Thinking about the Bowflex M3 Max Trainer? The M3 is the most affordable model in the Max Trainer series – coming in under $1000.
The other model is the M5, which is the premium version of this hybrid elliptical trainer-stair stepper. The M5 runs about $500 more than the M3. This leads a lot of people to wonder what’s the difference between them – and is the M3 really a good buy.
With that in mind, here’s a review of the pros and cons of the Bowflex Max M3 to help you decide:
#1 Most Affordable, High-Calorie-Burning Fitness Equipment on the Market
The M3 comes in under $1000 – which makes it one of the most affordable Bowflex machines on the market (Treadclimbers start at $2300+). This in itself is a big bonus.
You can burn up to 2.5 times more calories than a treadmill, elliptical or stair stepper with this machine. That means you lose weight faster.
According to the manufacturer, the Max is also designed so that you can get this high-calorie burning effect even if you only workout 14 minutes a day. So it’s great if you’re too busy to spend hours slogging it out on a treadmill.
#2 Work Your Upper Body and Engage More Muscles
According to the manufacturer, in the lab, the Max engaged more core and upper body muscles even than the elliptical trainer.
Not only does that explain the higher calorie burning effects, but it also helps you tone your upper body – unlike a treadmill or stair climber.
#3 Low Impact Means Less Pain on the Joints
The Max trainer was built to be very low impact – combining the stair climbing action with the upper body arms of an elliptical.
So if you struggle with joint pain, shin splints or even a bad back, this could be the right machine to help you avoid that – while still getting your workouts in.
#4 The M3 Max Trainer Workout Keeps You Burning Calories For Hours After Your Workout
Bowflex built both the M3 and M5 models to include the specialized high-intensity 14 minute workout. This workout has been designed to challenge your body with small bursts of activity followed by longer rest periods.
This kind of exercise has been shown to ramp up your metabolism for up to 24 hours after your workout. So you’ll burn more calories even at rest after your workouts on the M3.
#5 Save Space in Your Home
The M3 Max trainer has a smaller footprint than most treadmills or even elliptical trainers. It measures 2.5 x 3.5 feet.
So if you don’t want – or have the space for a lot of bulky equipment, the Max M3 is a great option.
So those are the pros – what about the cons?
Well, the M3 is a “simpler” version of the M5 Max trainer. So you don’t get some of the luxury extras:
#1 No Backlit Console
The M3 does not come with the backlit console that you get with the M5. This may or may not matter to you.
But if lighting is limited in your workout area, you may want to opt for the M5 model to see your workout stats (or just buy a small flashlight).
#2 Fewer Resistance Levels
The M3 has fewer resistance levels than the M5 – 8 vs 16. So if you’re in top physical condition, you may want the extra challenge of the M5 trainer instead of the M3.
But for new exercisers, they’ll probably be just fine with 8 resistance levels.
#3 Fewer Built-in Workouts
The M3 does have a manual and the special Bowflex 14 minute interval program – but that’s about it.
The M5 has several other built-in workouts like calorie goal, fat burn, stairs, steady state and fitness test. Again, this may or may not matter to you depending on your workout style.
#4 No Heart Rate Hand Sensors
The Bowfex M3 Max Trainer does come with a wireless heart rate monitoring system – but there is no hand sensor option. The M5 has both the wireless and hand sensor.
So what’s the bottom line?
The Bowflex Max M3 is a simpler version of the M5 premium Max Trainer. They both offer the same high-calorie-burning benefits, upper body toning, high intensity training and compact design.
So all of the basics are covered for you to get a high calorie burning workout..
The main differences are in the premium “extras” that many people like such as the extra resistance levels, backlit console and workout programs. So really it’s up to you and what you prefer.
But if you’re looking to see faster results in less time during your workouts, the M3 might just be the best machine for you!