When I moved to Cleveland, I was working out at a gym doing basic weight training and cardio. I was overweight, I was married but my husband didn’t live here, and I was in a new city and knew no one other than my sister.
My sister was a CrossFit coach at CFD and started inviting me out to hang with the CFD crew before I started going to the gym. From the very beginning everyone was welcoming in a way I had never experienced. Even before I was a member I felt a part of their community because I was “Nicky’s sister.”
When I joined, coaches took time out of their day to help me one on one learn all the new movements. I worked a lot on Saturdays and Coach Kyle would meet me after work, open up the gym, and smash with me (admittedly, my smashing back then wasn’t impressive). As the months went by, I began to do things I never thought I could do and my body changed in ways I never thought possible.
In the two years I’ve been going to Distinction, I have been through some incredibly trying times in my personal life. During everything, no matter what, I knew when I walked in that door, none of it mattered. I moved to a new city across the state on my own, got divorced, and started two new jobs within three years. My constant during all of this has been CrossFit Distinction. No matter what I go through, no matter how badly I feel, I know when I walk in those doors, my family is there and they will support me. There is no community to compare. To me it seems crazy to think that for the majority of my life I didn’t know these people. The closest and strongest friends I have ever met came from Distinction (I would name them but it’s too many and you know who you are). They are my rock and my inspiration. I can’t imagine my life without this place and everything it has taught me.

CrossFit Distinction (CFD) changed my life. I knew from the time I walked into CFD that it was the place that would give me my life back. Two years prior to finding CFD, I had been an avid gym junky and was in what I thought was the best shape of my life, until I was faced with some unexpected health issues that forced me to refrain from strenuous exercise for almost two-years. During the time I spent away from the gym I gained close to 65 lbs. and was not only miserable but embarrassed.
I recall the first time I ever stepped foot into CFD, I was nervous and intimidated at first sight but was greeted immediately by two individuals who were so welcoming that my fears and insecurities immediately subsided. I remember being asked to come back over the weekend to do the intro WOD (workout of the day) so I could see what CrossFit (CF) was all about. Once I completed the intro WOD, I was hooked. Even though the intro WOD kicked my butt and my heart was pumping so hard as I gasped for air, I knew not to worry, it was just my body reminding me that I was still alive. At that time, I realized that I had just accomplished something that I was unsure I would ever be able to do again. Two years prior I had a saddle embolus and was diagnosed with idiopathic chronic pulmonary emboli that caused heart damage and infarcted one-third of one of my lungs. After that, I honestly didn’t know if I would ever be able to workout again at the level of intensity that I had become accustomed to prior to having any health issues.
After completing the intro WOD, over the next couple of weeks I went on to complete the starter series. Once completing the starter series, I came back for my first “real” WOD. My first WOD I completed with other CFD members was no ordinary WOD. What made this WOD so special is that it was set-up to benefit a fellow gym member who was battling cancer. I remember thinking how rare it was to see a “gym” go all out to support one of their fellow members. After experiencing such an event, it solidified my decision to join CFD even more. From that point on I knew with some hard work and the support of the CFD coaches and community, that this was how I was going to regain my strength and endurance that I had lost over the past two years.
Not only is CFD a gym with the best coaches and owners around, it is also a family. After the weight gain I had become somewhat secluded and embarrassed to be seen. With the constant support and encouragement that I have received over the past three years from the coaches and CFD members I no longer feel embarrassed nor the need to seclude myself. Since starting at CFD I have gained some life-long friends that I not only consider my friends, but family. The way CFD comes together to support one another is unheard of. I’ve learned that there is no reason to be intimidated by the elite, the young or the outright amazing individuals I workout with on a daily basis because no matter your age, size, athletic ability everyone is there to cheer one another on and the only person you are truly competing with is yourself.
Some of my favorite moments since starting CFD is seeing my intro WOD time go from 26:06 min to 12:48 min within my first year while using 20 lbs. more than I did the first time I completed it. I also can remember when I first started at CFD I couldn’t even run 1 lap (400 meters) around the building without stopping to catch my breath several times. Over the past few years, since joining CFD, I have been fortunate enough to complete several 5Ks, a 10 K, the Cleveland 10 Miler, a biathlon, and the Spartan Beast (16.6-mile obstacle course) all alongside at least one fellow CFD member. Looking back, it is highly unlikely I would have been able to do any of these events if it hadn’t been for the support of my CFD family.
As we all know in CF there is always room for improvement no matter if it is learning a new skill, mastering a lift or hitting a new PR. Regardless, as a member I know that I will always have the CFD coaches and community in my corner cheering me on as I reach a new goal or supporting and encouraging me to try again when I fail. You can call me biased, but from my personal experience, I honestly do not know another type of fitness community that exists that can compare to the awesomeness that is CFD.

