The Three Pillars of Performance | Paddle Nutrition Expert Scott Estrada

Scott Estrada, CPT/CN Scott is a certified nutrition consultant, and he has been coaching and consulting in the field of human performance for over 25 years. He is the health/nutrition coach for Standup Paddler magazine.


Article Quick Take

- There are very real opportunities for improved paddling performance, aka paddling faster, emerging from the world of nutrition science.

- Improvement comes from a focus on hydration, what you drink rather how much; Gut health, expand and improve your micro-biome for improved performance; and breath work, nasal breathing for improved performance under stress.

- Scott provides specific, actionable steps and recommended services/products in each category.


As guest speaker at the Tahoe Waterman December EXPERT Speaker Series, Scott zeroed in on our simple performance question - How do I paddle faster? But, Scott views the world through the lens of a nutrition expert, so his POV is pretty unique. I'm betting you probably haven't heard much about his "Pillars of Performance" - but you should. Nutrition for paddle athletes presents tremendous opportunities for performance gains. Check it out.

Tip #1 Hydration

Always source the most pure water to start with. A high level filter is recommended. Bottled water can be an option but not from single use plastic. We can do better than contribute to the attachment to plastic we have and the toxic petroleum based molecules that leach into the overpriced water stored in those bottles.

Hydration isn’t about how much water we drink, but rather, how much gets into our cells. This is accomplished via minerals and the negative polarity that draws the water inside the cell vs bypassing and peeing out clear urine.

Add liquid Ocean Minerals to all your water, soups/broths, smoothies & fresh juices.

Pristine Hydro Water Revival System; this system is the most advanced system I’ve used in 30 yrs, ultra-pure, structured, alkaline via bicarbonate minerals with a low TDS (total dissolved solids) score.

Tip #2 Gut Health

Our very vulnerable gut membrane with much of our immune system lying right behind this vital barrier system is under the greatest of attacks ever experienced by humans at this stage of life. Everyone, in varying degrees, is experiencing separation of self-identity, failing boundaries and lack of repair via the complex communication network that has been compromised from massive chemical treated soils and layers of antibiotic saturation into our culture. (glyphosate)

We are a mirror of the poor soil conditions we have allowed to dominate.

Use ION Biome as a tool to bring back cellular communication allowing the body’s intrinsic healing & repair system to come back online and rebuild the healthy barrier system.

Eat a bio-diverse, organic, whole foods nutrient rich intake to expand your micro-biome. Common probiotics aren’t the solution. Rather eat wild fermented foods, get yourself into wild spaces in nature as much as you can. Grow food, get into the soil, plant herbs, and bring plants into your home and near where you sleep. Touch the Earth as a daily practice with you bare feet. Get natural sunlight as much as you can.

A healthy micro-biome is the foundation to all human performance and recovery. We can’t perform our best if our barrier system is compromised at the core level of our biology.

Tip #3 Breath Work

Strictly speaking, this is not nutrition-related but it's one of the most practical, useful emerging areas for improved paddler performance: breathing.

Regulating breath is vital if you want to perform your best under stress. Nasal breathing is the daily practice to re-train our system to elevate any activity. If you’re a mouth breather use special tape to re-train your system to breath from the nose. This will not only greatly reduce inflammation, increase performance, improve sleep but also help heal your gut micro-biome by repairing the vital nasal cavity ecosystem, a complex signaling system to the entire body.

Begin by walking daily at a brisk pace but not too brisk where you can’t nasal breath. Build from there and bring this into your paddling which might require you to slow the pace some until you can regulate nasal breathing to build cadence. Breathe with intention in all you do. Slow down and de-stress with your breath. Square breathing 4 sec inhales, 4 sec hold, 4 sec exhale, 4 sec hold for 10 rounds is a great way to get out of fight or flight mode and ground yourself if stressed.

A Few Last Thoughts

Focus on these Pillars to shore up foundational weaknesses to elevate your performance in all areas.

Reach out for more info or if you have questions:


Coach Jay Wild

About Scott Estrada

Scott is a certified nutrition consultant, and he has been coaching and consulting in the field of human performance for over 25 years. He is the health/nutrition coach for Standup Paddler magazine.

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