Values

We believe that every person’s health and wellness are priorities. We believe that mental health is just as important as physical health, and physical movement promotes mental health. We feel strongly that every person should have equal access to health and wellness, regardless of income or social status. 

We think that keeping the small family feel is important and promotes a strong sense of community and commitment to that community.  We want each and every person that steps through our front door to feel welcome and embraced with our coaches and members. 

We foster kindness and respect.  We shake hands, we hold doors for people, we take care of our gym space, we inquire about how things are going with members and we listen. 


Name and Logo: CrossFit Vertical

CrossFit is functional fitness. Its primary goal is to improve the health and quality of a person’s life through constantly varied movements that aim to make everyday tasks, like carrying groceries or getting yourself up from the floor, manageable, even as we age. 

Vertical stems from several different aspects of who we are. 

The five peaks… Jana and Andy are fortunate to have three amazing, intelligent, funny, charismatic and spirited children.  The five peaks represent their family of five.


Meet Team Vertical

Jana’s dad used to say: “You’re only as good as the company you keep.”  We think we’re keeping some good company with these solid humans…


Jana Leyden

Co-Founder, Level 2 Coach

When I found CrossFit in 2013, I experienced a paradigm shift that was life-changing. Exercise became a “team” sport again.

When I found CrossFit in 2013, I experienced a paradigm shift that was life-changing. Exercise became a “team” sport again. Working out to “stay thin” became working out to gain muscle, get strong, fight the aging process, feel empowered, and move my body in order to live well. Experiencing this personally was (and continues to be) rewarding and refreshing. However, helping others discover this through coaching them has been the ultimate reward. I consider it a gift to work with athletes through CrossFit, and I’m grateful for the opportunity every day.

When I’m not doing CrossFit-related things, I can likely be found teaching 11th and 12th grade English and trying to keep up with our three very busy kids.  Outside of CrossFit, teaching, and being a mom, I can be found traveling (domestically and internationally), hiking in the Adirondacks with our Topsail Tribe, planning an adventure with Andy, and diving into a book to relax for a few minutes.  

Welcome to CrossFit Vertical.  We are thrilled to be beside you as you experience this lifestyle.   

Certifications: 
CrossFit Level 2
First Aid/CPR/AED
Scaling
CF Kids
Spot the Flaw
CF Gymnastics  


Andy Lonsky

Co-Founder, Level 2 Coach

CrossFit has now become less of a competitive nature and more of “How can I use this functional fitness in my daily life?” “Move well to live well” emphasizes this, as CrossFit Vertical wants you to not only become fit but to use that fitness in your daily lives.

Fitness. It has a different meaning to everyone. I found CrossFit in 2013 and it became another outlet for not only overall fitness but competition. CrossFit became a source of daily competition between just myself and those in class. As time went on, I found a coaching role in 2014 and began to realize there was another side to CrossFit. Coaching allowed me to be more involved with athletes whether they were there for the best hour of their day or to push themselves through a challenging workout. 

CrossFit has now become less of a competitive nature and more of “How can I use this functional fitness in my daily life?” “Move well to live well” emphasizes this, as CrossFit Vertical wants you to not only become fit but to use that fitness in your daily lives. Whether it’s out playing a sport, picking up your groceries or out hiking a high peak, this is something we believe in and want you to be a part of.

When I’m not coaching, I can be found working for Cornell University in the Alumni Affairs and Development division researching for prospective donors to help the university. Jana and I have three talented kids. I love spending time with our 2 dogs and 2 cats, hiking the local gorges or high peaks in the Adirondacks along with traveling for new adventures!

I look forward to meeting each of you that comes through our doors and helping you along your fitness journey!

Certifications: 
CrossFit Level 2
CrossFit Gymnastics
CPR/AED 


Janessa Ciaschi

Level 2 Coach

Finding CrossFit was a transformational experience for me.

