Introducing a Revolutionary New Cardio Machine: Bowflex Max Trainer

Posted On Jan 8, 2014 By Tom Holland

Tom Holland on high intensity interval training

I have been in the fitness industry for the better part of two decades. It's extremely rare that I try something new when it comes to working out, something that is truly innovative and gets me excited.

New. Innovative. Exciting. All three of these words describe the new Bowflex Max Trainer.

I have the greatest job in the world – helping people get in shape, and now I also get to try new products before they come to market. I flew out to Nautilus headquarters in Vancouver, Washington last fall to do just that and see this new invention the Bowflex team spent the last three years bringing to fruition.

Let me preface this by saying I am not an elliptical guy, nor do I use the stair machines. I have tried both and realize the value of both for those who enjoy them, but when it comes to cardio I'm pretty much running or biking, indoors or out. That's just me.

Then I stepped onto the Bowflex Max Trainer and was blown away. It literally takes the best of everything that is out there right now, combines it with the latest in exercise science and takes it to the next level.

1. Unique Muscle Activation: The reason the elliptical is so popular is really simple – it's easy on the joints. Those people whose bodies can't take the impact forces of running can get their heart rates up and burn calories without joint stress while on the elliptical. The problem is that with the good comes the bad: The lesser impact also translates to fewer calories burned.

So the engineers at Bowflex set out to remedy that problem. Their solution was to literally turn the elliptical pattern on its head, combining the elliptical motion with that of a stair-stepper, giving you a truly unique exercise experience. The unique muscle activation pattern provides a workout that keeps the impact forces to a minimum, yet increases the calories burned – 2.5 times the calories burned, to be exact. Now that's awesome.

2. Pre-set Interval Workout: The No. 1 excuse people give for not exercising is lack of time. I get it: I'm pretty busy too, and don't always have an hour a day to devote to a workout. The Bowflex Max Trainer solves that problem with one little yellow button. Simply input your height, weight and sex, hit the yellow "Interval" button and you are off on a 14-minute sweat-fest. The system incorporates the latest in exercise science – High Intensity Interval Training – so you can torch major calories in half the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show.

Not everyone wants to get up an hour earlier to work out; 30 minutes is oftentimes too much for most. Everyone can spare 14 minutes, especially when it means you not only burn major calories during the workout itself, but also continue to burn calories after the workout has ended as well (due to the EPOC effect that comes with interval training).

3. It's FUN: The display on the Bowflex Max Trainer is awesome – its a unique combination of old-school simplicity and 21st century technology. It truly has to be experienced to be appreciated, resembling the dashboard of car with a tachometer that takes the competitive fun of a rowing machine to a completely new level. When you hit the interval program, a bell goes off, and a section of the dial lights up. That's where you need to keep the needle for the next 25 seconds by pushing the intensity. Then the bell goes off again, thank goodness, signaling your 85 seconds of recovery. The LED lights move to the lower end of the dial, and you slow down keeping the needle in this zone as your heart rate drops. You repeat this pattern for 14 minutes, burning more calories than you can imagine while having a ridiculous amount of fun at the same time.

4. It Just Looks Cool: You can see a bit of a Ducati motorcycle influence in the sleek black-and-red design of the Bowflex Max Trainer; you even turn up the intensity using a throttle-like handle. I would be comfortable putting it in any room of the house. The fact that the footprint is remarkably small – almost half that of a large elliptical – and that you can easily roll it around if need be, makes it that much more appealing.

14 minute pre-set workouts. Low-impact. 2.5 times the calories burned. FUN. What more could you ask for? I cannot wait to get one.

To see the machine in action, check out this video: