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Is CrossFit for you? Chances are the answer is yes. “CrossFit is for everyone,” says CrossFit Autonomy Owner Kevin Houston.

“What a lot of people don’t understand about CrossFit is that scaling the workouts to individual ability is central to what we do,” says Kevin. He offers “classic CrossFit” with soccer Moms and less fit newcomers working out alongside elite athletes.

CrossFit Autonomy has been open since July and Houston’s plan is working  Members give rave reviews to the “great atmosphere” and ‘s ability to “have everyone work at their own level

”People think you have to be a super athlete to do CrossFit, but nothing could be further from the truth,” Kevin says.

CrossFit features “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements” to  prepare you for anything.  Kevin urges people not to be “scared off” by “those crazy YouTube videos” or coverage of the CrossFit Games on ESPN and conclude CrossFit is just too tough for them.

So Kevin now offers two ways for people to see for themselves what CrossFit is all about, with mo hard sell and no obligation. 

At a one-on-one session Kevin will:

  • Give you a tour of our facility
  • Provide a free fitness assessment
  • Explain our fitness philosophy
  • Answer your questions
  • Offer customized advice on what might work best for you
  • If we think we have a match, offer you a free one week membership before you make a final decision
Or maybe you’d prefer to drop in on one of our classes, Saturdays at 8:30 AM or 10:00 AM.

For your free class or free one-one- one session, please call Call Kevin Houston, Owner and Had Coach at CrossFit Autonomy at 847-801-9348.  Or complete the contact form



10 Tips For Success For The CrossFit Newbie

This is an article originally posted by Larry Palazzolo for CrossFit Delaware Valley in 2011. I love the message an think you all will enjoy it as well!

Stepping into a CrossFit gym for the first time can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming.
You might see a bunch of half-naked hard bodies showing off their ink and abs, ripping out butterfly kip after butterfly kip. You might ask yourself, “Is that person having a seizure or doing pull-ups? What’s with all the Chuck Taylors? Do they get a group rate? What’s with the guy in the corner wearing only sweatpants, shirt off, all tatted up and muttering to himself? Is he on a work-release program?” Fear not newbie; these people won’t bite. They’re actually pretty darn friendly and overly supportive once you get to know them. It can be a lot to take in at first glance, especially if you’ve had limited exposure to Crossfit prior to stepping into a box. But don’t worry; we’ve got your back. The following are 10 things to keep in mind as you begin your CrossFit journey.

1.) You’re Competing Against Yourself, Not Others
When it comes time to throw down in a wod, don’t feel like you have to do everything RX’d or be able to complete 20 rounds of Cindy right off the bat. Go at your own pace. Let the intensity find you. You need a solid foundation of strength and flexibility in order to progress into more demanding workouts. Start light, get your form down, and don’t worry about the mother of three who is deadlifting 250 as you struggle with the bar. Chase your own capacity before chasing the person next to you. Which brings me to my next point…

2.) Don’t Be Too Proud To Scale
Sing it with me now:

Ain’t too proud to scale, sweet darling.
Please don’t leave the wod. Don’t you go.
Ain’t too proud to scale, baby baby.
Please don’t leave the wod. Don’t you go.

Tony Budding (of Crossfit HQ) describes scaling as another form of programming. Scaling is such an individualized topic that it’s hard to make sweeping generalized statements. You have to know your own body and its limits. But most importantly, there’s no substitute for common sense.

3.) What You Eat Is More Important Than What You Lift
Nutrition is the key to every aspect of your life. It affects your energy levels, your recovery, and your overall defense against disease. To quote the late Jack Lalanne, “You put junk in, junk comes out. You put good in, good comes out.” When you’re first starting out, the quality of your food is far more important than the quantity. Call it whatever you want: Paleo, Primal, Hunter-Gatherer, Pretentious D-Bag Diet; just eat clean. If you’re eating as clean as possible, you don’t even need to worry about the quantity. You are a Ferrari. You wouldn’t put regular unleaded fuel in a Ferrari, would you?