Below is a note we received from Meghan after her completion of the CFD 30 Day Lifestyle Challenge:

As I drove home from my eleven-hour work day spent with about 100 prepubescent tweens, I prepared myself for the familiar feeling of complete exhaustion and near shut down.  Getting into my car is often the first opportunity I have to sit down all day.  I usually race home to the comfort of a power nap, blasting music to distract from my cluttered head.

That feeling did not come today; I was consciously looking for it.  After a certain exit, where the wall would hit me without fail, I thought to myself, “Ok, here we go, keep those eyes peeled and you’ll make it!”   But it did not.  This, my friends, is a true first.

And what can I attribute this to, you ask?  Not to be dramatic or anything, but taking on the Crossfit Distinction’s Whole 30 Lifestyle Challenge changed my life…dramatically!  Having more energy has been just one of the many gifts of the challenge.

About a year ago a friend of mine did a Whole 30 challenge.  I did not know what it was but I judged it as pretty lame and probably an excuse to lose weight.  As someone who has not owned a scale for a decade, I did not care what I weighed because I felt generally healthy.  Besides my vices of hoppy beer and sweets, I exercised regularly, ate a variety of foods and made sure that produce made an appearance at most meals.  Little did I know how good I could feel and that losing weight was not the point at all.

Flash forward to the CFD Whole 30 Lifestyle Challenge.  I recently became a member of Crossfit Distinction in January;  I have been doing Crossfit for two years but felt I hit a plateau and needed a change.  When I heard about the challenge I immediately thought to myself, “Hells no! I’m too busy!  I’m over-committing! No beer, no way!”.  But then I learned you could have coffee and it all changed.  Just kidding, (well, kind of…)

A few days before the challenge began, the imaginary peer pressure was too much for me.   Instead of “hells no”, I then thought,“what the heck? why not?”  I cannot thank my past self enough for making that decision. The hardest part of the whole process was making the decision to commit.  My resolve early on was strengthened because I had a great group of people who were in it with me and I was accountable to them.  I even enlisted my two sisters to get involved.

The Whole 30 Lifestyle Challenge has fully changed how I take care of myself, what I eat, how I prepare and how all of that absolutely impacts the rest of my life.  As far as food, I started small and looked at what I was used to preparing then modified it to be Whole 30 compliant.  I was pleasantly surprised with how simple it was.  Sure I was relying more on meats and fats in the beginning, but I was doing it.  I had my struggle days where I did not feel like I could make it through but I was not about to let this be another unfinished project and I surely was not going to start back at day one.

From there, I began to branch out and try new recipes.  I began to crave huge, magical salads.  I made grocery lists and meal plans that worked for me.  After that, I did not think about it.  What I did begin to think about was how much B.S. is in “food” and what food really is.

Pre-Whole 30, I  could not see how I would pull this off.  Post Whole 30, I cannot imagine eating what I was eating before, like grabbing convenience items instead of having meals and not reading labels.   I find it much easier to decide on dinner now that I limited my options to real food.

Being more thoughtful about what I put into my body started to spill over into my way of being.  Things slowed down.  I was at home more to cook and I had time back on the weekends from not being groggy or hungover.  I even reconnected with a (fellow lame) friend who had done a similar challenge.   The added lifestyle elements made rest and hydration priorities, among other things.

Into the last week of the challenge and up to the present, I truly notice a difference in how I feel and look.  It seems to me like overnight I have became less anxious and less bloated.  Friends have commented on how healthy I look.  I have more mental clarity and focus.   And for the first time that I can remember, I did not get hit by paralyzing exhaustion after a long day of teaching middle school.  For the first time I am alert enough to live my life after 4:00 p.m.

I have to hold myself back at sometimes from getting fanatical when speaking about the challenge, lest I scare people away.  I cannot underscore how good I feel about every aspect of committing to this lifestyle – the community it has opened up to me, the delicious recipes shared, the energy I have – and I thought I was just fine before.  Let me be not so dramatic and tell you that this challenge will change your life!  Yes, that is a threat and promise.