I found CrossFit in 2014 after seeking both a new movement and mental health outlet. Instead of striving to compete, I strove for the feeling of connection with my mind and body during class time. I knew that if I showed up to the gym, I would feel more grounded – more ready – for anything that would come my way. For the first time as a parent and partner, I felt my own power, confidence, and strength soar, and I have coaches, community, and CrossFit to thank for that. 

Finding CrossFit was a transformational experience for me. In 2015, I began coaching and actively supporting individuals and families through challenges and transitions in their own lives, both inside and outside of the gym. Since then, I’ve been honored to coach hour-long group functional fitness classes, individual and group On Ramp courses, group Perinatal Movement classes, and personal training for clients from all walks of life. 

When I’m not coaching, you can find me working as Camp Director for Primitive Pursuits, spending time with my husband and raising our two kids, cuddling and training our GSD, Sirius, fulfilling my life’s work as a chicken mom, and finishing up my Advanced Clinical Therapy Social Work graduate degree through Columbia University. 

I am overjoyed to welcome you all to CrossFit Vertical and to “Move Well to Live Well”!

Certifications
CrossFit Level 2
USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Level 1
CrossFit Kids
First Aid/CPR/AED


Laura Hayduchok

Level 1 Coach

Every day, I’m blown away by the determination shown by every member who walks through the door.  There’s nothing like seeing a room full of people dig deep and find the will to do one more rep when their lungs are on fire and muscles are screaming. 

Growing up, sports were always my main afterschool activity.  I enjoyed learning new skills and working together during matches or to survive a grueling practice.  Following college, I suddenly found myself in a much more sedentary lifestyle and missing the team camaraderie when I did make it to the globo gym.

After a few years of failing to keep up with a running program, I was encouraged to try CrossFit where I found the same physical, mental, and social stimulation I had missed from team sports.  While I was initially intimidated to join, I quickly got hooked on challenging myself during workouts (to the best of my ability; CrossFit can be for anyone, given good coaching and the right scale) and the downright outstanding community.

Wanting to give back to the community that has given me so much, I completed my L1 in 2018 and began coaching.  Every day, I’m blown away by the determination shown by every member who walks through the door.  There’s nothing like seeing a room full of people dig deep and find the will to do one more rep when their lungs are on fire and muscles are screaming.  I’ve found the incredible grit that CrossFit builds in people translates beyond the gym.  It squashes that self-doubt and proves you can do more than you ever thought you could.

Outside of CrossFit, I work as a Software Engineer, primarily coding in C++ and C#.  I have two dogs, Callie and Tucker (fondly called Thing 1 and Thing 2), and like to spend my time in the vegetable garden or tending my chickens.

Certifications: 
CrossFit Level 1
First Aid/CPR/AED


Jon Husson

Level 2 Coach

I look forward to being part of this community’s fitness journey and helping every member conquer their own unique challenges.

I first learned about CrossFit back in 2015 from one of my strength coaches at Ithaca College.  In my off-season from swimming, he suggested I come give it a try.  I immediately found a place in the sport.  When I completed my undergraduate degree in Clinical Health Sciences in 2016 I began to take more time to learn the CrossFit movements and found that I was really enjoying it.  I got my CF-L1 in Fall 2017 and began working with personal training clients as well as using these new skills to coach the strength and conditioning programs for the men’s and women’s varsity swimming and diving teams at Ithaca College.  I have continued to further my education in this sport as well as Olympic Lifting since then and have gotten to the point of receiving my CF-L2 and USAW-L2 back in the Fall of 2019.  Due to COVID, I made the decision to move some of my time away from my coaching hours and this eventually led me to my current position as a Fire Fighter for the City of Ithaca.  I have continued to work with many of my personal training clients and cannot be happier to be getting back into coaching CrossFit in the group setting with CrossFit Vertical!  I look forward to being part of this community’s fitness journey and helping every member conquer their own unique challenges.

Certifications: 
CrossFit Level 2
USA Weightlifting Level 2
First Aid/CPR/AED 


Rachel Kissinger

Level 1 Coach

I want to help other people enjoy fitness, move correctly, enjoy workouts and to make their bodies and lives healthier.

