The Max Trainer M5 is the mid-range model in Bowflex's popular hybrid elliptical series, an affordable trainer with the company's patented 14 minute workout among other innovative features. With its compact design and results-oriented focus, it has become one of the best selling machines for the company.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is a sleekly-designed silver trainer with red accents, taking design cues from race cars and jet planes. It has a basic display showing you relevant workout stats such as time, distance and program, as well as a burn meter showing you how many calories you are burning as you work out.
Let's look a little closer at the specs...
The Bowflex Max Trainers have been very well received and are quite popular, likely due to the fact that they are relatively affordable, and give users the opportunity to burn a lot of calories with the 14 minute interval program.
Originally there were just two models, the base Max Trainer M3 and the M5, so the M5 was the top of the line model. In 2016 the M7 was added to the mix, which is now the top model.
Still, the M5 is a very good machine, and probably the best choice of the three for the price and what it offers.
It offers 16 resistance levels, twice the amount you get on the base M3 model. You also get 9 workout programs: Steady Pace, Power Interval, Calorie Goal, Fat Burn, Fitness Test, Calorie Burn, Stairs and Manual, as well as the heavily touted Max 14 Minute Interval Program, found on all three models.
You also get a free wireless heart rate chest strap for more accurate readings, upgraded grips and pedals, a backlit LCD, media shelf and 2 user profiles.
The Max Trainer M5 (like the uplevel M7) comes with Bluetooth syncing capability which means you can track your workouts, share your results and set performance goals via MaxApp2, available for both Mac and Android operating systems.
Early reviews on the new M7 model have been positive, although the jury is still out as to whether or not it is worth the additional $600 price tag. The M7 does have a new "smart technology" feature that actually learns how you work out and responds with coaching and adjusting the machine...this seems like a nice feature but perhaps not necessary.
So for now, the M5 is a good machine to look at if you're looking for a solid workout with program options, different resistance levels and the ability to track your results for added motivation.
Bowflex offers free shipping from time to time, as well as the option of in-home assembly and added protection on top of the warranty, so those are all things to consider when you make your purchase.
Deciding between the M5 vs the M7 and M3 can be difficult, as each model has its pros and cons. We'll break it down for you though to make it a little easier.
All of the Max Trainers get positive reviews, and most users are very satsified with their purchases regardless of the model they choose.
That said, if budget is your main concern and you want to save as much money as possible, consider the base M3 model. It's around $999 on sale, about $600 cheaper than the mid-range M5 and $1200 cheaper than the top of the line M7 elliptical.
If budget is not as tight, we recommend either the M5 or the M7, as both models give you a lot more features than the M3 does, which will equate to more enjoyment and more use.
The base M3 only has 8 resistance levels, as opposed to 16 on the M5 and 20 on the M7.
If you like a wide variety of workouts, the Max Trainer M7 has the most, with 11 including the Max 7 Minute and 21 Minute Interval programs on top of the 14 minute found on all of the machines. The base model only has the one workout, and the M5 has about 9, which is ample.
The two upper level Max Trainers also give you Bluetooth capability, which allows you to not only track and share your workouts, but also set goals for yourself and win awards with the Max Trainer app and sync with your favorite fitness apps. The M3 does not have this capability.
The M5 and M7 will also give you a better display, enhanced grips and more advanced pedals, and the M7 actually "learns" how you train and adjusts to fit your needs, offering coaching suggestions as you work out.
As far as the Max Trainer M7 vs the M5, we'd probably lean towards the M5 simply due to the lower price. You still get mostly everything that you get on the M7, save for some additional workouts and comfort touches. Again, if budget is not a concern, by all means go for the M7.
So to summarize, our top choice of the three Max Trainers is the M5, followed by the M7 and finally the M3.
Although not your typical elliptical machine, the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 can certainly help you reach your fitness goals. A lot of the focus of the company website is on the fact that you can burn 2.5x as many calories on the Max Trainers in less time than on other machines. It also claims that you use 80% more upper body muscles and it is 200% better on your joints.
Is all of that true? Who really knows? It all comes down to whether or not you like the combination of a step machine and an elliptical in one. It does take some getting used to but once you are comfortable it does give you a nice burn.
The Max Trainer M5 is reasonably priced, and between the nice array of workouts and the ability to sync your results with their fitness app, it's a very good choice for losing weight and targeting different muscle groups in a short period of time.
Also look at the top level Max Trainer M7 for comparison, especially if your budget is more open.