-Meghan Ward




A Letter to CFD Nation:


Over the years, CrossFit Distinction has gone through many changes. Many ups and downs leading us to where we are today, starting the new year stronger than ever and ready for more. With that being said, I am thankful to have been around since the day 1, when the doors first opened in April of 2011. I came into the gym wanting to train and push my limits to be the best I could be with others of the same mindset.  I wanted to be mentored by two of the best CrossFit coaches in all of Ohio (in my opinion). Never could I have imagined where that decision would take me; over the past five years, I have formed so many great relationships with fellow CFD members. I have learned an abundance of knowledge and received more love than one individual could hope for from all of you. Hopefully I have been able to make as much of an impact on your lives as you have made on mine. Today, I see members of this community as my friends and family, and together, we all form CFD NATION.


My title at CFD has evolved continuously. I started out as an athlete/member, then transitioned to being a volunteer coach, then became a coach on staff, and now, I am a head coach. This journey continuously reminds me of how far I have come and of my desire to pursue being the best coach I can be. This road to my current title, however, has not been an easy one (to say the least). I have seen coaches leave for various reasons, members/friends leave due to work or other commitments, and recently a change in ownership with a bit of a philosophy change (for the better). With all of the changes that have taken place since the day 1, it has caused me to stop and ask myself hard questions: “Why do I stay here?” “Am I wasting my time?” “Am I appreciated for what I do?”   There have been times that I have interviewed for other jobs, and even at other CrossFit gyms. I had times when I thought about stepping down as a coach and becoming a member again. And, there have been times in the past that I’ve even considered not being a part of CFD entirely.


Through all of the high and low points that have happened throughout my journey at CFD, there is only one reason that I’ve stayed at CFD and continued to be motivated to keep working towards being the best coach, and the best person, I can be. The one reason: YOU! CFD NATION! I have grown so much during the years and I have been able to build relationships with all of you. I brag about YOU every day to others. I brag about about your achievements inside and outside of the gym walls. Every day, I work with individuals who I consider to be very remarkable in the lives they live; doctors, nurses, bankers, business professionals, lawyers, manual laborers, moms, dads, business owners, teachers, etc. I respect so many of you and the lives you have worked hard for. I feel privileged to be part of an hour (sometimes longer, haha) of your day, helping you become better, physically and mentally. I look forward to many more hours of training, running, lifting, sweating, and smashing goals together! Thank you for ALWAYS being the best community a coach could ask for!


Much Love,

Coach Kyle

C’Mon Kyle!



Hola peeps. JFW here.

So in last weeks installment my tips to new CrossFitters was to show up, shut up, listen to your coach, and be patient. I was probably a little nicer than that but all you need is the Cliff Notes version for today. Feel free to scroll down and read it for more details. This week I want to talk to you about a much more important topic: REST

The rest day may be the most controversial topic in CrossFit. Everyone has an opinion on how often you should take one and what it actually means. They will also feel the need to tell you that you are wrong if their opinion differs from you. I am going to fully disclose that I am not a certified trainer or coach nor am I a doctor (unless you’re a hot chick and I meet you in a bar) so my advice here should be construed as simply that….



If you are new (1 year or less): Take a day off from WODs every three days minimum. More often if you are too sore to have full range of movement. Notice I said “from WODs”? Taking a day off does not mean sit on the couch and watch Netflix all day. Get out and move, walk around the block, or better yet come see a coach and have them give you some mobility ideas. Foam rolling needs to become your friend early on. Me and my foam roller do nasty things together. It’s like 50 Shades of Sore in my house most days….

If you are not new: Listen to your body. That advice kind of sucks because most of you listen to your body a lot like you listen to your spouse. Not at all. I’m divorced so I am technically RXing ignoring mine. In any event, you need to listen to your body and when it hurts, rest it. I typically take one full day off a week. That works for me. Some of you need to do it twice and some of you not at all. Just don’t blame the coach or anyone else when your workouts suffer because you are tired from ignoring taking a rest day.

So lets assume I talked you into taking some rest. Now what?



