What To Know About the Bowflex Maxtrainer M7


Have you given up on every getting in shape?

Here’s what I wish I had known before I bought the Bowflex Max Trainer M7 

My biggest concern was would I use it. I first proved to myself that I’d work out at home by practicing with a $100 kettlebell. That’s a lot cheaper and it provides resistance training so I continue to do that. I’ll put a link in the show notes to my kettlebell episodes.

I’ve worked in IT (information technology) for over 30 years, over half of that as programmer. A long hard day of work for me involves sitting for hours at a time, reading a screen and typing.

So it’s not like I’m accidentally going to get some exercise. I have to be deliberate about it.

If you’re like me, you’d feel stupid to buy this and then not use it.

I read about a book a week for work.

I figured instead of sitting, I’d use the M7 at a low intensity while I read.  

That way it’s takes no extra time to exercise as I’m reading anyway.

Many of my books are hardcover books, in order to read a hardcover book

And then I start to go slow like this.

The M7 is a beautifully designed piece of equipment. Like a modern sculpture or an iPhone. I like seeing it at the foot of my bed. These hand grips feel good and solid to hold on to.  It feels like a quality machine that’s built to last.  With a 3 year warranty, I figured the M7 will last at least long enough to get in shape. 

When I read I try to hold my hips steady so that I’m not bopping up and down.

You can pick up the foot pedals. If you hear some squeaking it’s usually because of the foot pedals.  I like that it takes a bit of pressure to get them moving.  The maximum height of the peddle is 20 inches. So your ceiling has to be at least 20 inches higher that you are.  

It’s easy to move the Max Trainer by tilting it forward to get it on it’s wheels.

Now I’m sure you already know this, but before you move something you have to unplug it. I know that but sometimes I forget.

The fan shroud is designed so that even my 2 year old’s little fingers can’t get into it. I have it facing the door so that he or my puppy can’t come up behind me and get under the pedals. Also, it prevents my wife from sneaking up and scaring me. That gets my heart rate up real fast too.

Do you hate going to the gym?

In 14 minutes, less time than it takes me to get to a gym, I have my work out done. No baby sitter needed.

If you care about your floor, you’ll want to be sure to get this Bowflex branded mat.  It came free with it.

The mat is all the space you need, it’s 36 by 58 inches which means that even a small apartment has room for it.

Bowflex has excellent customer service. 

When I got my Bowflex, this piece had a bit of paint splatter on it when it arrived. Having spent over $3,000 Canadian dollars on it, I want it to be perfect. Scrubbing hard to remove the mark didn’t work, so I called and asked for a replacement. They sent it right away, but the replacement was also damaged. Called again and they sent another one and now it’s perfect. 

Nautilus Customer service, they own Bowflex, was always helpful and pleasant to talk to.  I asked about a half dozen questions and they answered them all.

My second concern was, would I get the results that I wanted?

The Max Trainer provides high intensity interval training. 

So what does that mean? 

To me, high intensity means moving like my life depends on it, because, you know, it does.

I believe in this and it’s been tested by research, that he who exercises intensely will later burn more fat.  

But I think fat loss comes mostly from my eating habits.

There are lots of of other great reasons to exercise intensely.

For me I find it improves my energy, lifts my mood, enables me to do the sports I love, I find that I think more clearly, saves time, improves my endurance, lowers blood pressure.  My blood pressure is perfect.

I worried that I’d find it too hard to do, too intense.  

The first day, I used it only for a couple of minutes to get used to the motion and feel of the machine. It’s easy on my joints. A month later, I believe I’ll be using it for the rest of my life. I started with the first level of the 7 minute max interval program and ran that everyday. The Max Trainer adjusted resistance and speed guidance as I got better at it. 

The hardest part was getting started.

The Max Trainer combines elements of a stair stepper and an elliptical in a way that’s painless for me to use. I have arthritis which means that most ellipticals and treadmills aggravate my joints.  Another benefit is that I burn calories 2.5 times faster than on a treadmill and its twice as easy on my joints.

Hey would you like to know how to burn over 2,000 calories in less than an hour?

Just leave your pizza in the oven too long. 

Anyway, you get an intense workout with this. I’m dripping sweat when I use it.

Can I share with you something embarrassing? My wife won’t believe I’m telling you this. Working out at home, I don’t have to wear a shirt, which means that there’s less stinky shirts to wash.  

Also, it makes it easy to wear this heart rate monitor that comes with the M7. To get it to work, be sure to wet the contacts before you put it on.

Also, I can’t believe I’m telling you this.

I found that before I begin, I can lather up underneath my arms with a French milled glycerin bar. Then it’s like I’m scrubbing my armpits for 14 minutes. It doesn’t drip. When I’m done, I’m not stinky and I jump right in the shower. 

Who else is going to share tips like that with you?  

Time to workout.

You start a warmup by peddling. Put your hands wherever it feels comfortable. 

You can run the Max Trainer backwards. You’ll feel the breeze on your legs when you do it. 

When I say backwards I don’t mean like this. I mean the motion the wheel is counter clockwise.

Compared to the time, travel costs and membership fees at a gym, the Max Trainer is my choice.  The more people in your house that use it, the more cost effective it is. 

We’re very happy with it.  Knowing what I know now, I wish I had bought it sooner.

The Max trainer M7 console lights up as soon as you step on it to move the pedals.  

You get 11 programs to choose from. 

1. You get the power interval.  It’s a 14 Minute Interval Program where the resistance level automatically adjusts based on how you are doing.  Interval training alternates between high intensity and low intensity.