4.) Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Clarification, Over and Over and Over Again
It’s your time, money, and most importantly, health. If you don’t fully understand something, ask. If you still don’t get it, ask again. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t fully grasp the concept, or you think others in the class will get frustrated with you for taking up too much time. We were all newbies at one point. We’ve all been there. Learning the mechanics of certain movements like the kip, squat, deadlift, or any of the olympic lifts takes lots of practice and critique from a trained eye. If you need help, just ask.

5.) Crossfit Isn’t Everything
Crossfit is a strength and conditioning program that focuses on building general physical preparedness (GPP). It is quickly evolving into a sport of its own, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be your sport or your lifeblood. I Crossfit so that I can do whatever I want: Go out, play sports, learn new things. Having that GPP allows me to take on new challenges. Crossfit is not my life. I Crossfit so that I can have a life…and be awesome at it.

6.) It Doesn’t Get Easier, It Just Sucks Less
The longer you immerse yourself in the suck, the less it sucks. You get stronger, build a greater aerobic capacity, and become mentally tough. All of these aspects, combined with experience, allow you to know when to push yourself and when to back off, so that you can attack each workout to the best of your ability. Soon, you’ll come to love the beatdowns. Much like Kevin Bacon in Animal House, you’ll be screaming, “Thank you sir! May I have another?” Well, maybe not. But you get the point.

7.) You Won’t PR Every Day
Don’t mistake intensity for hard work. Even if you’re having a bad day and the intensity just isn’t there, you can still get a lot out of your time in the gym through hard work. Intensity and hard work are not the same thing. Don’t skip a planned session just because you don’t think you’re going to kill it and leave everything out on the table. Not feeling too strong that day? That’s fine; scale the weights and/or rounds or time domain back. Something is better than nothing.

8.) Have Fun
Let’s face it, some of the workouts are not fun. Frankly, some of them just plain suck. I’m looking at you, Hero wods. But when it’s over, you feel a sense of accomplishment and maybe a little queasy. You shouldn’t be pissed that you didn’t get as many reps as the person next to you. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Smile. Laugh. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know. If you’re not having fun, why are you here? Do you enjoy your overall time spent at the gym? Do you enjoy the people, the community, the knowledge and support that it provides? If so, then don’t be too concerned with your competitive nature until you have a strong grasp on the 9 Foundational Movements.

9406978287_4b79a5c083_oThe things you’ll learn in a Crossfit gym are fun: gymnastics, olympic lifts, new swear words. You can’t do this stuff in a globo gym. The attitude is different too; no one is going to get in your face and cheer you on as you knock out those last five minutes on the elliptical. And the feeling you’ll have the first time you get an unassisted dead hang pull-up or full squat snatch is an amazing sense of power and accomplishment.

9.) You Are All Firebreathers
The term “Firebreather” comes from Crossfit legend and bad ass Greg Amundson, and he defines it as such:

Firebreather –Fie-r-bre’-th-er: (n) 1. One who faces the triumphs and tribulations of great physical opposition with an indomitable spirit. 2. An optimistic energy associated with the heart of an athlete.

You don’t have to be an “elite” Crossfitter to embody the essence of a true Firebreather. It’s not your Fran time, it’s the spirit you bring to Fran that makes you a Firebreather. Don’t forget that.

10.) Respect Rest and Recovery
Too many newbies (and even those of us who have been doing this a while) get caught up in overtraining. Don’t be afraid to schedule in a deload day once per week, or a deload week every 4-6 weeks where you cut the weight, rounds, and intensity in half. You have to think about this from a longevity standpoint. If you’re killing yourself every time you step foot in the gym, week after week, month after month, year after year, you’re going to eventually break down. You need to respect your time outside of the gym. There’s an old weightlifting adage that goes something like: “You don’t get bigger and stronger from lifting weights, you get bigger and stronger from recovering from lifting weights.”

Proper nutrition, hydration and sleep all play their part in recovery, but you also need to listen to your body. If you continuously beat yourself down, you’re going to get hurt, injured or worse. Stay on top of your mobility work. If you haven’t done so yet, pay a daily visit to Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD. The information there is invaluable.

