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There aren’t many people left who haven’t heard about Bowflex. The company created the innovative adjustable dumbbells and the trail-blazing home gyms that gave Bowflex a well-known name. However, it’s less commonly known that Bowflex isn’t just for strength training. The company has created a number of cardio machines over the years, and for the past two months I’ve been using the Bowflex Max Total 16 (also known as the MT16), which is essentially a hybrid of an elliptical and a stair stepper. (Buy It, $2,799, bowflex.com )
Here is a thorough, frank review of the Bowflex MT16.
FIRST, HOWEVER, A CONTEXT 675 days have passed since I last entered a gym.
My spouse Tom and I had a wonderful habit of working out together three days a week before the pandemic. Although I tried almost all the equipment at my gym, using the stair stepper for 30 minutes was my favorite exercise. I can see why the stair stepper isn’t everyone’s go-to exercise equipment, but I adored how it made me satisfyingly sore and drenched in perspiration.
And, well, everyone is aware of what occurred in March 2020.
Home exercises were initially a great challenge for my small family, but last year brought a new set of challenges: purchasing our first home and rescuing a 10-month-old puppy. I love routine, and adjusting to the new realities of homeownership and puppy parenting interfered with my well planned workout regimen. I had lost interest in doing at-home workouts and was hesitant to visit a gym again in person. Then I tested out the Bowflex MT16 and Jrny, Bowflex’s online exercise program (Sign Up, 12-month free trial, bowflex.com ).
I GIVE THE BOWFLEX MAX TOTAL 16 AND JRNY APP AN OVERALL GRADE OF 8.1/10
The device is simple to use and runs silently. Handles are positioned correctly at various heights. provides low-impact, total-body exercises a sizable, snappy touchscreen with superb audio and visual clarity includes a heart rate monitor with Bluetooth capability. For an infinite number of users under a single account, Jrny tracks progress and customizes programs (each user has their own unique login) To keep you interested and inspired, Jrny provides a library of shows, streaming entertainment, virtual coaching, and breathtaking views from around the globe. Excellent customer service from Bowflex Cons
For new users, fitness assessment can be perplexing. Resistance levels must be manually changed (i.e. resistance is not an adaptive element) Level adjustments are not easily indicated by the resistance knob. The best value from MT16 is only available to Jrny members.
TESTING PROCEDURE FOR THE BOWFLEX MAX TOTAL 16 A Bowflex salesman offered to send me a complimentary MT16 sample to try out. I figured this would be a good start to perhaps get myself back into the habit of exercising frequently since I finally have the space to create a home gym. To gain a different perspective, I requested my spouse to test the device as well. To put things in perspective, Tom is a 6’3″ man who weighs 200 pounds, whereas I am a 5’5″ woman who weighs 135 pounds. Additionally, we’ve been testing Jrny memberships, which offer a range of videos, on-demand classes, streaming choices, and other features. The TL;DR version is that if you want to invest in the MT16, you should consider being a Jrny subscriber. I’ll go into more detail about this later. If you’re not someone who emphasizes all the bells and whistles, the MT16 is on the more expensive end of cardio machines, but you can still get a good exercise on a less expensive machine.
THE FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS OF BOWFLEX MT16 The MT16 offers a low-impact cardio workout with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) options by fusing the greatest features of an elliptical and stair stepper. I enjoy using classic stair steppers and HIIT exercises more than elliptical machines. The MT16, in my opinion, enhances the stair stepper design by enabling arm activity for a full-body workout. If you keep good form, your biceps, triceps, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core will all feel the burn. The machine’s low-impact design is another feature I admire. In the past, when I used stair steppers, I occasionally tripped, especially as I grew more exhausted. Even though I’ve never been hurt, it’s always frightening. The MT16’s pedals are always at my fingertips, entirely avoiding any tripping risk.
SPECS Dimensions: 30.8 x 49.3 x 65.7 inches When fully completed, it weighs 155.4 pounds. Capacity for weight: 300 pounds 16-inch diagonally-sized screen (Wi-Fi connection required) Calorie burn, fat burn, steps, and manual are preset programs. 20 resistance levels Heart rate, calories, target burn rate, number of intervals, length of each interval, duration of the entire workout, level of resistance, and RPM Power supply: the included AC adapter (Note: For routine software upgrades, keep the system plugged in at all times.) monitor for heart rate: built-in contact grips and an armband with Bluetooth functionality Features: USB charging port, water bottle holder, and phone stand Small rooms are perfect for the MT16’s compact profile. Although I want to leave my machine in the same location, it is simple to move if necessary. The machine had wheels on the front, and I had no trouble tipping it toward me and rolling it about on a concrete floor. I couldn’t test moving it on luxurious carpet.
