For those of you who don’t know, Rich Roll is an ultra-endurance athlete, author and speaker who also happens to have one of the top-rated health and wellness podcasts in existence. His personal story is an amazing one of transformation: After kicking an addiction to alcohol in his 30’s, the LA entertainment lawyer found himself 50 pounds overweight, gasping for breath and doubled over in pain at the top of a flight of stairs on the eve of his 40th birthday. Fed up with life as he knew it, he vowed to make a change then and there, and adopted a totally vegan diet the next day. Over the next two years, he quit practicing law and started working out – a lot. In 2008, he became the only vegan athlete to ever complete the Ultraman World Championship race, an invitation-only, 3-day double Ironman. The following year, he was invited back and held a 10-minute lead over the rest of the field on Day 2, when he crashed his bike. Despite his injuries, he finished the bike ride and went on to run a sub-8-hour double marathon the next day to finish in 6th place among a field of world-class endurance athletes.
The Rich Roll Podcast is full of inspirational stories just like that one. Here’s his mission, as written on his website, and spoken at the beginning of each podcast episode:
“Each week Rich delves deep into all things wellness with some of the brightest and most forward thinking, paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship & spirituality. Intimate, deep and often intense, these are not interviews. They are conversations. A weekly aural dance designed to provoke, educate, inspire and empower you to discover, uncover, unlock and unleash your best, most authentic self.”
The episodes are long – between one and two hours – which is perfect if you’re an endurance athlete yourself and looking for a way to feed your mind on your long runs. It’s also a great way to pass the time on your commute to work or (gasp!) to fill those idle minutes at work when you’ve finished your stuff but the clock says you still have to be there.
Many of the guests on the podcast are vegan or vegetarian, but not all of them are. In fact, the topic of diet only comes up in a little over half of the episodes. Other common topics include business, science, innovation, relationships, fitness/sports, and recovery. This wide diversity is one of the reasons why this is my favorite podcast of all time – it’s not the same old thing rehashed week after week. It’s also not just a guy up on his high horse spewing the gospel according to him, nor is it two guys bantering back and forth like a couple of frat brothers. The content is high-quality, thought-provoking and very engaging. I have yet to listen to an episode and not get something truly meaningful out of it (though I did skip the Tucker Max episode on purpose), and I’ve found that it fuels my motivation and often sparks creative ideas of my own.
One of my favorite episodes is the recent talk Rich had with NFL defensive linebacker, David Carter – AKA The 300-Pound Vegan. I’m not a 300-pound anything, and I’ll never need to eat 10,000 plant-based calories in a day, but the segments about Carter’s transformation from being plagued by injury and metabolic disease to getting healthy and gaining over 40 pounds of muscle were absolutely fascinating. (If you’re pressed for time, you can hear that part of the talk between minutes 34 and 64, but I really recommend the whole episode!)
Two other excellent episodes were the March 8 conversation with Preston Smiles, titled “Why You Should Love Louder” and Episode #156 with Fully Raw Kristina. Give one of these episodes a try and see if you don’t love the show! If none of the ones I’ve recommended sound interesting to you, you can browse from among 160 others on his website, iTunes or SoundCloud.
Do you have a favorite podcast you listen to? I’m always looking for entertaining content that will also challenge me to think and grow. Please share your favorites in the comment section below or on my Facebook page!