Bowflex MAX Trainer Review
The Bowflex MAX Trainer calls itself one of the most intense and compact pieces of fitness equipment on the planet. Designed to fit in small spaces, the Bowflex MAX Trainer claims to help anyone maximize calorie burning, improve cardiovascular health, and boost athletic performance.
Today, in our Bowflex MAX Trainer review, we’re going to explain how the Bowflex MAX Trainer works and help you decide whether or not it’s the right piece of indoor fitness equipment for you.
MAX Trainer is manufactured by Nautilus, a well-known company with over three decades of experience. Nautilus currently holds an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau with a total of 84 closed complaints.
Nautilus is well-known for its Bowflex line of fitness equipment. Its most popular product is the Bowflex TreadClimber. Nautilus also owns a number of other well-known fitness brands, including Schwinn and Universal.
Nautilus is headquartered in Vancouver, Washington and was founded in 1986. It’s a publically traded company on the NYSE, where its ticker symbol is NLS).
How Does the Bowflex MAX Trainer Work?
The Bowflex MAX Trainer is a unique piece of fitness equipment. It’s not a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike. Instead, it’s a unique mixture of all three.
Many people describe the motion as being a “reverse elliptical machine.” While riding the MAX Trainer, your feet move the opposite direction they would move on a traditional elliptical machine, kind of like they would move if you were walking backwards.
At the same time, the motion is similar to running up a very steep hill, which is why the MAX Trainer is considered to be a difficult workout.
When you’re “running” on the MAX Trainer, your legs will follow the path of an oval. If you’re looking at the MAX Trainer machine from the side, you’ll see that your legs will follow the shape of a diagonal oval.
It’s kind of like if you combined a stair climber and an elliptical and flipped the machine diagonally. You can find plenty of videos online showing the machine in action.
At the same time, the MAX Trainer will also work other muscles in your upper and lower body. The upper part of the machine is similar to an elliptical machine: arms move back and forth in opposite directions during your workout. Unlike an elliptical, however, the MAX Trainer uses v-shaped handles that let you maximize upper body activity by changing hand positions.
I recommend looking at MAX Trainer videos before you make a purchase: some people describe the movement as feeling “unnatural” and hurts the knees and joints, while others claim that it’s the best low-impact workout they’ve ever done.
Benefits of the Bowflex MAX Trainer
The MAX Trainer comes with the following goals:
— Provide a full-body workout with virtually zero impact
— Produce elite-level training in just a 14 minute workout
— Create an ultra-efficient workout which activates the body 80% more than ellipticals and has 200% less impact than running
— Help users tone up and lose weight by burning 2.5 times more calories per minute than treadmills, ellipticals, and step-climbers
Most fitness equipment comes with a common theme: everyone is too busy to work out and nobody has the time to spend hours at the gym getting toned and fit. The MAX Trainer is designed to solve all of your fitness problems by providing the most effective possible workout in a compact machine.
By working out for just 14 minutes per day, MAX Trainer users can enjoy an ultra-efficient workout that has the added bonus of being fun and motivating.
One of the key concepts behind MAX Trainer is interval training: specifically, the Bowflex MAX Trainer claims to utilize small bursts of activity interspersed with brief periods of rest. This has been scientifically proven to burn more calories and increase cardiovascular health.
The MAX Trainer claims that this interval training leads to 2.5 times more calories burned per minute, and that calorie burning continues for up to 48 hours after a workout (your body is burning those calories to repair your muscles).
You can launch into the MAX Trainer’s interval training program simply by pressing the Interval button on the machine: but be warned, it’s an extremely difficult program.
The MAX Trainer Machine
The Bowflex MAX Trainer is a premium-priced piece of fitness equipment. As you would expect, it’s put together very well and features stable, solid construction.
The front bottom of the machine features a resistance wheel which spins as you run. You can adjust the resistance of this wheel using the 9 buttons at the top of the device, which let you change upper body and lower body resistance on the fly. There are 16 different levels of resistance on the M5 model and 8 on the M3 model, and most people will be unable to get anywhere close to the top 2-4 levels of resistance for more than a few minutes at a time.
You can also use the MAX Trainer buttons to change burn rate, select from a list of programs, or launch into interval training. All of the buttons are on a small handset in between the two handlebars.
The handlebars themselves feature metallic heart rate sensors which let you keep track of the effectiveness of your workout as you go along (the M3 version does not have these sensors, although it does have a chest strap you can use).
Another button called “User” lets you save two different users. This button will actually sync your MAX Trainer via Bluetooth to the Bowflex app on your Android or iOS.
