Stay at home and work out to the Max
Can a quick 14-minute session on this trainer really work wonders on your body? Claire Spreadbury finds out
Having a gym at home has always been a bit of a dream of mine. No more excuses not to blitz those calories, you can simply jump out of bed, do your workout and tick it off your list for the day.
Having the space is a huge luxury few of us can afford, but the Bowflex Max Trainer claims to give you all the benefits of a full workout in just 14 minutes. So it's sort of like having a full gym in just one machine.
What is it?
The new Bowflex Max Trainer M7 is a bit like a cross trainer. Said to combine 'the full body workout of an elliptical and the calorie-scorching power of a stepper, to offer an effective home workout in just 14 minutes'. I mean, who's not up for that?
It's low-impact, has a smooth motion, but also brings the benefits of interval training by working different speeds and effort levels.
The machine comes with 11 workout programmes and the new Smart Max function learns your specific fitness levels and offers burn-rate targets to challenge your overall fitness. Pretty impressive, eh?
There are also 20 electronically adjustable resistance levels, controlled with one-touch buttons located on both the console and next to the static handlebars. And, it's easy on your joints - something you might appreciate if you've experienced injury or pain after traditional HIIT workouts.
The dial shows your personalised target burn rate and actual burn rate simultaneously, to keep you motivated to keep going. You can also see your time, speed, distance and heart rate, and sync to the Max Trainer App for workout tracking.
What's it like?
As machines like this go, it is pretty slimline - but it's still enormous. Any dreams of stashing it surreptitiously in the corner of the bedroom are unlikely to be realised. It is, however, a solid piece of kit.
It's expensive (currently retailing at £1,999 from www.fitness-superstore.co.uk, though you can find previous models a lot cheaper) but it's sturdy and comfortable to use.
Building the machine can be a bit epic. It's a two-man job, really, mainly because of the weight of the machine, but the instructions are straightforward and we managed to get it up and running in about an hour-and-a-half.
You can tinker with the tech and settings or just jump on and get going. There are four user settings, where you input your weight for accurate stats. Then just hit the main button and try the 14-minute workout (you can also opt for a shorter or longer session, as well as a three-minute warm-up).
Your posture on the Max Trainer feels more upright. I felt taller and more forward than I do on a standard cross trainer and the wide pedals have more of an up-and-down motion, than a pedal-round movement.
But the best thing about it is the way it gets you to train at different speeds. The dial - which looks like a flashy in-car dashboard - lights up with the word 'sprint' in capital letters, encouraging you to go all-out and then 'recover' when you can take it a bit easier. It's (almost) like having your very own Barry's Bootcamp in your house. It's the best selling point, because it pushes you, even if you're not super-motivated, so you'll undoubtedly burn more calories off the back of it.
Would I buy one?
If I had the money and the space, absolutely, yes.
This is a brilliant piece of kit. It's a fast and effective workout that's easy to fit into the busiest of schedules, really good quality with brilliant motivational extras.
I'd definitely recommend it.