The Phyzseek Story

Our story is typical of many aging health and fitness buffs. We worked out for years, watched what we ate, with the occasional splurges, but as we got older we seemed to be losing the battle. Fat was starting to accumulate around the mid-section, fatigue was setting in earlier in the day and sleep was restless. Oh, and it was obvious, hormone levels weren’t what they used to be. But why? We thought we ate right and kept fit. How could we turn the tables to regain the strength and energy we had when we were younger?

At about this time we were introduced to a well-known boot camp style high intensity workout program. The exercise program was very different than anything we had ever done and the results we were seeing were amazing. We had lost weight, gained lean muscle mass, and had more energy. Unfortunately, the exercise program also included heavy weights and Olympic style lifting, which combined with workouts measured by speed and number of reps, eventually took its toll on our bodies. Due to frequent injuries, what began as the answer to our fitness woes, came to a sudden end.

Now what? With backgrounds in medicine and analytics as well as a passion for working out and staying fit, we were determined to find a better way to enhance our levels of fitness while maintaining functional longevity. We studied the science, researched methodologies, tested theories and eventually discovered Phyzseek.

Eric J. Ende, MD, ACSM-CPT
Eric is a co-founder of Phyzseek as well as its CEO and CFO. Before starting Phyzseek, Eric received his medical degree from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and an MBA from NYU – Stern School of Business. Combining the two degrees allowed Eric to become a biotechnology industry analyst and eventually a consultant to multiple pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and investors. To further his passion for and understanding of health and fitness, Eric received a Personal Training Certification from the American College of Sports Medicine. Using his medical & science backgrounds, his business degree & analytical expertise as well as his ACSM-PT certification, Eric researched, designed and co-founded Phyzseek to bring forth a revolutionary workout motivation mobile app for men and women seeking supreme fitness and functional longevity.
Chad P. LaBonte
Chad is a co-founder of Phyzseek and serves as COO. Prior to this venture Chad had a 25 year career in real estate, building an extensive knowledge of several facets of the business such as asset acquisition, property management, leasing and developing retail shopping centers and large scale master planned communities. Chad was a competitive athlete for most of his early life, playing a variety of sports, including college football and lacrosse. Training for sports - weight training, powerlifting, plyometric and speed drills - was central to Chad’s life. His enthusiasm for physical fitness didn’t end after he hung up his cleats. Chad continued to pursue fitness in a variety of disciplines from bodybuilding, HIIT, stationary bike, running, kickboxing, swimming and yoga. Today Chad sticks to PhyzWOD’s (Phyzseek Workout of the Day) and yoga for fitness and golf and fishing for recreation. He’s known to rock out playing the drums in a band too!

Frequently Asked Questions - General

First and foremost, Phyzseek workouts are NOT easy. They are designed to be done at a high intensity. So, be honest with yourself regarding your initial capabilities until your body adjusts to the workouts. Start with a lower intensity and focus on form even though they will take longer. We highly recommend that when you begin using Phyzseek you should perform the PhytTest -- a standardized physical fitness test -- so that the App can determine a baseline PhyzioLevel for you that can be used to periodically evaluate progress and to identify strengths and weaknesses. When you first start the program, we recommend that you focus on exercise form as demonstrated in our exercise videos. Proper form in the beginning will translate into better long-term results and a reduced likelihood of injury. Form should NEVER be sacrificed for speed. In addition, for exercises that require weights, we recommend starting light. In fact, we never advise going heavy. We also propose using a stretching regimen and an active warmup of 5 – 10 minutes prior to each workout to get blood pumping throughout your body. In addition, after each workout, you should perform a cool down of stretching and easy cardio for another 5 – 10 minutes. Stretching and slow cardio before and after each workout will help to decrease soreness and reduce the likelihood of injury.

While we recommend working out with Phyzseek 3 – 4 times per week, some people may be able to workout more often while others may need more rest. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you feel compelled to gain muscle mass we recommend weight training 2 days per week, but again, we do not recommend using heavy weight during the Phyzseek workouts.  In addition, during off days, you may choose to jog at a pace that keeps your heart rate in its aerobic zone (60% - 70% of heart rate max).  By doing so, you may be able to reduce soreness and increase aerobic capacity further.