Foam Rolling: I mentioned this before. Go to any sporting good store and/or most big box retailers and buy a foam roller. The prices range from $15-$30. It will be the best money you ever spend. They come in a variety of sizes, lengths, and textures. I happen to like my foam rollers like I like my women, small and with the ability to make me cry…

Salt Baths: This is the single most under valued rest move you can do and I believe gives the most relief from soreness. You can buy Epson Salt at the grocery or drug store in 3# bags for next to nothing. I suggest either Eucalyptus or Lavender scented. There are studies that show the oil from the Eucalyptus/Lavender aides in pulling out the toxins and reduces soreness. It also makes you feel pretty which is why I do it. It’s a simple formula. Hot water, 2 cups of salt, 20 mins in the tub minimum. You will thank me later. I typically RX my salt baths by playing Metallica as I soak and shouting “I AM ELITE!” as loud as I can. My neighbors love me….

Mobility: If you have range of motion issues you can do one of two things. You can buy “How to be a Supple Leopard” and learn to stretch, roll, and pound out your soreness or you can go do yoga. I suggest the later personally but they both work. Hot yoga always helped me because you are stretching out the soreness and the hot room gets you loose. Just make sure you drink a lot of water. Fair warning though. if you choose hot yoga you are likely going to get stuck next to some shirtless dude in tights, leg warmers, and doing heavy breathing that sounds  lot like Darth Vader with asthma having a stroke. It’s not pretty…

There are plenty of other things you can do on rest day but I am on my rest day as I write this and am a little annoyed at myself for working this hard. I think I am going to wrap this up and go make my foam roller my b*tch now. If you need other rest day ideas, questions, or want to talk more about my salt bath habits feel free to catch me at the box or you can email me at

Peace out,


Hola peeps. JFW here. Your fearless leaders at CFD have graciously allowed me to take over the blog duties for the website. For those of you that don’t know me, you can read my work at I should warn you that my website is NSFW most of the time due to my horrible potty mouth. I’ll do my best to clean it up for the CFD site. You can also find my name on the whiteboard each day. It will usually be between 5:30 & 7:30 am under the name “JFW” and often have a WOD time that is a little faster than Ed’s. Make sure you point that out to him each time you notice it. He loves that…

So I want this CFD blog to be informative and a value add to your membership. I plan to post weekly and cover a wide range of topics. If there are topics you want covered or information you want put out there feel free to mention it to me at the gym or you can email me at Yes that is my real email address and yes I am that vain…

With all of that out of the way lets get to todays topic which is:


For those of you that are new I am sure you have noticed an abundance of Reebok Nanos, Nike Metcons, wrist wraps, belts, Rogue shirts, as well as about a million other items. I remember being new and how confusing it all was to me. Here is the complete list of what you actually need to start CrossFitting:

  1. The ability to listen to a coach
  2. Just show up

I swear that’s it. No shoe is going to make you run faster or jump higher. No amount of gear will make you more mobile or give you a significant advantage in a WOD. What will help you is listening to your coaches, work on your form, and don’t cheat reps. You are going to be slower and weaker than you want to be in the beginning. Put your ego aside and deal with that. If you put in the work you will get faster and stronger. I promise. If you don’t, blame Kyle. That has always worked for me…

My only other advice for today is measure what you are gaining not what you are losing. A common mistake CrossFitters make early on is they judge the effectiveness of the programming on what their scale says. The scale is a d*mn liar and it doesn’t love you. As you gain muscle you will likely gain weight. Test your basic lifts with your coaches supervision and measure your waist, arms, chest, and legs. Check it all again in 60 days. You will become stronger and assuming you don’t gorge on Twinkies and Hohos after the WOD, you should see improvement in your measurements. I currently weigh more than I have for most of my life and my waist size is smaller than it was in high school.  There is no comparison to where I was and where I am now strength wise. Give it time. If an old dude like me can still show progress anyone can…

Until next time.




Barbells for Boobs- October 24th at CFD!

Please join us Saturday, October 24th to help support and raise funds for early detection of Breast Cancer!  You can also join our team and help us crush our goal HERE! (Click the link to go directly to our page!)  We hope to see you there, and we appreciate all your support! Every donation in any amount goes a very long way!

Barbells for Boobs 2015



TPage Games

HUGE congratulations and shout out to CFD’s very own coach, Travis Page!  We are so proud of you and your 2nd Place Finish at the 2015 CrossFit Games in the Masters 40-44 Division!  Your hard work has paid off and it showed big time, especially when you clenched that final event!  What a rush!  Congrats, Trav!  Enjoy your weekend in Cali, and make sure to celebrate!






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