The device runs quietly and smoothly. I have it set up in the basement, so if my husband is exercising while I’m upstairs in my bedroom, I can hear the machine’s gentle whir, but it’s not overly loud or annoying. If Tom doesn’t have his headphones on, I might once in a while hear the voice of the virtual coach, but it doesn’t happen often and doesn’t bother me.
Preceding using the MT16, I had never heard of Bowflex’s Max Trainer line. The handlebars are one obvious change between the MT16 and the Max Trainer 9 (M9 , the model before it. The M9 has four handlebars, whereas the MT16 has six. Although I haven’t personally used the M9 to directly compare the two models, I’m glad the MT16 includes options for a high, middle, and low grip. Tom and I have differing grip preferences because we are different heights; he prefers the high and center options, while I favor the middle and low handlebars.
CONSUMER INTERFACE The settings and applications are simple to use, and the touchscreen is responsive. To change the volume, go back to the home screen, and turn off the device, there are buttons on the back of the screen. However, since I can’t see which button I’m pushing when I’m using the machine, I don’t find these buttons to be very helpful. I prefer to only utilize the touchscreen. When I’m finished working out, I keep the machine plugged in rather than turning it off. Eventually, the screen falls to sleep. If I lightly pedal or tap the screen to “wake” it up, it soon turns back on.
The machine’s middle has a knob for adjusting resistance. Turn it to the left to decrease resistance and to the right to increase it. The MT16’s resistance knob is my least preferred component. I have to watch the number change on the touchscreen because I can’t feel how much I’m raising or lowering the resistance level. The screen lags frequently, causing me to either overshoot or undershoot the desired level. Even though the user experience isn’t fantastic, I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker.
ASSURANCE AND PRICE The Bowflex Max Total 16 has a basic price of $2,799, but from now until the end of January, you can save $400, get a free mat for the equipment, and get free shipping. Additional shows and streaming services that are available with a Jrny membership are not included in this pricing. Labor is protected by a 90-day warranty, while the machine’s structure and parts are covered by a three-year warranty. You can buy an Bowflex Protection Plan if you want to extend the warranties. For the MT16, $199 will increase the labor warranty’s duration to three years, and $259 will increase it to five years for both parts and labor.
The MT16 is undoubtedly among the more expensive pieces of fitness gear. Look at the Max Trainer comparison chart if you want to purchase a Bowflex machine but find the price to be exorbitant. The M9 is comparable to the MT16, with the exception of its 10-inch screen and four-grip handlebars, and it is $800 less expensive. financing options is likewise present in all Max Trainers.
HOW THE JRNY APP WORKS If you wish to benefit from the adaptive workout technology of the Bowflex MT16, stream shows and music from the device’s touchscreen, track your progress, engage in virtual coaching, and more, trail-blazing home gyms 0. The good news is that if you buy a Bowflex machine right now, you can get an trail-blazing home gyms 1. A Jrny membership costs $20 per month after the first year, but you can save money by purchasing an annual membership instead, which costs $149 per year (or around $12.42 per month). The MT16 offers an unlimited number of users under a single Jrny membership, in contrast to other subscription systems that have a cap on the number of users per account. By creating a separate login under the existing Jrny account, users can still keep their profiles private; they simply need to remember to log out after each workout.
SETUP AND THE FIRST FITNESS EVALUATION When you first log into the platform on your machine or any smart device after purchasing a machine from trail-blazing home gyms 3, your Jrny membership becomes activated if you did so. I downloaded the Jrny app on my phone and activated my account from my machine so that I could see my workout logs and monitor my progress without going into the MT16 directly. To mix up my workouts, I can access virtual classes that require little to no equipment from my phone.
When I first used the MT16 to log into the Jrny app, I had to make a profile and provide details like my height, weight, age, and fitness objectives. This data is used by the Jrny platform to personalize your workout experience, which may include the kinds of suggested workout videos that appear on the screen, the interval and intensity levels during your session, and even the duration of your workouts. (Note: I had a few problems when I originally tried to enroll my Jrny account. Thanks to Bowflex Customer Service, the problems were quickly remedied. (More on that later.)
