About Us

We Are

CrossFit Anistemi

Our coaches are committed to the success of each member. CrossFit Anistemi has created a training system that includes world class coaching that is inclusive for everyone from competitive athletes to weekend warriors to complete novices.

James Vassell

Owner, CF-L2

My name is James Vassell and I'm one of the head coaches for CrossFit Anistemi and I love what I do. With a history of loving athletics for the past 22 years, I've had the opportunity to compete in the sport of soccer, dance, tough mudder, endurance races, mixed martial arts, triathlons, and track! There was nothing like the thrill of finding discipline, using my athletic ability, and finding competition to better my skill to drive me and my motivation for life. With the opportunity to train to get a faster pace for my running career, I found a CrossFit gym to get stronger. Through that gym, I found myself not only getting stronger but also healthier, faster, and happier. It's so funny that I would wonder while breathing heavily and feeling ousted why in the world I would be paying somebody to put me through so much pain, but the proof is in the pudding and I was hooked. I loved how I felt, where I improved not only physically but also spiritually and emotionally. I have many passions in life but one of the main things I found most of my passions still centering around was health and fitness. With a Masters in mental health counseling and a degree in ministry, I still found myself encouraging others to reach physical goals as well as live a healthy lifestyle to enjoy who they are as a person. To have someone be encouraged spiritually and emotionally is great, but I have found myself wondering why we never encourage everybody to be healthy in the same manner. This is what CrossFit Anistemi is all about. Our gym focus is not only on being physically healthy, but also spiritually and emotionally healthy. With degrees in ministry as well as counseling, we have incorporated the full gamut of wellness for our clients. I would love to be able to encourage my clients to not only lift heavy with great technique, run faster than they ever could, but also feel encouraged that they know their life is worth living and it's also worth enjoying!

Angela Vassell

Owner, CF-L2

Since I was a young girl, I envisioned a future where I was impacting the community around me and helping people feel empowered. I am grateful to say that vision is becoming a reality by the grace of God. I grew up in South Dakota. I am so proud of my roots and thankful for the family and friends who helped shape me into the woman I am today. I grew up quite the energetic girl and loved sports from a young age. I made the move to Knoxville, TN to spread my wings and enrolled at the University of Tennessee. I couldn't shake my love for athletics and the fascination of the human body, so I decided to make it a career! I majored in Exercise Science and graduated totally in love with what I'd studied. Upon graduation, I hit a slump and couldn't find a workout I consistently enjoyed. When I started CrossFit, I was sold! Not only are the physical results exciting, the breaking of mental barriers is so valuable to me. I have trained for 3 years, as well as trained competitively, and have obtained my L1 as well as my CrossFit Kids certification. I LOVE this sport and I love coaching. I truly believe there are life skills embedded in CrossFit that can change the world. I don't say that lightly. I am grateful to God for this opportunity to share my passion. I am currently enrolled in a Masters program to obtain a degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Human Performance. Our property is nestled at the foot of the mountains where we provide a safe getaway from the hustle and bustle to disconnect and spend some time bettering yourself. I look forward with joyful expectation to begin working with you!

Alissa Long


Hello! My name is Alissa Long, I am the Director of the Rise Up Youth Club and a Level One Trainer at CrossFit Anistemi. My biggest passions in life are identifying and cultivating the potential in others, and doing everything I do with my whole heart. My background which lead me to join the Anistemi team was a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Lee University, Master’s degree in Holistic Child Development from Lee University, and my work in the foster care field. I came to CFA in the fall of 2018 and fell in love with CrossFit immediately. I felt compelled to receive my Level 1 CrossFit designation because of the tremendous impact the coaches at CFA have had on me, physically and in so many other important ways. Coaching is a vulnerable exchange between the athlete and coach and I am honored every chance I get to lead a class or an individual into that space. I am married to my best friend, Nathan Long, and we are constantly competing with each other in workouts. We have a crazy pup named Jack, and two cats—Winston and Leslie, and expect our first child in February of 2020!

Dakota Hurst


In a really hard time in my life, a good friend of mine tried to get me to start CrossFit. After resisting for a while, I finally caved. I've been hooked ever since. I fell more and more in love with it over the years and started recruiting people myself. After overcoming some of the biggest obstacles in my life and using CrossFit to help do that, I wanted to give that back to other people. I went to become a coach so that I could be as knowledgeable about fitness as possible. Watching people do things they never thought they could do fuels me to continue learning to be the best coach I can be. I became a coach praying that one day I could give back what has been given to me. And the Lord has blessed me to get to do it. Coaching at CrossFit Anistemi is something I love to do more than I could actually put into words.