Bowflex Max Trainer: A 14 Minute Workout?

Exercise is good for everybody’s body but getting enough (or even any!) can be tough. Life is demanding and when time is short, heading to the gym is often out of the question.

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Yes, you could go out for a jog or do some push-ups at home but, let’s be honest, where is the fun in that?

If you want to exercise but have neither the time of the inclination to go to the gym, you may well have considered buying some home workout equipment – maybe an exercise bike, treadmill or elliptical. These are all good exercise machines, but the Bowflex Max Trainer may have them all beat!

What is the Bowflex Max Trainer?

The Bowflex Max Trainer is a type of cross-trainer that combines stair climbing with a push/pull upper body action to work every major muscle in your body.

Unlike most cross-training machines, it has a very compact footprint which means it takes up very little space in your home. This design roughly halves the amount you would need for a treadmill.

For those of living in the city, this is a major plus.

How does the Bowflex Max Trainer work?

The Bowflex Max Trainer is a low impact cardiovascular exercise machine, which means that it involves no jumping—so it’s easy on your joints. Using fans for resistance, the action is smooth, and it’s quiet in use – making it ideal for home workouts.

By combining an upper body with a lower body action, it uses just about every muscle in your body. Yes, it actually does this—which makes for a very efficient and effective workout.

Using so many muscles at once means that you burn the same number of calories in a lot less time.

Nautilus, the manufacturers of the Bowflex Max Trainer, say that their unique exercise machine will burn 250% more calories than using a standard treadmill, bike or elliptical.

Better results in less time?

What’s not to like?

Its smooth, natural, rhythmical action ensures that it’s not just your muscles that get a good workout, but your heart, lungs and circulatory system get energized as well. Lack of physical exercise is a leading cause of diabetes, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure and the Bowflex Max Trainer is the ideal antidote to sedentarism.

How to use the Bowflex Max Trainer

For any workout to be attractive and practical, it needs to be simple. The moment any workout regimen seems more trouble than it’s worth, its days are numbered.

We like that the Bowflex Max Trainer is very easy to use, and all settings and adjustments can be made with a flip or a switch or the turn of a dial.

Unlike rowing and other forms of exercise, there are no tricky techniques to learn and master – you can just get on and go to start enjoying the benefits of your workout right away.

To use a Bowflex Max Trainer, you stand on the footplates, grab the ergonomically-designed handles, select your preferred program and resistance level, and start stepping.

The arm action is perfectly synchronized with your leg movement, so you are free to focus on your workout and even to watch TV or listen to music while you exercise.

You can see the Bowflex Max Trainer in action in this video.

What are the benefits of the Bowflex Max Trainer?

The Bowflex Max Trainer offers several significant benefits:

1. It’s low impact

The Bowflex Max Trainer provides the ideal exercise solution for out of shape exercisers, anyone who is overweight, those with bad knees or hips, or anyone who prefers not to jump up and down during their workout. Your weight is supported at all times, so there is no damaging or uncomfortable impact. That’s good news if you find running a pain in the butt – or ankles, knees or hips.

2. It works your entire body

The combination of stepping with your legs and pulling and pushing with your arms works all your major muscles including your calves, thighs, butt, core, chest, back shoulders, and arms. It also works your most important muscle – your heart.

3. It’s time efficient

Because it works your entire body at the same time, there is no need to do separate cardio and strength training workouts – you can do it all at once. Working simultaneously means you can get great results from shorter workouts.

This is a great feature because the lack of time is one of the biggest barriers to regular exercise participation.

4. It burns a lot of calories

To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by eating a little less and burning off calories through exercise. There is a limit to how little you can eat so your rate of weight loss is usually limited by how much exercise you do.

Because the Bowflex Max Trainer burns more than twice the number of calories as a standard exercise machine, you can lose weight twice as fast using it.

Users report losing between 10 and 30 pounds in ten weeks using the Bowflex Max Trainer.

5. It burns calories when you’re not using it

The Bowflex Max Trainer not only burns a lot of calories during your workout, it burns calories after your workout has finished.


It triggers something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, that’s EPOC for short, and also known as the afterburn effect.

Just as a car engine remains hotter for longer after a hard, fast drive, your body burns more calories after an intense workout.

This means that, for many hours after your Bowflex Max Trainer workout, your metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories, will be revved up even when you are sleeping. To maximize this phenomenon, the Bowflex Max Trainer has a unique built-in interval training program called the Max Interval Program. Despite only lasting 14-minutes, the program can increase afterburn for as long as 48-hours.

Bowflex Max Trainer Features

Despite being designed for home use, the Bowflex Max Trainer offers a host of impressive and useful features that are often only found on commercial fitness products.