You must pass a fitness evaluation in order to utilize the Jrny benefits of the MT16 to their maximum potential. The machine uses your baseline fitness evaluation to create routines that are personalized for you. Because you will be asked to sustain particular targets for as long as possible during the evaluation, it’s critical to pick a resistance level that is comfortable for you while still being tough but not too severe. Low-, moderate-, and high-intensity targets are easily distinguished on the screen by a colored range that resembles a speedometer. Your cadence, also known as revolutions per minute (RPMs), will be measured until it slows down to the point where it falls below one of the benchmarks. At that point, the evaluation will move on to the next level or end.
I’ll admit that I was a little pressed for time when I completed my fitness evaluation. I don’t think my adaptive workouts are as tough as they may be because I wasn’t aware that it was actually a workout. One thing I wish I had done was to familiarize myself with the device before pressing the “start” button to start the evaluation. As a result, I slipped out of some of the targets earlier than I should have because I was playing with the resistance level during the assessment. Additionally, as I already indicated, I rushed it, so I don’t think I exerted myself as much as I could have to maintain the appropriate intensity range. I’m still working out very satisfactorily, though, so I haven’t felt the need to retake my fitness test just yet.
Several crucial considerations for the fitness evaluation include:
Do your best to keep moving at a regular, comfortable speed. The suggested workouts will feel excessively difficult if you push yourself too hard during the evaluation, and you can become discouraged. Going too easy won’t produce exercises that keep you motivated and moving toward your objectives either. Take the test again every six to twelve months. Your body will establish a new baseline as you move closer to achieving your fitness objectives. Your fitness evaluation should be updated on a regular basis so that the adaptive routines can change with you. And if you’re not happy with your initial assessment, don’t be afraid to retake it even sooner.
VRAY COACHING AND ADAPTIVE WORKOUTS Your user profile and fitness assessment play a big part in how adaptable the routines are. My 15- to 25-minute workouts were determined by my 18-minute fitness assessment, but as I continue to exercise, they have been becoming longer (to challenge me). Tom’s evaluation, on the other hand, took about 40 minutes, thus he was given exercises that lasted 35 to 50 minutes. I’ve enjoyed building up to longer sessions by beginning with shorter ones. Tom initially enjoyed his longer exercises, but he found it challenging to keep them up because he wasn’t exercising as frequently during the week as he’d intended. He changed his fitness objectives to include workouts lasting 15 to 30 minutes, and the MT16 responded as he had intended. We noted that our target intensity levels differ, in addition to the length of the workout, so we’re convinced that we’re getting tailored experiences.
Tom and I have talked through our notes, and we both believe that the Jrny app’s virtual tutoring is quite beneficial. It feels as though I have a real trainer at my side encouraging me to keep going, whether it recognizes your movements or has set periods to speak during your workout (I guess the latter). The virtual coach’s reminders always arrive just when I need them to make sure I keep up good form. The advice I find most useful is to contract your abdominal muscles, hunch your shoulders back, and keep in mind to push and pull on the handlebars to use your entire body. The virtual coach not only examines your form but also encourages you during high-intensity intervals and rewards you for each workout you finish. Initially, I didn’t think I would give the virtual coach much thought, but after two years of not setting foot in a gym, I have to say it’s wonderful to have someone provide words of encouragement or a pat on the back for a job well done, even if it’s entirely virtual.
OPTIONS FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND WORKOUT PROGRAMS The Jrny platform’s ability to customize each workout is one of my favorite features. In the two months that I’ve used the app, I’ve tried a good number of the fitness plans, and I’m continuously finding new ones that I like. (Speaking of faves, you can “heart” your favorite workouts so you can access them again.) I appreciate the program variation as well as the layered nature of my workouts, which further diversifies the sessions. I can add music or global exploration to almost any workout to make it more interesting. The one thing I don’t like about the programs is that you have to always modify the resistance levels manually; none of them automatically adjust them.
There are four main programming categories to pick from: Just for You, Programs, Explore the World, and Videos, in addition to the Learn category, which aids in getting a feel for the device.
Simply for You
These courses range in length and difficulty. Since they are adaptive workouts, they differ for every individual. Virtual coaching is a feature of each program. These workouts can be layered with alternatives for listening to music, streaming TV, or traveling the world.
You can choose from a variety of conventional workout programs here, including calorie burn, fat burn, stairs, and manual mode. This area also contains a large number of different presets that are arranged according to workout length. The exercises are flexible, and a lot of them incorporate virtual guidance.
