I Finished My All-Levels Bowflex Max Trainer Challenge, and My Calorie Burns are Shocking!

I designed a cardio challenge last month, using my Bowflex M5 Max Trainer. You can read all the details here, but basically, I wanted to see if I could complete the Max Interval program at every level of resistance, starting at level 5, all the way up to level 16. The Max Interval program is only 14 minutes, but man oh man, it’s tough!

I recently finished the challenge, and the results were downright stunning!

My previous post included results and photos after my first three workouts, from Levels 5-7. I have post-workout photos from all the rest of the levels, too!

Level 8: 244 calories burned. You can see my Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells in the background. I followed up most of these Max Trainer challenge workouts with another 30-35 minutes of lifting weights.

Level 9: 271 calories burned. This was about the most calories I had ever burned on my Max Trainer prior to this challenge, and I had reached it with 6 more levels to go.


Level 10: 285 calories burned. It was around this point that I realized that coming up with new angles to shoot a selfie with the calorie burn display was going to be its own challenge!

Level 11: 296 calories burned. Check out some of my other posts about the Max Trainer, like this one and that one.


Level 12: 322 calories burned. The workouts started went from challenging to insanely challenging around this point. It’s only a 14-minute workout, but it’s based around high-intensity intervals, and those high-intensity portions were really wiping me out.

Level 13: 333 calories burned. I realized that there were only three more workouts left. I was really proud that I had burned more calories during every workout than the one before, but I seriously doubted whether I could keep that up.

Level 14: 360 calories burned. I wasn’t expecting that 27-calorie leap from Level 13, and that was really motivating. I became determined to finish out the final two levels in the challenge and post calorie gains for both of them.

Level 15: 368 calories burned. This workout was nearly unbearable, but I did it, and felt great after. It’s a full-body workout, powered by your legs, which are repeating a motion that’s sort of a cross between what you do on a stair machine and an elliptical.

Level 16: The biggest challenge: Could I finish out the challenge and burn more than 387 calories on hardest level of the Max Trainer? The answer is YES. 387 calories burned!


It blew my mind to think that I had burned 387 calories in only 14 minutes. That’d be an awesome number for a 45- or 60-minute workout, and I just knocked it out in less time than it takes to bake off some tater tots.

Even though I’m immensely proud of my 387 calorie, level 16 workout, I was also a tad bummed that I didn’t hit the 400-calorie mark, just because I came thisclose. So that’s my next Bowflex Max Trainer Challenge: burn 400 calories in 14 minutes. I’ll have to do it on level 16, and it’ll be difficult, but I’m so close already, and now I’m not intimidated by level 16 anymore!

Bowflex has a Max Trainer app that collects data from all your workouts, and I enjoy seeing all my challenge workouts on there. The numbers are so impressive!

Add up the calorie burns from all 12 workouts in the challenge, and I burned exactly 3,500 calories. Whoa – I lost exactly one pound just by doing this! I swear I didn’t plan that!

I burned those 3,500 calories in 168 total minutes – less than 3 hours. My average per-workout calorie burn throughout the challenge was 291.66.

Best of all, I feel extraordinary. It’s such an incredible feeling when you finish a challenge and perform better than anticipated!

Keep It Up, David!

Curious about the Max Trainer? Check it out on the Bowflex website. (They’re having a big Black Friday sale!)



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7 Responses to I Finished My All-Levels Bowflex Max Trainer Challenge, and My Calorie Burns are Shocking!

  1. Lianne says:

    Way to go on your challenge David! I hope to do the same eventually. My husband and I just ordered the M5 with the Black Friday deal and I cannot wait for ours to arrive on Friday. This 38 yr old mother of 2 has got to get her butt back in gear to her previous active duty military fitness level. Have you had any mechanical problems with your M5?

    • David says:

      Hey Lianne – I responded via email but no, no major issues. One part started to break after three years of rigorous use, but the folks at Bowflex were great, helped get me replacement parts, and it was an easy fix that I did myself.

  2. Split Merge says:

    Hey David.. good job on your machine!

    I have had the M6 (like an M5) since Thanksgiving 2018 and have set a goal to use it daily. So far, I have done about 60 days continuous, with a week vacation break in the middle.

    I use level 12 or 13 and hit about 295-300 calories on the 14 minute routine. By my calculation, that should be about 9000 calories a month.

    I have not seen much of a weight loss, but the benefits of this program make it worth while. I feel very energetic and am less out of breath with stairs and other things.

    So far, so good on my machine.

    Mitch in Raleigh

  3. Tammy says:

    This may sound like a silly question – but what burn rate are you doing them at? I’m on resistance level 7, but I’m not burning much more than 100 or so calories, so I don’t feel like I’m getting much out of it. I’m all kinds of out of breath during the max part but the rest time feels so slow…

    looking around online I can’t find any kind of resource giving you options between burn rate and resistance. Any help is appreciated! TIA

    • David says:

      Hey! During the course of the challenge, I upped the Resistance Level before each workout, until I got to 16. As a result, the burn rate window also went up each time. By the end, the interval burn rate was above 30, and the recovery burn rate was around 20. For the Interval setting, I don’t think you can adjust the burn rate, only the resistance level, which causes the burn rate to go up.

      If you think you can handle more during the recovery times, than up the resistance level, or push yourself a little more during the recovery times! Hope this helps.

  4. Alistair says:

    Go online to the max trainer website get the instructions on changing the burn rate for the high intensity and the rest sections. This changes the resistance levels.

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