Goals Update AND The Awesome Machine That’s Changing How I Exercise

I love when packages get delivered – it’s always so exciting to open the box and see what’s inside. I recently received an enormous delivery – some of the biggest boxes I’ve ever seen!


Wanna know what’s inside? Keep reading. First, though, I want to do a quick goal update. Last week, after my depressing weigh-in, I gave myself three goals for the week to help get me out of my slump. Here’s how I did:

  • Goal #1: Repeat a list of positive things I have going right now every day. Done and done. A complete success.
  • Goal #2: Incorporate two weightlifting workouts this week, an upper body and a lower body, in addition to my cardio. Done and done. Upper body was Wednesday, lower body was Friday. Plus four additional cardio workouts, including my first training session in a 54-story skyscraper.
  • Goal #3: No junk food binges this week. Period. Ummm…mostly successful, except for one incident that involved toffee peanuts, a brownie, and chili cheese Fritos.

I’ve set the same goals for this week, but I’ve upped it from two to three weightlifting workouts. This was my weekly standard for months and months, so I know I can do it.

NOW…Time to reveal what’s in those boxes! It’s…. a BOWFLEX MAX TRAINER M5!


This is the first in-home cardio machine I’ve ever had, and it’s a keeper. It’s kinda like a cross between an elliptical and a stair machine, and it’s been kicking my ass. That’s because it’s designed specifically for interval training, so I can maximize your workout in a short amount of time. Plus, it looks pretty sweet in my home, doesn’t it?


I like that it doesn’t take up much space. I like that it has red accents, because I love red. All in all, it’s a sleek-looking machine, with the design inspired by motorcycles (something I learned when I visited the Bowflex headquarters over the summer).


There’s a variety of workouts programmed in the MAX Trainer, or I can climb on and do my own thing. But a big selling point is the MAX Interval workout, which condenses an entire cardio workout into 14 minutes. The 14 minutes are tough: it’s a cycle where you go all-out for 25 seconds, than recover (but still pedal) for 80 seconds. You repeat that 8 times, and BAM! Your 14 minutes are up.

I needed a little while to get adjusted to the MAX Trainer’s display, which looks cool, like a speedometer.


The display (and the workouts) are based around your burn rate (how many calories you’re burning per minute), as opposed to your speed or distance. In fact, it doesn’t display distance at all, and the only speed-related measurement is RPM (revolutions per minute).

While it’s not what I’m used to, the focus on burn rate makes sense: since calories are important. During the 14-minute interval workouts, the intense (or “Active,” as the MAX calls them) parts challenge me to essentially triple my burn rate, and I can tweak that higher or lower if I want to. I can increase or decrease the resistance level, too.

I’ve been using the MAX trainer a few times a week for the past couple weeks, and doing the MAX Interval workout at Level 5 has been a good challenge. I burn around 200 calories in 14 minutes, my heart races, and I feel wiped out afterward. There’s also a Smart MAX Interval workout, where the machine automatically adjusts resistance to help get you to the target burn rate, and I tried that, and at some points, it was bumping me up to Resistance Level 14. WHOA!

I’ve also been tacking on a few minutes of warm-up and cool-down, because the MAX Interval workout starts with a 25-second all-out Active part, and that’s hard for me to do without warming up my muscles. At the end of those 14-minutes, I need more time to lower my heart rate (which can reach the high 160s during the Active parts), so I stay on and pedal a little longer, with little or no resistance. My 14-minute workouts have ended up being 20-22 minutes, and that’s fine by me.

I just read over this post, and it sounds like a big ol’ commercial for Bowflex (and I’m just now getting to the part where I share the link to learn more about the MAX Trainer). I’m sorry. That wasn’t my intention. But I have enjoyed using this machine, and it came at a good time. I’ve heard so many trainers and experts say how important is it to switch up your routine, and adding the MAX Trainer to my arsenal of workout activities has been a huge help towards getting me out of my slump.

On the flip-side, having this machine in my home has majorly messed with how I approach and mentally prepare for my workouts, but that’s a topic for another post, because I’m still sorting all that out. Stay tuned.

Added Bonus: The MAX Trainer works all the muscles I need for my stair races, and with my two races in Chicago just a few weeks away, that’s huge!

Keep it up, David!


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30 Responses to Goals Update AND The Awesome Machine That’s Changing How I Exercise

  1. Mom says:

    If that machine wasn’t a gift from Bowflex, it should be!

  2. Coco says:

    I’m definitely going to check out that machine because it sounds interesting. I will also be interested to hear how it helps you train for your big upcoming stair climb(s).

  3. Gerry says:

    Have you lost any weight as a direct result of the bowflex max m5?


    • David says:

      Hi Gerry,
      Because the Max Trainer M5 has never been my exclusive method of exercising, I can make no such claims. I’ve been using it on a regular basis, interspersed with other forms of cardio (stairs, running, etc.) as well as weight training. It’s a fantastic resource for me, and I love using it.

      • Gerry says:


        Thanks. I just got mine today, can’t wait to shed those pounds like what you have done. Keep it up David!