Investigate the World
This will likely be your favorite feature if you prefer to exercise outside or while travelling. You can select stunning landscapes from a variety of destinations throughout the world, as the name implies. As you cycle, you go across the scene in what appears to be a GoPro camera footage on the screen. The screen also pauses when you take a break to relax. Although not flawless, the visual clarity is nonetheless outstanding and provides you with the closest sensation to being there in person. Even if I find other aspects more interesting, I guess I’ll utilize this feature again soon. I once used it to simulate strolling around Sequoia National Forest.
These are leveled beginner, intermediate, and advanced virtual classes taught by instructors. Obviously, there is no one correct method to use the Jrny platform, but in retrospect, I wish I had started here. The instructors provide you with many helpful pointers for maintaining appropriate form and explain how shifting where your hands or hips are can work different portions of your body. I believe I could have gotten even more out of my early workouts if I had started with the videos. But this platform’s beauty is that you never stop learning and improving.
Regarding entertainment, I like to watch Netflix sitcoms that are roughly the same length as my average workout (it beats watching the same thing from the couch). The device allows you to stream content from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney, but you’ll need a different membership for each service. Metrics are shown on a discreet bar at the bottom of the screen (or wherever I choose to move it), allowing me to watch television and monitor my exercise at the same time. A succession of audio tones that signal when to ramp up or calm down during a program with varying intensity levels is helpful. The audio tones don’t interfere with the program I’m watching, and I appreciate that I can set the level for the streaming services and audio tones independently.
Regarding music, Jrny radio is a good option that I’ve used when exercising. There are a few other genres to pick from, like pop, hip-hop, and the ’90s (which is my personal fave). However, you can pair your phone with the device using Bluetooth and use the speakers or headphones to listen to your own rhythms if you prefer your own playlist or a music streaming service like Spotify.
Fast and worth the expert fee, delivery and assembly Two enormous, hefty boxes containing the machine arrived earlier than anticipated. You’ll need a partner to move them; in fact, each box has a symbol on the outside indicating that two persons should lift it. When the machine arrived, I was home alone, so I pushed each box into my garage and waited for Tom to arrive from work so that we could carry them inside together.
Despite the fact that Bowflex sells the trail-blazing home gyms 4 itself and that many individuals have done so successfully (more on that later), I suggest the trail-blazing home gyms 5, which is now $169. Two days after my machine was delivered, a representative from the third-party business that Bowflex works with called, so I set up a date and time for assembly. I informed the scheduler that the technician would need to transfer both boxes down a flight of stairs because I wanted the machine in my basement; the scheduler stated that this wasn’t a problem. Later that day, I received a text message informing me that I had been allocated a technician by the name of Joe. Joe provided a certain arrival time, which I appreciated more than having to wait within a four-hour gap.
Joe was punctual, courteous, and professional on assembly day. Knowing that the boxes should be moved by at least two people, I was a little taken aback that he showed up by himself. Joe had equipment to help him securely carry the boxes down the stairs on his own, but since my husband was home, he volunteered to assist Joe. After demonstrating to Joe where we wanted the machine to be placed, he began to work. (Note: The appliance must be close to an outlet.)
Joe set up the MT16 in less than an hour; if my husband and I had attempted to set it up ourselves, I’m sure it would have taken much longer. Joe then pointed out some fundamental components and features before placing the owner’s manual and extra parts on a table in our basement for us to use later.
Overall, I was extremely happy with the assembly service and delivery. Although Tom and I aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty and put things together by ourselves (we actually enjoy doing it together now that we’re homeowners), we decided it was best to leave assembly to the experts for a machine this expensive and since we had never put anything similar together before. Should I ever need to acquire another Bowflex machine, I wouldn’t think twice about using this business again.
Kind, patient, and professional customer service from Bowflex I must confess that I have not yet read the MT16 owner’s manual. Like many other people, I was eager to get started using it straight away. I’m used to using cardio equipment, and this one is quite intuitive, so I haven’t even opened the handbook yet and have still thoroughly loved every workout. But the first time I went to log in using my Jrny account, that’s when I encountered problems.
It turns out that the first time I tried to use the machine, I tapped the “log in” button on the touchscreen. My username and password were input, but I got a message saying that the credentials weren’t accepted. I went through the “lost password” checkup procedure, but I never got an email to reset it. I called trail-blazing home gyms 7 after making a couple more unsuccessful troubleshooting attempts and studying the trail-blazing home gyms 6.
