Plant Sumo Interviews - cliff harvey

Cliff Harvey

Holistic Performance Institute

Dr Cliff Harvey (PhD, DipFit, DipNat) is a registered clinical nutritionist, former world champion and world record-holding strength athlete, and researcher. He has been coaching people ranging from world champion athletes through to the chronically and acutely unwell to perform at their best, since the 1990s. Cliff’s research has focussed on the use of medium-chain triglycerides to mitigate ‘keto-flu’ and encourage faster induction of nutritional ketosis, and on identifying markers of carbohydrate tolerance and appropriateness of different diets to individuals. He is the founder of the Holistic Performance Institute, a private tertiary college, and a board member of the Clinical Nutrition Association, the Sports Nutrition Association, and a technical advisor to the Health Coaches Association of New Zealand & Australia.

Checkout Cliff’s: LinkedIn

Company Profiles

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why?

Probably 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho. I haven't given this for a long time but there was a time when a bunch of my clients really benefitted from the book and I gave quite a few away as a result.

When You Feel Overwhelmed Or Unfocused, Or Have Lost Your Focus Temporarily, What Do You Do?

I stop, take a break, and either do some light bodyweight exercise, mobility, or a mindfulness of breath meditation. If I can't get my 'mojo' back, I take the rest of the day off!

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — what would it say and why?

Stop. Breathe.

What is the most significant thing that someone much younger than yourself has taught you?

I have really appreciated the comments, suggestions, and wisdom of my students. I'm not 'old' but I'm a middle-aged white dude and while I was considered super-progressive when I was younger, the world continues to move forward, and to be on the right side of history, we need to learn from the new generations.

Tell us about your business. What does it do and what value do you add?

We train nutrition coaches, health coaches, sports nutritionists, and clinical nutritionists at The Holistic Performance Institute. I believe we're adding value by providing holistic yet highly evidence-based information and education and allowing credible pathways to registration and accreditation for our students.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I'd love to be a crooner!

Are you vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or something else entirely?

I'm an omnivore. We eat loads of veggies...and I was a vegetarian for many years but now I find my health is best when I eat a little meat.

What's your favourite type of exercise?


What Purchase Of £/$100 Or Less Has Most Positively Impacted Your Life In The Last Six Months?

Kindle Paperwhite. I read at least a novel a week and this lets me read without lugging books and without waking up my partner!

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

That any particular diet is THE way. Some people thrive on low-carb, high-carb, high-fat, low-fat etc. It's horses for courses and nutrition is about waaaay more than just physiology...the psychosocial milieu is equally as important.

What's your favourite vegan meal?

I have a simple 'go to' plant-based meal. I take a whole bunch of salad greens, drizzle with white wine or rice vinegar, add pumpkin seeds and either sprouted lentils or mung beans, and dress with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?

Investing time into 'me' whether it's for training, gardening, meditation etc is the best and most worthwhile investment I have made.

When did you first become a rebel?

I was kicked out of high school and shortly after was kicked out of University nutrition class. I guess I've always been a bit of a rebel and I haven't always been on 'the right side of the tracks' (I outline my journey in my latest book "The Credo") but not because of a desire to be contrary but instead because of a sense of natural justice and scientific enquiry. Interestingly many years later I completed my doctorate in Nutrition at the University that had kicked me out of nutrition class!

What is a 'hack' you have for success that most people don't know about?

Do the most important thing first...and do it every day. Simple.

What's your favourite sport?

Catch wrestling

About the Author


Heather Wilkinson is a globe-trotting content creator and PR enthusiast who’s finally put down roots in her native UK. When she isn’t working, you’ll find her pretending to care about Minecraft for her son’s sake, while secretly reading the latest Ace Atkins novel (or sleeping – her second favourite past-time).