Nautilus Bowflex MAX Trainer Review

Reviews of the Nautilus Bowflex MAX Trainer, a piece of exercise equipment that operates similarly to a reverse elliptical and stair stepper.

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About Nautilus Bowflex MAX Trainer

The Nautilus Bowflex MAX Trainer is a contemporary exercise machine that functions like a combination stepclimber and an elliptical (a reverse elliptical to be exact). Advertising for the apparatus claims that customers can get an adequate workout with the Bowflex MAX Trainer by just using it for 14 minutes each day, as the MAX Trainer supposedly burns more calories than a regular treadmill, stair stepper, or elliptical.

m5 model of the Bowflex MAX Trainer

M5 model of the Bowflex MAX Trainer

Users can keep track of their progress on the Bowflex MAX Trainer with an interactive console display that monitors each workout session while supplying information on calorie burn rate and the total amount of calories burned. Additional features include a water bottle holder and a media shelf / tablet holder. Dimensions of the unit are listed as 46″ L x 25″ W x 63″ H.

Although primarily designed to provide a cardio and lower body workout, there are longer workouts (exceeding 14 minutes) than can be done on the MAX Trainer that claim to also provide some upper body conditioning.

Comparison of the M3 and M5 Models

There are presently two models of the Bowflex MAX Trainer available, the M3 and the M5. Below is a list of the major differences between the two models:

  • M3 provides 8 levels of resistance while the M5 provides 16
  • M3 presents 2 workout programs while the M5 presents 9
  • M3 includes a chest strap to monitor heart rate while the M5 comes with a chest strap and integrated contact grips
  • The M5 comes with a Bluetooth that can sync with a cellphone app
  • M5 has a backlit display for the interactive console
  • M5 incorporates premium hand-grips

How much does Bowflex MAX Trainer cost?

The Bowflex MAX Trainer is available to order from the product website, and does not currently appear to be available in stores.

Below is the cost breakdown for the two models of the MAX Trainer:

  • M3 – $999 plus $100 for shipping and handling (S&H) for a total of $1099
  • M5 – $1599 plus $100 S&H for a total of $1699

Several states are subject to a sales and S&H tax.

Assembly of the machine is required (reportedly taking 1-2 hours of time), but for an additional $250 fee, Nautilus will contract someone to assemble the machine for you.

Nautilus does offer 18 month special financing through their credit card (which must be approved first), yet the annual percentage rate (APR) is 29.99% interest after the 18 month period.

Purchase of the M3 comes with a 1-year warranty while the M5 comes with a 2-year warranty.

A six week buy back guarantee also comes with every Bowflex machine (minus S&H) provided that the equipment has not been damaged by the customer.

Nautilus Bowflex MAX Trainer Commercial

Transcript of the television commercial above:

The number one reason people don’t work out is time, so we’ve developed a way to burn more calories with a full body workout that gets results in as little as 14 minutes.

Introducing the Bowflex MAX Trainer cardio machine, the full body, low impact breakthrough that burns up to two and a half times more calories than every cardio machine tested.

“If you have 14 minutes a day, you can look amazing. Its a great fast workout… you’re pumping, you’re pushing, you’re not just doing your legs, you’re doing everything. I lost 27 and a half pounds on 10 weeks. It absolutely changed my life.”

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Why is MAX so effective? It combines the easy, low impact motion of an elliptical with the calorie-burning power of the stepper, and guides you through a smarter workout. So instead of an exhausting high intensity workout, MAX alternates long periods of rest with short bursts of activity, and displays your targets on an interactive console, motivating you to burn as many calories in 14 minutes as you could in 30 minutes or more on other machines!

“Its like a personal trainer, you always want to stay ahead of it. At the ding, you’re going to go and hit this level. 13 and a half pounds in 10 weeks. I can’t believe I look this good.”

Call or log on for your chance to win up to $250 off, and also receive this free information kit. You’ll see how you can burn up to two and a half times more calories than other machines, and how an upper body motion that activates up to 80% more muscle than ellipticals can transform your body.

“I feel it everywhere. I lost 35 pounds in 10 weeks. Wow! That’s a lot.”

“I got ripped using the MAX Trainer. 7 pounds in 10 weeks. Thanks to MAX, I feel stronger.”

Try MAX for 30 days. If burning more calories in less time isn’t for you, we’ll buy it back.

“Who doesn’t have 14 minutes?”

“Everybody has 14 minutes.”

“This is the fastest workout I’ve ever done.”

For great deals like 18 month special financing, and to win up to $250 off MAX, call to request your info kit, or go to! That’s!”


The Bowflex MAX Trainer appears to be tightly and solidly constructed, and the majority of online user reviews point towards a very positive general consensus (average ratings appears to be in 4-4.5 stars out of 5 star range). One thought that potential customers need to keep in mind is that this machine provides a workout, and while the MAX Trainer is a beneficial piece of equipment that makes a cardio workout easier, it does not do all the work for you. In other words, expect to exert some effort in order to experience good results.

Another prospect to consider is that the MAX Trainer principally offers a cardio workout that focuses on the lower body. It is best suited for people who wish to tone up, and is not going to provide the kind of upper or lower body workout that results in acquiring large amounts of muscle tissue.

A few users found that the fan whirring created by the MAX Trainer at higher resistance levels was louder than expected. There have also been multiple complaints from people who claim that their MAX Trainer units eventually began squeaking during use. It is possible that the squeaking could be due to a minor assembly issue, or it may be a normal consequence of usage that some customers will have to tolerate. Some reviewers were able to fix the squeaking by double checking the assembly and lubricating areas where the squeak noises emanated.

For most people, the important consideration will perhaps be the substantial cost of the unit. However, the quoted prices for both models of the Bowflex MAX Trainer are arguably reasonable for a high-quality exercise machine. An article from the L.A. Times which features a brief review of the Bowflex MAX Trainer points out that, “It is relatively inexpensive as elliptical machines go.

Bottom Line

Half elliptical and half stair stepper, the Bowflex MAX Trainer supplies a quality cardio / aerobic workout with some low-impact strength training for the lower and upper body (mainly the lower). It seems to be well thought of and highly-rated in most online user reviews, and the standard 14 minute per day exercise time may appeal to many busy consumers that are short on time. Nevertheless, the higher price may be a deterrent to most. A minority of customers have complained about the loudness of the unit, either in relation to the whirring of the fans or squeaking sounds emerging from the machine while it is being used.

Your Turn

Have you used the Nautilus Bowflex MAX Trainer? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below.