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East County Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020 1 year ago

Lakewood Ranch doctor delves into men's health with his first book

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Side of Ranch: Jay Heater
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

I fluffed up the pillows at the head of my bed and laid back to read Tracy Gapin's first book, "Male 2.0: Cracking the Code to Limitless Health and Vitality."

Golfer Phil Mickelson was making his Champions Tour debut now that he has reached the age of 50, and I had the golf coverage on a big screen television, which sits on my dresser, to provide some inspiration.

Although I had a beer earlier, I had a plastic bottle of water next to the bed in case I got a little thirsty. I was ready to go, with my beer belly bump serving as a sometimes resting place for my water bottle. Oh, wait, I couldn't start until I downed that chocolate ice cream bar.

Then I started reading.

Side of Ranch: Jay Heater

I figured this experience could go either way. Gapin, who lives in Lakewood Ranch, is a doctor, a board certified urologist. Being a doctor usually is the kiss of death for a writer, at least in my mind.

Over the years, I've read my share of medical books, magazine articles and columns. You know that show, "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?" That especially applies to medical-themed prose. If you've got to be a Rhodes scholar to understand these offerings, they've lost me, and 90% of their audience.

It didn't take long to find out Gapin's first attempt at a novel was far more story than encyclopedia. That was good in a way, and bad in a way.

Gapin's storytelling skills captured my attention and made me want to read more about men's health. But in reading through the chapters, faster and faster, I began to understand what a mess I am.

That water in a plastic bottle? No, not healthy, according to Gapin. Television in the bedroom? No, no. Beer belly? No, no, no. Ice cream bar? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Worse yet, it all made perfect sense.

Gapin's hope is to inspire men to be more responsible about their health. In a world where people believe not being sick and being healthy are the same thing, Gapin is intending to continue his trend as a self-proclaimed pioneer by pushing a proactive approach to health for men. If you would like to read more about his achievements or check out his blog, go to DrTracyGapin.com.

He lets men know that before it all can begin, they need the right mindset.

Normally, I would have put the book down at that point and turned my attention to the television. Me having the right mindset to be healthy? That's funny.

But instead, I continued reading because I never felt Gapin, 48, was lecturing me about my ice cream bar or my misplaced TV. 

Keeping me interested were Gapin's stories, which included his own failures. He wrote about his workaholic routine and poor diet that led him to being overweight, out-of-shape and disinterested in much outside of work. It was a "I've been there, so if I can do it, so can you," narrative.

"My goal never was to sell books," Gapin said. "I want my books to educate men in real person language. I am not a writer in the true sense, and I use a lot of anecdotes and stories. But I am proud of it. It's my voice."

It's an interesting voice.

He wrote how his poor choices were affecting the things he cared about most — his wife Sara, 6-year-old son Graham and 4-year-old daughter Reese. He started to understand "the why" when it came having a healthy mindset.

It took a doctor's visit of his own to realize he was a mess. His physician told him to eat better, exercise and take a few pills and things would be rosy. He was smart enough to know it wasn't that easy.

He also knew that the same advice had been given countless times by countless doctors. And that was the standard reaction since men never seek medical attention until they have an illness. Then they receive a one-size-fits-all prescription.

"There has to be a better way," he said.

He began writing about those better ways so he can personalize plans for men to achieve their ultimate health. He currently is checking out sites and buildings to pick the appropriate spot.

He hopes men who read "Male 2.0" are incentivized.

I finished the book (you can get your own copy on Amazon or beginning Sept. 1 at DrTracyGapin.com/limitless) and thought about whether I have the dedication to make it all work. Before I finished the last chapter, I already had replaced the plastic bottle with a glass of water by the bed and the television had been turned off. 

I guess it's a start.

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