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.
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. And at HighYa, we aim to serve.
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.
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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, stepclimbers, 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.”
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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.
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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 HighYa 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 HighYa 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.
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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:
- 8 resistance levels
- 2 workout programs (Manual, MAX Interval)
- Chest strap heart rate monitor
- Water Bottle Holder
- Media shelf/tablet holder
- 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
- 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.
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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
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.
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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.
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.
HighYa's Editorial Disclosure: This URL Contains links to Bowflex's website. Should the reader click the links and make a purchase of the Bowflex Max Trainer (any of the 3 models), HighYa will earn a 7% commission per sale through CJ Affiliate by Conversant (www.cj.com), Formally known as Commission Junction. For more info, click here.
68 out 74 people found this review helpful
Great Machine. Well worth it.
We have had the Max Trainer M5 for 10 days now, so this is an early review. So far my wife and I have been using it regularly with great results. We both are feeling better, toned and starting to lose weight. I liken this machine to an elliptical mixed with a stair stepper but when you're are in Max mode it feels very similar to how I feel when I'm standing on my mountain bike climbing a hill. Lots of quadriceps and downward pedaling. I've spent a total of 79 minutes on it and my wife has almost doubled that.
A simple note to those in poor shape. This exercise is very intense to start with. It would probably behoove you to start in a mode other than MAX to get your endurance up and build leg strength. I am in average shape and I started out on resistance level 1 MAX and it kicked my butt. I thought my heart was going to explode. Now after a week of using it I can make it on level 1 no problem. You will become accustomed to the workout and will build endurance very quickly.
On to the stuff I've read from other folks: I'm not sure if people are getting lemons or are just not very mechanically inclined but it took me just over and hour to build the machine (alone). I see absolutely no reason to pay someone to build this for you unless you seriously don't know how to turn a screwdriver. If you follow the very easy to read instructions included with the neatly organized and labeled hardware and/or get a friend that has even the littlest amount of handiness, this machine is a breeze to build. Save yourself the money. The only sticking point might be the weight of the boxes. Each comes in at around 80 lbs (2 boxes). Unless you are a hobbit you could just enlist a friends help to carry these into the house and up the stairs, or ask some unsuspecting neighbor.
The machine is smooth, not too loud (unless in MAX mode) and takes up a very small amount of space. We find the Bluetooth capability very nice because we can sync it with our MyFitnessPal apps on our phones to keep track of our daily goals. The arm movements actually make you feel like you've done some upper body. It won't replace weights but at least you are getting your full body involved in the workout. The only thing that seems to not be seamless is the heart rate monitor grips. Sometimes they read quickly, sometimes a lot of hand adjustment needs to be made to get a good read. I don't have overly large/or small (Trump) hands either so this should not be an issue. Of course if you use the included band or have a smart watch the point is moot.
Lastly I will throw some kudos to Bow-flex (Nautilus) because they offer a great military discount. If you are in the service please don't forget to ask and it will make all the difference on whether you decide if spending the money is worth it. I struggled with the price but I do believe so far (barring some future catastrophic breakdown) that this machine is well worth the asking price.
The one great design flaw in this is that it doesn't really have any good angles to hang clothing from, so instead of having a high dollar clothes hanger you will just have a piece of modern art adorning your home if this doesn't get use.
Best of luck and if you decide to get this you will not be disappointed. I will update later down the road.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friendView all 1 commentsHide comments
Nov 22, 2017
Loved your hand description "Trump" haha! Thanks for a thorough review.
48 out 55 people found this review helpful
Makes a Horrible Grinding Noise
We received our Max Trainer at the beginning of December. After we put it together, it made a horrible grinding noise, and the speedometer was not working. After 3 hours on the phone with technical support, they shipped out new parts and scheduled a service call in 2 weeks. On December 28th the repair guy came and said the frame was bent, and he would immediately order what was needed, and get our machine fixed ASAP. I've been calling to get an update, and nothing. I paid $1,700 for a machine, and have yet to be able to workout on it. Their after sale customer service is horrible.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
40 out 41 people found this review helpful
I'll make this short. I'm overweight. I started at 231 pounds, I'm 5'3" and a 38 year old female. I'm an off and on workout junkie but I always give up because I have no time to spend in exercise that I need. However, a friend bought this Bowflex Max Trainer and enticed me to join her. So I did. The first two weeks were hell. I was barely finishing 14 minutes.
