I’d like to introduce you to…… Gene Hicks & Hip Hop Fit

Fitness Instructor Gene Hicks represents his dance studio Hip Hop Fit
Gene Hicks, founder of Hip Hop Fit

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….

Man mixes sound on board, adjust headset in dance studio.

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.

Man lifts weights in dance studio

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/.

Exercise instructor smiles as he leads dance class in studio

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).

High energy dances in dance studio in Woobridge, Illinois.

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.

Women high five in dance wear in dance studio

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.

Energetic woman dances in hip hop class in Woodridge, Illinois.

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.”

Warm up dances at hip hop studio in Woodridge, Illinois.

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.

Dance classes in hip hop studio in Woodridge Illinois.

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 genehicks@hiphopfit.net.

Find Hip Hop Fit on the web at:


Like and follow them at:

Gene Hicks on Twitter

Hip Hop Fit with Gene Hicks on Facebook

Gene Hicks & Hip Hop Fit on Instagram

Workout area, lobby and dance studio, people exercising at Gene Hicks Hip Hop Fit Dance Studio in Woodridge

We’re more than halfway through January. Let’s Try Something New….

In October and November, I was busy… My clients LOVE outdoor family photos in the fall. I don’t blame them. Chicago is beautiful year round, but when those colors start creeping into the fall foliage, Chicago is AMAZING.

Mom & daughter hold hands at Winnemac Park in Chicago in front of bright orange fall foliage
Winnemac Park in Chicago provides the backdrop for this gorgeous mom and her young daughter

And then December hit… a flurry of last-minute holiday photo requests…. the month passed in a blur of Christmas trees and holiday decor.

Baby in Santa outfit, Blonde girl in black velvet cape, family in Christmas attire, Toddler girl with Santa in front of Christmas trees, holiday decor.
Everyone loves a Christmas themed photo!

And now it’s January… If it’s snowy, I’m up for outdoor photos, but not everyone is as adventurous. So what now? If January is cold, February is downright frigid… March is wet and dreary. April is muddy and May is busy with the end of the school year and mother’s day and then Memorial Day! Next thing you know, it’s almost summer.

So why would anyone book a photo session now? The answer is simple… these are the moments that matter. These are the weekends that you spend at home with your family, because there’s nowhere to go, nothing to do, we make fun happen within our own space.

What’s that got to do with photos?


Think about the last time you baked cookies… your daughter looked adorable with flour dusted across her nose, sneaking chocolate chips when she thought you weren’t looking. Did you get a picture? What about that day you finally just let your toddler paint….. he made quite the mess, didn’t he? The hand print on the wall, the paint he splattered on your leggings when you sat next to him… but did you see his face? That heart-melting smile when he said, “Mama, look what I made!” Think of those gut busting laughs coming from your Fortnite obsessed tween when you made her go out and play with her younger siblings in the snow…. did you know that you can almost hear a laugh in a photograph if its genuine?

Maybe you took some photos… maybe you stood there with your iPhone in hand, snapping a random photo of the kids while checking Facebook and texting your husband about dinner plans. Were you in any of the photos? Are you going to print any of those photos?

How about you let me take some photos? Plan a typical Sunday and let me photograph it…. cuddles on the couch, brunch preparation, board games at the kitchen table, homework review….

Sisters and mother prepare cookie dough and bake chocolate chip cookies in their bright and modern kitchen.
Mom supervised while the three sisters prepared cookie dough…. littlest sister even got to taste the dough after the cookies were laid out on the tray.

Don’t worry, we’ll get some family photos in there too….

Mom, Dad, and three sisters pose in back yard and in the master bedroom with puppies
Gather the whole family for a couple directed shots, as well!

Call me to discuss booking an in-home session today…. and be sure to watch your email for a limited time offer for February and March bookings.

Best of 2018 | Photography By Kimberli

If you follow me on Facebook, you should have seen the Best of 2018 promotion I’m currently running…. every Photography By Kimberli client from 2018 is represented with one of my favorite images from the session*.

The client whose image gets the most LIKES during the two week contest period will receive a complimentary metallic print from their 2018 session. Contest ends on January 22, 2019.

Please visit my Facebook page and give your favorite image a Like or a Love!

And if you want to be included in my Best of 2019 gallery a year from now, let’s get a session on the books! I’m currently booking full and half sessions, in home or on location!

*Some Photography By Kimberli clients don’t consent to use of their images online or in print… those clients, unfortunately, are not included in this promotion.

Today I resolve to……..

girl blonde snow white pompom hat fluffy chicago


and update Instagram… maybe actually plan out a couple posts.

And post on Facebook… my cover photo shows an adorable baby in an apple orchard. That is SO October.

And schedule a couple email campaigns… these sessions aren’t going to book themselves.

But first….

Its December 31, 2018… New Year’s Eve. A night of dreams…. a night of preparations for what’s to come and reflecting on what’s passed. 2018 was a big year for me… for Photography By Kimberli. 2019 is going to be even bigger…..

Enjoy your night, be safe, be smart, make good decisions and amazing memories. I’ll be back tomorrow to catch you up on all the ideas I have brewing…. 2019 is going to be amazing.