On a snowy Saturday morning, I sit in my car waiting…. the roads have yet to be plowed and I passed multiple fender benders on my way to this unassuming corporate park in Woodridge, but as the clock approaches 10am, cars start filling the small parking lot. Gene Hicks and his wife, Kate, get out and open the doors to the building, home to Hip Hop Fit. It’s been years since I actually participated in a hip hop class with Gene, and this is my first visit to their new studio location, but they welcome me with open arms….
It’s not surprising, as Hip Hop Fit draws together people of all ages, races and backgrounds together like family. In fact, Gene’s hip hop fit family – a widely diverse group of followers – was instrumental in supporting the Hicks family when they opened their studio. In February 2016, after several years of developing his signature Hip Hop Fit workout at local gyms, Gene and Kate took a chance on opening their own group fitness studio. With the assistance of Michael McClinton of the Small Business Development Center at Joliet Community College, Gene and Kate developed and put into action a successful business plan. They were also blessed with the support of ACCION Chicago and a generous Go Fund Me campaign.
Although the studio takes its name from Gene’s Hip Hop Fit workout, his own blend of cardio and dance, combined with rap and emceeing, his studio also offers Latin Vybe – a latin fusion inspired dance workout – and Cardio Kickboxing – a tie-in to Gene’s martial arts background. Self Defense rounds out the current class offerings. Nacho, Sherri and Belle currently assist in teaching classes at Hip Hop Fit. The class schedule can be found at http://www.hiphopfit.net/class_schedule/.
Classes are available on a drop in basis, or clients can choose to purchase a monthly or annual membership, which allows unlimited class visits. Hip Hop Fit is also available via livestream at www.hiphopfitlive.net or Gene’s followers can purchase his workouts on one of five Hip Hop Fit Volumes (available on USB or DVD on his website, www.hiphopfit.net).
In addition to the regular class schedule, Gene and Kate offer special opportunities such as Newcomer Night, guest instructors, health education partnerships with corporate sponsors, such as Diabetessisters, and off-site private classes upon request. Hip Hop Fit has also run fundraising classes in support of hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and Texas.
The Red Carpet Challenge is another special event hosted at the studio in Woodridge. In its 5th year, this 90 day challenge celebrates goals chosen and achieved by the participants…. from inches or pounds lost, to class attendance or nutritional goals, participants celebrate their success at the end of the challenge by walking the Red Carpet. Participants can also chart their progress with monthly check-ins, but the main goal of the challenge is to foster support and community among the participants while understanding that everyone’s fitness journey is unique.
So, who should give Hip Hop Fit a try? Anyone who wants a good work out, to make friends and to have fun! Gene has developed this unique workout that is fun, easy to learn and follow, and can be modified for participants of all fitness levels. Gene is known for his high energy style as he works the room, dancing alongside those taking his classes, while also using his mic skills to motivate and hype up participants. It has been said that the class has a dance club vibe. Gene’s wife Kate says it best, “We pride ourselves on creating an environment of good vibes and comfort for anyone and everyone who walks through the door. Hip Hop Fit really does break all the barriers and brings people together … which seems more important than ever.”
Gene, also known by stage name G-Da-Man, gained popularity and experience in the world of music as a break dancer and rapper, and eventually earned a BA in Arts and Entertainment Media Management at Chicago’s Columbia College, which led to the creation of GH Productions and Films. Gene has produced music videos, he’s lent his martial arts expertise as a fight choreographer in indie films, written and directed feature length films, and even acted in television and film roles. Kate is a full time teacher, and holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and National-Louis University. She was an All-State and All-American swimmer, and swam at the collegiate level while at U of I.
Visit Hip Hop Fit at 10204 Werch Drive, Ste. 305, Woodridge, IL 60517, or give them a call at 630-312-8732. They can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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