I sweated like I've never had before. I couldn't even stand straight on it. I'm on week 4 now, I have built up so much strength in my legs, so now my stairs at home are a cake walk. I use manual mode ranging between 8-10 for 20 minutes now. The only thing I do extra is a speed walk jog on treadmill at home for 30 minutes. The max speed on treadmill is 3.5. It's Alternating 3.0 and 3.5 with a six minute warm up and then a cool down.
Here's the best part: in 2 weeks, my legs which had bulge are no longer swollen.
At week 4, my legs have not looked this nice since my early 20s! My inner thighs are amazing no workout ever did what this did for my inner and back thighs.
I'm hooked and I can not believe the results. Also, I had a large Fanny top, I could hold a cup there but now it's gone! Now my butt is rounding and table top is gone. I'm experiencing just amazing results on hips thighs and butt. This machine will be in my life from here on out. Hopefully someday I can afford my own.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friendView all 2 commentsHide comments
Dec 21, 2016
I loved your review (written in August). How have you done since then?
I just got a Max Trainer M5 yesterday and I've been on it twice. I like it so far, and I feel motivated to do it twice a day. I'm 41 years old, 5'4" and 145 lbs. I'm not heavy, but I want to lose about 20 pounds by summertime. Since it's almost Christmas, I will wait until January 1st to start the diet part. We put the Max Trainer in our den where we spend most of our time and watch TV, so it will be easy to do it! I'm excited to get stronger and hopefully look better too.
Jan 9, 2017
37 out 40 people found this review helpful
I originally purchased the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 5 in October 2014 had the Machine for a month and started having problems. The belt slipped off the internal drive and cut into the plastic cover. I called customer service and they sent a new belt. However, that was not the problem so they finally sent a tech out and he had no idea how to fix machine. After fighting with them for two months, they eventually sent out a new machine. The replacement took two months to arrive. I used the machine for another month and the control Panel stopped working. They sent a new one and it went bad a month later again. I figured out that my sweat was dripping in and out of the control panel.
Well needless to say, after getting three replacements I now put a towel over it so that I don't sweat on it. Last week the internal nut fell completely off the machine and I began tightening it every workout. I called customer service to get a new part and they sent it two weeks later. Apparently I need some special tool to replace that part. Every bolt and screw on this machine starts to rust and strip out if you attempt to tighten it.
If you are looking for a serious machine and not a place where you can just hang your cloths, I don't recommend the Bowflex Max Trainer. By the way, I have had a Nordictrack elliptical Audio Strider 900 machine for seven years and is a serious machine. They took very good care of any problems which were minimal and cost half of what the M5 does. You might want to look at that machine. I know I will be using mine because the M5 is always broken.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friendView all 1 commentsHide comments
Jan 13, 2016
Wow, can't blame you for this review, but my experience (6 months thus far) is total opposite! The machine is fantastic, killer workout & especially for my old arthritic knees. The main muscle worked is the quads, but everything else gets hit a bit as well. My machine is working flawlessly so far. Hope it stays that way. And it takes up oh so little space, bet your elliptical is soaking way more square footage.
38 out 43 people found this review helpful
Started out great and took a nosedive!
I purchased the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 model just over a year ago and was happy with the cardio and the overall workout that I got from this machine.
I hurt my knee in an unrelated experience and couldn't use it for a while. Got back to the machine a few months ago and have had nothing but issues with it since. Loud screeching from the right side (when standing on the machine), a thud on the left side when the left foot pedal hits the bottom of the cycle.
A call into Customer Service and two hours later, we'd taken the unit apart only to find that I needed a gear puller. They ordered (at BowFlex's expense) for me.
