Dave Grogan: The Strong Arm of the Law
Inspector Dave Grogan buffs up the natural way.
It's one thing to be fit enough to be an operational employee for the U.S. Marshals. But it's another thing entirely to be so physically sculpted that you win several bodybuilding competitions and your picture winds up in a magazine.
Yet, while Investigative Services Division (ISD) Inspector David Grogan is gratified that his hard work has landed his physique onto the pages of magazines such as “Black Men” and “Muscle and Fitness”, he is most proud that he made it there steroid-free – something that he knows is quite rare in the sport he loves.
Hoping to make the football team Grogan, 35, first took to weightlifting when he was 13 years old because he wanted to prepare himself for the rigors of football at Maryland's Oxon Hill High School. Never lacking the personal motivation needed for success, he took to the weight room like a skier to fresh fallen powder.
His body responded.
After high school, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and then enrolled at Bowie State University, from which he received a football scholarship. He set his sights on becoming a deputy marshal, so in 1988 he joined the agency as a cooperative education student with the Centralized Student Career Experience Program.
After graduating from Bowie State, he became a full-fledged deputy in 1990. Two years later he joined the Witness Security Division, now known as the Protective Operations Program.
As his career – and family – took shape, he put his bodybuilding on hold. But he rekindled his passion for the sport when he turned 31. However, he quickly found out that competitive bodybuilding had undergone extensive changes during his absence.
"It had become so much more complex than in previous years," Grogan said. "And there are so many more competitors who go at this without steroids."
After his lengthy hiatus from competitive bodybuilding, he charged full bore back into it – armed and ready to fight and to succeed in the one way he knew.
Although he says that most of the people you see in muscle magazines are chemically enhanced, Grogan took a different tack than steroids to unlock his body's maximum potential. He kept his diet clean – adequate protein, moderate carbohydrates, reduced fats and vitamin/protein supplements – and his workouts intense.
Those who may have thought the seedy side of bodybuilding would discourage the inspector from making great strides completely underestimated the man's desire. He was relentless in the weight room, and he used his single-mindedness to steer clear of the steroids.
"I try and combat myths with reality and the truth," he said. "I wantpeople to see that through hard work and products that they can buy in a grocery store they can achieve their fitness goals.
Through much research and personal experience, he has waded his way throughthe jungle of misinformation.
"The biggest misconception about this sport is that you need to get huge. But it's really about getting rid of body fat and working your muscles. You're not really getting bigger as much as you're losing fat and seeing an illusion of getting bigger."
True to his word, Grogan normally weighs 215 pounds but he drops down to 195 for actual competitions.
The first event he entered was the 1997 World Police and Fire Games in Calgary, Canada. Even though tests for illegal enhancements were not administered, he still won the bronze medal. After a number of local competitions in the Washington metropolitan area, he traveled to Bermuda – where he captured the title of Mr. Coral Island.
One year later, he won the gold medal as well as the overall title of Mr. Top Cop at the World Police and Fire Games in Dallas. Subsequent titles include: Overall Champion for the 1999 North American Bodybuilding Federation's North Carolina Super Natural competition, which earned him status as a natural professional bodybuilder; Heavyweight Open Class Winner for the 2000 National Gym Association American Nationals; and runner-up in the 2000 Natural Mr. Universe competition in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Making an impact
While the awards are nice, Grogan is driven by something much less tangiblewhen he trains for a bodybuilding event.
"It's an extreme commitment," he said, "but I'm energized by the challenge of staying mentally focused on both my diet and my training."
And Grogan is not just interested in his own personal enrichment. He is also a certified personal trainer, and as such, he works hard to educate his clients about the benefits of natural bodybuilding. He said that most of his clients that have followed his lead and taken part in competitions have placed very well.
He routinely holds seminars for the public and he speaks at various engagements, as he recently did at the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). He also participates in numerous career days held by local schools.
Said Dana Rollocks of COPS: "I commend David Grogan for providing a stimulating and productive lecture. [He] did a phenomenal job sharing some of his experiences ... [and] he also provided everyone with helpful hints on nutrition and dieting."
From a professional standpoint, Grogan sees his bodybuilding as beneficial to his work as an inspector.
"You have to stay in shape in order to be productive on this job. And I use competing as a motivating incentive to stay in shape."
He serves as a Fitness In Total (FIT) coordinator for ISD. Protective Operations employees must be FIT tested four times each year, and he is qualified to administer those tests.
Grogan said the FIT tests focus on reducing body fat, increasing flexibility, improving cardiovascular endurance and becoming stronger, and all of these foster a natural interrelationship with his own training.
"Bodybuilding encompasses all of that. And competitive bodybuilding just takes it to another level."
Grogan plans to continue competing as long as he is physically capable. He's also determined to clean up the sport, teaching anyone who will listen that men and women can succeed without taking steroids and damaging their bodies.
In front of him is one overriding fitness dream, and it's no doubt getting closer every day thanks to his upright promotion of the sport and the way he leads by example. Simply put, he wants to represent the United States should drug-free bodybuilding ever become an Olympic competition.
Is this a long shot? Maybe so. Will the fitness industry make it tough for him? Probably. But none of that will deter David Grogan.
"I believe in setting high goals, staying focused and being totally committed to accomplishing my mission.
"Obstacles are only seen when you take your eyes off your goals."
Grogan is the official promoter for the Musclemania Nation's Capital and Fitness America Pageant, held annually at Bowie State University in Bowie, MD. For more information about Dave Grogan and the Nation's Capitol show, visit the official contest website - www.dcbodybuilding.com