I am a daughter, sister, auntie, girlfriend, construction project manager at Cornell University and a CrossFit athlete. 2021 was my sixth year competing in the CrossFit Open, qualifying for the online quarterfinals and finishing 26th in my age group.

I have been involved in fitness my whole life, with swimming, gymnastics, soccer, skiing and running. I started swimming competitively when I was 4 years old, and when I stopped swimming at age 16, I started running to stay in shape. I ran the Chicago Marathon in 1999, and a myriad of other, shorter races along the way. I started CrossFit in 2016, after my 1:1 coach suggested it would be good for me, and that I would love the people. I have really enjoyed the workouts, the strength I have gained and the skills I have built. In addition to physical changes, my self-confidence has gotten better, and I have made lots of friends in the CrossFit community! I got my L1 in 2017, because I want to help other people enjoy fitness, move correctly, enjoy workouts and to make their bodies and lives healthier. 

Certifications: 
CrossFit Level 1
First Aid/CPR/AED 


Heather Cooper

Level 1 Coach

I am excited to know that with CrossFit, I will be able to take care of and play with my grandchildren without the typical limitations that aging can impose.

I’ve been involved with some type of fitness for my entire life and have engaged in almost every fad fitness that has spanned the last 30 years: high impact, low impact and step aerobics, Bootcamp, kickboxing, P90x, Spartan races, long-distance running, etc.. But as with all fads, they come and go when the shininess wears off and that brand of fitness gets monotonous and uninspiring. That is what is completely different about CrossFit and why, even after 7+ years of experience, I am still excited to engage with, talk about, read about, learn more about, coach, etc. CrossFit. It has completely flipped the mindset of what I thought fitness and working out should be and what the results of fitness should look like. I am excited to know that with CrossFit, I will be able to take care of and play with my grandchildren without the typical limitations that aging can impose.

Certifications: 
CrossFit Level 1
First Aid/CPR/AE


Stacey Caskey

Level 1 Coach

My goal in becoming a coach was to expand upon my knowledge of functional fitness so that I could enhance my own programming but in doing so I am now inspired to share this wealth of information with people like me, people who might be intimidated to take that first step.

My functional fitness journey began in September of 2020 when I started personal training sessions with Jana. I realized, mid pandemic while working at home sitting in front of a computer all day, that I needed to actively focus on my health and well-being and personal training was the best option since most gyms were closed. To say that this journey has been life-changing and eye-opening is an understatement. I barely made my way through the warm-up during my first session and debated whether or not I would come back. I honestly thought I would go for a few sessions and that would be it but the inner athlete in me wouldn’t give up and I stayed on for seven months. I quickly discovered that I am stronger than I gave myself credit for. In watching my coach inspire others to become one percent better day after day I was inspired to do the same. My goal in becoming a coach was to expand upon my knowledge of functional fitness so that I could enhance my own programming but in doing so I am now inspired to share this wealth of information with people like me, people who might be intimidated to take that first step.

CrossFit offers a built-in community of support that has now become like family. I have reconnected with classmates from high school and college as well as old colleagues I have not seen in several years. This community inspires me to be the best version of myself that I can be for my family. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker living in Ithaca with my husband of 21 years and our 2 kiddos. My daughter, Isabella is 15, nonverbal, and has Down syndrome. My son, Caleb is 13 and has Autism. I am a mama bear who is an advocate for the special needs community and I love how functional fitness is being incorporated into rehabilitation programs for individuals with disabilities. Every move and workout program we do in CrossFit is scalable to meet the ability of the athlete which is what keeps me coming back day after day.  

My goal is to have the most positive impact on the lives of the people that I work with; helping them become the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves. This goes beyond the physical benefits that CrossFit has to offer and encompasses a healthy balance between performance, mindset, motivation and lifestyle. I am honored to be part of the CrossFit Vertical coaching staff and can’t wait to be a part of your own health and wellness journey. 

Certifications: 
CrossFit Level 1
Scaling
Spot the Flaw
First Aid/CPR/AED 

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