This arrived a week or so later. We'd determined that there were bolts that were loose and needed to be tightened. So I tear down the machine to get to the gear. I get the bolts tightened and reassemble. Problem solved, or so I thought.
After a few hours of use, the problem returned so I tear it down again and tighten further but make sure that all is tight this time. I reassembled and used the machine for a few more hours until the machine sounds like it's going to fly apart.
This time it was my bad, bolt on the arm was not tightened enough last time. So far I have used it for two hours since this occurrence and it still shakes and squeaks when in use.
I think the premise for this machine is good but I've found too many similar issues from users all over North America. Sounds like a poor part design and/or poor assembly. It's disappointing as I've had my BowFlex PowerPro for over a decade with limited issues.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
36 out 36 people found this review helpful
This is a Great Machine
I am 63 years old, and am no more than a 'weekend warrior'. I work out maybe 1 to 2 times a week, but that's it.
I looked into the Bowflex Max Trainer as an alternative to the gym, where I would have another avenue for exercise right at home, and as another avenue to keep the body weight down, as age slows my metabolism.
I took a chance on this in terms of low impact, because I have a bad knee that actually hates the movement of the ARC trainers, and I don't have the room horizontally for a conventional Elliptical Trainer.
I assembled it myself, with the internet research that indicated the application of "as tight as possible" is the best way to reduce/eliminate noise, and after 4 months of steady use, I can say that the machine is just as quiet today, as the day that I assembled it. I was worried about the possible noise factor, but it seems to operate exactly as advertised. I know that some people complain about squeaking, but my unit exhibits none of that.
As far as the difficulty in completing the exercises, I agree that the machine isn't easy, but I am able to finish all of the exercises. You don't have to go at an all out sprint and burn yourself out, and by pacing yourself, if I can complete the 300 calorie target burn program at my age, you should be able to, too.
I highly recommend this machine. Follow the assembly instructions as given, use, and enjoy!
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
35 out 50 people found this review helpful
Injurious Machine and Abusively Disrespectful Customer Service
Max Trainer M7: I Initially loved the M7 and was fit enough to immediately enjoy its 14 minute interval workout, along with increasing the resistance to level 6 within a month. However, I also developed problems with the balls of my feet as a result, due to the way the machine forces the user to put unnatural pressure onto this area of the foot. I do wear orthodics, but have never had an issue like this since I started wearing them over 10 years ago, unless I was, e.g., crouching down on the balls of my feet for an extended period to do something. I even purchased a new prescription pair of orthotics, with more cushioning for $375, just to make sure my older pair wasn't the issue. No help!
My Girlfriend started having knee & similar foot problems too, so it was definitely the machine. I never had problems on the Precor EFX 546 machine I owned previously, regardless of the incline, nor cycling or power walking. However, after using the M7 for a month, I even had pain in the arches of my feet while cycling. Very weird, so everyone should beware how it may affect you over time, especially with increased resistance.
Customer Service: As they say, you never really know someone until you break up with them. Clearly, Bowflex has no real respect for its customers, based on how they handle returns. Because of the issues described below, they literally tried to insist I had to leave the FedEx Office I was calling from, and transport the two (2) 100 lb. return boxes back home and up the stairs into my apt., then bring them back the next day. Why? Well, first, prior to purchase, they grossly underestimated return shipping at approx. $200, if I decided to return the item. (Note, this wouldn't even be an issue if they provided return shipping labels like many other large & small retailers alike.) From Los Angeles to Ohio, UPS wanted $463. Bowflex's carrier FedEx wanted $311. Since these prices were much greater than I was first told, I called Bowflex and asked if I could use their FedEx account to utilize their discounts, so as to match the $200 estimate they originally gave. They said that was impossible. After much insistence, they agreed to send me shipping labels for $199, but said it could take 24 hours to receive. They cared not that I was already at FedEx with the two 100 lb. boxes and stated repeatedly it was impossible to provide them any sooner. Undeterred from experience, I remained firm, telling them they'd better get an executive on the line with FedEx to facilitate it, if necessary, or they'd have a huge problem on their hands. I received the labels within 15 min. Amazing what "impossibilities" a merchant can really do when a customer insists on not being abused.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
31 out 36 people found this review helpful
Piece of junk
It started off great then after a couple of months it started squeaking. I tightened loose screws and it worked again for about a week then got loose. I called customer service and they suggested we use tight lock to secure it. Did that and it continues to get loose. Six months later we are paying for a piece of junk that sounds like it's fixing to fall apart. What a rip off!
