Bowflex Max Trainer M8 Review

Editor's Rating: 8 /10
Best Buy Award(s):Best Treadmill Alternatives
Update: This model has been discontinued. To find a suitable replacement, check out our treadmill finder here.

Discontinued for 2021 and replaced as the top Bowflex unit, the Bowflex Max Trainer M8 remains worth a look as used models are still available online, and even on clearance from Bowflex. With the new Max Total 16 fronting the brand, shoppers looking for a bargain would do well to consider the M8. It’s great for beginners to advanced fitness levels. Max trainers are built to offer the user the combined movements of an elliptical and a stair stepper, which makes for a great low impact workout. Basically, what it comes down to, is that workouts on the M8 can be short time wise, but effective when it comes to calories burned and muscle toning.

It comes with 20 levels of resistance, which is an extensive range of difficulty, more than enough for a beginner but will surely outlast even the most advanced fitness enthusiast. This means it can be used for years to come as your fitness levels increase – no worry for machine or workout plateau.

In addition to the extreme levels of resistance is the new Bowflex JRNY App that adds another level of challenge – in a motivating and fun way. The app is built on an artificial intelligence platform, which means while you workout it will automatically assess your workouts, and suggest the next level of difficulty on your way to your personal goals. Think of it as Bowflex’s personal trainer at your disposal. The app is not included in the cost of the M8 – the subscription is $149 annually or $14.95 per month. With both live and pre-programmed classes, the JRNY program features live and pre-programmed classes as well real-time coaching. Individualized classes with smart recommendations match up with more than 50 virtual destinations to stroll through, from mountains to cities all over the world. In addition to curated playlists, JRNY has matched up with Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Disney, to provide alternative entertainment during exercise. 

Read your stats and  progress on the enhanced dual mode LCD/LED screens – a unique burn rate display shows calories burned while increasing your workout activity. The heart rate monitor tracks via the integrated contact grips. The multi grip handles are comfortable for getting your full body workout in. Four workout profiles can be programmed for individual workouts – enough for the whole family. A magnetic media rack is conveniently placed to hold smartphones and tablets. This is a unique feature that helps out quite a bit given the Bluetooth compatibility and multiplicity of variables one could use here. Meanwhile, the machine also sports a USB charging port for those users who do bring a separate phone or tablet to the game. In terms of comfort, the machine does have one fan at the bottom of the machine as opposed to the console. How important this is really depends on the individual.

Performance Pack Upgrade

You also have the option of spending a few hundred dollars extra for the premium performance pack. It includes the above Intelligence trainer along with a Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.6-inch Tablet, an armband heart rate monitor and a Bowflex machine mat. The subscription fee is still applicable for the app.

  • The M8 can be had for a bargain price on clearance from Bowflex
  • As a discontinued model, we're not sure how long that deal might last

What We Like:

  • 20 resistance levels: It features a wide range of varying degrees of difficulty, which will suit beginners to advanced exercisers.
  • Bowflex JRNY App: A full-fledged workout partner with interactive training, workout videos, and other exercise entertainment options.
  • Enhanced dual-mode LCD/LED screens: Easy to read stats and workout without distractions.
  • Compact size: The footprint takes up little space, so it should fit in most spaces.
  • Four profiles: Up to four profiles can be created to track your unique progress; this is great for an active family.
  • Performance Pack: This is a great upgrade with a Samsung Galaxy Tab E 9.6-inch Tablet dedicated to your machine.

Bowflex Max Trainer M8 Treadmill - Key Specs:

Star Rating:4-stars
Running Area:n/a
Top Speed:n/a
Weight Capacity:300 LBS
Dimensions:47.9" L x 30.8" W x 65.2" H
Built-In Programs:7 (6 pre-programmed workouts + manual mode)
What We Don’t Like:

  • Short  warranty: The three year warranty for the frame and parts is good but the labor is only 90 days. Should be extended to longer considering the cost for subscribing to app which will encourage more usage of the trainer.

Our Verdict:

The Bowflex Trainer M8 is an amazing fitness machine. While still being produced, it was a little on the expensive side. That said, it really does allow for an excellent workout. With used models available still, it’s definitely worth a look. The 20 resistance levels mean business – with this range it is good for all fitness levels, even advanced levels won’t out-work this machine. The Bowflex JRNY App is an amazing tool, assessing your workouts and suggesting next levels while encouraging you to attain your goals. The Bowflex Trainer M8 will be a great addition any home gym regardless of the various fitness levels of exercisers who live in the same home. The only reason we don’t rate it higher is that it is indeed discontinued which means going forward, upgrades and parts might be an issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the Bowflex Max Trainer M8 weigh?

Fully assembled, the machine weighs 148 pounds.

Does the Bowflex Max Trainer M8 have wheels to help move the machine around a room?

Yes, the machine does have transport wheels and is relatively light.

Which wireless heart rate monitors are compatible with the Bowflex Max Trainer M8?

Bluetooth-enabled, the Bowflex Max Trainer M8 is compatible with most heart rate monitors, including the Bowflex Heart Rate Armband.

Is it difficult to assemble the Bowflex Max Trainer M8?

No, but it might help to have assistance with handling the parts. Instructional videos are available online as well from the company.