Liz Hysen - Member Spotlight August 2023

Read on to find out more about how we chose Liz for our Member Spotlight, who inspires her, what she's thankful for & much more!
DeNovo CrossFit
July 31, 2023
Liz Hysen - Member Spotlight August 2023

How did you discover CrossFit? 

I had been a runner for years, had done several half marathons, but was getting kind of bored with it and finding it hard to stay motivated to train. A friend at CSU had mentioned her CrossFit gym to me (several times, haha) and Matt and I finally caved and went to our first foundations class in December 2017. I remember walking into that gym, taking one look around, and saying to Matt, “We are NOT joining this f@#*ing gym!” 45 minutes later we were hooked!

What draws you to DeNovo CrossFit? 

Definitely the community and the coaching. I started at DeNovo in May of 2020, after a couple of months of CrossFit “homelessness” and am so glad I took that step! DeNovo is also the first gym I’ve belonged to that incorporates nutrition into the equation – that has been a game-changer for me! My fitness has improved so much and I’ve been able to develop, and keep, a lot of healthy habits! The intentionality and professionalism of the coaching also kind of blows me away sometimes! I love the people and the feeling that we’re all family at DeNovo.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment in CrossFit and in life?

Anytime I can get through a workout with pull-ups or toes to bar, and not rip my hands, is huge! To be serious, though, 2023 has had a lot of CrossFit accomplishments that are meaningful to me.


Completing Murph with a 14# weight vest is something I’m very proud of (and now I want to do more things with a weight vest)!


I love the long-grind hero workouts and always look forward to doing Hotshots 19 and Whitten. And if you know me, you know that I can sometimes (ahem) get emotional during certain workouts. This year those two workouts unexpectedly took on very special meaning for me. Not many in the DeNovo community might know this, but my dad had a stroke on June 27, and he died on July 2. Hotshots was on June 30…I was stressed from not really knowing how my dad was doing and Matt and I were leaving that afternoon to drive to Wisconsin to see him. I remember thinking the night before about skipping the workout and just trying to get more sleep, but I told myself I had to do it for my dad. I thought about him throughout that entire workout; hoping he was going to pull through but knowing, in my heart, that it would be unlikely. Matt and I were driving back to CO on July 4, so we missed the Whitten workout. When my dad died, though, I made a vow to myself to complete that workout for him. I ended up doing it at DeNovo, on July 5, by myself (which was kind of perfect with where my head was). Again, I thought about my dad throughout that workout, all the things he had done, all the things he couldn’t do toward the end, and all that he would now never be able to do. So, I guess, doing those workouts (and most of the stuff we do in the gym), makes me feel accomplished and so, so grateful to be able to move my body and do hard things. If you don’t use it, you lose it, and I witnessed that first-hand with my dad. At 41, I’m in the best shape of my life, and that strength and muscle is so important to me as I age.


In life…I don’t know if I’ve done anything yet that I would consider a great accomplishment. I can almost always get a good BM in the morning before the gym, though, so there’s that I guess.

What athlete/s at DeNovo inspire you to be the best version of yourself each and every day? 

Certainly Matt – doing CrossFit together, and seeing how much we’ve grown, is inspiring and keeps us coming back for more! Since my dad died, I have also started looking at our older athletes with so much reverence. I am in awe of what they can do in the gym and hope I am still doing this when I’m their age! And I have to shout out to my 6:15 morning crew! The darkness and self-deprecation that can sometimes descend during that class definitely makes me think, “wow, I need to be a better person.” Haha!

What is your pet peeve? 

People who inexplicably drive in the left lane on the interstate. Also, Greg.

What/who inspires you? 

My dog Juno, for sure! Except for the missing leg, she shows no signs that cancer is slowing her down, two years after diagnosis and chemo! She loves life so much and brings joy to everyone who meets her!

Favorite joke. 

There are two muffins in the oven. One muffin says, “Holy cow, it’s hot in here.” And the other muffin thinks, Holy shit, a talking muffin!

What advice would you have for anyone who is nervous to join DeNovo? 

Do yourself a favor and just do it! I understand that CrossFit can seem intimidating (I was there once, myself), but it’s infinitely scalable and really is for everyone. You will get stronger, healthier, and make awesome friends along the way. The best thing about CrossFit is that it makes you better at doing things in everyday life; and at DeNovo, we get better at life together!

What do you enjoy doing outside of CrossFit, both for fun and professionally? 

I love to travel, and it is so fun doing drop-ins at gyms in other countries! By the time this is published, I will have done CrossFit in four different countries – Iceland, Portugal, Finland, and Estonia! (whoops, I guess I still managed to make this about CrossFit, haha).

I love to cook and try to get fancy with food presentation, lol.

I also enjoy reading, gardening, exploring different parts of CO, and a good patio-hang with friends!

Oh, and I have alpacas…but I don’t know if I can say that I enjoy them.