2. You get the steady pace program where the idea is to maintain a constant RPM.

3. You get the calorie burn program which ends once  you’ve burned 300 calories.

Next you get the benefit mode programs.  They are designed for one of 3 benefits. fat burning, endurance or performance. 

4. The fat burn program is what I want 

5. You get stairs which is for performance training. 

6. You get the manual program.  This is the one I use when I’m reading and want a low intensity.  I go slow and read instead of sitting down.  It’s the main reason I bought the M7.

7. You get the 3 minute fitness test.  Score where you start and see if you improve.

8. You get the Max interval 7 minute, this is the first program I started with.

9. You get the signature program, max interval 14 minutes.  According to the ads 3 times a week is all it takes.  We’ll see.

10. We’re back to the max interval 21 minute program.  I’m going to try this for the first time.   It’s been 4 weeks since I got the M7.

11. You can also press this max 14 button to jump straight to that program.

The M7 supports four different users. Press the user button to select whichever number you set yourself up with.

I get my Youtube show ready to watch during my workout.

I listen to it with headphones because when I’m doing the high intensity part, it’s a little loud.

I press the start button.

I like the boxing bell sound, it signals to me that it’s time to workout.

It surprised me that it starts at high intensity.  You might want to warm up first.

And that was the first of 12 intervals.

Down here at the bottom of the screen is the level of intensity indicator.

I find it motivating to watch it.

I can put my hands in a wide variety of positions as I work out thanks to the long bars.

Look at the outer circle that’s lit up. That’s the range that I should keep the needle in.

You can see my total calories burned so far which is based on my weight.  I entered my weight when I set up the machine.

Here we have the different stages of the work out. I’m in the recover mode and now I jump up to sprint

There’s also the warm-up and cool down stage.

This is the countdown timer for each stage.  That tells me how much time I have left before the next stage.

It’s time to sprint for 25 seconds again.  This is the high intensity part of it.

This indicator shows how much time is left in my workout, 15 minutes.

This shows what interval I’m in. 5 of 12

This is the resistance level. I’m a beginner and I’m at level 1 of 20.  Which I guess is twice as good as having 10 levels.

I can adjust resistance by pressing the resistance level button on the right. Level 1 is plenty for me right now.

This is the calorie burn rate per minute. It changes based on the speed I go.

When I sprint I get up to 19 and then in recovery it’s back down around 4

This is my heart rate.  The red flashing heart means that the machine is talking wirelessly to my heart rate monitor that came with the M7.  You can use compatible heart rate monitors as well.

This is the revolutions per minute, RPM.  I’m in recover mode doing 38 revolutions per minute

And in sprint stage I jump up to around 80 revolutions per minute

Oh, oh. My heart stopped.  Well, probably not.  I have to adjust the heart rate monitor to get a better connection.  160 bpm that’s good for me.  I’m doing is moving the heart rate monitor around a little bit to get a good reading.

At any time I could press the pause button or stop peddling and the M7 will automatically pause.  Pressing the pause button a second time stops the program.

This is my last high intensity interval, 12 of 12.  

The name of the current program selected is in the bottom of the panel, either on the left or the right depending on the program.

My workout is complete. That was my first time with the 21 minute max interval program.

It automatically saves my workout and I can sync it later with my phone.

Now I’m in the cool down stage.  I want to cool down to get my heart rate back to normal.

While I cool down, let’s talk about assembly and some of the bonuses.

Your BowFlex Max Trainer arrives in 2 boxes, 

If you think there’s a chance that you will be sending it back, then be sure to keep track of how it’s all packed. 

You can pay to have it setup for you, but I didn’t. I found it easy with 2 people.  They provide all the tools

It even comes with spare parts. They thought of everything.

At the Bowflex website https://www.bowflex.ca/en-ca/max-trainer/  they have videos on how to assemble it, in addition to the manuals.

Keep the allen keys handy, you will need to tighten things up after you’ve used it a few times.

There are lots of bonuses, I imagine these will keep changing.

You get a free Bowflex branded high quality mat 

You get free shipping

You get a coupon for $50 off Bowflex adjustable Dumbbells. Weight training or resistance training is also important. 

I could press the add time button which adds 2 1/2 minutes to the current program.

I can also use this as a hand hold.

11 minutes of cool down, man my heart rate isn’t dropping. 

I’m out of shape.

What if I hold the sensors here?

Ahh, hold the phone, the timer is counting up.  These are my average calorie burn rate, my average heart rate and my average RPM.  The cool down stops when I do.

My average burn rate was 6.6 calories per minute, my average heart rate was 139 beat per minute and my average revolutions per minute was 47.

My total calorie burn during the workout was 148.  According to their research, the high intensity will trigger some additional calorie burn for the next 24 hours.

Press stop twice to end the program.  I run the Max Trainer app on my phone to sync with the M7

It keeps track of everything for me.

Time for the fitness test which doesn’t know which user I am. 150 pounds, I wish. 230 actually 233.

Enter my age, I’m 55

You must either be wearing the heart rate monitor or keep your hands on the silver sensors in order for the fitness test to work.

Keep the needle in the zone that’s lit up in red.

Wow, my fitness score is a 10.  If it was 10 out of 10 that would be great.  Too bad that’s 10 out of 100 .  We’ll see if I improve over the months and years ahead.

Sync that.

Didn’t work because I have to press stop first

On the app I can manually force the sync

I select user 2 when I’m done so that it’s ready for my wife.

Posted in: Fun