Welcome Marcus Leach !
Marcus Leach isn’t your average person. But then with a motto of ‘why live life on the edge when you can jump off it’, you wouldn’t expect him to be. A self-confessed lover of anything to do with food he divides his time between life as a husband and father, taking on any challenge that involves mountains and sharing his ‘Champion’s Mindset’ with businesses and entrepreneurs as a public speaker. Amongst all of that he finds time to create heathy recipes that compliment his and his family's active lifestyle.
How would you describe yourself?
In a nutshell I’m an adventure athlete and inspirational speaker with a passion for anything to do with food and cooking. I’m at my happiest when in the mountains, preferably with my family, and living life to the full. We only get one shot at life and I intend to make the most of it.
Where does your love of food stem from?
For as long as I can remember food has been an integral part of my life, and something that I’ve had a passion for. I grew up in the countryside where my grandparents had a small farm, and I used to spend a lot of my free time helping out there at weekends and during school holidays. My granddad had a huge vegetable and fruit garden, so there was always an abundance of fresh seasonal produce, and my Gran was a great cook and always had something on the go in the kitchen. As I little boy I was fascinated by watching her cook whatever my Granddad had in the garden at the time. The same with my Mum, she always made everything from scratch and meal times were something I looked forward to every day. Those early memories have stuck with me and shaped my own views on food.
How has your own food philosophy developed?
Over the years I have always cooked, but I guess in terms of my own philosophy, which is very much focused on creating a healthy sustainable lifestyle, it has evolved over the last three years. Although the roots of it go back to those early experiences at the family farm. At the start of 2014 I had reached a point where, having enjoyed life a little too much for too long, I was unhappy about how I looked and felt and knew that I needed to make a change. So I made a decision to get fit, not knowing that that one simple decision would lead on to a completely new lifestyle.
Having committed to transforming my physique through going to the gym and lifting weights it didn’t take long for me to realise that most of the fitness models who I aspired to look like lived pretty dull lives when it came to food. Grilled chicken or fish, boiled rice and steamed broccoli, usually eaten out of a tupperware, at least four times day was not my idea of fun. So I set about proving that you can get in to great shape without sacrificing your love of food. My focus was on creating recipes that not only fuelled my body, but first and foremost excited mine and my wife's tastebuds.
You mention creating a healthy sustainable lifestyle, what does that entail for you?
It’s very much about focusing on creating a relationship with food where the focus is on healthy, tasty meals that form part of a lifestyle that can be sustained for years. I hate the word ‘diet’ because to me that implies that you will follow a set of rules for a certain time frame and then, once you’ve finished, you’ll go back to how you were before. Instead, we need to focus on making lasting changes that will have a positive impact on our health, which means eating good quality food, but also making sure we are active. It doesn’t have to be quite on the same level as me when it comes to fitness, but we all need to be moving and exercising, in one way or another, on a regular basis.
Through my own recipes I hope to show people that it’s possible to lead a healthy lifestyle, especially when it comes to food, without having to sacrifice either taste or enjoyment. At the heart of this is good quality, natural ingredients which can, with relative ease, be transformed in to a variety of exciting dishes that are suitable for the whole family. Whilst I have no formal qualifications as a chef I have enjoyed a few spells as a stagiaire, including a week at a French restaurant in the Beaujolais region, which taught me so much about using simple yet quality ingredients.
Away from food you have taken on some impressive challenges over the past few years, but even by your standards this year you are taking it to a new level?
Yes, you could say that. When I finished my body transformation I thought ’there’s more to life than looking good with your top off’, even though my wife might disagree with me on that one, and wanted to challenge myself in new ways. Since then I have been a continual quest to take on a series of challenges that force me to test the boundaries of what’s possible. It started with cycling up Alpe d’Huez, followed by London to Brighton and back, and has gone on to include successfully climbing Mont Blanc and Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, as well as taking on some of Europe’s toughest cycling races.
But this year, as you say, is going to be on a different level altogether. Along with four other riders, I will be taking on the 3 Tours Challenge, which will see us cycle the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, a total of nearly 11,000km over the three races. We will do the exact same route as the professionals, just one day ahead of them. To put it into perspective only 39 professional cyclists have ever completed all three Grand Tours in the same year before, so I am under no illusion as to the magnitude of this challenge. But if you don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone you'll never grow. In the process we will be raising £1 million for Cure Leukaemia, which will enable them to expand the world-leading Centre for Clinical Haematology (CCH) at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and move ever closer to finding a cure and put an end to so much suffering.
I am a big believer that there are no limits to what we can achieve in life, no matter what our starting point is. With the right mindset, belief and focus we can achieve so much more than we often imagine top be possible. Had somebody told me three years ago that this is what I would be doing I would have laughed, and yet here I am about to embark on the challenge off a lifetime. Through my own journey I want to inspire others to step out of their comfort zones and follow their dreams, because ultimately I am just an average guy proving that with the right mindset we can achieve pretty extraordinary goals in life, no matter what our starting point is. As well as that I want to set an example for my little boy and show him that, as he grows up, there is nothing he can’t do. And, at the heart of all I continue to do is, of course, food.
BearFaced is delighted to say that Marcus will be providing a collection of recipes over the coming months, as well as sharing more of his inspiring story through a series of blogs with us. Be sure to keep up-to-date with his journey via our blog, as well as on social media by searching for MarcusLeachFood on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook