Bright and early on a Saturday morning, Orange Police Department Det. Dave Pasino prepares for work.
Clad in a black tank, shorts and running shoes, Pasino heads to the front of the class and talks to his students over his headset mic.
“Let’s get this party rolling,” he says.
The 45 or so students in class – mostly women – follow Pasino along during the opening warmup of his 50-minute weightlifting class at 24 Hour Fitness Yorba Linda.
This isn’t an undercover job — it’s an entirely different gig. And it’s one with seemingly nothing in common with his position as a crimes against persons detective at the Orange PD, but nonetheless existing in perfect balance with it.
“We all have something that we have to do apart from this job,” he says. “This job is stressful… You’ve got to have something outside the police department. This is mine.”
So on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings, Pasino – aka Bodypump Dave – exchanges his holster, gun and badge for running shoes, shorts and a water bottle for 50 minutes of Les Mills Bodypump weightlifting and 50 minutes of Les Mills RPM indoor cycling.
And Pasino has many fans.
“He has students here 17 years old to 74,” says Yorba Linda resident and Bodypump student Anne Evans, 71. “He’s wonderful.”
Lillian Flores, formerly of Anaheim Hills but now making the drive from La Mirada, takes Pasino’s two back-to-back classes Saturday mornings. She likes his personality and sense of humor in class and gets the sense that he really cares. She says she has to get to his first 8 a.m. Bodypump class by 7 a.m. or risk having it fill up.
“It’s a hard class,” she says, adding that she learned he worked in law enforcement about eight months ago. “He gets you motivated.”
His mixture of instruction, motivational chatter, bursts of song (“Eat. Sleep. Rave. Repeat.”) and the occasional dance move keeps the class smiling and entertained despite the pain of reps, squat lifts and other forms of fitness torture.
“Look at you guys keep moving – I love it,” Pasino tells the class.
Some members of Pasino’s fan base also are in law enforcement. On this particular Saturday, there was a small group from the OPD in his RPM indoor cycling class.
OPD Sgt. Rob Thorsen, who works in traffic administration, just started coming to Pasino’s class, which he calls “intense.”
“As much as I don’t want to admit it, he’s really good,” Thorsen jokes.
Det. Julie Taketa has been taking Pasino’s indoor cycling class on and off for two years.
“He talked me into it,” she says. “It’s my absolute favorite… It’s just a great workout.”
Indeed, Pasino’s reputation spans the county.
OPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Phil McMullin, who took both of Pasino’s classes, recalls about two years ago when officers were knocking on doors in south Orange County looking for a suspect.
Pasino knocked on the suspect’s next-door neighbor’s door and upon opening she exclaimed “Bodypump Dave!” Apparently she took one of his classes. Her neighbor was arrested and the nickname Bodypump Dave was born.
Pasino smiles when he’s asked about his repeat students. A little uncomfortable at first with the fandom his classes have brought him, he also spoke with one of his trainer-mentors about it and she advised him to embrace it because it means he’s helping people.
“I try and appreciate what I have and be humble,” Pasino says.
A detective for 12 years (he’s been at OPD since 1996), Pasino was an athlete throughout high school and stayed active through college. He happened upon a Bodypump class while at a 24 Hour Fitness gym one day and decided to try it out.
He was surprised by the challenge of the class and decided to “conquer this.”
After repeat visits, Pasino was approached by a manager about becoming an instructor. He took the certification coursework for Bodypump and started teaching. He later got certified for indoor cycling, kickboxing and core. He’s been teaching for 10 years now and has taught all over the county because he also subs for other instructors.
The music in his classes – which is carefully synced up with the workouts as part of the 24 Hour Fitness standard – is part of what draws him. Raised by a single mother who taught step classes in the ’80s, he used to mix exercise tapes for her to use in class.
“I enjoy doing motivational music,” Pasino says.
The family element of working out continues for Pasino as both his mother-in-law and his wife, an occupational therapist, teach classes at the same gym.
At the heart of why Pasino enjoys teaching fitness classes is the same reason he works in law enforcement: He wants to help people.
“I just enjoy watching people get healthy,” he says.
And he does his best to bring that thinking into police work.
Pasino says while many police officers train and work to maintain fitness, there’s an element of police work that makes it easy to fall into bad habits. Night shifts, for example, may lead to fast-food eating and less sleep, which can affect health over time.
Pasino does his best to motivate his coworkers, even if it’s a slight annoyance to them. He recalls a coworker who drank Coke every day and Pasino would try and encourage him to break the habit.
“Finally, one day, he stopped,” Pasino said. “He dropped 5 pounds just like that.”
At the same time, Pasino understands we all have to live a little and he rewards himself with the occasional fast-food burger.
“You’ve got to enjoy yourself – don’t get me wrong,” he says.
As Pasino continues encouraging health and fitness in Orange County, he’s grateful that both the gym and the Orange PD have been so supportive at his melding of two worlds.
“Seeing these guys in class changes my day just like that,” he says. “I’ll walk out feeling great.”