Professionally…I don’t always love my job, so this is hard. But what I do love is having a job that allows me to do all the things I enjoy😊

If we were sitting here one year from now, what would we be celebrating together? 

Well, I’m writing this on July 14 so…the DeNovo 5-year anniversary!

Favorite CrossFit movement? 

I feel like I have to say burpees…I also love toes to bar, and power cleans. A workout with all 3 of these movements would be super fun!

What are you currently reading? 

I’m actually in between books right now, which is weird, because I read a lot. I read mostly fiction and discovered the author Claire North this year so have read several of her books.

What are you thankful for? 

So many things! Even though I complain about thankful Thursday at the gym, I really am not a total curmudgeon. I’m thankful for the support and camaraderie of the DeNovo community, and for all of the coaches. I’m thankful to have made such great friends over the years at DeNovo, and to have brought in old friends as well! I’m thankful for my health and the ability to move. I’m thankful for my 2 dogs and their 6 legs. And I’m thankful for Matt; he makes me appreciate the good, helps me through the bad, and is my best friend.

What the coaches have to say about Liz:

Liz, I can't thank you enough for who you are and what you do for DeNovo. Your sense of humor, deeply kind heart and ability to live life to the fullest are things I look up to you for. Since the beginning (of you at DeNovo) you have demonstrated a quiet, yet impressive hunger for improvement; you have not been afraid to speak up for what you believe or are looking for (even when choosing DeNovo as a gym during COVID times) and you do so in a way that doesn't come off as harsh or egotistical. I have loved watching you challenge yourself through nutrition coaching, doing competitions (even with me which most people don't want to do...eyeroll) and working through annoyances like knee and back issues with grace, and yes emotions, but mostly grace :) Thank you for being a HUGE DeNovo advocate, referring so many awesome athletes to join us and for believing, wholeheartedly in what we do. You are truly a hero of the DeNovo brand and culture and I know I can count on you to stay consistent, to be a role model for others and to bring some dry humor and lots of laughs to the morning and weekend classes. And most recently, I am so inspired by your strength and perspective with all you have gone through with losing your dad. I can't wait to see what you will achieve in the next year and just appreciate the heck out of you. Thanks for being an amazing member, and more importantly, a good friend.

-Coach Jenny

Congratulations Liz for being our next member spotlight! I am incredibly proud of you for your dedication to being consistent with your fitness lifestyle as well as your nutrition. I appreciate how you understand the important of both and how they work together for performance, for being well and for longevity of a healthy lifestyle. You have often mentioned that you are thankful to be a part of a gym that cares about the holistic approach to wellness including nutrition and thanks to you, you set a strong example to others! I'm so glad you are a member at DeNovo and I just love your dry sense of humor and high level of sarcasm. You are crushing it inside and outside of the gym. Thank you for being here and for helping us to be a fun, approachable and welcoming CrossFit gym!

-Coach Jorine

Liz, Congratulations on being our member spotlight! I am so impressed and inspired by your dedication to your health both in and out of the gym. Your consistency shows in your strength, abilities and performance. I also LOVE your sense of humor. You bring fun and laughter to class and I enjoy anytime I get to coach you. (especially when there’s a stack of $92 in nickels in the middle of the floor 🤣).Your hard work and determination does not go unnoticed and I know that you will continue to see gains. I’m excited to see what the future holds for you and am so thankful you’re part of DeNovo! Congrats

-Coach Nikki

Liz!!! Let's start at the beginning of your CrossFit journey. I remember when you got your very first pull up after months of practicing, building strength, and trying over and over and over again. But you didn't give up! Other members might not know that you weren't always a beast in the gym,  BUT you WERE always determined and consistent. Watching your CrossFit journey has been so fun and encouraging. Now you can string together toes to bar like they are nothing, you are a pull-up badass, and THE Burpee Queen! Your cardio abilities are quite impressive and envied by most (especially me!) as well. You have this incredible drive and have tapped into your full potential at the gym. This is most likely due to the other healthy habits you've worked SO HARD to establish over the last few years. You have the most consistent sleep schedule out of anyone I know, your meals are not only beautiful and delicious, but they are balanced and full of nutrient dense, whole foods. You show up and do the work no matter what is going on in your life, whether you are stressed, busy, injured or dealing with loss. You truly are the Wellness Warrior and I am so lucky to have witnessed you transform into the beautiful, strong, bad-ass woman you are today and to call you, my friend! You are an amazing role model for others. I am not sure if you know the impact you have made on the members at DeNovo, in your friend circles, and on your family. You are an advocate for health and longevity, you make no excuses, and you truly practice what you preach. And I can't end this paragraph without mentioning that your willingness to tell it like it is, your dry sense of humor, and your icy, cold Greg "burns" 😉 might just be our favorite thing about you. Congrats friend!

-Coach Stef

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