In the 1960s and '70s, Lee Tiger performed with Steve Winwood, the Allman Brothers and other rock legends.
Tiger says he was able to avoid the hard drugs that destroyed so many other musicians of the era, although he admits he was no angel, and remains in good health as he enters his 60s.
To maintain his health, Tiger avoids junk food and works out five days a week.
Why do you keep fit?
It's healthy. A lot of our families in the Miccosukee Tribe have had problems with diabetes after we lived in the Everglades 60 years ago and got food from nature. We had no obesity whatsoever. We were trim the way we were supposed to. That's a cultural thing. But also, myself and my brother began performing [rock music] many years ago, so we wanted to look the best we could. My weight of 170 feels good. I think my girlfriends like that better.
What's your workout routine?
Five days a week [at home], I do 5 miles on a stationary bike, using dumbbells to enhance the exercise. I move them like a locomotive, and also will do stretches, pulling my arms up and back. I invented my own workout. For the biking part, I start out doing moderate, and then speed up, slow down, and then the last 10 minutes I push it, take it to the limit.
You toured a lot as a rock musician. Your body held up?
We did our lion's share of partying. Years after years playing clubs, that really wears and tears you down. But my brother [and band partner] and myself didn't really get into the heavy drug scene, although we saw it. We played alongside many groups that were affected by that. We saw how drugs affected their stage performance, so we tried to keep it clean. But we weren't angels. We had groupies. And we survived it!
Were you physically active as a boy?
I played football in high school and was a fast runner, so I played end. I wasn't tall enough to play basketball, although I liked it. I was into any kind of running sport.
My father wanted us to become educated, and at that time there were no schools on our reservation, so we had to move to Miami and Hialeah. But I would play sports on the reservation sometimes.
When the tribe started [a tourist attraction], I was already a rock 'n' roller, but my father asked me to come back and help. I did, and used my charm to get tour operators to bring groups out. But sometimes, when the alligator wrestler didn't show up, I would wrestle them.
Does your family keep fit?
Everyone's pretty health conscious. My son works out a lot. My father is 91 and he keeps active.
What's your typical diet?
I don't go to junk-food restaurants — that's off the radar for me. And I try to keep from heavy or fattening foods. A lot of times I end up eating out, and if I order a 13- or 14-ounce New York strip, I cut it in half and share with my date. I don't like sweets, so that's one thing in my favor.
My breakfast is light, maybe ham and bread and cheese. Around 1 or 2 o'clock, I might have a six-ounce piece of steak with rice and vegetables, or chicken or fish. And tonight, I'll probably have a salad for dinner.
I drink a lot of orange juice in the morning and drink water a lot.
Adaptation of the food thing has been a challenge for us. One hundred years ago, we were living off nature in the Everglades, which was a supermarket for the tribe: fish, turtle, deer. We grew our own crops. So we kept trim. When the roads were built and Everglades were drained, Seminoles and Miccosukees had to move to the city to find food, so that changed our lifestyle and diet. Now both tribes have problems with obesity. Our clinics have health programs to get people to realize the problem of that, which creates diabetes. It's really bad among Native Americans across the country.
Do you take any vitamins or medications?
I take vitamin supplements like acai and fish oils. I use natural [herbal supplements] for high blood pressure, although mine is not that high. And pills to lower cholesterol.
Where did you acquire your fitness and nutrition knowledge?
My main resource is the Internet. I'll spend hours looking something up to find what's best for me. And also, our doctor at the Miccosukee clinic gives me ideas.
Rocker Lee Tiger says Miccosukees' move from Everglades changed their diet
Lee Tiger, courtesy