and animal agriculture has a large role in that. So to be able to opt out of that, and not do it from some kind of martyr perspective, but actually to feel great, and be able to perform as an athlete, it just, it feels really good.
Mark: No that’s amazing. I love that. And such a powerful message. I mean, you’re right, the way that we have evolved to eat in the past hundred or probably less, is not only killing the people, but we’re killing the planet. You know what I mean?
Rich: Yeah, and irrespective of whatever you’re dietary preferences are, I think we can all agree that factory farming is an abomination. Nobody supports it, and yet it’s so systemic. So how are we going to feed everyone in a more sustainable way when population is escalating, it’s a very real question and I think we need to be talking about it, and thinking about it more.
Mark: Yeah, I agree. I agree. Well it’s promising to see we can 3D print food, now, instead…it’s possible that technology will help us, you know, create like the Star Trek replicator where we’ll be able to materialize a meal that won’t… have to cut down another hectare of the rain forest to feed more people.
Rich: Yeah. I think there’s some really interesting innovations happening right now with companies like “Beyond Meat” and “Hampton Creek” and “Impossible Foods” that are really creating new ways of producing foods. But I also think it’s important for us to not relinquish our sense of personal responsibility either. We can’t just sit around and wait for somebody to fix the problem by creating a new technological innovation. I think its incumbent upon all of us to be more conscious of the decisions we’re making with respect to how we spend our dollars.
Mark: Yeah. For sure. Totally agree. One of the companies that I’m looking at, and I just put a little money into, is called “Know Food.” And it’s essentially a bread made out of chia, coconut oil and almonds. There’s literally not a single grain of any type of wheat in the bread. And so, they’ll be having pancakes and hamburger buns and, you know, little snack muffins and it’s terrific.
Rich: Oh that’s great. I haven’t heard of that. I’m going to check that out. That sounds pretty great.
Mark: I’m really bullish on them, and one of my friends, Jesse Itzler20:14 just put some money into it, and all sorts of things popping up.
Rich: Aaah.
Mark: You know Jesse?
Rich: Yeah, I do know Jesse. I love Jesse. He’s great.

Ultra-Ironman>

[22:02] Mark: Let’s talk about training for an Ultra-Ironman. You said an Ultra-Ironman is a 2x Ironman? Or is it 3x?
Rich: Yeah, so what happened was, as I started to get fit and got excited about connecting with my body once again, I was looking for a challenge. I’d just turned 40, and, you know, like a lot of guys I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll do an Ironman.” You know, I started mulling that over in my brain. And then I came to… this is where it gets into SEAL stuff… I came across an article that described how this guy, David Goggins, who had just… I’m sure you’re audience all knows who David is, but for maybe the 3 or 4 that don’t, David is a remarkable human being who had been a football player and a power lifter and really quite heavy, and decided that he wanted to honor the memory of some fallen brethren–he’s a Navy SEAL–and he wanted to do that by tackling the 10 most difficult endurance challenges in the world. And this article was describing how he had just competed in this race called “Ultra-man” and had done quite well despite having lots of set-backs, including having to tape his foot to the bicycle pedal and all kinds of craziness.
And I was just fascinated by this story. I was fascinated by what David had done, but also by this race that I’d never heard of. I thought Ironman was the ultimate in endurance challenges, and here was a race called “Ultra-man” that’s been around for… I don’t know, 30 years at this point. But kinda under the radar. No media, no prize money, no press. But it’s quite an extraordinary thing. It’s a 3 day race where the first day, you swim 6.2 miles in the ocean, and then you ride your bike 90 miles. The second day, you race your bike 171 miles, and the third day, you run a 52.4 double marathon. And you circumnavigate the big island of Hawaii over that 3 day period.
Mark: So you get a little bit of sleep at night, though?
Rich: yeah, you get to sleep. It’s like a stage race. Each day. And I just couldn’t believe that human beings could do something like that, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. And it was like this switch got flicked and I knew, deep down, somehow I was going to find a way to the starting line of this race. Even though it made zero logical sense, and I had no resume to establish that I would be capable of doing something like this. But it was like this–I can’t describe it, but it was like this deep knowing, like somehow I was going to figure out how to make my way to this race. So that’s kind of how it began. But it really… the spark was lit for me by David and what he had done, and to this day, he remains… I credit him with giving me the hope and the inspiration that I could do it, and setting the example for me.
Mark: Nice. So how did you learn… like, where did you go to learn how to train for the swim, the bike, the run? Did you find a coach?
Rich: Yeah, I found a coach. I found a coach who knew what he was talking about. I think, you know, we all need coaches and mentors for different facets of our life. I knew that I didn’t know anything about how to do something like this. If I had any chance at all of being able to accomplish something like that, then I was going to need some really smart guidance. So, yeah, I hired a coach. Guy called Chris Hauth. I just had him on my podcast recently for people that want to check that out. And he, very definitely guided me through the process of preparing my body to do something like that. And I learned a tremendous amount about not just endurance training from him, but just about life. It’s been a great relationship, and I’ve been with him for many, many years.
Mark: Hmm. So are you still racing right now? Or what’s on your plate right now?
Rich: No, I haven’t raced in a couple years, but, you know, I’ve remained fit and I still train every day and, you know, I just turned 50 so I got the wheels turning on trying to find another endurance challenge. So I haven’t decided on anything right now, but it’s time for me to get back into it in some regard. So I’m excited to try to revisit that. But, yeah, I haven’t raced since 2011.
Mark: Mm-hmm. Yeah, join the club. The 50 and over, we need like a whole different set of challenges to go after, right? (laughing) I’ve got one for you. It’s called Kokoro camp. How about that?
Rich: What is that? Tell me about that.
Mark: Well, that’s our SEALFIT Hell week, kind of simulation. So it’s 50 hours of non-stop training, which you would have no problem doing. But what’s neat about it, is that it’s really about the team. So I’ve had a lot of endurance athletes, guys who’ve done multiple Ironman and all sorts of stuff come in, and they’re such solitary… I mean, you have a team in terms of prep and everything, but once you’re in the race, you’re there. It’s just you and your thoughts and your emotions. And the way we design Kokoro camp–Kokoro means “heart” in Japanese. It’s a warrior term–Is that you can’t possibly survive it… I mean, you can survive it, but you can’t possibly thrive and get the full lessons out of it without asking for help. And without needing help from your teammates. So really, the first 24 hours, everyone’s trying to navigate it, and just figure out whether I can go for 50 hours without sleep, moving non-stop challenges. And then the second 24 hours becomes really joyous because you realize that with your team, you can accomplish pretty much anything. Like I said earlier, you’re capable of so much more. We call that the 20x factor. You’re capable of so much more, 20 times at a minimum.
So you should come to Kokoro camp. We have 2 of them next year. April and October.
Rich: All right, I’ll think about that. That’s intriguing, that’s intriguing.
Mark: Yeah. You would enjoy it. And really a lot of like-minded folks challenge it. We say that there’s life before Kokoro and then life after it. Everything after it is a little bit easier. You’ve got a new set point.
Rich: I’ll look into that.

