Rich Roll is one of the hardiest and physically trained people on the planet.
Rich, a graduate of Stanford and Cornell University, like many in his youth, had problems with alcohol and drugs, and at age 31 fell into a rehabilitation center.
Then his weight increased up to 25 kilograms. On the eve of the 40th anniversary, when he could not climb painlessly up the stairs, Rich realized that he would have a heart attack in the near future unless he changes his way of life.
“During my 20s and the first part of my 30s, I was sort of a lost soul, struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction and it really took me to a very dark place. But I was lucky enough to get sober at 31. I spent 100 days at a treatment facility in Oregon.”
That’s where all started. Now Rich is a world-famous super-hardy athlete, a passionate propagandist of the vegetable ration, husband, and father of four children, a source of inspiration and an example of manhood for people all over the world.
He is one of two participants who managed to completely endure the Ironman Triathlon competition in five Hawaiian Islands during the week.
Last September, the 51-year-old ran 40 miles and swam six miles over 26 islands of the Stockholm Archipelago off Sweden as part of the gruelling Ötillö Swimrun World Championship.
Men’s Health caught up with him to hold a small interview. Arguably the world’s fittest vegan alive revealed his own beliefs about veganism, his training system and so on.
According to him, we live in a society in which people are deliberately misled and forced to believe that meat and dairy products are the only valuable source of food protein. Without enough animal protein, it is impossible to be healthy, let alone to play sports. Protein, protein, protein – the more, the better.
“Regardless of whether you are a professional athlete or constantly lying on the couch, this principle is so deeply rooted in our collective belief system that challenging its legitimacy is nothing but a heresy,” Roll continues.
Through experience, he came to the conclusion that this common approach is at best a delusion, if not a complete lie. The lie fueled by a well-funded misinformation campaign, conditioned by the interests of wealthy producers from the agricultural sector. Representatives of industrial livestock industry spend a huge amount of money on advertising, designed to convince society that we absolutely need these products to continue to breathe air.
Also, he was asked about his daily ratio: “I would generally start the day with a green smoothie with dark leafy greens: kale, spinach, chard. Beets became a go-to for me. They’re an amazing endurance booster, so beets, beet greens will always make their way into my morning smoothie. Also, lots of berries: blackberries and blueberries. And then some of the more exotic superfoods like matcha, chia seeds, ground flaxseed, spirulina. The smoothie is really kind of centerpiece. In terms of meals, lots of rice and beans, veggie burritos, gigantic salads with lots of vegetables, steamed broccoli, and then eating a heavier dinner.”
For a long period of time, his favourite workout routine was swim, bike, run and some yoga and stretching. But getting older, being in the gym and maintaining his strength has become much more of a priority specifically in the past year.
“Yes, I do sit-ups, but I do lots of planks, push-ups, inverted sit-ups to strengthen my lower back, lots of squats, including air squats, kettlebell work, medicine ball work, lunges. And then, I do some really basic weight work. I like to do low weight, high rep stuff on all the basics: bench press, floor exercises, sled work for the quads and all the typical stuff you’d do in the gym.”
When talking about if he considers himself as the fittest vegan he said the next: “That’s a heavy title. I’m not so sure I could claim that crown and one of the reasons for that is we’re seeing the explosion of vegan athletes right now.”