Fit for Duty: David Tilley

David Tilley writes regularly for Vegas Beat to highlight the importance of fitness and to share some of our members’ fitness routines and secrets. If you would like to be profiled, feel free to reach out to him at

fit-for-duty-david-tilley-1Highlighted Member
David Tilley
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 185
Years on the Department: 7

How did you get started in Men’s Physique?

Surrounding myself with people who are in similar fields, like Art Hawkins, my first interviewee, or Ray Steiber, from the previous issue, unknowingly motivated me for my first competition. Witnessing their preparation and seeing the end result was inspiring and made me realize I, too, can achieve this. Competing in men’s physique was a way for me to see how far I can take my mind and body.

I competed twice within four weeks of each other, which was quite a challenge, in the National Physique Committee (NPC) and the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA). We all tend to create barriers within ourselves in the form of excuses, and I’m not exempt. My biggest worry was how I was going to juggle being a new father, a police officer and a men’s physique competitor. Not many people know this, but my mom was a bodybuilder back in the day and raised two kids while working a full-time job. That was inspiration enough and made me realize if you really want something, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it.

What is your current training routine?

My training routine changes constantly, primarily to prevent boredom. I’ll never do the same style of exercise twice in that week and often change my entire workout completely every two months or so. For example, if on chest day that week I use a barbell, the next time I do chest I may use dumbbells or cables or just combine them. Also, that first month I may be doing a five-day split routine (one major body part for each of those five days) and then do Olympic lifts only or circuit training the next month. Changing up my routine could be as simple as increasing or decreasing my rest between sets. This is why it’s difficult to work out with me.

Currently, I’m doing what’s called “super sets.” A super set is combining two muscle groups, going from one exercise directly to the other without resting. For example, I’ll complete 12 repetitions of bench press and then immediately start shoulder pressing. I’ll do a brief rest, and then I’ll repeat for three or four sets. During my competition preparation, my workout was comprised of a full-body split, targeting one body part a day throughout the week, fartlek training and steady-state cardio.

The types of cardio I include are interval, Tabata and steady-state cardio. How I do these are normally on a spin bike, running outside, on a heavy bag or even at the HQ parking garage. I recommend running up those stairs at that parking structure several times for a great workout or jog on the first floor, and at the second floor ramp, do a sprint. Jog around the second floor, and at the third floor ramp, do another sprint. Continue until you reach the fifth floor. I typically do it twice, sometimes with a gas mask on.

fit-for-duty-david-tilley-2What is your current diet and supplementation routine?

My diet is very simple, but necessary for my lifestyle. One look at my training routine and I’m often accused of over-training, which is possible if I wasn’t eating properly. I eat roughly four to six times a day. My carbohydrates come from fruit, vegetables, natural peanut butter, which also contains fat and protein, rice, often in the form of rice cakes, and sometimes oatmeal and sweet potatoes. My protein sources are typically chicken, fish and beef. My fat comes from avocados, coconut and olive oil, and fish oil. I allow myself to eat whatever I want only during holidays and birthdays. However, I always do legs on those days prior to stuffing my face. I also drink water, black coffee, tea and will have the occasional sugar-free Rockstar P# 13362 during work.

This works for me, and I strongly urge you to research everything before you test it out. The majority of the fitness world is based on trial and error and the realization of “what may work for me, may not work for you.” Also, just like my workouts are constantly changing, so is my diet.

What is your next fitness goal?

I’ve recently placed men’s physique on the backburner, but who knows what 2017 has in store for me. I recently tore my posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) located in my knee, which will sideline me from training until I recover. I’m also working on ways to expand the importance of health and fitness within LVMPD, which is what I’m aiming to accomplish with these articles. I’m thankful the LVPPA heard my pitch and granted me the opportunity to express my passion in the Vegas Beat magazine. A huge accomplishment would be to bring gyms back to the area commands, or at the very least, centralized at headquarters where LVMPD employees can feel safe to work out in a familiar environment for free.

fit-for-duty-david-tilley-3How has being fit help you be a better police officer?

The dictionary defines fit as being “sound physically and mentally.” I completely agree and associate this with police work. In my short career, I’ve been in numerous fights and foot pursuits where I’ve found self-satisfaction knowing the suspect is completely tired while I’m ready for round two. Also, my partners have counted on me to be there for them when needed, from being in 416s to jumping over fences and walls. Not to mention being mentally drained toward the end of the day and that one officer who decides they are going to do a last-minute 468 when it’s time to secure (you know who you are), and the next thing you know … “foot pursuit!” Part of being mentally fit is switching your mind state from “time to go home” to “I’m going to get this suspect.” I’ve been there and it’s gratifying to know your training is working.

If you were the Sheriff, how would you incorporate fitness into the Department?

If I were Sheriff, I would definitely place gyms in the different area commands. Studies show that being fit decreases the risk of job-related injuries, fatigue, on-duty heart attacks and lowers your risk of heart disease after you retire. Your personal well-being is also improved, which makes for a positive work environment. Secondly, I would find a way to provide basic nutritional information to help lower those risks associated with a sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. Third, I would instill a yearly physical fitness test that rewards individuals who maintain a healthy status. I don’t see any logic behind going through a physically demanding academy knowing it stops once you graduate. I’m sure most of us can say we were in the best shape of our lives during that time and felt great. Imagine continuing that feeling throughout your career.

I want to take this time to thank my readers. Thank you for spending five minutes out of your lives reading these interviews. Like I said before, fitness and nutrition are something I’m passionate about and I hope you are inspired to not only be the best police officer, but also the best person you can be when it comes to health.