There’s also a neat display at the very front of the device. There’s a tachometer that judges your burn rate in terms of calories per minute. It looks like a speedometer and there’s even a little light which appears at the point of your highest rate of calorie burning for each workout.
In addition to the tachometer, the display features a heart rate sensor, resistance level information, and the amount of time remaining in your workout. On the M5, this display is backlit.
Bowflex MAX Trainer Pricing
The Bowflex MAX Trainer can be purchased online. Nautilus claims the product will arrive at your door within 45 to 60 days, although some customers report receiving it in as little as a week.
There are two different models of the MAX Trainer, including:
— M3: $999 (plus $100 for shipping and handling)
— M5: $1599 (plus $150 for shipping and handling)
If you need financing, Nautilus actually provides credit card-based, no money down financing through a third party bank named Synchrony. If you can pay off the amount in full in 18 months, you won’t even be charged interest.
However, if you can’t pay the full amount within 18 months, it will retroactively roll over at an APR of 29.99%, so you’ll want to pay it off within 18 months.
If you do choose to finance your MAX Trainer, you’ll be paying about $61 per month for 18 months for the M3 and $97 per month for 18 months for the M5. However, you can pay as little as $150 per year if you extend your financing.
In addition, you can pay Nautilus a one-time fee of $250 for a third-party technician to come to your home and assemble the product for you.
Assembling the MAX Trainer
If you don’t pay the setup fee, then you’ll need to put together the machine yourself. It comes in two large boxes with all the parts securely packaged in foam. Assembly is relatively straightforward and most of the parts have already been assembled. You’re just screwing parts together using the included screws.
Most users report that assembly takes about 2.5 hours. These users also claim that if you can assemble Ikea furniture, then you shouldn’t have any trouble putting together the MAX Trainer.
In terms of equipment, everything is included within the two MAX Trainer boxes (although you may need a knife to actually open the boxes). If you run into trouble along the way, then you’ll find plenty of assembly videos online and detailed instructions at the official Bowflex MAX Trainer website.
Comparing the M3 Versus the M5
There are two different versions of the MAX Trainer: the M3 and the M5.
Below, you’ll find a comparison between the two MAX Trainers:
Bowflex M3 MAX Trainer Features
— 8 Resistance Levels
— Manual And Max Interval Workout Programs
— Chest Strap For Heart Rate Monitoring
— Media Shelf And Water Bottle Holder
— No Bluetooth Syncing With App
— No Backlit Display
— 1 Year Warranty
Bowflex M5 MAX Trainer Features
— 16 Resistance Levels
— Manual, Max Interval, Smart Max Interval, Calorie Burn, Fat Burn, Calorie Goal, Stairs, Steady State, And Fitness Test Workout Programs
— Integrated Contact Grips For Heart Rate And Included Chest Strap
— Media Shelf And Water Bottle Holder
— Bluetooth Syncing With Android And iOS Bowflex App For Persistent User Tracking Over Time
— Backlit Display
— 2 Year Warranty
MAX Trainer Refund Policy
All Bowflex MAX Trainer purchases come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a 6-week refund policy. You will, however, have to pay shipping and handling if you return your Bowflex, and you won’t be able to recover the assembly charges. The trainer must also be in its original condition, including original packaging, accessories, and materials.
The M3 comes with a 1 year warranty policy, while the M5 comes with a 2 year warranty policy. Both models include a 90-day labor warranty.
You can contact the Bowflex customer service line at (800) 605-3369 to request an RMA, file a warranty claim, or ask for a refund.
Conclusion: Who Should Use the Bowflex MAX Trainer?
The MAX Trainer is a powerful piece of fitness equipment which uses a unique and innovative design to compactly fit anywhere in your home.
The MAX Trainer is popular among those who live in condos and apartments because it doesn’t create the same heavy footsteps as a treadmill and takes up very little space. It’s also fairly easy to drag around wherever it needs to go thanks to its included grip bars and wheels.
Nautilus is a well-known fitness equipment company which has a good reputation. It’s been making equipment since 1986 and is based in America.
TechCrunch provided a nice summary of the Bowflex MAX Trainer M5 in its review:
“It’s a workout that won’t necessarily replace a whole home gym, but will provide you with some much-needed cardio in the cold winter months, or if you prefer preserving your knees, hips and ankles from frequent runs.”
The workout itself is extremely effective. You can hop on for 14 minutes and enjoy the interval program, although most people will have a lot of trouble completing that workout without prior training. In any case, Bowflex promises that you can burn 2.5 times as many calories as you would on a treadmill or elliptical.
Whether you’re looking for a challenging at-home workout or trying to tone up and lose weight, the Bowflex MAX Trainer is a well-reviewed piece of fitness equipment made by one of America’s best-known fitness companies.