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
30 out 31 people found this review helpful
Wow! Not sure how else to put it.
Before purchasing, I was going to the Y with my wife. We didn't want to buy any expensive equipment unless we were ready.
After working out for about 6 months doing 30 minutes on their elliptical, summer was coming and that meant more work and less time for us so we purchased the M5 and quit the gym. They claimed this machine would do the same work out in 15 minutes that we could do in 30 minutes on other machines.
It only took about one week to receive it and I put it together myself. If you read the directions it's like putting together a piece of furniture. Not difficult but I am mechanically inclined so it may have been easier for me.
The first time on my wife could not push the peddles to go. She is little and is used to the machines that are very loose shall I say. I got on and figured out after pressing the program you want, you have to put your wait on one side to get it to go. After that it is easy. However, the program is not. Your feet move differently than other ellipticals, not harder or easier, just different than the ones at the Y. I did the 15 minute weight loss and when I am done, I have never been worked so hard. It beats the 30 minutes I was doing hands down. I really love it!
I will say also I think it provides just as much strength as weight loss. I have never felt this strong before. The price is up there and that is the bad part but if you think you will use it regularly than it is worth it. It is without a doubt the most durable machine I have ever had.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
29 out 46 people found this review helpful
Too hard to use
I'm 60 and in pretty good shape but I could not go for more than 3 minutes. My wife (53) couldn't do more than 2 minutes and it hurt her back enough so that I had to take her to the chiropractor. My athletic grandson did the best but even he had a hard time, so I sent it back. But get this, that cost me $360!. Free shipping refers to one way, there to you. Buyer beware.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
29 out 31 people found this review helpful
Best concept ever.
I received my Max Trainer M5 about one week after I ordered it (12/3/2015 to be exact). But watch out for FedEx, they are delivering the machine with no signature required and if my neighbor hadn't called me at work, my machine would have sat in the rain and snow all day. FedEx dumped it in the worst spot possible.
1. Assembly was pretty easy. My wife and I had it together in about an hour.
2. Quality. This thing is pretty solid. I feared it was going to be fragile and flimsy (I was wrong). The steal is heavy duty (commercial strength). I weight almost 270 and it handled me fine.
3. Workout. Though I lift weights almost every day, I haven't done cardio in about a year. My first workout was the first level Max interval. It was challenging, but I did it. The movement reminds me as if I'm riding my bike standing up? It's comfortable and easy on the knees (I have one bad knee).
4. Problems. After about three uses, a bolt fell out of the inside of the unit (nothing I assembled). I opened it up and found three loose bolts on the wheel that turns the belt). Of course one of them completely fell out. So basically, the factory forgot to tighten these bolts during production. I could only access two of the bolts so I had to call customer service. They immediately knew what the problem was and are sending me the parts and a repair man from somewhere in my area to fix it. Customer service told me the belt wheel where the bolts were loose was plastic. For crying out loud Bowflex, you build this amazing machine and use a plastic belt wheel? Why would you do that? No, no!
Use metal, always. In the meantime, I'm out of service but I like the machine so much that I'm willing to exercise my patience.
5. Recommendations to Bowflex. 1. Use all metal parts if possible and think commercial at all times. Just charge accordingly. 2. The electronics screen could be elevated about 5 inches (it's a little low), the drink holder as well. 3. Add an on/off switch.
Do those things and you'll have the best overall cardio machine ever made. Well, you do anyway but...
6. Overall. The Max Trainer is definitely the best cardio machine I have ever used. The treadmill I was going to buy had a price tag of $3,400 so paying $1,600 for the M5 was significantly less. This is truly a great concept and it has exceeded my expectations. But use METAL not plastic!
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend