Kevin Houston – Owner and Head Coach
A Navy Veteran who once trained candidates for BUDs, the Navy SEAL school…Kevin Houston realized he had found his calling once he started working out at a CrossFit gym in New York.
After four years of coaching, competing and managing two CrossFit gyms, Kevin decided the time was right to open his dream gym, CrossFit Autonomy, in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, IL.
The idea was bringing his expertise to everyone…regardless of current fitness level…so they could become their best selves.
The rest is history! CrossFit Autonomy has come very far, very fast in just a few months. The latest? Kevin is delighted to have added Ryan Clark to the coaching staff as of January, 2014.
Keep reading for more about Ryan. It’s quite a story!
Kevin and Ryan cap classes at no more than ten members to ensure everyone gets plenty of personal attention, with workouts scaled to individual ability level. New members first get three free hour-long one-on-one sessions with Ryan, before joining the regular classes.
This highly individualized approach sets CrossFit Autonomy apart. Kevin and Ryan believe in keeping athletes safe as they help them achieve their goals — whether it be weight loss or sports performance. Kevin and Ryan are accomplished athletes with plenty of competitive fire still burning. But both now prefer to be known for their elite level coaching ability for people of all ability levels.
Read about our approach to CrossFit Classes here.
Read our thoughts about how Strength and Conditioning has helped athletes we’ve trained.
And read about some of our successes with Running, Triathlon and Endurance athletes here.
Read more testimonials about our coaching style here. They include some that may surprise you from people who thought CrossFit was too hard for them…until they met Kevin and Ryan.
Bottom line: anyone who spends an hour with either coach will agree…this is what the fitness community should be. And we’d love to hear from you. Call Kevin or Ryan at 847-801-9348 for a free trial session. Or complete the Contact Form.
- CrossFit Level 1
- CrossFit Kids
- Powerlifting (Westside)
- POSE Running
- Olympic Weightlifting (Burgener)
- Gymnastics (Tucker)
- Mobility (KStar)
- Strongman (Hybrid)
Kevin was an accomplished prep athlete and is in his High School’s Hall of Fame for wrestling. He spent seven years in the Navy stationed on submarines as a Nuclear Mechanic before shifting to a shore command where he spent three years training SEAL candidates for BUDs.
Kevin is currently training to compete in the Racine Half Ironman in the fall of 2014.
In his free time, Kevin enjoys delicious food and good drinks with friends. He is an avid snowboarder and big sports fan. Relaxing with his pup Grace is all Kevin needs to be happy.
Ryan Clark – CrossFit Coach and Competitive Olympic Lifter
At age 23, Ryan has passed up the opportunity to pursue a lucrative career in corporate finance to follow his real passions: Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit coaching. An accomplished Oly lifter, Ryan hopes to one day represent the United States in international competition.
“This is where I got to be the most happy and help the most people,” says Ryan of his extensive CrossFit experience, including time spent as a head coach at another CrossFit affiliate.
Ryan first discovered CrossFit as a high school student and spent “hours and hours” trying to master the movements by watching videos and trying to “coach myself.” He wasn’t fully successful, but could not afford the fees to join a CrossFit gym. The solution? “I traded workouts for mopping the floor.”
He remembers vividly making “every mistake in the book” working out on his own, including rounding his back on deadlifts. Those memories help him be a better coach because “I understand what people are going through. After all, I’ve been there myself.”
Ryan earned his undergraduate degree in Finance at the University of North Dakota, where he was the Chief Economist for one of the top performing student-managed investment funds in the nation. He also was a Managing Director for the only student-run venture capital group in the world where he raised money from investors and led due diligence on dozens of potential investments. Ryan rounded out his finance degree with a fifth place finish in a world-wide commodity trading competition.
Ryan was Crossfit L1 certified in 2010 and also spent two years as an intern at the University of North Dakota’s strength and conditioning department, where he worked with volleyball, soccer, and basketball teams. The common thread? Ryan loves teaching everyone to become efficient athletes through sound movement.
When he isn’t training or coaching, you might find him going for a bike ride, playing a pick-up game, or watching a movie at home.