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Bowflex MAX Trainer Reviews

About Bowflex MAX Trainer

Manufactured by Nautilus, Inc., the Bowflex MAX Trainer claims to be an easy and intuitive fitness machine that can help you burn more calories in less time, build a stronger heart and lungs, improve your endurance and stamina, and continue burning calories long after you’ve stopped working out.

The Bowflex MAX Trainer is a unique device unseen elsewhere in the industry, which some consumers have described as being a combination of a “reverse elliptical” machine (e.g. your feet move in a reverse motion, almost as if you were walking backward), a stair stepper, and a stationary bicycle. Other users have described the MAX Trainer’s motion similar to running up a very steep hill. Bowflex com Store  

Bowflex MAX Trainer Reviews

Bowflex com Store  

Regardless of how it’s described though, the MAX Trainer’s unique motion is claimed to result in virtually zero impact, to give you the most effective full-body workout in 14 minutes, guaranteed, and to provide “elite-level training for everyone.”

If we’re being honest, the Bowflex MAX Trainer is one sleek-looking machine that’s hard not to notice. On top of this, by helping you to tone up and lose weight, it might not just be good looking, but could also bring inspiration to whoever uses it.

But you already know this, because you’re here to find out more about the Bowflex MAX Trainer, especially after seeing those incredible before and after case studies.

What Benefits Does the Bowflex MAX Trainer Claim to Provide?
In the world of fitness, most manufacturers have figured out that Americans lead incredibly busy lives, and have created a variety of products that are claimed to give us quality workouts in as little time as possible. After all, they know that if they can provide more “bang for our buck,” then their products will fly off the shelves.

With this in mind, the Bowflex MAX Trainer is the newest exercise device in the Nautilus lineup, which claims to provide you with all the benefits of a much longer workout, but in just 14 minutes per day. In fact, the MAX Trainer’s promo video claims that creating an ultra-efficient workout was the primary goal right from the start, and the machine was specifically built with this in mind, in addition to being fun and motivating.

The MAX Trainer utilizes small bursts of activity followed by longer periods of rest (known as intervals) to help you burn more calories and keep burning them for up to 48 hours after you’ve finished.

Specifically, Nautilus tells us that the MAX Trainer burns up to 2.5X more calories per minute than ellipticals, step climbers, and treadmills; provides 80% more upper body activation than ellipticals, and results in 200% less impact than running at a moderate speed.

Bowflex MAX Trainer Reviews

How the Bowflex Max Trainer Works
At its most basic, the MAX Trainer is similar to an elliptical machine, in that your feet will move in circular (or more accurately, oval) motions when it’s being used. This is how it delivers a good workout with minimal impact on your joints.

However, unlike some elliptical machines, the Bowflex MAX Trainer will simultaneously work your upper and lower body for “max” results. This is accomplished utilizing wide foot planks for a stable standing surface, which move opposite one another in up-and-down (and slightly forward-and-back) motions.

And from an upper body perspective, the MAX Trainer’s “arms” move back and forth opposite one another as well, with v-shaped handles that allow you to intensify your upper body workout based on your preferences, simply by changing hand positions.

While you’re working out, the MAX Trainer’s gauge (known as a “Burn Rate” display, which is similar to a car’s speedometer), will show you how many calories you’ve burned, as well as your target exertion range based on the program you’ve selected. These programs will automatically adjust resistance levels based on their presets (see more about this in the final section), or you can manually adjust resistance to your comfort level using the manual handlebar “knob.”

Once you have your Bowflex MAX Trainer set up in your home, the company claims it has a very small footprint (2.5’ x 3.5’), and simply uses a small AC adapter as its power source. Nautilus also makes a MAX Trainer app for iOS/Android smartphones, which provides additional workouts and tracking features.

The New Bowflex Max Trainer M7
While we’ll directly compare other models in a moment, Bowflex’s new top-of-the-line M7 model promises to deliver upgraded features like two additional workout programs, four more resistance levels, and updated commercial grade handlebars.

You’ll also find the same performance “burn” as other Max Trainer models, but with something Bowflex calls “performance targeted programming.” Here, we’re told that M7 tracks and stores your performance and responds by “coaching and adjusting to your needs.” This way, the company claims Max Trainer M7 can deliver smart, fast, and effective workouts that “push you to your MAX”!

How much does the new M7 model cost? How does it compare to other Max Trainer models?