PhytTest is a standardized physical fitness test that all Phyzseekers should take prior to beginning the Phyzseek workout program. The test is designed to assess your fitness level, identify potential areas of weakness and provide a baseline to easily track progress. PhytTest consists of five sections: (1) a one mile run to assess aerobic capacity, (2) 60 seconds of sit-ups to determine core strength, (3) 60 seconds of push-ups to assess upper body strength, (4) 60 seconds of air squats to determine lower body strength, and (5) 60 seconds of burpees to assess full body endurance. You will be given a PhytRank for each section so that you can easily compare your performance to other users of the App and determine your strengths and weaknesses. Each time you perform the PhytTest you will be able to easily assess if your performance is improving in each section.

“That which gets measured gets improved,” as the saying goes. It has been shown that tracking exercise performance aids in success. Measuring allows you to assess a starting point, determine whether or not you’re on the right path, and helps you figure out where to make adjustments. Even more importantly, it forces you to exercise with a purpose, with a goal in mind, causes you to push yourself harder, and motivates you to stay with the program.

Measuring progress comes in multiple forms with the Phyzseek App. Performance metrics are captured for every PhyzWOD, measured either as time taken to complete the workout, repetitions achieved during the workout, or rounds accomplished in a fixed amount of time during the workout. The performance metrics allow you to track individual progress for that PhyzWOD over a period time. In addition, you will receive a PhytRank for every workout so that you can see how you compare to others doing the same workout, which should get your competitive juices flowing. And, by tracking your PhyzioLevel, you can witness overall fitness improvements and compare your fitness level to other users of the App.

Beyond Phyzseek metrics, you can also capture more tangible progress such as improvements in weight, body measurements, resting heart rate, and see physical improvements through before and after pictures.

A PhyzWOD is the Phyzseek Workout Of the Day. Each day a new PhyzWOD will be made available to you. You can access it on the PhyzWOD page of the App and it can be sent to you as a daily notification, if you choose. If you missed a prior PhyzWOD or would like to do a specific category of workout on a certain day then you can view and perform PhyzWODs from the past four days on the PhyzWOD page as well.

Each day, a new workout will be provided to you in the PhyzWOD section of the App. The workout will be classified into one of three general categories: Intervals, Endurance or Lactic Loading. While some of the workouts may fall into two categories they tend to lean towards a specific one. Ideally, each week you should perform at least one workout of each category with a goal of 3 or 4 workouts per week. The workouts are intense. Once you get beyond the initial stages of focusing solely on form, you will begin to also focus on increasing your intensity which involves going faster, attempting more challenging exercises and potentially adding weight to the exercises. When you first begin the Phyzseek workout program, you are likely to be sore. As you progress, the soreness will begin to lessen and occur less frequently. Be conscious of your body and what it is telling you. Soreness is one thing but pain from an injury is something entirely different. If you are sore it is best to continue with the program, which will help to reduce the soreness and reduce the length of time it is present. But, if you are injured, REST your body and see a physician if necessary.

Working out under the pressure of time to achieve a measurable result (time, reps, rounds) helps to motivate you to work out with the intensity needed to get transformative results.  Also, each measurable result allows the app to more easily track your progress over time and to compare your performance to others, which helps foster friendly competition.Importantly though, while time is a crucial aspect to motivating you to work out with intensity, you should NEVER sacrifice form to achieve a better time.

The Phyzseek app motivates people to work out consistently with the intensity needed to get transformative results.  Intensity is crucial to forcing the body to physiologically adapt.  Phyzseek is not designed for people who prefer workouts that are easy and don’t make you sweat.  They are intended to push you well beyond your anaerobic threshold so that your body must adapt.  Adaptation causes you to burn more calories and fat, store fewer excess calories as fat, increase lean muscle mass, and improve key hormone levels, such as growth hormone, insulin and testosterone (for men).

The Phyzseek founders recognize that high intensity training (HIT) regimens produce the greatest fitness results in the shortest period of time.  However, HIT is associated with rapid bodily fatigue, and when it includes highly technical Olympic lifts using heavy weight done as quickly as possible, loss of proper form becomes commonplace.  In addition, even when proper coaching is provided, age-related issues, structural dysfunction and pre-existing injuries may limit a person’s ability to achieve proper form.  Poor form can stress muscles, tendons and ligaments, causing acute injuries and potentially hurting long-term daily function.  So, HIT’s benefits must be carefully weighed against its risks. 

