Bowflex Max Trainer by Nautilus claims this exercise machine is the culmination of years of research and the best way to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time. The Bowfliex Max is basically a re-designed elliptical machine and each set lasts 14 minutes, yet they say you will burn more than 2 times the calories than another workout.

Nautilus is a 40-year-old company that states it is committed to helping people reach their fitness goals. According to the BBB, Nautilus has an A+ rating in spite of 80 complaints in the last 3 years, which were primarily due to product problems; the BBB says this is a relatively low number compared to their size.

The Bowflex Max Trainer Pitch

This product is aimed at thirtysomethings on up that don’t have a lot of time (but probably have a lot of money) and are perhaps are into having the latest fitness gadget. The Bowflex Max Trainer is pitched like it is an exotic car: the infomercial on the website is over 8 minutes long, showing different sketches and talking with the designers about the making of the Bowflex Max.

It also features what they say are real people who have used the Bowflex Max and lost weight. These include a young mom, a woman in her 50s, and a bald 39-year-old man who all proudly strut their stuff and gush about how great the Bowflex Max has changed their lives.

How Bowflex Max Trainer Works

The Bowflex Max is essentially an elliptical trainer combined with a stair-stepping device that uses interval training. Like an elliptical, the Bowflex Max is designed to be low-impact on the joints (Bowflex proudly says it has “virtually zero impact”). They boast it is also specially designed to look futuristic, keep you motivated to use it, and take up as little floor space as possible.

The main-claim-to-fame, however, is that it gives you a more intense workout in less time (14 minutes) by doing intervals, i.e. 25 seconds of intense activity to get your heart rate up, followed by a cool-down period of less activity; they claim 75% of your workout is actually in the low activity zone.

They say this not only gives you a great cardio workout but the effects keep going up to 48 hours due to what they call the “afterburn effect.” This occurs because they state your body keeps “guessing” when the next burst of energy is going to be needed so it amps up your metabolism.

To use Bowflex Max Trainer (see models below) choose a workout level and the machine will start moving. They tell you the display will show you how many calories you are burning and they claim your entire body is engaged. After regular use they promise you will drop weight and feel fantastic.

If you want more info, here are the owner’s manuals for M3 and M5.

What’s the Diffference Between Bowflex Max Trainer Models?

Bowflex Max Trainer comes in either the M3 or the higher-priced M5.

Both have the same dimensions of 46” L x 25” W x 63” H and come with water bottle holder and media shelf to hold a book or tablet.

The main differences are the M3 has 8 levels, 2 workouts, chest-strap heart monitor, and standard grips. The M5 has 16 levels, 6 workouts, integrated heart rate monitor on premium grip handles, along with Bluetooth and backlit display.

Bowflex Max Trainer Costs HOW Much?

The M5 sells for $1599 and the M3 $999; shipping is $150 and $100 respectively but there appears to be an easy way to get free shipping on the M5 or $50 off the M3 by writing FREESHIPMAX in the promo code box. If you don’t want to pay in full, they offer 18 months no interest (and 29.99% after that).

Bowflex Max Trainer comes with a 1-year warranty for the M3 and a 2-year warranty with the M5. If you decide you don’t like the Bowflex Max Trainer, you must request an RMA within 6 weeks of delivery and pay the return shipping fees, which probably ain’t cheap.

Bottom Line: Is Bowflex Max Trainer a Scam?

No, but:

  • It’s hella expensive. You’d better be sure you want and can afford this machine.
  • It requires assembly and if you don’t want to do it yourself, you’ll have to pay an additional $249.
  • They make you wait for it. According to the website, shipping can take 45-60 “business” days which can mean up to 3 months before you get your machine.
  • If you do want to return it, you have to re-pack it in the original boxes.
  • You will have to pay the return shipping charges, reported to be up to $250.
  • For all their data about how great a workout you get, they cite a “Independent University Study” done in 2013, but provide no other specific details.

On the plus side, people seem to LOVE their Bowflex Max Trainers, or at least most of the online customer reviews are positive. People say it’s easy-to-use, fun, and really works. But since we’ve already listed their claims, let us point out what the (relatively few) complaints have noted.

  • The workout levels aren’t as adjustable as they should be and some have said they are too intense for those that aren’t already fit.
  • It’s uncomfortable to use.
  • The dials are hard to read.
  • Offers no better workout than a machine half its price.
  • The chest strap on the M3 for heart rate is uncomfortable to use.
  • In order for the machine to pause, you must stand still completely otherwise it will re-start.
  • A cool down is not included in the workout mode.

Let us know what you think: did you by Bowflex Max Trainer and did it help you lose weight? Or is it sitting collecting dust in the corner? Let us know!