These are two very popular elliptical-type machines that have significant advantages over a standard elliptical trainer.
But what about when you pit them against each other?
How do they compare?
And which is best for you?
Well, this really depends on what you’re looking for.
This post will give you a rundown of the main differences between them so hopefully you can find the best fit for your needs.
Freestrider vs Max Trainer: Price
When it comes to affordability, the Max Trainer has a slight advantage right now.
The Max trainer has three different models starting around $999 with Free Shipping here. The models vary by console, length of built-in workouts and resistance levels.
They all however carry the famous Max Trainer design that was built to burn more calories than a standard elliptical trainer.
The Freestrider comes in a bit higher – starting around $1499 with Free Shipping here. There are also 3 different models and again, they vary by console features, resistance levels and incline.
However the main design – the completely adaptable stride length of up to 32 inches that makes the Freestrider so popular – is the same for all models.
Max Trainer or Freestrider: Lower Body Motion
The Nordictrack Freestrider offers you more of an elliptical “running” pathway. The main difference is that, because it’s not a crank-connected pedal, you’re not locked in to a set elliptical stride.
So you can do short, stair-climbing strides, longer running strides or even longer hurdling strides. This gives you a lot of flexibility in your workout routine. You can basically use it as 3-machines-in-1.
This also makes it a great trainer for multiple-user families – since everyone can choose a stride length that feels most comfortable for them.
The Max Trainer may look like an elliptical, but at least when it comes to the lower body, it’s more of a stair-climbing motion.
You don’t have the flexibility to set your stride or even do a running-type motion on this machine like with the Freestrider. However you do still get the upper body moving arm bars like an elliptical trainer.
How Many Calories Burned?
The Max Trainer has a slight advantage here – simply because Bowflex has actually done the tests to prove that you can burn 2.5 times more calories on the Max than on a stair climber, elliptical or treadmill.
Max trial users actually burned up to 600 calories in 30 minutes, which is incredible.
And Bowflex is savvy enough to advertise this:
This doesn’t mean you can’t burn more calories on a Freestrider than on an elliptical. In fact you probably can (because you’re not getting used to one set stride – and you’re always challenging your body).
But so far Nordictrack is not really pushing the “More Calories Burned” advantage yet. They might in the future.
But currently Bowflex is way ahead of them – with several lab tests done already to be able to make the claim of more calories burned.
Basically I think this is more a case of better marketing on the part of Bowflex than any actual machine difference.
Another thing to keep in mind is that one of the main advantages to the Max is that it comes with the high intensity 14 minute workout that is designed especially for high calorie burn, even post workout.
The Freestrider doesn’t have this (although it does have lots of built-in workouts).
So if you want the assurance that you’ll burn more calories, faster, then the Max has the clear advantage here.
Entertainment and Built-in Workouts
With the Bowflex Max you do get several built-in workouts – including the 14 minute high-intensity workout. You can also add Bowflex Max Intelligence (M6 and M8 models only). This is a monthly subscription service that can give you customized workouts directly to your machine.
However the Nordictrack Freestrider goes a few steps beyond this – with large full-color, touch-screen HD consoles (FS7 and FS9i models) built-in cooling fans, iPod docks with speakers and iFit Coach.
iFit Coach is pretty much a game changer. It is a very cool new technology that takes your elliptical trainer online using the Wi-Fi in your home. From here you can do all sorts of fun things.
For example, you can run famous trails all over the world (and see actual landmarks pass you by in the console screen). You can run through the streets of Paris or along the shores of Hawaii and watch the scenery in the full-color HD console for some virtual reality fun.
You can also use iFit Coach to track your workouts over time, graph your results and see how far you’ve come. You can also program in new caloric or activity goals and have iFit send you specialized workouts to achieve these goals.
Having iFit on your elliptical can open up a whole new world of elliptical training. In fact there are over 12,000 different HD video workouts you can choose from in the iFit library – so you’ll never run out of new things to do on these ellipticals.
Freestride Trainer vs Max Trainer – Size
While both machines are smaller than a regular elliptical trainer, the Bowflex Max has the slight advantage here.
It has an average footprint of 46 x 25 inches (although the premium M7 model is just slightly bigger).
Compare this to the average Freestrider footprint which runs about 58.5 x 29.5 inches and you’ll see that the Max Trainer is just a bit more compact than the Freestride trainer. So the Max trainer might work better for smaller workout spaces like condos or apartments.
So what’s the bottom line in the Freestrider vs Max Trainer debate?
Well, the Freestrider and the Max Trainer are both ultra-low impact, unique fitness machines that can help you burn more calories than a standard elliptical.
The Freestrider gives you more of an elliptical “running-type” motion whereas the Max trainer offers more of a stair-climbing experience.
The Freestrider has a lot more in terms of entertainment and tracking tools like iFit Coach.
However the Bowflex Max trainer does come in at a more affordable price and it’s more compact. Plus, it has a proven track record when it comes to burning more calories.
So while both machines have their own benefits, it really comes down to what’s most important to you.
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