Writing and Podcasting

[27:57] Mark: (laughing) So let’s talk about your professional life. All of this journey into vegan lifestyle and ultra-endurance and extreme sports. And self-discovery. You’ve kind of turned that around and now you’re sharing your wisdom. So you’ve got a podcast, you’ve got this book called “Finding Ultra-” I love these long subtitles that our publishers make us put under it. So it’s “Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle-Age, Becoming one of the world’s fittest men.” And then another book called “Discovering myself.”
Rich: “Discovering Myself” is just the end of the subtitle of that first book.
Mark: Oh, it is? “And Discovering myself.” I thought that was another book. So you wrote that book, when did you write that? How did you get that out there?
Rich: That came out in 2012. And yeah, so… that’s a memoir it kind of tells the whole story though my… it’s kind of 3 different book. It’s an addiction recovery memoir. It’s also kind of an inspirational story of taking control of your life through the vehicle of ultra-endurance sports. Through my Ultraman competitions, and this thing called “Epic 5” where I did 5 Ironman’s on 5 Hawaiian Islands in a week. And then it’s also kind of a nutrition primer. Like a lot of stuff on plant-based nutrition, and how I made it work, and continue to make it work. So, yeah, that came out in 2012. When I was writing that book, I was practicing law, training for Ultraman, I’ve got 4 kids. I was like, handling a lot of stuff. So the day that book came out, I stopped practicing law formally for good, and just decided I was going to take this leap of faith in trying to craft a professional life around advocating these ideals that transformed my life, in hopes that I can inspire and educate and help other people to live more authentically and true to themselves. And so it was not a easy… it was very much a challenging couple years there, trying to make it work, especially with 4 kids and a mortgage and all of that. But now I have the great fortune to be able to do it, and it’s been really a beautiful journey for me.
Mark: That is awesome. I love that story. So what’s the center post of your current endeavours? Is it the podcast, or speaking, or what is it that you would say is your main thing right now?
Rich: I think at my core… if people ask me what I do I say writer. So I’m working on a new book right now. But the podcast takes up a lot of my time. It’s definitely the tip of the spear in terms of creating the audience for the ideas that I’m putting out there, so I put a lot of time and effort into that. And as I’m sure you know, it’s really cool, podcasting–you get to meet all these amazing people, and it’s benefitted my life tremendously, and to be able to share that with other people is quite a gift. So the podcast, and I travel quite a bit, public speaking. And we started doing retreats, my wife and I. So we’re doing 4 international groups a year, where we take a small group, like 40 people, and we put them through 7 days of life-transformative experiences. Yoga, meditation, nutrition counseling. Workshops on creativity, and relationships and the like. We’ve done 2 of those so far in Italy. We’re going to Australia in February, and then Ireland in July, so focused on that as well. So it’s not any one thing that I do, it’s a whole multitude of things that come together to make it all work.
Mark: I love that. And I agree with you on the podcast. I’ve been having this kind of internal dialogue and also sometimes it leaks out when I whine about the amount of time that the podcast takes, right? It’s an enormous investment of time, but I always come back and say it’s just incredibly worth it because of all the people I get to meet. And that part is really fun. Good job.
Rich: Yeah, people don’t realize how much time it takes when you really want to do it, and do it well, do it right.
Mark: No, it’s enormous. It’s almost like a whole new business you gotta set up. And everyone’s trying to get into podcasting, and I think you’re right, they don’t have any idea.
Rich: Well I started mine in 2012, so I was hardly an early adopter, but it predated podcasting being “cool.” I don’t know when it suddenly became cool and now everyone’s doing it. And I think I reaped the benefits of getting in a little bit earlier than a lot of people. It’s a beautiful medium, and it’s great to see so many people finding a voice and putting out cool content through audio. I think it’s awesome.
Mark: Yeah, no doubt. I agree. So what’s like your next big thing? You’re writing a book, is that going to be kind of a next generation of what you wrote before? Or does it have a new focus to it?
Rich: Yeah, I mean, my next big thing is really immersing myself in the next book project. And really, the approach with that is going to be taking the wisdom of all these amazing people that I’ve had on the podcast and trying to synthesize that into a digestible primer for how to, like I said earlier, live more authentically and live as healthy as possible. In mind, body and spirit.