Bowflex MAX Trainer Pricing & Refund Policy
The Bowflex MAX Trainer is available in three different models, all of which feature the 14-minute interval program, a true, full-body workout, and low-impact motion (we’ll discuss some of the differences in the final section). These are priced as follows:

M3: $999, plus $100 S&H (Get Free Shipping and Save over $558 & get a Free Mat)
M5: $1,599, plus $150 S&H (Get Free Shipping and Save over $558 & get a Free Mat)
M7: $2,199, plus $150 S&H (Get Free Shipping and Save over $558 & get a Free Mat)

To help with the purchase, Nautilus also offers credit card-based, no money down financing offered through Synchrony Bank. As of the time of this writing, the finance company was also offering no interest charges if paid in full within 18 months, which rolls over retroactively at an APR of 29.99% thereafter. In addition, the company can send a third-party technician to your home to assemble your MAX Trainer at a price of $159.

The Bowflex MAX Trainer comes with a 100% satisfaction guaranteed, 6-week refund policy, less S&H and assembly charges. Keep in mind that your trainer must be in original condition, including original packaging, accessories, and materials in order to be eligible.

The MAX Trainer M3 comes with a 1-year warranty for parts, while the M5 and M7 come with 2- and 3-year warranties, respectively. All models come with a 90-day labor warranty.

In order to file a warranty claim or request a refund, you’ll need to contact customer service at (800) 605-3369 for an RMA.

Is the Bowflex MAX Trainer Right for You?
Whether you’re talking about P90X, Focus T25, or something else altogether, the clear trend in fitness these days is to squeeze as much high-intensity exercise into as little time as possible. But when it comes to the Bowflex MAX Trainer, can you expect it to help you achieve your fitness goals, and is it worth the price? Perhaps, but consider the following:

What are Intervals?
Although it may sound technical, intervals are just repeatedly changing from one exercise to another, often at different speeds and difficulties, but can be as simple as intermittent jogging while you’re out on your morning walk.

However, according to the Mayo Clinic, you don’t need any special equipment to do interval training. And while the Max Trainer is claimed to provide a variety of benefits over other types of exercise equipment (e.g. burn 2.5X more calories, etc.), they only reference an “Independent University Study” from 2013 to back these up, but do not provide a copy of the study on their website.

Manufactured by Nautilus, Inc., the Bowflex MAX Trainer claims to be an easy and intuitive fitness machine that can help you burn more calories in less time, build a stronger heart and lungs, improve your endurance and stamina, and continue burning calories long after you’ve stopped working out.

The Bowflex MAX Trainer is a unique device unseen elsewhere in the industry, which some consumers have described as being a combination of a “reverse elliptical” machine (e.g. your feet move in a reverse motion, almost as if you were walking backward), a stair stepper, and a stationary bicycle. Other users have described the MAX Trainer’s motion similar to running up a very steep hill.

Regardless of how it’s described though, the MAX Trainer’s unique motion is claimed to result in virtually zero impact, to give you the most effective full-body workout in 14 minutes, guaranteed, and to provide “elite-level training for everyone.”

If we’re being honest, the Bowflex MAX Trainer is one sleek-looking machine that’s hard not to notice. On top of this, by helping you to tone up and lose weight, it might not just be good looking, but could also bring inspiration to whoever uses it.

But you already know this, because you’re here to find out more about the Bowflex MAX Trainer, especially after seeing those incredible before and after case studies.

What Benefits Does the Bowflex MAX Trainer Claim to Provide?
In the world of fitness, most manufacturers have figured out that Americans lead incredibly busy lives, and have created a variety of products that are claimed to give us quality workouts in as little time as possible. After all, they know that if they can provide more “bang for our buck,” then their products will fly off the shelves.

With this in mind, the Bowflex MAX Trainer is the newest exercise device in the Nautilus lineup, which claims to provide you with all the benefits of a much longer workout, but in just 14 minutes per day. In fact, the MAX Trainer’s promo video claims that creating an ultra-efficient workout was the primary goal right from the start, and the machine was specifically built with this in mind, in addition to being fun and motivating.

The MAX Trainer utilizes small bursts of activity followed by longer periods of rest (known as intervals) to help you burn more calories and keep burning them for up to 48 hours after you’ve finished.

Specifically, Nautilus tells us that the MAX Trainer burns up to 2.5X more calories per minute than ellipticals, step climbers, and treadmills; provides 80% more upper body activation than ellipticals, and results in 200% less impact than running at a moderate speed.