By maintaining and enhancing its benefits but reducing the chances of short-term injury and the potential of longer term dysfunction, Phyzseek’s founders believe they have developed an improved form of HIT -- Sustainable High Intensity Functional Training (SHIFT).  Phyzseek’s SHIFT program targets the entire body using both body weight and light weight exercises sequenced to generate balanced development of the body’s largest muscles that traverse multiple joints.  It targets all three metabolic energy systems by providing different categories of workouts: Lactic Loading, Intervals and Endurance. 

SHIFT excludes highly technical Olympic lifts and heavy weight from the program, thus proper form is more easily maintained.  In addition, since recovery from HIT takes longer than with other workout regimens, particularly as we age, Phyzseek recommends a more limited training regimen of only 3 – 4 sessions per week.  As a result, Phyzseek’s SHIFT program helps to maintain and enhance functional longevity while reducing the chance of developing acute injuries. 


    Many 35+ year old people are not physically capable of keeping up with younger athletes in their 20s, even though psychologically they think they can.  And, their bodies are at much greater risk of injury as compared to younger people because their muscles, tendons and ligaments are much less flexible and pliable.  With that said, there are some older people that can certainly handle it but they are the exception NOT the rule. 

    We recognized during our CrossFit days that highly technical Olympic lifting, heavy weights, timed workouts (speed), and certain exercises that are not natural movements, can be a recipe for disaster for the older crowd.  Maybe not immediately, but as they get older, these factors will definitely take their toll on functional longevity. 

    Strength training is VERY important, especially as people get older. But, the benefits of high intensity exercise can be achieved WITHOUT heavy weight, Olympic lifting and certain exercises that are not friendly to the body in the long-term. 

    In response to the above:

    • Phyzseek has eliminated many of the Olympic lifts, recommends only LIGHT weight, uses many body-weight exercises, and got rid of certain exercises that are not body-friendly. 
    • We designed the workouts to incorporate the body's main muscle groups in a very balanced way.  A lack of balance is what tends to contribute to those nagging injuries that we have all experienced, i.e. back, neck, knee and shoulder pain. 
    • We have also incorporated several features that forge competition among users since we recognize the benefits of competition as a major driver for motivation.  But, importantly, we allow people to compare themselves to their "peers," not just to all users of the app, which we think will help reduce the risk of certain people from pushing themselves beyond their physical capabilities without reducing their competitive drive.
    • Also, built in to the app are video demonstrations for every exercise and a feature that allows the user to easily choose alternative exercises prior to starting a workout so that they can still participate in the workout (albeit, a modified version) if they lack proficiency or have a prior injury that limits their abilities.

    Eat “clean” well balanced meals of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrates, which contain approximately 4 calories per gram, should represent about 40 – 60% of you total daily calories. Your body converts 100% of your carbohydrate intake into glucose, which can be used as a quick form of energy. Your carbohydrate intake should consist primarily of complex carbs such as multigrain bread, brown rice, nuts and beans. High fiber foods will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. Stay away from simple sugars like candy, cookies, and soda.

    The current recommended daily allowance for protein, which contains about 4 calories per gram, is 0.9 g/kg of body weight or around 20% - 35% of total caloric intake. However, for active people engaged in high intensity exercise such as Phyzseek, 1.4 – 1.7 g/kg of body weight may be more appropriate. Protein is needed by your body for growth, maintenance and energy. Your body converts approximately 60% of protein into glucose, but it takes 3 – 4 hours to affect blood sugar levels. Your protein intake should consist primarily of lean meats such as skinless chicken and fish as well as eggs and beans.

    Fats, which contain about 9 calories per gram, should make up 20 - 30% of your total calories. Your body converts approximately 10% of fat into glucose. There are different forms of fat with certain types better for you. Mono-saturated fats, such as olive oil, canola oil, avocado and nut oils, are healthy. However, trans-fats should be limited. These are fats that come from processed and many fried foods.

    Drink a lot of water. Every system in your body depends on it. The current recommendation for daily water intake is 3 liters for men and 2.2 liters for women. Obviously, your water consumption should be higher on days that you do a Phyzseek workout. Weighing yourself prior to the workout and after will give you a good sense as to how much water you lost through sweating. Each 2.2 lbs. of weight is equal to 1 liter of water lost to sweating. So, following a workout (and during) make sure you replace lost water.