Wrap up

[33:21] Mark: Terrific. Awesome. Well, we’ve been… probably should wrap things up. I gotta get rolling here and I know you’ve got a lot going on. People can find you at richroll.com, right?
Rich: Yup.
Mark: Or they can see you at Kokoro camp next October. (laughing)
Rich: (laughing) That’s right. All right, man.
Mark: (laughing) I’m gonna hold your feet to the fire.
Rich: (laughing) Yeah, I know. I feel it. I’m feelin’ the pressure.
Mark: You need that physical challenge. You just said. Well this is something to consider… Kokoro camp is not a physical challenge. I mean, it is, but it’s not. As you know, we do these for different reasons, so this is really more of a spiritual journey, and Kokoro you will tap into that Kokoro heart, center. Meet some extraordinary people who are on the same kind of journey.
Rich: I love that. For me, that’s what it’s all about. And with Ultraman, it was the Hawaiian version of that, which is “Ohana” which means family. And that was a big allure for me was to have this collective experience for self-exploration. So for me, it’s all about that. That’s the journey for me, and that’s what’s attractive to me.
But I will tell you, my Achilles heel is sleep deprivation. That almost killed me during Epic 5, so that’s the hardest thing… The actual, like, doing the… covering the distances in these things that I’ve done are not nearly as hard as trying to do it on no sleep.
Mark: Well, you know, we talked earlier about the body’s ability to accept new normal. It does the same thing with sleep deprivation. But you gotta really lean into it, and go for more than 2 days. I learned this in Hell week as a SEAL trainee. The first 24 hours were brutal. 48 hours was really tough. By the time we got to 72 hours it started to get a lot easier. Just like you experience with an ultra-race, the first one third is the hardest, and then your body says, “screw it.” You know? “This is not going away, I better get onto the bandwagon.”
So yeah, you’re not going to be performing surgery after 3 or 4 days without sleep, but you can get through it, and when you’ve got your team beside you, and you’re focusing on them instead of yourself, then everything starts to come together and you start getting stronger. It’s a very cool experience. So sounds to me like that’s an area that you will… you’ll enjoy your next wave of growth around.
Rich: (laughing) All right, man.
Mark: (laughing) Allison has already got you enrolled by the way.
Rich: (laughing) You’re coming at me hard.
Mark: I’m persistent, aren’t I?
All right, buddy. Well I’ll leave that one to you. I won’t force you to do it.
Super-cool to meet you. Thanks again for your time. Sorry it took us 3 times to get this rolling. But really, really enjoyed the conversation and I look forward to following up. Love to send you a copy of my book. I’d love to maybe get your address, Allison can get your address and I’ll send you a copy of my book, and if there’s anything we can do to help you out, let me know.
Rich: Yeah, absolutely man. All right well I’d love to have you sit down and do my podcast, so maybe we can make that happen.
Mark: I’d love to. That’d be terrific. I’ll have Allison call you.
Rich: Thanks Mark. I appreciate it.
Mark: All right, thanks folks. Rich, thanks so much. Super-awesome to connect with you. You can find more about Rich at richroll.com. Go check out his book “Finding Ultra” and I look forward to connecting more with Rich. For all of you listening, thanks again so much for your support. Train hard, stay focused. Do the work, and we’ll see you next time.
Hooyah!
Coach Divine out.