How the Bowflex Max Trainer Works
At its most basic, the MAX Trainer is similar to an elliptical machine, in that your feet will move in circular (or more accurately, oval) motions when it’s being used. This is how it delivers a good workout with minimal impact on your joints.

However, unlike some elliptical machines, the Bowflex MAX Trainer will simultaneously work your upper and lower body for “max” results. This is accomplished utilizing wide foot planks for a stable standing surface, which move opposite one another in up-and-down (and slightly forward-and-back) motions.

And from an upper body perspective, the MAX Trainer’s “arms” move back and forth opposite one another as well, with v-shaped handles that allow you to intensify your upper body workout based on your preferences, simply by changing hand positions.

While you’re working out, the MAX Trainer’s gauge (known as a “Burn Rate” display, which is similar to a car’s speedometer), will show you how many calories you’ve burned, as well as your target exertion range based on the program you’ve selected. These programs will automatically adjust resistance levels based on their presets (see more about this in the final section), or you can manually adjust resistance to your comfort level using the manual handlebar “knob.”

Once you have your Bowflex MAX Trainer set up in your home, the company claims it has a very small footprint (2.5’ x 3.5’), and simply uses a small AC adapter as its power source. Nautilus also makes a MAX Trainer app for iOS/Android smartphones, which provides additional workouts and tracking features.

The New Bowflex Max Trainer M7
While we’ll directly compare other models in a moment, Bowflex’s new top-of-the-line M7 model promises to deliver upgraded features like two additional workout programs, four more resistance levels, and updated commercial grade handlebars.

You’ll also find the same performance “burn” as other Max Trainer models, but with something Bowflex calls “performance targeted programming.” Here, we’re told that M7 tracks and stores your performance and responds by “coaching and adjusting to your needs.” This way, the company claims Max Trainer M7 can deliver smart, fast, and effective workouts that “push you to your MAX”!

How much does the new M7 model cost? How does it compare to other Max Trainer models?

Bowflex MAX Trainer Pricing & Refund Policy
The Bowflex MAX Trainer is available in three different models, all of which feature the 14-minute interval program, a true, full-body workout, and low-impact motion (we’ll discuss some of the differences in the final section). These are priced as follows:

M3: $999, plus $100 S&H (Get Free Shipping and Save over $558 & get a Free Mat)
M5: $1,599, plus $150 S&H (Get Free Shipping and Save over $558 & get a Free Mat)
M7: $2,199, plus $150 S&H (Get Free Shipping and Save over $558 & get a Free Mat)
To help with the purchase, Nautilus also offers credit card-based, no money down financing offered through Synchrony Bank. As of the time of this writing, the finance company was also offering no interest charges if paid in full within 18 months, which rolls over retroactively at an APR of 29.99% thereafter. In addition, the company can send a third-party technician to your home to assemble your MAX Trainer at a price of $159.

The Bowflex MAX Trainer comes with a 100% satisfaction guaranteed, 6-week refund policy, less S&H and assembly charges. Keep in mind that your trainer must be in original condition, including original packaging, accessories, and materials in order to be eligible.

The MAX Trainer M3 comes with a 1-year warranty for parts, while the M5 and M7 come with 2- and 3-year warranties, respectively. All models come with a 90-day labor warranty.

In order to file a warranty claim or request a refund, you’ll need to contact customer service at (800) 605-3369 for an RMA.

Is the Bowflex MAX Trainer Right for You?
Whether you’re talking about P90X, Focus T25, or something else altogether, the clear trend in fitness these days is to squeeze as much high-intensity exercise into as little time as possible. But when it comes to the Bowflex MAX Trainer, can you expect it to help you achieve your fitness goals, and is it worth the price? Perhaps, but consider the following:

What are Intervals?
Although it may sound technical, intervals are just repeatedly changing from one exercise to another, often at different speeds and difficulties, but can be as simple as intermittent jogging while you’re out on your morning walk.

However, according to the Mayo Clinic, you don’t need any special equipment to do interval training. And while the Max Trainer is claimed to provide a variety of benefits over other types of exercise equipment (e.g. burn 2.5X more calories, etc.), they only reference an “Independent University Study” from 2013 to back these up, but do not provide a copy of the study on their website.

