Plant Sumo Interviews

TJ Waterfall

Meat Free Fitness

TJ is a plant-based registered sports nutritionist. He works with elite vegan athletes such as Premier League and international footballers, pro rugby players, and Team GB Olympians, and is the author of The Plant-Based Power Plan – a book to help anyone improve their strenth, fitness and performance on a plant-based diet. He has a first-class master’s degree in nutrition from UCL and loves to bring clients the best advice based on the latest science and nutrition research.

Checkout TJ’s: LinkedIn

Company Profiles

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

Fiction: anything by Ian McEwan!
Non-fiction: Factfulness by Hans Rosling which reminded and taught me to look objectively at the world's problems. And The Book you Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry has been brilliant at helping us communicate better with our toddler!

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

I find it best to step away from the task in hand, remind myself that it's ok to relax or rest, and return when I feel like I've regained focus and clarity.

In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Meditation and midfulness - it's really helped me to live my life more consciously, mindfully and intentionally.

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

I'd love for everyone to be made aware of the huge benefits of adopting a plant-based diet: for the animals, environment, health and performance!

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

After graduating from my masters in nutrition it took a little while to find my feet - I had to take various temping jobs to pay rent! I definitely had moments where I questioned my decision to change career but it's all been part of an important journey and helped me stay humble and grow to where I am now.

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

I work with plant-based elite athletes to help them bring n their A-game and surpass their competition! I've also authored a book The Plant-Based Power Plan which details the same strategies I use with the athletes I work with so anyone can make sure their diet supports their strength and fitness goals.

Where do you see your industry in the next 5 years?

Veganism will become much more mainstream and widely accepted so I hope there will be a lot more qualified nutritionists recommending evidence-based vegan nutrition advice.

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

Vegan

What's a myth about fitness that you most people believe to be true that's actually false

The amount of protein required to build muscle and strength is usually overestimated, and the amount of protein in whole plant foods is usually underestimated!

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

I'd like to study for a PhD in nutrition to continue learning and growing

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

Counting calories is something many of my clients have been told to do in the past - but it's innaccurate, boring, unsustainable, and can trigger unhealthy eating behaviours. So I tend to encourage clients to tune into their body's internal cues for a more intuitive approach.

What's your favourite vegan meal?

My mum's roast dinners!

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

Definitely studying for a Masters in nutrition. It certainly wasn't cheap but was worth every penny as it's lead me to work with some incredible athletes.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?

Follow your passion and the rest will fall into place.

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

I've played countless different sports throughout my life and I sometimes wonder if all that time was focused on one sport whether I could've made a career out of it! But in truth I love being reasonably good at lots of different sports - the variation keeps it exciting!

What is the most surprising thing you've seen in your industry?

Coffee enemas... WTF?!

What's your favourite holiday destination?

Driving through southern France

What one thing in life do you consider to be overrated?

Money - it's nice to have enough to not worry about it too much, but beyond that it doesn't buy any meaningful happiness.

What's your favourite vegetable?

It has to be the humble potato!

What's your favourite type of exercise?

I'm really enjoying calisthenics at the moment - it's incredible for strength and fitness but it's so much fun that it doesn't feel like a workout at all.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

A bowl of muesli with oat milk and a big green smoothie (banana, spinach, mixed berries, and flaxseeds)

About the Author

Heather-PS

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).