There are three Bowflex Max Trainers available, the M3, the M5, and the M7 and while they are all very similar, the M7 is the flagship model and offers more bells and whistles than the entry-level M3.

The common features include:

Variable resistance levels – Depending on the model, you have access to between 8 and 20 levels of resistance so that you can customize your workout to suit your fitness level and needs. Resistance is adjusted by twisting a controller conveniently located on the handlebars.

Pre-programmed workouts – While there is nothing to stop you from creating your own workouts or just working out in manual mode, the Bowflex Max Trainer has several pre-programmed workouts to follow including the super-quick Max Interval Program that delivers a great workout in 14-minutes.

Burn rate monitor – The easy-to-read burn rate monitor shows you exactly how many calories per minute you are burning as you exercise.

This is very motivating.

The harder you work, the further the needle will swing. This LCD display also shows you how many calories you have burned during your current workout and how much time you have left to go. It stores information for multiple users and can even be synced via Bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet when you use the free Max Trainer App (Android / iOS), which can then sync with Apple Health.

Heart rate display – All Bowflex Max Trainers will display your heart rate, either via a chest strap or by using a built-in handgrip heart rate monitor. Knowing your heart rate will help you to customize your workout to suit your current fitness level, track your increasing fitness, and make sure you are working hard enough but not too hard.

Built-in water bottle holder – Intense exercise can be very dehydrating, and dehydration can interfere with fat burning. The built-in water bottle holdermakes it easy to keep water within arms reach so you can stay hydrated without interrupting your workout.

Media shelf – To stay entertained during your workout, the Bowflex Max Trainer has a customized media shelf to hold your MP3 player, tablet, or smartphone so you can watch videos, or listen to music while you exercise.

Long warranty – Most home-use exercise machines come with a 6 to 12-month limited warranty but the Bowflex Max Trainer as a full 2-year warranty for complete peace of mind.

Manufactured by exercise equipment specialists Nautilus Inc. the Bowflex Max Trainer is built to last and will endure the most rigorous, frequent use. In fact, despite being designed for home use, it’s sturdy enough for light commercial use in a gym.

What We Think about the Bowflex Max Trainer

With its attractive design, small footprint, and a host of useful functions, the Bowflex Max Trainer is hard not to like.

Weighing 65 kg / 145 lb, it’s not some light, flimsy workout machine that’ll let you down in a few short weeks. Instead, it’s a serious workout machine that’ll last you for years.

With time being the most common barrier to exercise, the super-efficient 14-minute Max Interval program is an absolute godsend. Honestly, who DOES’NT have 14-minutes a day to work out?

And the results you get from such as short workout are nothing less than amazing.

We also love the fact that it’s probably the only workout you need to do.

Because it involves your entire body, you don’t have to hit the gym and pump iron to tone and strengthen your muscles – the Bowflex Max Trainer does it all by combining cardio with a full body workout.

On the downside, as home exercise machines go, the Bowflex Max Trainer is a on the expensive side costing $999 for the M3, $1599 for the M5, and $2199 for the M7—plus shipping and handling. Yikes.

You’ll also have to spend an hour or so putting your machine together unless you want to spend an additional $100 having it done for you.

These prices are steep, and you have to remember that you are getting a commercial-quality exercise machine designed to help you get fit and lose weight faster than ever before.

However, this is not a machine that should be parked in the guest bedroom and forgotten. If you think there’s a chance of that, it’s probably not the right choice.

All in all, the Bowflex Max Trainer is an excellent exercise machine that is ideal for home users looking for a quick, efficient, safe, and enjoyable workout.

Reviews: What People are Saying

The Bowflex Max Trainer has been very well received.

1. The Kelley Metabolic Centre Inc. on says: At Kelley Metabolic Center, Inc. we recommend it (the Bowflex Max Trainer) to every patient. For someone with a cancer conflict. You need HIT type exercise raises oxygen levels. It is a fine system. We have it in the office, and I use it personally in between appointments. VERY WELL MADE and COMPACT. The other trainers required 7 feet of space. This is a very small footprint.
2. Anthony Grasso on says: I just recently purchased the M3 and like it very much. I am still getting used to the control settings. My only complaint is why Bowflex did not make the display backlit just like the M5 model. I found it very hard to see, especially without my reading glasses. The only way I can really make out the display is by shining a LED flashlight at it.
3. Mitch on Bowflex says: I lost 13 and a half pounds in 10 weeks and got down to 10 percent body fat. I haven't found anything better than MAX. It's easy on the knees, easy on the back and it's just fun to use. I'm 40 years old and feel like I'm 30.