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Bowflex Max Trainer M8 Review

Quick Summary

The Bowflex Max Trainer M8 is a cross between a stair stepper and an elliptical, all wrapped up in a compact design – it offers the ultimate full body, no impact workout. No longer in active production by Bowflex, a number of these machines are still available online, and if in good condition, make an excellent addition to the home gym. The machine comes with 20 levels of resistance, making it suitable for all fitness levels. It is also one of the first machines launched with the Bowflex JRNY App. It’s built on an artificial intelligence platform – after assessing your fitness level it will intuitively suggest how to proceed to getting to your next level and ultimately your end goal. Bowflex is also offering a Performance Pack of this model for an additional cost that includes a Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.6”, a machine mat and an armband heart rate monitor (note that this Performance Pack add-on is no longer valid).

Specifications

ModelBowflex M8
Rating

Our custom rating considers the Max Trainer's features, specs, warranties, and 100's of user & expert reviews, to save you time!

87%
List Price

Suggested retail price, including shipping. Typically higher than the price you'll pay with promotions.

$2,299
Best Price

This link goes to the best price we've found online, including shipping (with coupons & sales).

$1,999
Resistance

Resistance is what determines calories burned per stride. The more levels, the more precisely you can control the difficulty.

Automatic
20 Levels
Levels

Resistance levels determine the difficulty of the workout.

20
Programs

Max Trainer Programs help guide you automatically during your routine so you don't have to change any settings manually.

7 (6 pre-programmed workouts + manual mode)
Users

For each program the Max Trainer allows, you can create a custom user account with saved programs and goal settings.

4
Heart Rate

Heart Rate programs allow you to track how many times your heart is beating per minute (bpm), and some control the workout for you.

Contact Grips
Max Weight

Max User Weight is the amount of weight, in pounds (lbs), that a Max Trainer can safely support, which can represent durability.

300 lbs
Dimensions

Dimensions are included to help you figure out if this Max Trainer will fit properly (Length x Width x Height and Height x Depth).

47.9" L x 30.8" W x 65.2" H
Display

The Display refers to the screen you'll look at to monitor workouts. If it is backlit, then will be easier to read in low light.

Enhanced dual-mode LCD/LED
Cup Holder

Integrated water bottle holder included in console for easy access.

Media Shelf

Designed to hold iPads/tablets, Kindles, books, magazines, etc. (Note: certain tablets might cover up some of the display.)

Standard
Syncs with App

Bowflex created an iPhone app for monitoring your progress on the Max Trainer.

Premium Grips

Softer integrated contact grips to monitor heart rate.

Upgraded Ergonomic Grips
Portable

Is the Max Trainer easy to move? Does it have wheels? These can be crucial factors when buying a Max Trainer.

Warranty

The warranty is an important part of your investment. The longer the warranty, the longer you can get free/discounted repairs.

Frame 3 years, Parts 3 years, Labor 90 days
Best Deal

We do not sell Max Trainers; we are a free Max Trainer reviews service. This link goes to our top-rated retailer for the Bowflex Max Trainer M8

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Rating: 87%

Our Rating

Rating: 87/100. The M8 is designed for a range of fitness users. Whether you’re looking to get back into a workout routine from a hiatus or improve your current physical state, the M8 will cater to your goals and capabilities. The Max Intelligence Platform will also enhance your workout experience with artificial intelligence technology that remembers each workout and will push you to work harder as if you had your own personal trainer in your home daily. This is a low impact machine that will help you tone your body, burn calories and shed pounds without any harsh impact on your joints.

The standout features are definitely the 20 resistance levels and the newly upgraded Bowflex JRNY App. Together these take the workouts to another level, one good enough for the most advanced exerciser/athlete.

The machine itself comes equipped with athletic foot pedals that provide a solid grip and can accommodate a wide range of foot sizes for various users. The dynamic grip handlebars offer multiple locations for hand placement and the ability to work the upper body in different ways. There are touch sensors located on small handlebars at the bottom of the console to monitor your heart rate for a more accurate reading of your fitness level. An armband heart rate monitor is also available for purchase or included when you purchase the Performance Pack, which also includes the Samsung Tablet and Bowflex mat to put the machine on. This model has a magnetic media rack to hold a tablet as well as a secondary device. The deck can be adjusted easily as the piece attached is magnetic to the main frame. Lastly, there is a space to hold a large water bottle, phone or keys during the workout.

The Bowflex Max Trainer 8 itself comes with pre-programmed six with routines and a manual mode, including: Max 7 Minute Interval, Max 14 Minute Interval, Max 21 Minute Interval, Calorie Burn, Fat Burn, Stairs, and Manual Workout. Clearly designed with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in mind, users will notice the emphasis placed on short bursts of high activity. Nothing stops the users for longer distance work, but with interval circuits pre-built ranging from 7 to 21 minutes, one gets the point that the Max 8 is designed for hard core training.