So, what now? You’ve signed up for the class. You’re about to start eating like a caveman. And your vocabulary will soon include words like burpee, thruster, and snatch. Welcome to Crossfit. Have you tried the Kool-Aid? Don’t worry, it’s Paleo.

Announcing our Official Charity!

I am pleased to announce “War Dogs-Making it Home” as our official charity. I met with Eva and Elana earlier this week and I am happy to whole-heartedly put our future-fundraising efforts behind this fantastic charity. Here is a brief  summary of what they do:

War Dogs helps veterans better manage the invisible and lifelong challenges of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and brain injury (PTSD/TBI) by pairing them with dogs they help rescue and train to be their service dogs. The vets are saving the dogs lives. The dogs are saving theirs, creating a better life for both.

Elana MorganWar Dogs is taking a cutting edge approach to helping veterans. Under the direction of Elana Morgan it pairs dogs rescued from shelters with veterans in an intense training process that has proven to be highly effective while also saving time and money.

Simply put, this program is dramatically changing the lives of veterans who might otherwise still be waiting for an already trained dog to become available. And it does so while providing an extra therapeutic dimension whose benefits are only beginning to be understood. This involves the sense of responsibility and commitment that the veterans feel for their dogs—who they know were facing euthanasia before being selected for the program.

For those suffering from PTSD, time is not on their side. Please understand that this is truly a life and death situation for our vets and that programs like War Dogs are proving that by combining the ideas, talent and dedication of people like Elana Morgan with the generosity of donors like you, lives can be saved. And the quality of those lives saved can be dramatically-wonderfully-improved.

Allow me to introduce myself…

What you will find below is the essay I submitted to in order to gain approval as an affiliate. I would like to share it to give you insight to who I am and why I am passionate about CrossFit Autonomy. The letter was submitted in May of this year. Enjoy…

Leading a seminar at CrossFit Clifton Park

Leading a seminar at CrossFit Clifton Park

As I completed my 10 years of service in the US Navy, I was assigned to train Special Warfare candidates. While searching the web for better ways to train them, I stumbled upon the main site. I spent the next week glued to the site, and promptly began bastardizing CrossFit with the young Navy SEAL candidates. I also turned my best friend, Caleb Diebolt onto it.

About 5 months later, Caleb was planning on participating in the first ever Northeast Qualifier at Albany CrossFit. I lived 35 minutes north, so him and I showed up a month early to scope it out. Helen was my first WOD in a real box and I immediately joined.

Within a month I realized I wanted to work in CrossFit. I signed up for my Level 1 and happened to sit next to Austin Maleollo all weekend. We became friends quickly. I began coaching 5 classes a week, and with a few months that number was up to 10. I found myself spending every minute I could volunteering my time for Jason Ackerman at ACF just to be a part of it.

In the summer of 2010, I planned to get out of the Navy and move home to Illinois to open a box of my own. Instead, I was brought on to a full time position at ACF. Within a few months I was promoted to Operations Manager. Bringing Austin to ACF after his 6th place finish in the CrossFit Games was huge for us. We developed his coaching, and he taught us how to train as elite athletes.

In the summer of 2012, Head Coach Caleb Nelson left ACF to open CrossFit Clifton Park. I worked as the operations manager of both facilities and trained the staff of over 30 coaches. All the while averaging over 20 classes per week.

I help organize Regionals in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Competing in both 2010 and 2011 as well. I also ran 5 major throwdowns while working at ACF/CCP.

2011 Regionals

2011 Regionals

This spring I decided to leave the box behind to find myself. I knew if I stayed, I would not ever realize my dream of owning my box. I stepped down and began a 3 month journey to find my next step.

As of today, I have found investors who I will partner with to open a classic CrossFit gym. I will run the place as an old school one man show. The goal will be to start small with a focus on mastering the basics and smart programing. I want to foster a community similar to the one I fell in love with at ACF over 4 years ago.