The 48-Hour Connection
Another benefit of intervals is that they can help your body continue burning calories long after you’ve stopped (the MAX Trainer website claims 48 hours, while most references we found cited about 24 hours), mostly because you take in more oxygen with intervals than you do exercising for a longer period at a moderate pace. In addition to increasing your metabolism, intervals can also improve your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, boost muscle cell function, and more.

As we mentioned in the previous section though, intervals can be performed without using the MAX Trainer, which means that you can achieve these benefits without one as well.

MAX Trainer’s Reputation
Despite not providing any proof to back up their claims, Nautilus (Bowflex MAX Trainer’s manufacturer) has been producing high-quality fitness products for more than three decades, and holds an A+ rating with the BBB based on 84 closed complaints (as of 11/09/14). While most of these appear to be related to the TreadClimber, many customers complained of long wait times for refunds and replacement parts.

For the most part, the MAX Trainer appears to have a very positive online reputation, with an average rating of 4.5 stars (as of 11/9/14) on the company’s website. Elsewhere online, customers complimented the MAX Trainer’s solid construction, sturdiness (doesn’t move when in use), will work you out to the point of exhaustion, has a small footprint, and that it’s quiet/doesn’t result in foot noises like with treadmills (good if you live in an apartment). This makes sense, as Nautilus puts a lot of emphasis in their product design, not only to make them function well, but also to help them look good while doing it.

On the other hand, by far the most common complaint we encountered during our research is that the rollers tend to squeak, sometimes after only a couple hours of using it. Some customers appear to have had success by using a silicon lubricant, while others have not. In fact, several customers claimed to have had the rollers replaced under warranty, only to have them squeak again a short time after installation.

Other common complaints cite that the MAX Trainer is difficult for a beginner to use, that it takes time to get used to the movement (something similar to an elliptical machine, but adding a stationary bicycle), that it causes joint pain (specifically knee), and high price.

Note: In our original MAX Trainer review, we noted that there was a 45-60-day delivery time. However, this alert is no longer listed on the Nautilus website, and some readers have indicated that they’ve received theirs in a little over a week.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Regardless of how well most customers scored the MAX Trainer, keep in mind that if you choose the 14-minute session, you will be pushed fairly hard, especially if you’re just getting back into working out. And in reality, even though it may be hard, working out for 14 minutes per day probably isn’t going to give you the weight loss results you’re looking for.

This is because, according to Lifehacker, “Shorter workouts can do a lot for your muscles, but if you seek weight loss you really need a good diet you can follow and exercise that will provide sufficient calorie burn. Eating fewer calories is the simplest way to reduce weight/fat, and compact exercise routines can help build muscle, but you shouldn't expect them to make you slimmer.” This means that, regardless of how much you use the MAX Trainer, if you’re not eating a sensible diet, you probably won’t achieve your goals.

More Than Just the Purchase Price
Next, while the Bowflex MAX Trainer’s cost could be considered steep, remember that it doesn’t just stop at the purchase price. This is because you’ll pay $100 or $150 in S&H costs (depending on the model you choose), in addition to a $250 assembly fee if you’d rather not do it yourself (more about this in the following section). Note: The assembly service appears to be handled by a third-party company. Although the company’s name isn’t listed on the MAX Trainer website, or if different companies are used depending on a customer’s location, one reviewer claimed that Go Configure was their provider. Unfortunately, they claim to have had a poor experience, with long hold times and difficulty scheduling an appointment.

On top of this, while it’s positive that a warranty is provided on the MAX Trainer, keep in mind that you’ll be assessed a “small” trip charge each time a technician is sent to your home, although no exact prices are provided on the website, or if these prices fluctuate depending on the issue you’re experiencing. Also, the labor portion of the warranty only lasts 90 days, so after this time, you’ll need to figure out how to install any defective parts yourself.

Finally, if you’re dissatisfied with your MAX Trainer and decide to return it, at 143 pounds, it will cost you quite a bit of money to send it back to the manufacturer. In fact, we read more than one customer review claiming that their return shipping charges were in excess of $200.

Should You Assemble the MAX Trainer Yourself?
During our research, we read a whole lot of customer reviews complaining about the steep assembly charges associated with the Bowflex MAX Trainer. So should you save yourself a good chunk of change and attempt to assemble it yourself? The answer is that it depends on your mechanical abilities.

After taking a look at the M5 owner’s manual, the assembly instructions seem fairly clear and straightforward, and other than a razor knife to unbox everything, all the tools, parts, and nuts and bolts you’ll need are included. Basically, if you’re capable of putting together furniture from IKEA, you should do perfectly well assembling the MAX Trainer yourself. And if you run into any issues, there are numerous assembly videos online, including through the Bowflex site.