That said, Bowflex fans have long realized the value of interactive programming. The JRNY Fitness Platform brings a lot for the subscription price of $19.99 per month or $149 per year. Compatible with not just the Max Trainers, but select treadmills, bikes, and other equipment, users with multiple pieces for the family can bounce from machine to machine with the same app. Individualized, adaptive workouts automatically adjust as users progress. With the adaptation comes at least four new, recommended workouts generated per day based on preferences. Real-time coaching brings automation to the role of trainer as the machine motivates users through plateaus with metrics including: Time, interval, calories, burn rate, heart rate, RPM, and resistance level. And in addition to more than 50 virtual locations through which to stroll, the JRNY app also works with Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney+ and incorporates curated playlists into the entertainment options. On-demand classes led by professional trainers are also a big feature. The JRNY program does work without a subscription, but users are limited to the machine’s workouts, a fitness assessment, and a selection of trainer-led videos.

The M8 offers a low impact, high intensity workout so it is an appropriate machine for a wide range of users. Whether you have previous joint issues or injuries, low cardio range or are looking to improve your overall health, the M8 can help you achieve your goals without impact. While the stigma with elliptical trainers is that they may not be intense enough for stronger athletes, the M8’s intelligence platform breaks that notion but pushing users to reach their max capacity in shorter bursts while also finding their endurance range to keep them working in a higher heart rate zone. The biggest thing people will remember about the Bowflex Max trainers is the promise to achieve a great workout in 14 minutes. This machine is designed to utilize the short period of time to have users reach max potential rather than coasting as we can all be guilty of when working out on our own.

Here are lists of top features on the Max Trainer M8 and potential drawbacks.

Pros:

  • 20 resistance levels
  • Dual mode LCD/LED screens
  • Burn rate displayed on main console
  • Magnetic media rack that is larger than previous models
  • Smart tech JRNY Fitness Platform makes a more personalized workout plan catering to each individual that uses the machine
  • 4 user compatible
  • Heart rate monitor in touch sensors or armband available for additional purchase
  • Compact size measuring the same overall floor space and height as the M6 and weighing 148lbs
  • Performance Pack purchase option for $300 more that includes Samsung Tablet, Bowflex mat and armband heart rate monitor
  • Bluetooth compatible for tablet, heart rate monitor and fitness apps
  • Low monthly subscription fee for Bowflex JRNY Fitness Platform ($19.99/month) that will unlock double the amount of video workouts and better track individual workout efforts
  • Allows users to get a great workout in a shorter amount of time

Cons:

  • Warranty: The warranty is on the scanty side, it could be extended in all areas. The frame and parts as well as the labor.
  • Higher price point than previous models
  • No cooling fan in console

Max Trainer M8 Overview

The Bowflex Max Trainer M8 is Bowflex’s premier trainer. It’s a compact machine but don’t let the size fool you – it will challenge and increase your fitness level with precision and smarts. Its design is created with the movements of an elliptical and a stair stepper, offering an effective workout in a short space of time and all of it all low impact.  

But Bowflex has stepped it up with the M8 – it comes with 20 levels of resistance, enough to test even the most serious of athletes. In fact, it would be a good conditioning and interval-training machine for any sport. But of course it is still not too advanced for a beginner, who can work their way up. The machine itself comes with six pre-programmed routines and a manual mode.

In addition to the resistance levels the M8 is one of the first two Bowflex trainers to launch the Bowflex JRNY App. The App is pretty spectacular, as the platform is based on artificial intelligence technology. It will assess your fitness level and then intuitively suggest when and what to do to move towards your fitness goal – it’s like your personal trainer. It works in line with both instructor-led videos and personalized fitness plans. It does require a subscription that isn’t included in the price of the M8. The subscription runs $149 annually or $14.95 monthly, which is similar pricing to the competitors’ offerings. 

The machine does allow for four profiles to be created, which is great for a home that may have several exercisers. The dual mode LCD/LED screens are a good size and easy to read. It’s super compact and will fit in most spaces. If you don’t already own a tablet or if its already full with other “stuff”, Bowflex is offering a performance pack that includes a Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.6 that is synced to work with the M8. The pack also includes an armband heart monitor and a machine mat.

Max Trainer M8 Features

20 Resistance Levels: This range will work for beginners as well as the most advanced exerciser. In fact, it would probably be more than enough for serious athletes. The resistance levels increase the intensity of a workout. This is why you are able to work out more efficiently but effectively – working your whole body and burning more calories.

Performance Pack Features: With a purchase of a few hundred dollars more, you can have a Samsung Galaxy E 9.6 Tablet, set up to work with your M8. We’re thinking in addition to using with the Bowflex JRNY App, you could use this tablet as your dedicated fitness tablet – all things personal health related, exercise, nutrition, etc. The pack also includes an armband heart rate monitor and a Bowflex machine mat.  

