"Instead of eating candy, I thought why not take a healthy approach and get some fitness going on," Andrea, 32, explains. We're early and waiting for our Bar Method class to start—the first stop along Ketanga's Halloween Fitness Krawl—so people are still arriving, dressed up as genies, emojis, owls, and "average fitness Joes."
But, as I was about to learn, there was nothing 'average' about this Krawl.
The location: The Bar Method Soho is a neat second-story space located on busy Spring Street in New York City. It's run by a husband-and-wife team who have taken care to make sure that the important details are right: the reception area is cozy, the locker room is impeccable, and the studio spaces are brightly lit and clean.
The workout: Once all twenty-three of us had arrived and checked in, Kristin, our instructor, led us into one of the studios, which had wall-to-wall carpeting, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and ballet barres across three of the walls. We lined up in two rows, the music came on, and we quickly got started.
For the next sixty minutes, we worked out non-stop to Kristin's instructions (which were easy to follow), alternating stretches between the front and the back sides of the body (with planks and push ups thrown in). Somehow, Kristin had memorized everyone's names, and was able to call out personalized encouragement during the class without breaking a beat. She also provided individualized, hands-on adjustments throughout the class, so the large group setting still felt very personal.
The review: Because The Bar Method is a fast-paced form of interval training, it's accessible to students of varying body types, ages, and fitness levels. I usually work out once a week at the gym, so I pushed myself here as hard as I could—but if you're not serious about working out or just not in the mood that day, I can see it being easy to slack. Overall, I felt proud of myself for keeping up with the women around me and still feel the workout's effects in my core, thighs, and shoulders two days later.
The location: Just a short walk down from The Bar Method, Y7 Studio on Broome Street was the next stop on our Ketanga Fitness Krawl. The space is on the smaller side, with an open changing room to the left, a tiny reception booth in the center, and a waiting area to the right. The studio is "hip-hop inspired," so the "Namast'ay Fly" written on the wall in big letters makes sense—and is a foreshadowing of the workout to come.
The workout: Our Krawl experienced the abridged, thirty-minute version of Y7's regular sixty-minute music + darkness workout in 80 to 90 degree temperatures. The studio was spacious, with enough room to fit all twenty-three of us and our yoga mats comfortably. It was also candle-lit, which created a warm glow here and there in the darkness.
Once the music started—the playlist included Miley Cyrus, Lauryn Hill, and Drake—we all moved non-stop to the beats. Our instructor, Hillary, called out the poses and the instructions very quickly and each one flowed into the next. Even though I've only done yoga once or twice in my life, it wasn't too hard to follow along. Ten minutes in, and I broke a sweat. Twenty minutes in, I snuck in a break by doing a Child's Pose during the free-styling section.
The review: "I've done a lot of hot yoga," Julia, 29, tells me after the class, "and I loved the music and that it was candle-lit." Why do you think you'll come back? I ask her. "It was yoga without being oppressively 'yoga-y,'" she says.
The location: Our last stop on the Krawl was Sweaty Betty, the British brand founded in 1998 by Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton, with the aim to "inspire women to find empowerment through fitness."
The review: The boutique on Mercer Street in Soho offers everything from yoga to running to beach clothes, and had Health Warrior Chia bars and refreshing drinks on hand from Ketanga's partners Arteasan and Essentia. We held a costume contest—first place went to the '80s workout girl costume and second place to the winky face emoji costume—before everyone did some shopping (at an exclusive 30% discount) and went home with amazing, merch-filled goody bags.
By Ona Abelis
Ona is a Brooklyn-based writer who will spending the next year getting back into her fitness groove. And maybe skydiving.