      • Denise says:

        Hello I received mine a few weeks ago, I really like working out but I just can’t seem to get used to it. It hurts my legs, and I’m not even using the intervals yet. Can someone please advise me on this matter

      • David says:

        Hey Denise! Congrats on your purchase! I would suggest consulting your doctor about the pain in your legs. As for the MAX, I’m not a trainer or an expert, but do what you can to start and don’t worry right now about the programs you can’t do. It’s a great workout for people of all fitness levels, so take it slow and work your way up. The folks at Bowflex may be to help you more, too – so contact Customer Service – all the info you need is in the paperwork you got with your machine! KEEP IT UP! -David

  4. Brenda Story says:

    I got this machine just before Thanksgiving. However, I’m a bit out of shape and have had trouble adjusting to it. I can barely get 6 minutes on it doing the calorie burn mode. How do you adjust the 14-minute interval for less resistance?

    • David says:

      Hey Brenda! You can easily customize the MAX interval program to suit your needs. My owner’s manual has customization information on Page 36, hopefully your manual is the same as mine! If it isn’t, you can download the manual by clicking here. Or call the number on that page for help from Bowflex.
      I hope you don’t get discouraged from this experience! Maybe get comfortable on the machine by using the Steady State program, and work your way up to the Interval program?

      • Hi Brenda! This is Jessi from Bowflex. Congratulations on your new Max Trainer. It is a hard workout, but don’t despair! The MAX was designed for absolute beginners to advanced fitness levels in mind. To start, you simply want to start walking. If that is too easy, bump up the resistance. Once that isn’t completely wearing you out, start using the programs. If you ever feel like it’s too hard or need help, don’t hesitate to call Customer Care. Our number is 800-605-3369 and our hours of operation are Mon – Fri, 6 am to 5 pm, PST. We also encourage you to take a look at this article and how working out for even 5 minutes at a time is beneficial. Just copy the URL address and paste it in your browser. Thank you. -Jessi, Bowflex C/S http://www.bowflexinsider.com/quality-leads-to-quantity/

      • David says:

        Thanks for the advice and info, Jessi!

  5. Dennis Cooper says:

    I’ve had it for 3 weeks love it, great workout in a short time…Highly Recommend It…dlcooper67@yahoo.com. . Remember if your sweating, It’s Working..

  6. aimee says:

    Hello, David. Just found your blog while I was looking for more “user experiences” with the Max Trainer. I loved reading your story-incredibly inspirational. Keep it up!

  7. I bought a Bowflex M5. I work out on level 16 and can burn up to 360 calories in 14 minutes. Been doing this for 5 weeks now and have not lost a pound. I’m 58 years old and weigh around 250. Don’t know if it is going to work for me.

    • David says:

      Hey Jimmy! Congrats on the awesome calorie burn and the consistent workouts. Keep it up! I’m not equipped to help you address the problems you’re having, but I’ve forward your comment to Bowflex.

    • teamholland says:


      First, congrats on investing in your health! Yes, I am biased, but the Max Trainer is one of my favorite pieces of equipment in my home gym.

      I completely understand your frustration. What I want to emphasize, however, is that while weight-loss is indeed a part of being healthy, what is also extremely important is what we GAIN from exercise, not just what we lose! Every time you step on the Max Trainer you are doing incredible things for your health, things that you cannot “see” right away. Each and every workout starts to strengthen your heart, improve your blood chemistry, lower your blood pressure, help with stress, and so much more.

      That being said, I know that weight loss is also a goal. It will come, I promise. Remember – to lose one pound of body fat you must have a 3,500 calorie deficit. That is why one of the secrets to your success will be to use the Max Trainer as well as make small, consistent healthy changes in your diet. A great, manageable goal is to burn 250 calories through exercise each day and consume 250 calories less.

      Keep up the great work, Jimmy! You can do it!

      Tom Holland – Bowflex Fitness Advisor & FOD – “Friend of David!”

  8. Jason Dokla says:

    I just purchased my M3 the day after Christmas. I was SO excited. Been looking at these for months. I must say I am a bit confused when using the Max Interval, exactly where to set my range during cool down and how high my range should be for the all out push for the most efficient fat burn zone. My heart rate goes up quick and it is often hard to catch a breath, but it feels great!!! I am amazing pleased with the quality and smoothness of this machine. I have been down it twice a day, morning and night. Hope not too much??

    • David says:

      Awesome, Jason – it IS a great machine. You’ll find your rhythm in regards to range-setting. Make sure you’re pushing yourself during the intervals (and it sounds like you are), and keep moving during the low-intensity parts!

  9. I love my M3, the interval prgm being my weapon of choice. Best home equipment purchase ever! And it’s terrific to see I’m not alone. Coupled with daily 1-hr walks with my dogs, I use my Max every other day and my weight stays around 185 lbs. An awesome product I encourage everyone to try. BTW, I’m 64.

    Keep well David!

  10. Tommy16 says:

    I have been using bowflex m5 max trainer for two week using the 14 minuet Interval training at level 5 I burn around 200 Calories. I change my diet cut out alcohol and I have lost 8lbs, my goal is lose 20lbs. I am 65 years old and love the workout I get with this machine.

  11. Rick says:

    I got my M5 December 29th. I’m 56 years old. Have an active job ( Electrician) I have been doing the smart Interval program. Was burning 140 calories in 14 minutes In the beginning, now at 155. I really like the machine. I work up a good sweat in those 14 minutes. Looking to drop about 10 pounds though, but only have lost a couple. Going to knees at it. Love the workout.

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