Media Rack: The conveniently placed media rack holds your smartphone or laptop and the machine comes with a USB port.

Enhanced Dual Mode LCD/LED screens: The dual mode LCD/LED screen makes it easy to read your stats; specifically the unique burn rate display that shows your calories burned and your increased activity.

Multi-grip Handles: As your resistance levels and intensity increases and decreases your hand positions will change and adapt. The multi-grip makes it comfortable and safe as you transition from level to level.

Integrated Heart Rate Monitor: The heart rate monitor is easily accessible to read your stats without missing a beat via the touch grip.

Compact Size: The Bowflex Max Trainer M8 packs a lot of power for such a small size. All the better to fit in small or big spaces in your home gym.

Attractive Design: With an enhanced color scheme of black and gray, the unit looks great in any location.

Workout Programs

The Bowflex Max Trainer 8 itself comes with pre-programmed six with routines and a manual mode, including: Max 7 Minute Interval, Max 14 Minute Interval, Max 21 Minute Interval, Calorie Burn, Fat Burn, Stairs, and Manual Workout. The JRNY app does offer free workouts including free trainer-led videos and the fitness assessment.

Questions/Answers

  • How much does the Bowflex Max Trainer M8 weigh? The machine itself weighs 148 lbs.
  • How long is a Bowflex Max Trainer M8 expected to last? A machine’s life expectancy is largely dependent on the usage and maintenance. That said, with good care and normal use, we’d expect this machine last 5 to 10 years.
  • How long does it take to assemble the Bowflex Max Trainer M8? The machine comes largely pre-assembled and requires perhaps 1.5 hours to assemble.

Warranty & Guarantee

The warranty covers three years on frame and parts, and 90 days on labor.

Conclusion

Even though it’s been discontinued, machines remain in the market and the M8 is most impressive for its ergonomically friendly design, smooth motions, compact frame and above all, the JRNY Fitness Platform. The program combined with the machine itself has taken working out at home to new heights. The M8 is designed for a wider range of users and is adaptable no matter your fitness level. While the price point is higher than its previous model, users have the option to purchase the Max 6 and still benefit from Max Intelligence through their phone or tablet. The machines themselves have minor differences physically but may come down to personal preference in handle bar placement, foot pedals and media deck. This machine will make a great addition to your home without taking up too much space and will no doubt have you sweating!

Recent Updates

August 12, 2021: The “Bowflex Max Intelligence App” has been updated to the “Bowflex JRNY App”.

11 Comments

  • MICHAEL WATSON July 11, 2020 at 11:15 am from FLORIDA
    MAXTRAINER M8 IS STUCK IN "UDATE REQUIRED" MODE CANNOT USE, UNABLE TO UPDATE--NO CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS--PLEASE ADVISE
    • FitRated July 21, 2020 at 5:02 pm
      Hi Michael, have you spoken to a Bowflex representative? They'll be able to give you step by step instructions. You can contact them at (800) 605-3369 or chat with them on their website. Hope your problem gets fixed soon!
    • Monica Fletcher December 30, 2020 at 10:12 am from United Kingdom
      Hi, I have the same problem and have received an e-mail on how to manually update using a memory stick. Unfortunately the file was unable to work. Did you get this resolved and if so how please. I am from the UK I have contacted them but I have received no reply.. thank you.
  • Shannon April 15, 2020 at 10:30 am from NYC
    What if I don't want to do a HIIT-style workout? Can I workout on the machine for an hour or longer?
    • FitRated April 16, 2020 at 4:17 pm
      Hi Shannon, you can certainly do a slower and less intense workout on this machine for a longer duration than an HIIT-style workout.
  • Lisa March 3, 2020 at 5:52 pm from New York
    Is the m8 noisy?
    • FitRated March 5, 2020 at 5:24 pm
      Hi Lisa, the M8's noise level is comparable to any other exercise machine. You definitely hear the fan and motor, but it is quiet enough to have in your home.
  • Tony February 10, 2020 at 3:15 pm
    Am interested but comments on m7 are prone to breaking and poor customer service Have these issues been corrected on m8?
    • FitRated February 20, 2020 at 4:43 pm
      Hi Tony, with every new model, Bowflex fixes issues and upgrades the machines. We personally have not had any issues with the M8 and highly recommend the machine as you can tell by our review!
  • Gina Watcher January 12, 2020 at 9:37 am
    When purchasing the M8 it is a requirement to buy the subscription? I would be fine with the 17 videos if I didn’t have to purchase the subscription. Please let me know either way.
    • FitRated January 15, 2020 at 10:21 am
      Hi Gina, you can still use the machine without the subscription. The features would just be limited.

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