By Fernando Ortiz, Contributing Writer
Fugitive Fitness is the first and only parkour gym in NTX. They offer parkour, parkour for kids, crossfit, flips, and open gym classes. Classes are limited to a small group of 8 with the open gym hours being the exception. I am a huge fan of calisthenics so I was really excited to try out parkour.
Parkour is a training method that focuses on moving from point A to point B in the most efficient and safest way possible regardless of the surrounding. This involves using flips, climbing, crawling, rolling and running to move through space in unique ways. Parkour is usually practiced in urban settings which can be dangerous, but Fugitive Fitness provides a safer environment to practice and learn parkour.
The Space: Located within a business office complex and with only a sign above the entrance, this is not your typical gym locale, and from the outside it’s quite deceiving. The front greeting area has a small check-in booth with merchandise on display, a really unimpressive area, to be honest. Past the double doors is what they refer to as the Asylum. My first reaction was WOW. It’s much larger than you would expect. Designed to be modular and always changing, the place holds an array of Olympic rings, boxes, ramps, odd shaped pipe structures, a foam pit, and various other contraptions you typically see on shows like Ninja Warrior. Off to the side, they have a section for their crossfit classes so you will see kettlebells, barbells, and squat stands. The Asylum is an adult playground and I can see myself spending hours upon hours there.
The Instructors: The class was led by owner/head coach Chad Deaver and Andrew Simmons; both extremely friendly and above all very knowledgable. They took their time in explaining the purpose behind everything they asked me to do and broke down every movement. I really loved their training style and I felt like they really invested in teaching the craft.
Here’s a sneak peak at some of the skills our instructors like to do for fun. (Don’t try this at home! These instructors have been training for years to do this.)
Parkour class: The class is a full hour broken down into a dynamic warm-up, followed by mobility drills, and finally parkour movements such as jumps and rolls. The warm-up definitely gets your blood pumping and may feel like a workout. The mobility drills are designed to help you reach your natural range of motion and be able to work within that. This was probably the most uncomfortable portion of the class for me because I have poor mobility and flexibility. I am working on it, but compared to the instructors I looked like a rusted robot. For the parkour movement portion, I was put through jump, landing, and rolling techniques. From my understanding, every class sessions is different so I am not sure how progressions work and can only assume you have to work on some skills on your own time or wait for it to come back into rotation. According to the instructor, they focus on a different type of movement every week and focus on practicing different variations of it.
Loved/Hated: Besides the odd location and dull greeting area, the only other thing I disliked was the class schedules when I first booked my class. They offered various classes between 8 AM and 6 PM during the week which makes it difficult for anyone working a 9-5 schedule. Fortunately, they’ve revised their schedule to accommodate later classes. Weekend class schedules are far better and the open gym slots are perfect if you just want to come and practice what you have learned. As an avid obstacle course race participant, I can see parkour benefiting me greatly in tackling the obstacles.
I can see how the structure of the parkour classes can frustrate people who like structure since it seems that the instructors pick skills at random to teach on any given day. However, they do offer fitness classes and personal training if parkour isn’t their thing.
Difficulty Level: For the Parkour class, Fugitive Fitness has you covered from beginner to expert. Given the small class sizes, they can give each student the attention they need to master all the movements. If you have poor mobility and flexibility, you might struggle at first, but I can see someone getting great results if they stick with it. I am told they will be adding a quarter pipe ramp, which is a re-creation of the warped wall as commonly seen in American Ninja Warrior and salmon ladder among other things so that is definitely something to look forward to.
Don’t expect to be able to do all the fancy parkour movements you see in the videos right off the bat. Parkour is an intensive skill based discipline that can take years of consistent training and has great physical benefits. Don’t expect immediate results. I would also caution those interested in parkour. Even within the walls of Fugitive Fitness, it is still a very dangerous discipline so you have to judge if the benefits are worth the risk.
Other classes: Parkour for kids is a class that offers a great way for children to let out all their energy in a safe and enclosed environment. I can see children picking up these skills much faster as they are more flexible. The flips class is geared for those who want to learn how to do many of the fancy flips. This is where the foam pit comes into play as you are able to work through the awkwardness of being upside down while a few feet up in the air.
FYI: Cost/What to bring: They offer various pricing schemes for drop-in classes, monthly memberships, and punch cards. You can check out the pricing here and make sure to check in for a class beforehand due to the small class sizes. They have lockers, restrooms, vending machines, but no towel service or water fountains. Definitely make sure to bring plenty to drink with you. I recommend you wear your most comfortable workout gear and towel, you will definitely get sweaty. Since you will be doing many flips, you might feel more comfortable in long pants or at least long underwear to prevent any sneak peaks.
Takeaway: Thinking back on my experience with Fugitive Fitness, I will admitted I am highly biased because I am big fan of movement and calisthenics so I highly enjoyed it. I can see someone who likes lifting heavy weights and prefers to progress linearly might find parkour a bit out of left field for them. Sprucing up their entrance and offering better hours would go along way to attracting more clients. I will highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to do something totally different from your typical gyms and cardio studios. Parkour is not by any means gymnastics, but rather practice to master skills and understand how to move and react in any situation with safety and efficiency.
Fernando Ortiz is a contributing writer for Deep Fried Fit and is an engineer who loves food and physical fitness. His favorite cuisine is Thai and enjoys craft beers. He also loves going on foodie adventures with his wife and checking out new restaurants. In his spare time, you can find Fernando mountain biking, trail running, barbell strength training, kettlebell training, and bodyweight calisthenics. He is also an avid participant of obstacle course racing such as Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race series.