Throughout our 23-minute phone discussion, the representative I spoke with, Lawrence, was really nice and patient. He kindly reminded me that you must tap “create profile” the first time you log into the device after I explained the dilemma. Fun fact: The first time a new Jrny account holder uses the device, they must tap “create profile.” They can then use the “log in” button after that. I apologized to Lawrence for wasting his time because I probably could have sorted this out on my own if I had opened the owner’s handbook that was about a foot away from me. Lawrence, being the consummate professional, insisted on waiting on the phone with me to ensure that I was able to log in successfully. It was a good thing he did since I ran into another issue.
The device recognized my Jrny account, but the home screen was never displayed since it was mired in a never-ending loading cycle. When disconnecting and replugging the device didn’t solve the problem, Lawrence assisted me in working through a more complex troubleshooting procedure. It turns out that because I live in Central Time, the machine’s time zone was set by default to Eastern Time, which is what caused the system to become “stuck.” I was able to access my account after setting the computer to the proper time zone, and I haven’t encountered any issues since.
Although user error played a part in my problem, Lawrence never made me feel bad for calling customer support before consulting the handbook. He was also incredibly helpful and understanding throughout our conversation. I rate Bowflex’s customer care representatives an 11 out of 10 if all of them are as good as Lawrence.
16 Total Customer Reviews for Bowflex There aren’t many trail-blazing home gyms 8s because the Bowflex MT16 released in early November of 2021. (only 18 at the time of this writing). However, the machine received a five-star rating from each of the 18 reviewers. It’s vital to remember that some of the reviews looked like they were part of a contest.
Several consumers, as opposed to me, claimed that they self-assembled the machine, and most significantly, everything proceeded without a hitch. trail-blazing home gyms 9 says, “As an older woman, it was simple to assemble on my own and is similar to the pedal StairMasters (which I happened to adore), but better.” Another user from Massachusetts concurred that assembly was simple, but they did ask their spouse’s assistance to steady the handles while they were screwing them in. They estimated the overall assembly time at two hours, adding that they took their time and double-checked all the parts.
My body can currently perform high-impact exercises without too much difficulty, but I like the MT16’s low-impact characteristics because they reduce the stress on my joints. A user who had undergone surgery concurred. Bowflex Max Total 16 0: “You use every muscle in your body, but it’s low impact, so my leg and foot’s plates and screws aren’t bothered by it.”
The MT16 is a financial commitment, just like other piece of fitness gear. Bowflex Max Total 16 1 that her family desired a dependable machine with gym-quality components. “My husband and I have been enjoying our Max Total 16,” she said. “My 15-year-old athlete son also enjoys it.” “Despite the fact that we all engage in varying degrees of exercise, we can all get a terrific workout.”
The review I found most motivational was Bowflex Max Total 16 2. She stated: “I now work out every day thanks to this gadget. Absolutely everything about it is wonderful. It has motivated me to develop as a better person.”
WHO SHOULD BUY BOWFLEX MT16 SHARES? Those who use Jrny and appreciate the advantages of the platform (tracking progress, streaming options, virtual coaching, on-demand classes, etc.) those who take pleasure in full-body, low-impact cardio and HIIT exercises Those who reside in households with multiple people Those who might not have enough room for home gym gear Those who desire to upgrade their home gym and own more Bowflex equipment It’s perfect for beginners and gym rats alike. Those with varied levels of activity.) WHO CAN’T MAKE INVESTMENTS IN THE BOWFLEX MT16? Those who do not wish to pay for both an exercise machine and a membership Those who find streaming entertainment alternatives or virtual coaching to be distracting rather than beneficial Those who favor vigorous exercise VALUE OF THE BOWFLEX MT16 Depends, really. The MT16 is not for you if you have no interest in fitness subscription services. Simply said, the base machine doesn’t have enough functions for the price, and you can get a fantastic workout with more economical options.
But if you want intense, full-body cardio workouts and don’t mind (eventually) paying for a fitness subscription to have access to even more advantages, the MT16 is well worth it. I really prefer it to regular stair steppers, and I’m finding the Jrny membership to be more enjoyable than I anticipated. I’ve been working out more (at least three times a week, which is what I was doing before the epidemic) throughout the two months I’ve utilized the machine and membership, and I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in my mental health.
PERSONAL TESTING METHODS My rankings take into account the fact that many of the Bowflex MT16’s advantages need customers to have a Jrny membership.