What’s Are the Differences Between Each MAX Trainer Model?
According to the MAX Trainer website, here are the primary differences between the M3 and M5 models:

Bowflex M3:
8 resistance levels
2 workout programs (Manual, MAX Interval)
Chest strap heart rate monitor
Water Bottle Holder
Media shelf/tablet holder

Bowflex M5:
16 resistance levels
9 workout programs (Manual, MAX Interval, Smart MAX Interval, Calorie Burn, Fat Burn, Calorie Goal, Stairs, Steady State, Fitness Test)
Chest strap heart rate monitor w/integrated contact grips
Water Bottle Holder
Media shelf/tablet holder
Bluetooth sync w/app
Backlit display
Premium Grips

Bowflex M7:
20 computer-controlled resistance levels
11 workout programs, which Bowflex claims will learn and adapt to “each user’s fitness level over time to set new targets”
Oversized LCD/LED display that’s dual backlit
The ability to extend your workout with the press of button using the Add-Time Feature
4 user profiles
Bluetooth 4.0 compatible with free Max Trainer app
Gym-quality, sculpted and dipped aero handlebars
Stainless steel “racing” pedals

Regardless of which model you choose though, the max weight is 300lbs. Also, the device sits at a height of 15”, so you’ll need to add your height plus 15” in order to gauge your minimum ceiling clearance.

Which Bowflex MAX Trainer Model is Right for You?
As you can see above, there’s not much of a difference between the three MAX Trainer models, other than the number of resistance levels and workout programs they feature.

What’s a workout program? Essentially, this is like a autopilot feature that will automatically adjust resistance based on the program you’ve chosen. For example, if you choose the Calorie Burn program, your MAX Trainer will make resistance adjustments while you’re working out, in order to ensure that you burn the maximum number of calories.

Admittedly, this can be handy if you’re looking for a fast and effective hands-free workout. However, resistance on all three models can be adjusted manually by turning a small “knob” on one of the handles, so you’ll need to discern whether this added convenience is worth the additional $600 or $1,200.

Looking to Get More From Your MAX Trainer? Nautilus & DailyBurn Partner for New Workout Videos
Nautilus recently announced that they’ve partnered with popular workout video website DailyBurn to help MAX Trainer customers better achieve their fitness goals and maximize their results. How?

Designed by both companies’ fitness experts and hosted by Bowflex Fitness Advisors Tom Holland and Amy Dixon, this exclusive 8-week series was developed just for the Bowflex Max Trainer. It involves four phases, two parts, and 24 workouts that can help you boost your cardio and increase your endurance.

Part one focuses on building your strength and cardiovascular capacity in preparation for your MAX Trainer’s arrival. Then, part two will introduce a new routine every week in order to help you work up to MAX Trainer’s specialized 14-minute workouts.

During your trial, you’ll also gain access to DailyBurn’s entire library of workouts, along with training plans and workout schedules that can help you maintain motivation. After your trial ends, you’ll automatically be charged $14.99 per month until you contact DailyBurn to cancel your membership.

Bottom Line – Will You Be Happy with the Max Trainer?
While the Bowflex MAX Trainer appears to have a solid online customer reputation, it’s certainly not for everyone, mostly due to the price. And while the device has been blurbed about in USA Today, Men’s Fitness, and the LA Times, TechCrunch recently wrote a more in-depth article recently and surmised that, “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.”

However, it’s not made clear exactly clear what’s so unique about the Bowflex MAX Trainer that it can provide you with up to 2.5X the calorie-burning power as some other workout devices. So, while it’s certainly made by a reputable company, we’re still not sure if the MAX Trainer’s steep price is in line with the competition—especially traditional elliptical machines that also provide upper body motion.

With this in mind, it’s also important to note that in some instances, gym memberships can be purchased for as little as $120 per year, which is far less than the cost of a MAX Trainer. We also read numerous customer reviews claiming that you can achieve many of the same results by purchasing a bench, barbell, weights, and a few videos—again, at a much lower price.  Bowflex com Store  

If you do decide to purchase a MAX Trainer though, make sure you’re 100% certain before pressing the “order” button, as it may not be able to be cancelled after it’s been placed. Instead, with so much money on the line, you might want to order the information kit, which could give you time to cool off (no pun intended) and to think about your purchase.

 

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