    To maintain current weight, the average man should consume 11 calories per pound of body weight each day while the average woman should consume 10 calories per pound daily.  Each Phyzseek workout will burn approximately 12 – 20 calories per minute.  In addition, you will burn more calories after the workout is complete as your body recovers from the workout's intensity.  So, adjust your caloric intake accordingly if you are just looking to maintain your current weight.  Obviously, to lose weight, you should reduce your caloric intake.  By eating clean you’ll most likely achieve this but pay attention to the proportions you are eating.  An easy way to gauge proper proportion size is each meal should be the size of your fist.  It’s best to eat 5-6 times per day.  Keep in mind, reducing your daily caloric intake even by a modest 150 calories will result in a significant reduction in fat over time.

    Phyzseek workouts are intense which initially causes you to develop lower blood sugar than you are used to experiencing. Low blood sugar causes you to feel hungry. Don’t worry though. Your body will physiologically adapt and the hunger feeling will diminish over time. Your body will change in order to better preserve glucose levels. The physiological transformation will increase your capacity to store glucose and will improve your body’s ability to burn fat for fuel as opposed to using glucose.

    The science behind the Phyzseek workout program is available on the Phyzseek website as part of the Phyzseek White Paper. In addition, we write blogs every few weeks focused on different aspects of the science behind the Phyzseek workouts. They provide information for physiology geeks but we also provide similar information that is a bit easier to read for the less geeky.

    When you first join Phyzseek, you will receive a 30-day ad-free trial to fully experience all of the unique features of the Phyzseek App.  After the 30-day free trial period, you can choose to continue to receive all of the App’s features ad-free for $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. 

    Or, you can become a free user.  Free users will be able to get the daily PhyzWOD and track individual workout progress.  However, free users will not be able to compare their performance to other Phyzseekers, track their PhyzioLevel or use many of the social features of the App.  In addition, ads will be present.  If a free user would like to see how they did versus other Phyzseek users once they complete an individual workout they can purchase the information (PhytRank, PhyzioLevel or Leaderboard information) on an a la carte basis for $0.99.

    You might need to restore purchases when you remove and reinstall an app or you install a purchased app on another device using the same Apple ID.

    The simple answer is that we expect users to follow the honor system.  But let’s define what we perceive to be “cheating.”  There are three key ways that users tend to cheat, whether they know they are cheating or not.  First, a user needs to properly “notify” the app that they are modifying a workout based on the equipment they have available, an injury that prevents the user from doing a certain exercise or based on their level of exercise proficiency (this is where you need to be honest with yourself), which will automatically substitute a standard exercise with a modified exercise.  If they do not properly do so then the user will end up doing easier modified exercises while other users will be doing more difficult unmodified exercises.  In addition, if a user utilizes much lighter weights than recommended the workouts will be significantly easier.  However, we recommend users to build up in weight as they become stronger and more proficient at the exercise. So, if a user is performing the exercise with less weight than recommended it is up to them to indicate that they did a modified workout. Comparing results of modified users to unmodified users is not meaningful.  However, we built safeguards into the app to protect against this.  

    Second, a user can stop the timer prior to actually being done with the workout.  Again, while we rely on the honor system, if the result is too far off of the mean (several standard deviations) or from the user’s prior workout results then the App will ask the user to confirm the result before saving it.  If the result is many standard deviations off the mean as compared to other results then the App will not use the result in the database.

    Third, a user can also cheat by not doing the exercises properly, which in any competition would be considered a “no rep.”  The most common “cheats” occur for squats and all squat related exercises such as thrusters, front squats and air squats (not going down to parallel), pull ups (not getting your chin over the bar) and toes-to-bar (not getting your toes all the way up to the bar).  While we cannot police your exercise form, we expect you or your partners to do so.  If you cannot finish your complete rep count with the proper form then you should stop, rest and then continue with the proper form.  Don’t just do the exercise incorrectly so that you falsely achieve a better result.

    Future technology such as wearable monitors/devices will help to track proper form and to count reps but currently there is no reliable way to fully protect against cheating.  The Phyzseek App includes features that foster friendly competition because we recognize the important role competition plays in pushing individuals to achieve their best. We also recognize that it is easy to cheat in order to beat the competition, but with features that encourage accountability and safeguards to protect the integrity of the data, we believe the playing field is as level as possible. Most importantly, keep in mind that you are doing the Phyzseek workouts to get into the best shape of your life…so, you are really only cheating yourself.